This year’s expedition to Sutton Bank went ahead with Enrico Steffinlongo, Chris Hensman, Nobby and Julie Noble,
Lucy Cleeve, Nick and Lottie English, Neil Shaw, Jon Underwood, Martin Westwood, Michael Monson, Emre Mutlu, Luke Owen, Barney Wainwright, Nigel Clark and Nigel’s syndicate partner, Richard, from Lasham. Also thanks to Jonny Mion for brining 805 up from middle Wallop and returning her after the expedition. Jonny was only in Sutton Bank for one day but unfortunately was not able to fly due to poor weather.
Saturday 22nd October: Everyone met in the Officer’s car park at 06:45 where LPV and 480 had been left having been packed up the previous weekend (thank you to everyone who helped to do this). Nick and Lottie English hitched LPV onto their new van. Meanwhile, Enrico and Chris Hensman hitched 480 (Enrico had a tow bar fitted the previous week!). Nobby drove his Motorhome with Michael Monson, Julie, and Lucy inside whilst Martin Westwood travelled with Neil Shaw straight from Portsmouth. (Luke Owen travelled alone to arrive later on Saturday night. Jonny drove up on Sunday with 805 and Emre joined us all on Tuesday).
So the convoy set off! With time taken to stop for food/fuel etc., we kept leapfrogging each other for 300 miles all arriving at Sutton Bank within half an hour of each other at around 12:30.
With the LPV and 480 rigged, site checks began in LPV with Nobby and we were flying by 14:30. The first two flights were with Neil and Martin each went to 10,000ft in wave followed by Nick who made 9000ft. Chris Hensman then went to 8,500ft with a local instructor. Neil then flew again to 7,500ft in 480. Enrico achieved 4,500ft until the wave collapsed and the cloud became a hazard so a quick dash back to Sutton bank was required! The total height gain by PNGC members was 49000ft ASL. Not bad for our first afternoon flying.
With LPV and 480 safely homed in Sutton Banks hanger for the night, our first evening meal of Chilli con-carnie with rice and garlic bread was cooked by Nobby and followed by a delicious cake supplied by Chris Hensman. All this was of course washed down with beer and drinks purchased from the bar in the club house.
Sunday 23rd October: The weather turned wet and windy so flying was cancelled. After breakfast all pilots met in the briefing room for a full Sutton Bank brief. This included wave flying and ridge soaring flowed by O2 equipment use (and was supposed to be no more that 45mins to 1 hour but went on for nearly two hours with lots of questions and clarification sought (Lucy said ‘it went on and on and on……..’). Following the brief some members went to Elvington
Air Museum. That evening we all met up at Bianco’s in Thirsk for an Italian meal (which was also Enrico’s birthday so the obligatory singing ensued!). Afterwards, back to Sutton Bank bar for more beer.
Monday 24th October: Was a great flying day! 805 was rigged and flown with all PNGC members having good flights in the thermals and flying the ridge around Sutton Bank. It was the first time for Lottie, Lucy, Michael, Barney, Martin, Luke, Nick, Neil to fly Sutton Bank ridge.
Michael completed his aero-towing training with an interesting aero-tow failure and was signed off for going solo at Sutton Bank. Barney flew FDW which had been brought to Sutton Bank two weeks earlier by Nobby for his week’s annual flying holiday. 805 was flown by Martin. Nick took 480 and Neil flew LPV with Chris.
Food that evening was at Wetherspoon’s in Thirsk. Wetherspoon’s is Wetherspoon’s so most PNGC members opted for the steak meal followed (again!) for more beer back at the members bar. This time 805 was put into the hanger with LPV (480 now had to live outside in its pyjamas!).
Tuesday 25th October: Another great flying day!, (probably the best day!) All members had a wave flight followed by a ridge flight. Some of the flights were with Sutton Bank instructors. Enrico spent two hours in wave and reached 5500ft ASL in 480. Luke, Lottie and Lucy had their first ever wave flight. Luke did not stop talking about it. He then completed his aero-training and was then signed off for flying solo at Sutton Bank so then went solo in 480. Nigel, Nick, Martin, Enrico and Barney went solo in single-seat gliders. Jonathan flew in the DG 1000 with Sutton Banks CFI. Nigel and Richard flew their PIC glider. Nigel and Nobby, over the week, instructed for Sutton bank in the club gliders making sure our members had the maximum number of flights. They both also flew with the Sutton bank members.
That night we all met at the Grand India for out £9.95 four courses Indian meal.
Wednesday 26th October: The day did not look good as the wind was gusting 30 to 40 knots (Not unusual for Sutton Bank!). On days like this, ground handling of the aircraft must be very carefully organised with one person in the glider at all times while being towed or parked (otherwise the gliders will take off on their own!).
The Tug was prepared and LPV launched with Martin and Nobby for a check flight on conditions. This was followed by a Sutton Bank K21 glider then Nigel in the PIC. When the tug landed and had just about stopped, a large gust of wind made it become airborne again!! So the tug pilot decided it was too gusty to fly again and we put the tug away. However, at least Julie had made large amounts of butternut squash and ginger soup for lunch! It was much appreciated by all Sutton bank members as well as our own members (As there was still some left, Lucy and Nobby were forced to eat it again the next day!).
After 42 minutes of bouncing around on the southern ridge, LPV landed and was put away. Sutton Banks K21 only lasted in the air for 20minutes. However Nigel stayed up for over three hours(!!!!) on the ridge. Well done Nigel!
After a bouncy day, we arrived at the Forester’s Inn for our well earned evening meal.
Thursday 27th October: A wash out with rain and wind! A day out to York was in order taking in the attractions of the railway museum. On arriving in York, Martin, Neil, Emre and Barney, attempting to recapture their youth, had much fun getting around the city on the council’s electric scooters. For anyone who did not go to York, Neil flashed up the free Sutton Bank simulator for PNGC members to fly the local area and practice aero-towing at Sutton bank. Lottie enjoyed this. Nobby, Lucy and Julie went to a National Trust property followed by a quick trip to Whitby (Lottie and Lucy also had homework and revision to complete when we were not flying or eating!).
Evening meal was at the Greyhound Inn (doesn’t sound like it but it is in fact a Turkish restaurant!). We lost Emre at the end of the evening but he was later found in the Greyhound’s kitchen (either offering to do the washing-up or negotiating a discount – who knows???!!). We returned back to the club for a night cap. That evening, some members were thinking about returning home on Friday as the weather did not look too good (which just goes to show how wrong we can be!!!)
Friday 28th October: Turned out to be a great day after all and you can’t always trust the weather forecast!
The day did start slowly as the wind and rain was still coming down. However Guy, the full time Sutton Bank instructor, with all his local weather knowledge, predicted that we would be in for a great afternoon. At 12:30 LPV was launched with Neil and Emre. Nobby followed in the club K21 with PNGC members, Martin in 805 and Barney in FDW. Nick, in 480, followed shortly afterwards.
The next person to fly with Nobby was Jonathan and 10,000ft ASL was reached (First time ever in high wave for Jonathan!). Martin landed at 14:25 as Jonny had arrived to take 805 back to Portsmouth. So 805 was de-rigged and put in her box then towed off back to Middle Wallop.
Once all members had flown, supervised by Neil, LPV and 480 were cleaned and put into their trailers. While Julie and Lucy prepared the tables in the bar area, Nobby and Enrico went to Thirsk to collect the pre-ordered Yorkshire (cod and haddock being the size of whales in Yorkshire!) fish and chips complete with mushy peas and curry sauce for those who wanted it. This was our final meal at Sutton bank.
Saturday: morning, after breakfast the bills were paid, goodbyes given, and off we all went back to Middle Wallop
Total time flying for the trip with LPV,,805, 480, FDW and W5 (Nigel’s glider) was well over 50 hours. This included the flying time in Sutton Bank gliders. There were a number of firsts for the PNGC members which are listed below.
Stats (not exact as no data held for the Sutton Bank owned gliders)
Total flights between 42 and 50,
Total time between 44 and 50 hours.
Firsts for Sutton Bank
Martin Westwood Neil Shaw Nick English Jon Underwood Barney Wainwright Emre Mutla Lottie English
Wave 10,000ft with Nobby. Solo Sutton Bank on wave and ridge. 4,500ft solo
Wave 10,000ft with Nobby. Solo Sutton bank in wave and ridge to 7,500ft. Signed off to
instruct at Sutton bank.
Wave 9,000ft with Nobby. Solo Sutton bank for wave and ridge. Solo in wave to 8500ft.
Wave 10,000ft with Nobby. 1st ridge and wave flights. First flight in DG1000.
Solo for Sutton bank. Reached 11,175ft in wave. Sutton Bank ridge flight.
First wave flight and ridge flight.
First wave flights and ridge flights with instructor
First wave flights and ridge flights with instructor.
Signed off for Aerotows and going solo at Sutton Bank. First wave flight and ridge flights.
Signed off for Aerotows and going solo at Sutton Bank. First wave flight solo.
Signed off for Aerotows and going solo at Sutton Bank. First wave flight and ridge flights.
First wave flight to 8,500ft (having flown first ridge flight last year)
Our thanks to the following. Nick, Enrico, and Jonny for towing the gliders to Sutton bank and returning them to Middle Wallop. Also to Chris Hensman for making sure the trailers were ok for the trip and helping Enrico on the journey. Special thanks to Neil & Nigel who helped with the instructing.
Thanks to Bruce, Sutton Bank CFI, Guy and all of the team at Sutton Bank for being great hosts and ensuring an enjoyable and safe expedition.
Hopefully PNGC will return to Sutton Bank soon!