Club Expedition to Sutton Bank - March 2011

by Mike Knell

Seven Bannerdown Members went to the Yorkshire Gliding Club at Sutton Bank with two club gliders and two Private Gliders. LS8 R3, Discus 547, ASW24 V17 and Discus JKX.

As you approach the Bank with your trailer, there are warning signs about the number of accidents in the last year and that the gradient is 25%. All signs mentioned “no caravans” but we were OK with our Glider Trailers

Sutton Bank has a long high ridge which works with any West in the wind direction. It is a hill-top site, with a longish grass strip (02/20) and a short one (06/24) with some gentle slopes. Landing from the West, it is like a heather/grass-covered rock aircraft carrier. The clubhouse has accommodation, restaurant, bar and members’ kitchen plus a good view over the airfield and countryside beyond.

Aerotows from the short hill top run were interesting, pretty quickly taking you over the edge.

We were very lucky with the warm anti-cyclonic weather; there was no rain and the sun shone on all but one day. Some days there was haze with poor visibility. We benefitted from thermals most days and the ridge worked for a short length on one day but we did not experience wave.

Each morning a Sutton Bank instructor gave a comprehensive brief of the weather, NOTAMS, takeoff and runway in use. When the wind is strong enough they winch launch straight into ridge lift but the wind was not strong enough while we were there so we used their three tugs. The Members of YGC were all very friendly and helpful.

Phil Woods flew the Discus 547 for about 3 hours on one day and 1.5 hours on another..

John Williams flew Sutton Bank’s Astir CS75 (a different marque) for over 2 hours to complete has Cross Country Endorsement

Terry Brown flew the Sutton Bank Motorfalke for several hours, our Discus 547 for about 3 hours and Sutton Bank's K21 for 2 hours. A total of about 10 hours. Terry also stopped on the way home to fly a Cessna (not counted in our totals).

Tony Gee flew V17 for an hour, the LS8 R3 for 2 hours, and instructed in the Sutton Bank DG1000 including  a (CPL biz-jet) former glider pilot to investigate the spinning characteristics of the DG 1000 in both long and short wing form. A total of about 9 hours

Gaz Baker flew the LS8 for 3 flights of 96 kM (landing out), 150 kM and 140 kM. A total of 11 hours

Mike Knell flew his ASW24 V17 for 6 flights and 6 hours.

Arran Armstrong flew his Discus JKX for 3 flights and about 3 hours.

We all had an enjoyable and successful week and arrived home each with a sun tan and several hours of flying.  A total, by 7 Members, of over 45 hours.

Thanks to all of the Bannerdown team and thanks to Arran Armstrong for the organisation and liaison with Yorkshire Gliding Club.