Sunday, April 17, 2011

Battling headwing and going north

Thursday looked very much like Wednesday. Blue skies and a moderate south wind. So I wanted to take revenge on our missed task of Wednesday. Davis didn't bother about flying in those conditions.
I launched and had a moderate climb at first, but it improved and started drifting towards a lake. Then suddenly it really turned on and became a 600 fpm climb (starting to think in these numbers already, 3 m/s that is). But, much more impressive was the shape drawn by the winds on the lake. It's a shame I don't have a picture of it. The lake is perfectly circular and the thermal was visible as a large twisting wind, perfectly centered in the lake. In the middle, there was a calm center, with 2 smaller twisters running around that center. I never saw anything like that. Dave, who launched after me and already flies for 30 years, was impressed by it as well.
Back to the flight. I battled against the wind for 2 hours and reached Dean Stills, where I was supposed to go crosswind to Wallaby and then fly back to Quest. I think I started to get a feeling for lift lines, but probably also got overconfident and had to land a few kms away from Dean Stills. Damn, the hard part was done, but I wasn't making it back home... Anyway, much better than the day before and I had been on my own in the blue. It was a good training.
On Friday, the forecast looked good for a long distance flight. Davis and I launched early, but couldn't get high under an almost overcast sky and had to land again. 2 Hours later, the hopes for 200 miles were gone and we agreed on a goal in Williston, 109 km north. You can read a detailed report of the flight on the OzReport. We had a really nice flight, flying together almost the complete distance. Mike Barber - a living legend - flew along with us and landed in the same field. Here's the video:

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