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Posted by on in Flying reports

It was pretty much as Fitz predicted. Strong high climbs (above 10,000) with winds.

Friday was a corker. Mal, George and I were the only starters with Mal doing honours in the tug.  What a day. Mal top scored with just under 900k. George started a little later to return with 583k and I had my best ever (by a long margin) at around 830k.  I flew Chinchilla, Goodiwindi Warwick with a smaller triangle on return. Mal had a head start and made Miles his first turn point. George did a heroic out and return to Dulacca (somewhere near the NT border I think).

I flew the tug on Saturday so not privy to the conditions upstairs but understand it was pretty tough. I do know that at one stage I had full deflection on the tug just to stop her from tipping over in a thermal off the end of the strip. Erich and Sid in the M200 out the back bunged off as they were tossed so far out of station, recovery was going to be a challenge.

Sunday was very windy and only the hardy (foolish perhaps) launched. Lucky Phil, George, Fitz and me all took our chances. It was one of those days when you wondered what you were doing flying. However I must admit that as the day wore on I actually cherished the experience and am glad that I decided to launch (after much derision from my colleagues when I had threatened to whimp out). Fitz achieved hero status with a monumental 664km in 20-30 knot, gusty, low vis conditions.

South of Chinchilla en route to Goondiwindi

This was the day folks. Climbs to 11,000' and better......

At shutdown on the LX9000

Hits: 59

Posted by on in Flying reports

Right, time to stop mowing the dog and walking the lawn, time to go gliding:

Overview: good run of weather, Friday is probably the pick as it’ll have CU but on the downside it’s a bit too blowy to be great. Sat has a nice wind profile, but it doesn’t have the CU. Sun has great high based CU but it’s far too blowy. All days start early. Suggest they’re probably all bigger than 750 days if you have long wings.

Friday: 10:00 CU at 7000’ 14kt SW. 13:00 borderline CU at 10,000’ 17kt SW. 16:00 CU 11,000’ 19kt SW. Conventional triangle staying under the CU. N first.

debrief: odd looking sky and far from classic over Brisbane but some flights of 899 (mal) and 822 (dan). 

Sat: 10:00 blue to 8000’ 13kt SW. 13:00 blue to 10,000’ 12kt WSW. 16:00 blue 10,000, 9kt SW. Suggest conventional triangle day, North first. Winds have increased by around 2kts in this update but positively the day cracks a bit earlier. Skysight has taken it from an 800k day down to a 550k day for 18m. I don’t know why, I’ve just done the maths and I think it’s still a 750+ day. Basically 6kt climbs to around 7/8000’ agl should put most over 100kph and there are nearly 8hrs of soaring...... we will see. Some talk about 1000 declarations from the other QLD clubs, I’d suggest that is over-reach but I hope I’m wrong!

debrief: 09:30 takeoff and that was comfortable. Skysight underset the CU and first leg N was under shallow CU. Pretty much as forecast with 760k. Still dont understand skysight‘s reticence.

Sun: 10:00 blue to 5000’ 22kt NW maybe light cirrus at worst now. 13:00 CU 12,000’ 24kt WNW No cirrus. 16:00 CU 14,000’ 27kt W. latest skysight run now suggests a run up and down wind if it streets under the CU. If it streets it could still be reasonable day, but without streeting 27kts is a royal pain! We will need to look on sat eve or Sun morning but currently not an early start due the wind, first cu form around Warwick at 11:30 ish and the day is useable comfortably from 11:00

debrief: pretty much right. I never saw 14k cloudbase but it was nearly 13,000 in places. Overdeveloped badly around Warwick and not much sun on the ground. Takeoff at 10:30 was comfortable.

All: I’m going to challenge some conventional wisdom here. No doubt this was a good three days but there is more on offer. Friday had around another hour of flying availabl. The days do crack early sometimes, I could have stayed alive at 09:00 on Saturday and the days aren’t dead at 17:00. I’ve seen a few days now where there are still 2-3kt climbs up high at 17:30. On a high day that’s then an 18:15 landing in the dusk. 0900-18:00 means it’s a potential 1000k day. We can do 1000s out of Warwick and we should be doing so. In the words of the long term S&G writer platypus -launch not lunch.

KR Fitz

Hits: 66

Posted by on in Flying reports

Interesting run of forecasts: both sat and sun are windy........ very windy. Both days have an increase in wind speed and constant direction, I suggest it’ll might wave both days although it’s now less likely. Be interesting to run downwind of Cunningham’s and play in the wave, but with 30-40kts of wind at height getting home will be interesting! NOAA thinks Sunday thermals will peak at 3500m and shows winds at flying heights of around 40kts. Saturday is less windy with 30-35kts at height, blue thermals to 7000.

Debrief: Sat did wave down at Boonah, looks like rotor/thermal climbs into the wave and a couple of wave climbs to 4000m. Wind was indeed blowy with 45kts of headwind at 4000m for us to get home in..... it would have been tricky! Sat looks to have been the windier day in the end. The forecast 3500m for Sunday degraded and was very optimistic, probably nearer 2500m.  The forecast for the week remains very fluid, nothing worth running a mid week operation for i’d suggest. Weds is the highest day at a short lived 3500m, mon 2500m, tue 3200m and thurs 3000m. Tues is the only day without blowy winds, all the other days have between 25-30kts of wind at height. Skysight likes Thurs the best - I’m not sure why, it cracks early (09:30) and lasts til late (18:00) but is blue all day and plagued with a 30kt wind and stippled thermals, not sure it’s upto the 18m 900km that skysight suggests, please prove me wrong Mal!! If it changes markedly i’ll update.

Hits: 91

Posted by on in Flying reports

sun is the pick on the next 10day run: but it’s spolit by being blue for Warwick and having yet another depressingly windy profile.

crack (to 3000’ blue) is around 10:30 on skysight, again noaa is more optimistic and suggests 10:00. warwick stays blue all day with maybe the chance of a few cu around early afternoon. The main cu all form to the N and then receded further N during the PM. Warwick’s profile is very blue by mid PM. That said climbs around Warwick still get upto around 11,000’ in the blue and noaa suggests you may even see a local 12,000’ climb. Winds are a pain, starting around 16kts and increasing steadily during the day to just over 20kts throughout the flying heights. At 16:00 noaa still shows thermals leaving the ground so suggest it should be a later finish.

suggest going N to play under the CU, north of Oakey. someone will do 500 plus but probably from either of the northern clubs which have a much better forecast. That said 500+ is equally possible out of Warwick and there is 7 hours of useable soaring.

debrief: pretty much as forecast, the cu were further south than expected, stayed around WArwick, and indeed it was blue to the far N where we’d expected the CU to show up! Slow to get going but useable (carefully!) from 10:30, winds as forecast and thermals badly broken by it. The cu were hard to connect and for a long time I didn’t think they were talking to the ground but later climbs upto nearly 12,000. Spoilt by broken thermals and the wind. Of note the ground N of Oakey is very green and the thermals north of there were very soft, suggest we stay away from there til it dries out a bit. Dan and Mal proved the 500k theory, well done!

Outlook: Weds is best bet for the retirees, nothing else on offer, NOAA shows around 2000m max for next WE.

Hits: 160

Posted by on in Flying reports

Sat is worth a look and I’d suggest a 500k plus day. 

Winds are light all day. Start time is an issue, NOAA shows 3000’agl by 10:00 but skysight doesn’t get there til 11:30. I do not know who to trust more yet in QLD. Suffice to say thermals to 10,000’ in the good bits, some CU around Warwick but receding to the hills later. Decent looking convergence/sea breeze forms around 16:00 which should be fun. Last climbs around 18:00.  If it cracks a bit earlier than skysight suggests then it should be a 600k plus day. Suggest a leg to the W to start (and form a small triangle) then run up and down the cu line over the hills..

Debrief: NOAA was more accurate on the crack time, there were ephemeral cu around Warwick at around 3000’ by 10:00. First climb at just before 11:00 went to 6000’ under CU so we can go (much) earlier. Cloud base varied quite a bit early between 6 and 4K, the lower CB was over the hills to the south. There were some big blue gaps going N but once north of Oakey the cu were more reliable and bigger. South of Stanthorpe going S it turned blue and was more difficult to work. Pretty much blue everywhere after 16:00. 450k but there was more on offer if we’d gone earlier and indeed later (still 3kt averages at 16:00). Some good 7kt averages but overall 4.2kt average for the day.

Outlook: 4 nov currently shows as a 3000m day and is a possible. KR Fitz

Hits: 164

Posted by on in Flying reports

Sat is worth a look - I’ll send more detail on Friday pm but suggest a placeholder at this stage:

light to nil wind all day, disappointingly late start but gets going just after 12:00, CU around 12:30 with base getting upto 9000’ to the NW. Late finish with 3kts leaving the ground at half five.  Suggest it’s a 500 plus day. Wet ground may slow it a bit.

update friday evening: Forecast has decayed, both noaa and skysight show significant overdevelopment in the afternoon. This decreases lift by around 2kts and heights by 1000’+. Suggest it’s now a 300 ish day, maybe more if you can stay in the sunshine. Sunday is now a bit more interesting, early start with CU all day, i’d Be excited but a wind of 13kts increasing to 18kts during the morning will take the edge of any distances. If it streets it could be a good day. Suggest sun rather than sat now if you’re after kms.

update sat morning: it’s a very unstable forecast for this close in, but now (again) sat is the better day. Still significant overdevelopment to work around but now less stable on sun. Sun shows a few showers and the same (if not more) overdevelopment. Where are the fabled great early season QLD days?

Hits: 190

Posted by on in Flying reports

Just a heads up that Saturday (15 Sept) is looking useable for XC. I’m content (if there’s interest) to forecast and predict any decent days during the soaring season.  If we want it then the bias would be toward XC days rather than training. Alternatively I can do it by text to anyone interested if the club doesn’t want it in this format. 

i generally use NOAA for long range runs (out to 10 days). It reports heights in meters and as agl. It takes an atmospheric cut at 11, 13 and 16:00 during the day and is specific to a point (typically the airfield). I’ll use METVUW to forecast showers and obviously skysight when in to a couple of days of the actual day. Ill reference all the forecasts to which data run they are based on (00, 06, 12 and 18:00Z). So Saturday:

NOAA (13th 00Z) shows a late crack with around 700m at 11:00 with 14kt NW flow. By 13:00 it’s marginal CU at 2700m with 16kt NW flow and starting to die but likely still high based CU at 16:00 with 18kt NW’ly.

Skysight (12th 20Z) adds around 2 kts more wind and shows it more W’ly by late PM. It’s going to around 2500’ at 11, a pessimistic 6000’ at 13:00, and finallly under CU at 10,000 by 16:00.

The wind is a pain and the cu form late around Warwick, but are going earlier to the West.  There are still high based cu upwind to the NW at 16:30 on skysight with 2-3 kt climbs still leaving the ground (so last lift at cloud base around 17:00?).  Suggest we should be able to get somewhere around 500k done but it’ll be a later start.

KR Fitz.

UPDATE: NOAA 14th 00Z, skysight 14th 16:00L: NOAA has decreased heights a little with 2600m at 13:00 and 2900m at 17:00. Skysight now shows a later start but positively shows high cu to the NW still at 17:00.  Winds are a pain with 20kts locally, decreasing as we go N.  Suggest it’s a N first leg due the wind and the depth of convection being low to the west. Then a westerly leg to keep under the cu, last leg downwind from the high cu base area to the WNW of Warwick. the later start probably means a 12:00 launch, back around 17:30 if those cu are still usable at 17:00 still means close to 500".... but we’ll see!

DEBRIEF: Pretty much right and indeed a couple of 500k+ OLC flights out of Warwick. Late start tho, with Dan off first and struggling early. Climbs to around 2400M AMSL at 13:00 but not the 2600AGL that NOAA had predicted. Highest I saw was 3500M {11,500} so NOAA was right about the 17:00 heights. Skysight was a bit pessimistic about the CU timing as they were roughly an hour early but they formed first exactly as Skysight predicted.

OUTLOOK: NOAA says Sunday is low with 1500M. Next WE shows as 1800M on Sat and 2200M on Sun with a broad profile so a longer day.

Hits: 351

Yes Cuppers we are into the home stretch now and only two more weekends to achieve gliding's Holy Grail.   The weather is predicted to be going ooooorfff as always this time of year so get out there, score points, fly far and have fun ! ! 

.... and just for the Warwick Winter Cup history buffs here are big flights from previous WWCs.    


WWC World Record Overall Longest Handicapped Distance date    distance (km)
Nigel Andrews 31/08/2014   463.05
Errol Spletter 31/07/2011   435.61
Nigel Andrews 30/07/2011   419.61
Dan Papacek 10/08/2014   400.51

and here is the update on the WWC8 Points .....


Pilot Total
Ivor Harris 53
Dan Papacek 51
Sidney Dekker  45
Laurie Simpkins 39
Carl Jacob 36
Stuart Lutton 34
Nigel Andrews 31
Dieter Rosner  30
Brian Gilby 25
Val Wilkinson 25
Phil Southgate 25
Erich Wittstock 22
Andres Miramontes 22
Megan Moore 20
Noel Tesch 20
Scott Johnson 20
Tony Scarlett 20
Michael O'Brien 17
John Preimonas  15
Peter Plunkett 15
Bill Wilkinson 15
Chris Kennelly 15
Craig Napier  15
Mal Williams  12
David Harison  10
Bob Kilpatrick 10
Dave Kinlan 6
Matt Sternberg 5
Jen Llewelyn 5
Clyde Stubbs 5
Peter Foxton 5
Ray Squire 5
David Harison  5
G Vass Bowen 5
L Rose 5
Brian Mahoney 5
C Kenroy 5
Rob Moore 5
Greg Barrington 5
Lindsay Mitchell 5
Jeremy Thompson 5
C Napier 5
Tony Esler 5
Brian Smales  5
Brad Lange  5
Justin Fitzgerald  5
Robyn Becker  5
Amet Ipek 5

WWC8 Distance 


Pilot Date  Distance (km)
Stu Lutton 5/08/2018 324.11
Phil Southgate 5/08/2018 258.96
Carl Jacob 28/07/2018 240.6
Nigel Andrews 5/08/2018 237.93
Laurie Simpkins 22/07/2018 203.62
Michael O'Brien 5/08/2018 194.58
Andres Miramontes  28/07/2018 182.79
Brian Gilby  24/06/2018 181.91
David Kinlan 5/08/2018 140.55
Erich Whitstock 23/06/2018 72.87

and the SLACCA (Self Launching Aircraft Cross Country Award) trophy thingy.

Pilot Date  Distance (km) Rego 
Dan Papacek 23/06/2018 371.01 JS1
Mal Williams  11/06/2018 312.84 ASH31/18m
Hits: 416

Yes it was Really, Really  Gooin Oooooorf !    9 gliders lined up on Sunday, reports of over 9000',  big distances, magic climbs and mind games were at play leading up to and during the weekends classic conditions.   Good Ol' 9kts was phased out by Dastardly Dave's radio calls of "softening conditions" around Warwick and he landed early after aborting a run to Stanthorpe which would surely have given him one foot on the podium.  " Look at me Laurie " tried it on again with a local Allora farmer ... WWCRAP believes there is more to this outlanding story ..... and Sir Sluksy smashes the 300km barrier with 324.11km to wear the yellow jersey into the last few weeks of WWC8  Distance Trophy.

Can King Carl hit back with a 350 km ?  will Ol' 9kts fall twice to same old mental mind game tactics ? (thanks Dave the $50 is in the mail)   Will there be another mid week conspiracy with only three more weekends to go?   It is going down as the greatest WWC yet.....  oh and not a SLACCA  to be seen  (Self Launching Aircraft Cross Country Award)

Get out there !!!!!  the WWC8 finishes at 20 minutes before last light on 31st August....you still have time 

Update on WWC8 Points trophy coming soon....

WWC8 Distance 

Pilot Date  Distance (km) Glider & Rego  OLC handicapped points
Stu Lutton 5/08/2018 324.11 LS8  SL  370.27
Phil Southgate 5/08/2018 258.96 Cirrus GOP 323.18
Carl Jacob 28/07/2018 240.6 Astir WUN 283.32
Nigel Andrews 5/08/2018 237.93 Discus WA 226.12
Laurie Simpkins 22/07/2018 203.62 Fokker EF 264.8
Michael O'Brien 5/08/2018 194.58 Discus BK 218.47
Andres Miramontes  28/07/2018 182.79 LS1 WR 210.56
Brian Gilby  24/06/2018 181.91 HP303 ZAI 218.94
David Kinlan 5/08/2018 140.55 PW6 WGQ 172.85
Erich Whitstock 23/06/2018 72.87 PW6 WGQ 101.17

WWC8 SLACCA (Self Launching Aircraft Cross Country Award) trophy thingy.

Pilot Date  Distance (km) Rego  OLC handicapped points
Dan Papacek 23/06/2018 371.01 JS1 376.44
Mal Williams  11/06/2018 312.84 ASH31/18m 306.85
Hits: 396

Hi Cuppers !

as we enter the last month of WWC8 the WWCRAP just wanted  to provide a quick update on the Distance trophy contenders.  This weekend is already set to go ooooooorrrffff so if you haven't had a crack yet then this weekend could be the one.  Rumour is Good Ol' 9Knots is coming out of retirement (again) and may try to pencil his name on the trophy.  


Results for distance trophy so far with King Carl establishing himself as the major pace setter with a 240.6Km claim  ..

Pilot Date    Distance   (km) Rego    OLC handicapped   points
Carl Jacob 28/07/2018   240.6 Astir WUN   283.32
Laurie Simpkins 22/07/2018   203.62 Fokker EF   264.8
Andres Miramontes  28/07/2018   182.79 WR   210.56
Brian Gilby  24/06/2018   181.91 ZAI   218.94
Stuart   Lutton  2/06/2018   99.59 SL    103.88
Erich Whitstock 23/06/2018   72.87 PW6   101.17
Hits: 392

  Dictator Dan is out of the country so now is the time to strike and get serious in the WWC8 and Distance trophy !   King Carl is leading the pack for the coverted Distance trophy and is determined to scratch his name for fame...


Update of WWC8 Points , Distance and SLACCA (Self Launching Aircraft Cross Country Award) trophy thingy below :


Pilot Total
Dan Papacek 45
Sidney Dekker  35
Ivor Harris 30
Carl Jacob 29
Laurie Simpkins 27
Dieter Rosner  25
Megan Moore 20
Brian Gilby 19
Erich Wittstock 17
Val Wilkinson 15
Phil Southgate 15
Scott Johnson 15
Stuart Lutton 12
Mal Williams  12
Nigel Andrews 10
John Preimonas  10
Tony Scarlett 10
Peter Plunkett 10
Bill Wilkinson 10
David Harison  10
Chris Kennelly 10
Matt Sternberg 5
Jen Llewelyn 5
Andres Miramontes 5
Clyde Stubbs 5
Peter Foxton 5
Ray Squire 5
Michael O'Brien 5
Bob Kilpatrick 5
David Harison  5
Noel Tesch 5
G Vass Bowen 5
L Rose 5
Brian Mahoney 5
C Kenroy 5
Rob Moore 5
Greg Barrington 5
Lindsay Mitchell 5
Jeremy Thompson 5


Pilot Date    Distance (km)
Carl Jacob 23/06/2018   223.84
Laurie Simpkins 24/06/2018   143.08
Brian Gilby  24/06/2018   127.98
Stuart Lutton  2/06/2018   99.59
Erich Whitstock 23/06/2018   72.87


Pilot Date    Distance (km)
Dan Papacek 23/06/2018   371.01
Mal Williams  11/06/2018   312.84


Hits: 417

Warwick Winter Cup 8 (WWC8)

 Yahoo and yeehar ! Yes ‘Cuppers the Winter Cup is back in full swing and we are already 1 month into the three month comp. What a cracker last weekend was too. Updates to come very soon when all the weekend results are in....King Karl, CFI Sid, Dictator Dan, Val and Bill, White Ant Express, Look at me Laurie and the Boonah Boys Brian Winner Gilby and JP all had cracking flights so stay tuned for the WWC updates.

 Yes the WWCRAP committee is back from sorting out the Video Assisted Referee (VAR) problems with that other world competition so our world is all very nice and in a pleasant state of equilibrium yet again.

For our newbies to WWC some quick rules you need to know...you will receive 5 points for just launching behind WPS and enjoying a sled ride. Bonus points are achieved by uploading your trace to OLC (Online Competition) and tuggies receive the average of WWC points for the day rounded up to the next highest number. (The WWCRAP would have written in the rules “rounded up to the next highest integer” but we are dealing with glider pilots after all ....)

 Just a reminder that this year to get your name etched on the WWC Distance trophy and a place in gliding history you will need to launch behind our tug and from Warwick. So all you self launching “competitors” out there uploading outrageous traces to OLC during the WWC and not raising a single drop of sweat knowing you could fire up the old iron thermal whenever you needed it * to get you back home then sorry you will not be eligible this year to win the prestigious WWC Distance trophy. (* Yes the WWCRAP wishes to acknowledge that 9Kts Nigel did try this once in Dictator Dans jet powered JS1 straight after a launch and did indeed produce a little more than just sweat in the cockpit while trying to start the engine and the outlanding minutes later... )

However the WWCRAP will have a special prize/ trophy for you at the annual black tie awards night, which we have named the SLACCA (Self Launching Aircraft Cross Country Award) trophy thingy.



Hits: 496

Heaven’s highway – 25 March 2018

After having suffered Dan’s postings from the day before on Whatsapp which consisted of grinning selfies, sampled beeping vario’s and shots of cloudbase there was no option but to go out on Sunday to see if there was any decent flying weather left over.

Arriving in the mid morning the sky was going Orff in all directions and Denis, Lutsky, Andres and Bill were all busy prepping their steads ready for a day of chasing everywhere across the Downs. Phil was duty instructor and was busy getting his son Jack ready for an instructional flight..so good to start them young. Dan turned up late after enjoying breakfast in Kilcoy together with Brad in the POO cub and kindly offered me a go in the SZD-55. Its just as well he offered as Denis and I had secretly been DI’ing it in his absence. Mal was tug pilot with Val kindly running everyone’s wings I agreed with Denis to do some tag and follow flying seeing this was my first time in ZDZ. I launced at about 1pm as last on the grid.

Last on the grid.

Cloudbase was around 6,000ft and there was a clear wind pattern setting up short cloudstreets in a NE-SW direction and it took me a while to settle in flying the SZD-55 and get used to the instruments and handling but after a couple of thermals I linked up with Denis in the Discus and we set off north first to Clifton then onto Pittsworth having a nice lead and follow where we switched who pushed on and who followed. There didn’t seem to be much difference between the Discus and SZD-55 both are a joy to fly. On the chat channel we could hear Andres and Lutsky had gone Leyburn-Millmerran and as usual ‘jet-man’ Dan had disappeared over the horizon towards the Bunyas. Bill was in stealth mode as there was only one radio call the entire day.

Cloudstreets starting to join up

Just past Pittsworth Denis and I decided given it was 3pm to turn for home and gingerly made our way back in some quite soft air the 4-6kt climbs from earlier were now on 2kts but I could see that the broken cloudstreets were starting to form up so decided not to land just yet and extend the flight down past Leslie Dam. Denis headed home and landed.

I heard Dan on the radio that he was at Cherribah (how did he get there so fast and unseen!) and Erich the red gave a call that he and Noel were in the big wing ASH down at Gore and were heading back to join the cloudstreet which stretched for 70km or more from NSW up to the Range. Erich and Noel must have launched quite late in the afternoon so clearly the day hadn’t died off too early.

Dan suggested we head up the cloudstreet towards Pilton North and I set off first doing 80kts at 6,500ft maintaining the same height for 30km or more. Despite my early start I was quickly hauled in by the two of them who headed past me at a rate of knots. Impressive to look ahead and see that Erich and Dan were scooting almost to the Gatton side of the Range before turning back for home.

Highway to Pilton

Dying cloudstreet on the way back

We all landed just after 4pm. Dan managed a very credible 492.16km (just not quite 500km!) at 108km/hr and everyone else had very credible +200km flights. Autumn flying at Warwick can be a real blast so make the most of it as winter is approaching!

Thanks for the loan of the SZD-55 Dan, what a day!

Hits: 1135

Posted by on in Flying reports

The run up to Christmas is always a quiet affair at the club with most members focussed on preparing for the big day when the jolly red man visits from the North Pole. Both Denis and I decided to drive out for some local flying on the Saturday. Skysight was saying there would be showers mainly on the Range and the BOM forecast was for 70% chance of rain with a possibility of a storm, the drive out was showing good cumulus on both sides of the Range already at 9am so the worry was it might overdevelop quickly.

Arriving at the club we had a quick chat with Bill, Tony and Nigel and then got ready to launch by 12.30, the sky still looked epic in all directions. Dieter self launched in the ASH with Sandra on board for some local flying. Nigel dropped me off in a 6kt thermal which got me up to 6,000ft. Time to go north. I tracked towards Millmerran following a nice line of clouds and then headed to Pittsworth. I decided to turn there and head towards Maryvale staying fairly closely to home. Denis meanwhile was taking the first of his two passenger flights.

Tracking towards Maryvale I could see some convergence clouds on the Range starting to move out of the Maryvale valley towards the west so I decided to hook up with these. Convergence clouds have a distinct scraggly look which is always worth looking out for and they are a guarantee of lift being around. I arrived in front of the main band there being a clear 2,000ft difference between the main clouds and the convergence below. I connected with the convergence getting a solid 8kts to 8,500ft. From here onwards it was a case of soaring the front of the convergence as it slowly tracked out west.  I maintained height for the next hour keeping between 8,000 to 8,500ft by just soaring the front of the clouds not needing to 360 at all just doing long S turns in front of the clouds. At one point I had a whispy cloud condense in the middle of my turn jost off my wingtip, simply magical !

Denis connected with the convergence on his 3rd flight and his passengers were simply blown away by the experience. We were so lucky to have the convergence set up when it did. Convergence flying is something that can occur year round at Warwick in a variety of weather situations the key ingredient is instability and light winds from the west which allows the clouds to build up on the Range and then the convergence can then leave the Range to track west before the clouds overdevelop on the Range.

 The only rain we saw all day.

Hits: 1671

Posted by on in Flying reports

Just to let people know that we seem to have lost the chat frequency 122.5 to Airways Australia, down in Brisbane. They claim CASA has given it to them. We then switched to 122.7

This was discovered on Sunday and I have sent an e-mail to GFA.

The man down in Brisbane didn't seem all that pleased, even less so when I said that this has been a glider chat frequency for years.

Apart from that, it was a very good day. To quote Michael, "it's very hard to turn your back on a sky like this."

Hits: 1691
Photo shared by on in Flying reports

Mid afternoon Wednesday just north of the aerodrome. A nice climb.
Image should be rotated to the right, I was not turning that steeply.

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The Ekka Day was slated to be a flying day just a few days before via the members email forum, forecast was for a warm 27C…(winter?!). Bill was going to work on WPS as well as the PW-6 wheel brake together with Mark and a few members elected to come out and help. On arrival after the drive out from Brisbane conditions were blustery with a 43km/hr WNW wind. Sid and Tony had launched by noon but quickly returned reporting challenging conditions with the strong wind. I launched at 12.20 and it was an interesting launch and tow in the crosswind out to the good air in the direction of Leslie Dam.

After release I struggled with trying to thermal with the strong drift, 27kt wind and seemed to get stuck at the quarry near Leslie Dam. The airfield looked a long way away into wind. After about 15minutes of struggling I hooked into a steady 6kts which got me to 6,000ft and from this height things got a lot easier. Small wisps were appearing now but quickly disappearing and the blue thermals were starting to street in a noticeable line WNW. The next climb was a beauty between 6-8kts to 9,500ft and the top of the inversion. 9,500ft in winter in thermal lift..who would have believed it !

From there I pushed into wind and flew 30km to the NW of the airfield maintaining between 6-7,500ft in the blue. The winds had eased to around 23kts which made groundspeed into wind painfully slow.

Both Sid, Dave Harris and Tony were also reporting similar climbs. Ekka Day is known for its cold westerlies usually but not conditions like this!

With just 2 weeks left to the end of the WWC things might get interesting, will Mal's 220km flight get beaten? If we have similar days to Ekka Day with less wind and a similar 9,500ft day then you can glide a long way...

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This weekend, I visited the Greater Boston Soaring Club at Sterling Airport east of Boston, Massachusetts. I had agreed to meet a colleague of mine, John, an aeronautics professor from MIT, who is also a pilot and glider instructor. The weather was hot, blustery and blue, so not a lot of people were out to go soaring that day. 
Sterling airport is about an hour and a quarter’s drive from Boston, a drive that takes you through little towns with lots of so-called ‘Five-four-and-a-door’ wooden colonial-style houses (with five windows on the upper floor, and a front door in the middle of the lower floor with two windows on each side), and small white churches, all spatiously dotted around bucolic, thickly wooded and slightly undulating countryside. 
The Greater Boston Soaring Club is heavily dominated by private owners (up to 50 gliders). There is no hangarage, so everybody’s glider is sitting in trailers. The season is from April to October, with the best months being April and May (which is often the case in the Northern hemisphere). Winters in New England are fierce, and long, and very cold, typically with massive amounts of snow. 
The club has three tugs (two Pawnees and a Cessna Bird Dog), and three two seaters: a Blanik, a Puchatek and a brand new ASK-21. I was offered to fly the latter with John. I am happy to report (or perhaps not) that a totally new ASK-21 flies like it did when I first flew one in 1984: heavy to control, slow to respond, but entirely forgiving and docile. And of course, flying something that is so new (and punctilliously German to boot) is always a pleasure. 
New England is heavily forested, and I mean very heavily. I recall a story of a Learjet that disappeared in Vermont in the 1980’s. It was swallowed up by the forest, and has not been found to this day. This thick tree cover is obvious as soon as you take off from Sterling (or even before: I asked John what to do in case of a cable break or tug problem. He assured me laconically that there was no option to land soon after take-off. Only trees. There might be a small orchard, he then recalled, which would offer some space in between the trees (of course you’d lose the wings, and you’d better aim really well)).
A veritable sea of dark green spreads before you when you get airborne. There is no end to it; neither in the west, north or south (Boston itself was to the east, but even that seemed lost in a sea of green until the real sea (the Atlantic) takes over). Almost any trace of human habitation is lost to the trees. The few towns that I recalled seeing on the drive over are lost to the eye, covered over by leaves. Only occasionally do you spot some evidence of human settlement; strewn through the trees as if it merely were some pieces of litter blown on the wind.
To the north, where most soaring flights go, forests get ever thicker (if, indeed, this is possible) and even less interspersed with roads. There are some (very occasional) airports, so ‘airport-hopping’ is one way to go cross-country. John has an ASW-27 with no engine. He told me that almost all national team pilots from the US come from New England: I think it is because they have no option of an outlanding, which probably breeds a pluckiness that doesn’t come from flying in the wide-open, thermal-pumping, drier West. Not all is thermal flying to the north: there is also ridge-soaring that happens at a couple of hundred feet off the valley floor (since mountains, such as they are, are not high in the Northeast). This sounds more reassuring than it is, however, since the valley floor is often as covered in trees as the ridge itself.
John shared plenty of stories of pilots landing in trees and lakes: insurance companies must have a different relationship to gliding in New England, I suppose. One of his buddies did indeed land in a lake during a competition (the trick, he assured me, was to not stall it on, but to have a bit of speed, as you will first submarine, and then resurface again… What a lovely prospect). This pilot did, and swam to the shore with his glider in tow (literally just pulling it behind him). The only problem was that he ended up, with his glider, on an island in the middle of the lake he’d landed in! This made a retrieve a bit challenging. And required more swimming. But, John assured me, the next day he flew in the competition again. I guess he might not have had to clean bugs off the wings that evening… The glider had undergone a whole bodywash, after all. I hope the pilot scored a fresh parachute somewhere, but with guys like that, who knows. Perhaps he’d simply hung it to dry overnight.
Given the weather, John and I were offered little option other than to bob around some shorn-off thermal bubbles that were blown in lines across the countryside. The landscape, for someone who is used to flying in more open terrain, is profoundly unreadable: with only trees, and more trees, there is very little in the way of clues to pick up on. Some bumps and hillocks in the landscape might give some suggestion of trigger points, but I was not able to establish a meaningful relationship between what I saw and what we experienced. 
With a hot, 20-plus knot crosswind over the trees, you can imagine how the approach felt like getting caught in a tumble drier. It made our Warwick 09-approach in a southerly wind almost a walk in the park. I have offered John a flight in Australia in return, so you might well meet him at Wawick one day. He can then explain to us what we need to do if we ever feel the need to land in Lake Leslie…
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One of the first fantasies of an aspiring glider pilot is, one day, owning your own glider. And, like those before me, after falling in love with the trials and tributes of what the skies have to offer, I started fantasizing about my first purchase. Those fantasies eventually dwindled to one stand out choice.

After studying all the literature I could find and investigating the Australian owners, I ascertained that it was unlikely that I could buy locally. With that in mind, and a glider in USA advertised, I asked a fellow Australian owner, who had imported one in 2012, what the market value was, to find whether importing was a viable option. I was pleasantly surprised he was considering selling his.

Lifting the veil on this little secret of mine reveals one of the finest examples of a Start & Flug H101 Salto. I uncovered these photo's through the use of social media and, needless to say, this was going to be in the high end of their market value.

She has been completely restored and finished in polyurethane. A labour of love spread over the previous 2 owners. And after an arduous journey transporting her from Mildura Victoria to her new home in Warwick, she was ready for rigging early Saturday morning. Thanks especially to Mark Agnew and Sid Dekker with this. Designed with full auto connect controls, it goes together easily without the possibility of incorrect control hook-ups.

Recalling a couple emails from mid-March, I jokingly suggested she would draw a crowd up to the club house. Well, she really did! So much so, that a scene developed when one member pulled up in front of the new hangar. Distracted by the crowd and a polished glider, he almost ran over a member riding a motorbike. I'm glad to report the motorbike rider was on the ball and avoided an accident.

After a briefing from Sid and Dieter, and a patient wait for the crosswind to die off on Saturday afternoon, it was time for my first flight. Much like a H201 Libelle, which they were modified from, you wear a Salto. Sitting in the grid, feeling snug, heart pumping away as the adrenaline started kicking in, the tug took up slack. The full power was called and the love affair began.

The short wingspan of 13.6m allows the Salto to roll at more than 45° per second. With such a quick roll rate, keeping wings level is available very early with full aileron and I'd convince you that they were fixed, parallel to the ground. Weighing in less than 300kg gross, the ground run was also incredibly short and she popped up and sat above the prop wash with little effort.

Taking a high tow allowed me to gain familiarity with how she handled before I joined down wind. With the Air Force Cadets operating, I knew I had plenty of people scrutinizing, but I'm pleased to report, it's very much like the club peewee to land. Once stationary on the ground I opened up the canopy, which is hinged and opens to one side, and ended up feeling very sheepish when I unlocked the hinge which doubles as the emergency release. I was left sitting with the loose canopy in hand, in a cockpit that really needs two hands to get out of. After a few minutes I was able to get out, and put the canopy back on and Nigel Andrews was kind enough to bring my car down to tow back to the grid ready to have another go.

While I was setting up for my next flight, one of the cadets complemented me on my landing. Mark Agnew, Tony Scarlett and Val Wilkinson also commented that the landings they saw were lovely. Over the weekend, I managed to wrack up 5 flights totalling around an hour and a half and I know I am hooked. I'm pleased that I was ready for the transition and I cant wait until next weekend.

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Posted by on in Flying reports

Having chosen to come up for just two days of the Easter long weekend the chance of suffering mediocre flying conditions on the days I had chosen is always high. Did I pick the right day to come out on Good Friday? The day was not looking good on the drive over Cunningham’s Gap and I was greeted by totally overcast, mushy conditions on arrival at the airfield. So I didn’t bother to DI my glider and run the wing instead for Dan who keen as ever was on the launch ready to get a tow into totally uninspiring air. I then spent the next hour or so in the clubhouse not bothering to look outside when I get a phone call from Dan which went along the lines of “I’m at 6,000ft in 4kts on the Range, get your arse up here you slacker!”

That was a call to arms and I ventured a peek out the clubhouse door to see that conditions had indeed improved and sun was on the ground with the clouds changed from the previous ragged, scuddy clouds to recognisable cumulus shapes. I got to the Bugs hangar pronto, DI’d and was on the launch to be met by Phil who was tuggie for the day who confirmed it was definitely “going orrf”. The radio chatter was about connecting with a cloudstreet which had set up going SW so once I got a decent 3kt climb I headed in that direction. Cloudbase was 6,500ft and I ran the cloudstreet for its full distance 35km SW from the airfield before turning and heading back along it to the NE.

Dan reported meeting convergence on the Range east of Clifton so I headed that way going along the now decaying SW-NE cloudstreet. I would turn back for home if the numbers above glide didn’t look good. Another 35km glide and I connected with the convergence as well. It was setting up and moving south as well as west with a clear step in the clouds. It was just like slope soaring turning parallel to the convergence in a zone about 500m wide. Simply stunning.

Time for a few photos and enjoy this unique form of flying. This was not the summer type of seabreeze convergence we sometimes get in the summer months when there is strong convection but a light SE flow on the main part of the Range meeting a light westerly flow on the other side. After a good half an hour playing with the clouds I headed back to land, an enjoyable 2hr flight which I couldn’t have imagined having done looking at the sky in the morning. So it just goes to show its not just about getting out to the airfield but not to be put off by what may seem like mediocre conditions, things change! (Val reported similar conditions the next day as well with nice climbs up the side of the convergence clouds).

I finished off the day by dropping in to see Dieter's hangar and admire it and the ASH we got to enjoy a classic sunset.

Thanks Dan for the kick up the arse !

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