Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Flinders Ranges camp, June 2008

The Adelaide Uni gliding club invited WGC members to come on its annual Flinders Ranges camp to Rawnsley Park, near Wilpena Pound, over the June long weekend. Our tug was also invited, and I was asked to fly it. I didn’t have to think about it for long…

Dimona heads for the Chace RangeI had a good trip, although the weather wasn’t great for gliding. No big surprises (okay, maybe the wind farm, but that’s another story.) The tug went well, and the AUGC gliders flew as required.

For the first time, I had a tailwind while ferrying the Pawnee up there on Friday. I phoned the local scenic pilot in the morning, and he said the cloudbase was only a few hundred feet above ground, sitting on nearby hills, and “there’s no way you’d get in”. But the forecast said things were improving, so we went in the afternoon. Richard Geytenbeek left at the same time in the Dimona, but he cruises a couple of knots faster so I didn’t see much of him en route.

After negotiating the ranges north of Burra and low cloudbases everywhere, we refuelled at Jamestown (that’s a nice setup) and made it to Rawnsley before 5pm.

Saturday morning, more people and gliders appeared, and the Motorfalke and Dimona got busy with site checks. Cloudbase was above the hills (mostly) but there wasn’t much sign of lift. After a while a couple of single seaters launched and spent an hour or two in light ridge lift on the eastern side of Wilpena Pound. 6 tows total. I scored the last ride in the Dimona with Richard – the ridge lift wasn’t enough for me to stay up, so it’s lucky there was an engine. Fun to try though.

Pawnee at RawnsleyThe forecast for Saturday night included rain, and it was right. Sunday was also wet: some went to the Parachilna pub for lunch: some had a BBQ put on by John Hudson: we all had dinner in the Woolshed.

Monday – showers in the morning, and the airstrip takes a while to dry after rain, so no flying. Several of us went on a short walk into Wilpena Pound, getting a few sprinkles of rain. The forecast was saying Tuesday would be dry, with more rain Wednesday. By the end of Monday
there were only the two motorgliders, one glider and the tug left on the strip – everyone else had left.

Aiden, Dimona Chace.Tuesday dawned to an almost clear sky with a moderate north-westerly. The top of the Chace Range was clear of cloud: the motorgliders headed over there and made good use of it. The one glider left also had a fine time – strong ridge lift on a nice long ridge. “You should have been there, guys.”

So I flight planned, packed up the tug and left about 1pm, arriving Waikerie about 2:30. Yes, tailwind on the way home as well.

Come along next year folks… the weather can be a bit of a lottery, but this is a weather dependent sport, so that isn’t a surprise. – Pete Siddall

More photos from the weekend

Rawnsley Park and Wilpena Pound on Google Maps

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