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A day and weekend of two halves

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Saturday 18 February was forecast for a decent days soaring ahead of a trough pushing up from the SW with a degree of uncertainty as to when exactly it would pass over. Skysight was predicting for Saturday a 9,000ft day with 8kts with lift starting by noon and the trough only coming through in the late evening. Sunday was forecast with very high (90%) chance of showers in the east, medium (60%) chance elsewhere this also included the chance of gusty thunderstorms (possibly severe), with possible heavy falls. So the plan was to make the most of Saturday. The PW-6 was heavily in use the whole weekend with new members Matt Sternberg and Mark Agnew with Peter Foxton post solo both Ivor Harris and Phil Southgate as instructors for each of the weekend. After a quiet few months with no new students it is good to see new members learning this marvellous sport of ours. Tug duties were performed by Paul Hogan. David Harris had booked the club’s Discus and was planning to fly local. An air experience flight was up first and Denis Nolan stepped up as AEI.

Conditions were fairly stable up to noon as the grid started to fill up with myself, Dan Papacek, Peter Plunkett, Scott Johnson, Brian Gilby and David Harris. I launched first at noon with Dan egging me on to launch and was struggling from the start, very weak, patchy inconsistent lift which petered out at 4,000ft. It didn’t feel safe to venture too far from the airfield and as everyone else launched we all struggled to avoid bombing out, this went on for a good hour and a half until clouds started to form around Clifton. The inversion broke and all of a sudden it was going gangbusters with 6kt climbs to 6,500ft. Time to head north. Going north to Clifton

I took a route to Wellcamp airport by which time cloudbase had lifted to 8,500ft. Next stop was DDSC where I got my best climb of the day a 12 knotter to 9,000ft.


12kter on the averager.

The DDSC and Kingaroy mob were on the chat frequency going west to Miles. Time for me to head back. The clouds included some towering castellanus cumulus but luckily they didn’t overdevelop and go atomic, rain showers stayed away. The run back was good as I took a track to the east and continued down to Killarney flying in some convergence on the Range. I heard Val on the chat frequency reporting a run from Killarney to Pittsworth. At 4pm I still had 6-8kt climbs so topped out at 8,000ft above Killarney and headed for home, a nice round 300km flight. Dan in the JS-1 flew north to the Bunyas and then turned for Millmerran and home all good for 435km. Gilby also headed north to clock up 282km. Didn’t hear what Peter Plunkett got up to. The students had a good solid days flying clocking up some decent flights.

So all in all a day of two halves, first half pure survival to stay up mode and the second half pure Downs soaring at its best with off the clock climbs. Gliding is all about being able to cope with changing situations and Saturday was a classic of that.

Towering catellanus cumulus

Come Sunday and the trough had gone through overnight bringing a sprinkling of rain. Dan was tuggie for the day and he gamely offered the JS-1 to Nigel for a fly, for how that turned out see Dan’s post(!). The students were under Phil’s tutorage. Time to make the most of the conditions before the storms brewed up.