Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

View from 7,500ft on Saturday

Saturday started off with Alto Cu forming to the North with no sign of any ground based Cu. Around midday some beautiful wave clouds formed underneath the Alto Cu as a result of an Easterly wind on the ground and a North Westerly up top causing shear wave.

It only took another 1 hour for the two air streams to mix and the Alto Cu to connect to the ground at which point the temperature had reached trigger point and we were launching. 6 to 8kt climbs were available to Cloud base (7,500ft) and I spent some time trying to find a climb up the side of the cloud without wanting to dump my water.

Interestingly the climbs were on the downwind side under the Cu which makes sense given the mixing of the two air streams. Pete Paine, Craig and I blasted around under the cloud streets until we got separated and then did our own thing.

View from cloudbase

As the day went on the sky overdeveloped and as Craig was landing I had a long glide from 7,500ft  down to 2500ft in still air back into a sunny patch, thinking that the day maybe finished when things started to bubble again finding a 4kt thermal which quickly turned into 9.6kts all the way to cloud base. A line of cloud then formed from Waikerie to Blanchetown. I had dumped all my water just prior to this thermal which was ideal to see if there was any thermal wave in front of the cloud. I found myself half way up the side of the cloud at 8,500ft using the momentum from the 9.6kts as I approached the base of the cloud. I found 1 kt as I ridge soared the cloud for around 10mins which basically maintained my height as I flew up and down the North Western edge.

The cloud street to Blanchetown drew me away and I zoomed off to Blanchetown at 100kts without turning then back along to Notts Well then Maggea and home.

It was well worth hanging on at 2500ft instead of heading for home and landing as this last part of the flight was most enjoyable and very relaxing. 340kms for the day flying under cloud streets and only going below 5,500ft once.

Peter Robinson, 13 March 2010

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