Friday, January 11th, 2008

Performance Week

Not a lot has been said about the events of performance week (Bernard prefers coaching the week) so here are a few points of interest.

Saturday the 5th a trough arrived over the ranges to the West this offered the Waikerie pilots an opportunity not to be missed, out to Blanchetown to contact the frontal activity was easy and Morgy, Peter and Craig pushed right in under the black band of cloud stretching north. They then ran at a blistering pace up to Peterborough and then turned due east to head back to Waikerie over the scrub. I managed to contact the lift activity a little North East of Blanchtown and had a good run up to Hallet. Visibility back to Waikerie was limited to 20 kilometres so I ran down to Notts Well and across to Lake Bonney.

Sunday 6th we commenced briefings and was an arrival day for most of the visitors and guests with the usual routine of orientation & check flights, sort out accommodation, rig gliders and meet and greet. I was back in the tug for the day, we gave it away early due to the 25 + knots gusting in the afternoon.

Monday 7th with the cooler winds slightly decreasing a suitable task was set for the day. 2 hour AAT – Notts Well, Alawoona, Woolpunda – We were getting climbs up around 4000 to 4500 if we were lucky. I made a bit of a botch of this day, not going very far into the circles and with a very slow speed.

Tuesday 8th Again the weather is improving and a longer 2.5 hour AAT was set Copeville, Taldra and return to WKI. Slightly better climbs to just over 5000. Down to a thousand feet 12k south but Craig stuck around and managed to drag or push me around approx 220k.

Wednesday 9th After further lectures and briefing we had a leisurely time to prepare gliders, as it was again a 2.5 hour day (expected later start) Alawoona, Notts Well, Morgan. Made a few poor decisions on the second leg, waisted some time with a zigzag to try and take a climb with the ASK 21 but they left before I arrived and I missed the thermal. Also along this leg worked lift way below the average. I was not the only one (listening the radio) finding it a tricky day for locating the centres. Turned 10k short of Morgan due to running out of time. Disappointing because with a little more pushing on and better thermal selection and leaving immediately the lift dropped off I know I could have turned Morgan.

Thursday 10th the day we all had been waiting for – Free tasks were in order so that those wanting 750k flights could have a go. The incredible stats for this day will be printed in a following article. I set a 536k task Loxton, Lake Cullulleraine, Lindsay River, Morgan Burra WKI. Had the best days flying for many years. With 42 degrees on the airfield and a thanks goes out to the flight crews who did a great job getting us airborne the heat remained in the area till after dark – Thermal activity was still going at 20:00.

Friday 11th during briefing the expected trough came through Waikerie with strong cooler gusty southerly winds. No flying today but some good lectures and information sharing being held throughout the day. Off now to the wind up dinner and a glass of wine; cheers.

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