Sutton Bank Expedition Report September 2016

56,000 ft: The sum of all the maximum height gains from Stratford members flights at Sutton Bank – the most successful week in almost a decade.

The first week of September sees the Stratford bi-annual club expedition to Yorkshire Gliding Club at Sutton Bank. This year was no different with over a dozen members from early solo to pundits with several thousands of hours making the pilgrimage, with one straggler from Trent Valley Gliding club.

K21 CubPhoto of a K-21 launching at Sutton Bank. Image courtesy of Sharon Kerby.

Sunday 4th September.

With cloud base at approximately 500 ft QFE the day seemed all but scrubbed. However, late afternoon the front moved through to reveal a clear evening sky. The first flight took off at 16:00. Barry Kerby kindly aero-tow checked Paul Mcauley, Keith and Rois Lorenz. Neil and Richard Croxford proceeded to have several aero-tow training flights.

Left: Neil Croxford and John Right: Rois Lorenz and Barry Kerby. Images courtesy of Jeffery Gale.

Tuesday 6th.

With the met office forecasting good wave all the pundits scrambled to their gliders, with the remaining Stratford pilots setting up the launch point. Neil Croxford and Andy Parish proceeded to have one of the first flights in the DG 500 and quickly climbed to 7000 ft QFE, only having to return on account of the large flying list.

Barry Kerby and Keith Lorenz were the first privateers to launch contacting well organised wave almost immediately after release from aero-tow, and quickly out climbed Neil and Andy in the DG 500. They subsequently went for a 4:30 minute tour around the Yorkshire countryside in 666 reaching FL 125 with ease, only having to stop the ascent due to an active airway.

Barry Kerby and Keith Lorenz in 666 at FL125. Images courtesy of Barry Kerby.

Hearing of the quick success over the radio of the club gliders and 666 Barry Monslow, Sharon Kerby, Jeffrey Gale, Paul Mcauley and Rois Lorenz all took aero-tows and contacted strong lift. Jeffrey Gale reached an impressive height of 7500 ft QFE were he captured some fantastic photographs.

wave_sutton_bank_asw20Picture from 7000 ft QFE. The Yorkshire Dales are just visible in the distance. Image courtesy of Jeffrey Gale

Wednesday 7th

Wednesday saw a southerly wind bringing unusual some strong lift. All the pundits had several hours local soaring. Paul Mcauley set a 100 Km cross-country task, set off early and made good progress on track. However, the weather was less favourable down south and he landed out safely at Pocklington and consequently had an aero-tow retrieve back to Sutton Bank.

Thursday 8th

Thursdays wind was SW at 20 knots gusting 30, a classic day for the ridge to work with the Met Office predicting wave. Keith Lorenz participated in a aerobatics course ran by George Rizk from Saltby and practiced some manoeuvres from the basic aerobatics badge syllabus.

Barry Kerby and Rois Lorenz took an early winch launch in 666 along with Jeffrey Gale in 643 onto the ridge which seemed to work well. This was followed by Sharon Kerby and Barry Monslow taking an aero-tow in an attempt to contact wave.

Keith Lorenz took a late aero-tow at 16:10 in 302. By this time most of the privateers had little success with the wave and had been forced back on the ridge taking the occasional thermal. Sharon Kerby successfully contacted wave just North of Lake Gormire and radioed her find. Sharon very quickly climbed to 7500 ft QFE and marked the way for other gliders. Following this Keith Lorenz contacted the same lift and climbed to 11,800 ft QFE in a large blue gap.

ls8_gliding_wave_panoramaPanoramic picture of the evening sky from 302. Image courtesy of Keith Lorenz

Keith Lorenz then subsequently pushed into wind in search of lift but it seemed to bottom at the same altitude as the previous wave bar. Conscious of daylight and strong winds on the surface Keith headed back home and landed at 19:10 missing out on his gold height by 120 ft.

evening_sky_wave_flightPicture of the evening sky from 302. Image courtesy of Keith Lorenz

News quickly spread of the successful week to members back at Stratford which prompted Chris Edkins to fly up from Wellesbourne in a PA32 Saratoga. He landed at Bagby at 19:00.

Left: A picture of Chris flying the Saratoga into Bagby. Right: Picture of the flight to Sutton Bank. Images courtesy of the Saratoga’s in flight photography system.

Friday 9th

Friday saw a strong SW wind with the Met Office forecasting some wave. Barry Kerby and Chris E took a high aero-tow in 666 and contacted ‘difficult’ wave and climbed 5000 ft to 9000ft QFE. In addition to this Barry Monslow and Jeffrey Gale had similar flights in UG and 643 respectively. Both taking high aero-tows and contacting ‘difficult’ wave and making solid progress.

Saturday 10th

All members de-camped. Chris E and others, flew back from Bagby to Wellesbourne in difficult conditions – nothing too difficult for a man with 1000’s of hours powered flying.

-Keith Lorenz

Lenticular Clouds 16/3/14

Nick J took this photo of lenticular clouds to the south of Snitterfield on Sunday.

Due to SOAGCs location within the country, we do not often see lenticular clouds edge-on like this. We do contact wave from the Welsh mountains.

Lenticular Clouds over Snitterfield

Lenticular Clouds over Snitterfield

The clouds were dissipating as the wind conditions changed but some pilots reported weak wave and wave influence on the (admittedly weak – it is March) thermals.

Saturday 28th October 2012

Today looked like a mixed bag from the outset with rain forecast for the afternoon.

However, our CFI noted that there was a prediction of wave in the fairly strong Westerly wind so an intrepid bunch of pilots braved the cold to search for it. Always tricky to contact from a winch launch, we searched. Not entirely in vain as a couple of flights encountered reduced or nil sink in smooth air.

We only stopped trying when the rain finally drove us back indoors.

K13 G-DCCT about to launch in search of the elusive wave.

Sunday 21 August 2011

Long time no blog, but the conditions this Sunday are worth a mention.

The day started out with overcast and some evidence of high level wave but, as forecast, conditions did improve and at about 12:30 people started to soar.  Andy (Balkwill), Barry (Kerby) and Sharon set off on task to the west. The conditions were difficult early on with wave interference fairly noticeable (smooth thermals, rough thermals and amazing sink).

After low points by Sharon (800ft near Feckenham) and Barry (apparently reading the clock tower at Bromyard) things got even more interesting.   Sharon entered a smooth thermal marked by a wisp of cloud and climbed through the wisp to contact the wave just east of Feckenham, eventually climbing at 4knts average in a line running roughly Feckenham to Pershore.

Andy and Barry came back from the west.  Andy carried on with his task but Barry contacted the wave near Pershore as did Steve Brown. The wave moved a little at about 7,500ft and then again at 8,500ft, aligning more with Alcester – Long Marston.  The climb rate reached 6kts at times.  Steve reached 9,000ft, Barry topped out at 10,000ft and Sharon broke her climb off at 11,800ft (just beating the club record previously set by Harry Williams in his K6E).

After 3 hours the wave slots started to fill in and Steve, Barry and Sharon returned to site with photos and in-flight video (Steve!). Some of Sharon’s pics are below and we hope to upload Steve’s video at some point.

On the cross country front, Paul McAuley deserves a mention. Paul was the only person to complete a cross country task on Sunday and won the day.  He flew a 110km triangle (Snitterfield, Pershore, Banbury) in a fairly brisk wind and what were sometimes difficult conditions.  Well done Paul.

P.S. We would like to blog more often so if you want to update us on activities at the club please email and I’ll pick up the info.   Many thanks.