Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

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

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