Saturday 26th to Monday 28th May 2018

Posted: 28/05/2018 23:53

Saturday 26th.  The Scandinavian anticylone continued to dominate the weather over the northern half of the UK with an initially moderate to fresh NE'ly blowing in a extensive cloud sheet from the North Sea.  This gradually broke up to yield sunny intervals by the early afternoon, the wind eventually backing into the N as a very weak occluded front made steady progress south.  Operations off runway 02 commenced  just before 1000 hrs and came to an end around 1730 hrs by which time 15 ATs had been flown behind Pawnee EV.  The early flights had to contend with strong winds at flying height which made upwind progress slow and also strong sink, this resulting in the first of the 7 First Flights of the day, George Rowden and Martin Whatley in K21 KLW, being back on the ground after 13 minutes in spite of a tow to 3,000' QFE.   A second launch to 2,000' QFE, with the same pilots in the same glider, to just downwind of the southern slope to see if there was any soarable wave recorded the same flight time but did find some patches of zero sink.  Soaring opportunities did not get any better over the day, with the longest flight being of 34 minutes as Toby Wilson took Ethan Stockwell for a Mile High flight in the DG500.  Nobody else breached 30 minutes, with Graham Evison and Adam Sayer getting closest with 28 minutes in KLW.

Sunday 27th.  Subtle changes in the position of the high pressure over Scandinavia and a low to the south of the UK resulted in a moderate E'ly flow at Sutton and sunny skies from the word go.  Operations off runway 06 started at around 1040  hrs as John Carter gave Toby Wilson a check flight in K21 KLW.  However, the next flight in KLW resulted in a land out near Balk, the sinking air downwind of the western escarpment resulting in a abandoned approach to runway 06.  With the DG 500 grounded due to a loose tailwheel and the majority of those on site involved in the retrieve of  KLW, the only other flight of the day saw the returned and rigged KLW take to the air off runway 06 around 1720 hrs with John Carter and Peter Goodchild on board, the landing back on 06 being some 7 minutes later.

Monday 28th.  The wind had moderated to become a  light to moderate N'ly, this veering  into the NE as the day progressed.  Early extensive cloud cover with a 2,000' QFE base soon started to break up, this change allowing a wave slot downwind of the main bowl to form.  The wave was not strong but did allow a number of early flights to remain between 3,500 to 3,800' asl, these including George Rowden and Dorothy Fielding, one of the day's First Flight pupils who had 36 minutes in the DG500,  Steve Thompson and E Issot who had 44 minutes in K21 KLW and John Carter and T Pearson with 53 minutes in the DG1000.  The continued break up of the cloud sheet led to thermal activity, but with the cloud base never rising above 2,500 QFE.  However the conditions encouraged a number of private owners to rig, with some attempting cross countries.  Rob Bailey, flying his ASG29, was the most successful flying an O/R to Garforth via Boroughbridge, some 105 km, while John Ellis after visiting the Tontine had to resort to the engine of his DG800 and thereafter, stayed local.  John Marsh had an early landing after a first AT but from the second covered around 65 km when visiting the Tontine, Thirsk and Helmsley, while Jamie Quartermaine stayed local in his ASW 27.  The above 4 private owners all had flights ranging from 1:12 for John Marsh to 3:19 for John Ellis and John Carter and Geoff Turner added themselves to the list with exactly an hour in the DG1000, while a further 8 flights excceded 30 minutes.  Late in the day, with the sky blue and devoid of usable thermals, some weak wave set up over Rievaulx Abbey, and while not strong enough to produce a climb, did minimise sink rates. The best of the rest, in terms of flight times, included Steve Thompson and Konrad Kawacec in KLW who had 55 minutes, while Steve also had 49 minutes with Stephen Atkinson, again in KLW.  The day also saw Phil Lazenby's Australian friend Owen Jones, from Beverley GC in Western Australia, have 2 hours on the simulator with Mike Brown and 30 minutes of real flying with John Carter in the DG1000.  With only a sprinkling of members present on site, the opportunity was taken to fly a number of stand by First Flight pupils, the day's total being 9.

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