Topic: My flight

Saturday 12 Dec 09

During December a cross country coaching week was held at Waikerie. The weather did not co-operate, as usual, but some good flying was had regardless.

Saturday dawned with a cool southerly, and low cumulus, with a base of 4200ft. Peter Robinson and Craig Vinall set a 203km task, WGC – Bakara – Pata – Overland Corner – WGC.

Peter Paine (LS7), Nigel Zimmermann (Discus) and myself (LS4) set off about the same time. We worked lift under scrappy Cu to 3600 for the first half hour on track to Bakara, at which point the sky blued out. I fell a bit behind the others, but arrived at Bakara at around the same time, setting the pattern for my day!

We set off towards Pata into the blue. 10km East of Bakara I found the best thermal of the day so far, reaching 4800ft at 4-5kt average. Peter Paine joined me and thanked me for the thermal!

There were very strong and narrow cores embedded in the patches of lift, which proved difficult to centre, one had to time entry perfectly and  bank very steeply to stay in the best lift. I was cruising with Pete Paine and Nigel most of the way but somewhere along the line Pete found a better thermal and slipped away.

Turning Pata it was decision time, should I cut through the Loxton irrigation area, or divert around it to cross the river further west? After attempting the direct route, sink ensured I was soon back over the paddocks to the east of Moorook and climbing.

I spotted Nigel in the Discus low but circling near the Overland Corner turnpoint, and pointed the LS4 at his thermal. Arriving about 300ft above him I was surprised to find only broken weak lift, so I clipped the turnpoint sector and headed off towards Waikerie. Nige later told me he was drifting with the weak lift into the turnpoint.

A couple of kilometers further on a patch of stronger lift was encountered. After a couple of minutes I spotted Nigel thermalling a couple of kilometers away, and above me – damn how did he manage that! Once final glide was achieved, I set off to return to Waikerie, arriving about 3 minutes behind Nigel.

All in all it was we all agreed a great fun flight, working together at times and separately at others, to get around on a marginal day.

Peter Paine managed 78 km/h, Nigel about 72 and myself 70.8. The difference was just one good thermal that Painey found and Nigel and I missed. (where was the radio call Pete eh?)

Dave L

Dave’s fast triangle

The 31st of October looked pretty promising, with a trough bringing good Cu conditions to Waikerie.

Of course, as usual the Cu were everywhere but near the airfield, which was in a blue hole about 10km radius.

As the day looked to be a good one I loaded the LS4 with 4 tubs of water (About 90l). For some time I have been trying to improve my XC speed to above 100kmh, by flying 100km triangles, WGC-Maggea-Kingston Bridge-WGC. Last year my last 2 attempts were 99.3 then 99.67 – just a bit annoying!

On this day I released at 2500 over the bend in the river North West of the airfield, finding and then losing the lift in the blue. There were some Cu to the west so I headed over, and to my annoyance every time I got under a cloud and started to climb the thermal petered out after a couple of thousand feet, the Cu disappearing too. At this stage I dumped about 20 L of water, and things improved immediately. I guess the glider was just a little too heavy to circle in the best part of the lift.

Eventually I got a good climb to around about 9000ft. Now 10km East when I looked back towards WGC I was amazed to see a Cu forming just north of the club, offering the chance to climb just outside the start
sector. Even better a street had now aligned itself almost directly between WGC and Maggea. A good climb to the North took me back to 9000, and I flew thru the start sector at 8700 and120KT.

Half way to Maggea, at Holder I saw Robbo circling to my right, but the climb rate did not feel too good, so I pressed on. About 2 km further on track I hit a ripper climb and spent 3 minutes in 4kt back to 9000ft. I then continued to Maggea, turned for Kingston and then hit the big one, 5.8kt for another 3 minutes put me on final glide, only 30km into the flight. From there it was simply a case of cheering along the LS4 at 85-105 kt for 23 minutes. The last 20 Km was under a dark overdevelopment which gave no lift at all, lucky I had climbed to 1300 above final glide in that last thermal!

I finished at about 500ft, 120kt dumping water over the pad, followed by a normal circuit and landing.

Flight stats were;  100km in 43 minutes with 16% climbing and 84% straight. Speed was 142.88 kmh. Average climb 5.1kt!

My best flight from an all round perspective so far, and great fun!

I will buy a $30 bottle of Red of your choice for the first better this in a Standard class club glider this season!

Dave L

You should have been there.

The phone went at 13.00. “Are you looking out to the north west?” It was Brocky.

“Yes I can see’em. I’ll get back to you a bit later”.

Later came and on the way back up to the airfield I rang Brocky, “Are you free this afternoon? I’m on my way up to the hangar.”

We launched into a reasonable norwesterly at 14.10 with the plan just to motor out northwest until we contacted wave.

Made a few turns in some of the better thermal lift on the way as I felt we were not going to be at a good height when arriving at location. Also didn’t want to stop to climb too much as all we would be doing is going away from where we wanted to be.

Cloud base was about 4500 but I really wasn’t taking much notice of that. We motored on norwest heading toward a good looking formation about over the Golf Club.

Among the wave cloud

In the wave

At about 6,500 I contacted reasonable lift and nosed a bit more north, shut down the “wanger”, then moved back and forth looking for the strongest lift.

It wasn’t very strong, best at 4kts but mostly 1 to 2kts. It took a bit of chasing as it was really thermal shear that stood up as the clouds came under the wave line above. There were about three levels of lennies about the place but they appeared and disappeared constantly as if being fed by the cloud streets beneath.

We did a lot of searching about as things shifted and moved with the ever changing conditions. Eventually we found our way up over Bungonia Station north of Morgan at 9,500ft (yes and Brocky made 9,800!!).

Wave

Wave

The wave frequency was very shallow and you could glide into wind a long way in zero to minimal lift but it really only made 1.5 to 2 kts or better when a cu street line came under the wave line. You could see the cu turn smooth on top then a lennie line form above, it stayed for awhile then dissipated as the cloud line moved easterly.

As the day started to shut down with the ever increasing overhead cloud we started to venture south looking at the smooth top cu’s for that next white ridge ride. Unfortunately that never eventuated and so we let down below cloud over Cadell and headed for home. Two hours twenty air time, just a nice afternoon. Can’t wait for the wave season proper to arrive!!

Mark Morgan

“Out of the Blue”, May 2009

The May issue of “Out of the Blue” is now available. Coming Events… the Hangar Ball, what the committee is working on, planning for the Multiclass in January. “How about 750 on a 650 day”, a riveting read from Craig Vinall. Well done on the 750, too!

My Silver C distance flight

by Dion Baker

Before Christmas, while I was organising going to Waikerie, I made a bit of a resolution. In the past, I’ve done long flights, and a few cross country flights, including a couple of 300km ones, but I’ve never been one for declaring and claiming badge flights and the like. So, with this in mind, I finally decided that it’s probably time to go for my Silver C distance.

I’d tried this twice before, in ’06, and never had much luck. The first attempt went pretty well, until I got back, went to spray my baragraph trace and, like many before me, has smoked the drum with no alfoil on it. My second attempt ended with an outlanding. Ray Lawley, David Lawley and myself decided to try our Silver C all on the same day. All three of us made it down there rather quickly, but on attempting to get back, found that the headwind home was so strong, we were essentially going backwards. Pretty soon, it all turned topsy turvy and all three of us ended up landing in the same paddock.

So, on the morning of the 4th of January, the day I had planned to go home, I talked to the weatherman and he told me it would be fantastic conditions, right up to 10,000ft with little wind upstairs. I decided that I’d been putting it off for too long and to go for my Silver C. It was a very rushed preperation, and upon my DI I found that the battery charger had been turned
off, and the battery was flat. I got a spare, tested it, and put it in. Long story short, a quarter of the way to Loxton, all the instruments went haywire, the Colibri started beeping and I decided to call it off. The other battery had gone flat too.

When I landed, I believe my fathers comment was “You don’t have to come this low to notch, you know.”

On the way home, I decided to come up on the Friday and give it a go again. This was the last day I could fly my glider before Form 2 ran out, so I was adamant I was going to do this.

8th January, I came directly up after work, and sorted out most things that night. In the morning, I went to the briefing and while a task was set, the weather didn’t look good. But I didn’t mind. I’ve never been too scared of a bad day, because you never know what might happen.

Dion prepares for the flight

I was somewhat unsure if I was to fly yet, as people who were on the grid were looking up at the sky and putting their gliders away. The day had been cancelled for the SA Comps, and there was still heavy cloud cover, blocking any sun getting through. Ray took off in AUGC’s Libelle, GMI, and was radioing back the conditions. It didn’t sound good, the thermals were topping out around 4,000ft, but I decided that I was going to do this, chuckling when Didi, loyally at my side the whole time, joked that I’d take a tornado as a thermal if I could.
So I took off, and bunged off just before 2,000ft in the only thermal I could find. Thermalling up to 2,400, I realised I hadn’t notched, so out came the airbrakes, and while trying to stay in the thermal, I came back down to 1,900 and started again.

On that, I went straight up to 4,500ft. I played around a bit, contemplating if it was good enough to go or not, and played around with GMI in a thermal for a bit. Eventually, I decided to leave.

Perhaps 18 – 20km out, I was getting low with no thermals to speak of, and hit the point of no return. I had just enough height to get home, so I had a decision to make, do I battle on and hope I hit something, or do I turn around and go home? I decided to turn for home, and take what I could, then see what happened from there. I turned around, levelled out, and ten seconds later the vario hit 7 knots and up I went. I decided it was on.

I originally altered my track to try and go where there was no cloud cover, but very soon I realised that the thermals were actually a little bit upwind of where the breaks were. It actually made sense once I thought about it.

My whole flight was done very very slowly. There was a horrible headwind, which resulted in my drifting backward 5 – 10km every time I thermaled. I was cruising at anywhere between 60 – 90 knots, depending on height, location and lift. I was working a height band of maybe 1,500ft, because below 2,500ft the thermals were broken and hard to find, and above 4,000ft
they weren’t worth staying in. Just before I arrived at my turnpoint, Loxton Wheat Bunker, I ended up at 1,800ft over a small farm. It took perhaps 20 minutes to make it back up to 2,200ft but then after that I shot straight up and drove on.

I was picking paddocks the whole time, even from 4,500ft. I was starting to get nervous as I got to the turn point. The cloud cover above was getting worse, and I wasn’t finding any thermals. I turned at the bunker with only 2,000ft. At that point, my only though was along the lines of “Oh well, if I outland now, at least I made the first 50km.”

I’d been up for almost two hours now, and all that time was spent getting to my turnpoint. I’d heard a few people on the radio organising to come out my way as well, but later found out that they decided not to, as they didn’t think it looked all that good.

Directly after I made my turnpoint, I found another thermal, somewhat weak, and rode that up to 3,500 where it died. I moved on a bit further, making nice ground speed due to a now favourable tailwind, and hit a 10 knot thermal. I went right up to around 4,900ft, and on that, I took my time getting home. I was playing around at 50knots, surprisingly enough in zero
air the whole way, contemplating turning to go somewhere else so as to waste time and make my five hours. But, alas, on arriving back at the airfield, with 2,000ft, no food left, no water left, and a broken pee tube (I had to hang it out the window D=) I decided to finish up. I practiced my
competition finish, with my pull up getting me into the sector for Waikerie (my last turnpoint on the declared out and return task) and landed with a big grin. I was rather proud of myself. I’d done my 108km on a day that the comp was called off (granted, it did take some 2.5hours to do).

So, I was some 230ft off my height, and didn’t make the endurance, but I’m very happy that I completed my 50kmout and return on one of the hardest days I’ve flown. To make me feel better, my total distance was 134km.

The $50 I put on the bar that night went down well too, as one would assume.