Lookout! He’s behind you!
Everyone who looked out the window on Saturday and decided not to come for the weekend missed out on a fantastic Sunday. There was a regular carpet of cumulus all over the sky and every one was working. The first thermal off tow was 4 knots and we thought “That must have been the best one?” but the next thermal was 6 knots average and they got better later.
Several pilots (well, two of them were in the same plane) reported 9 knot averages. Damien took up a visiting English glider pilot, Jeffrey, who had never seen 9 knots before and Jeffrey was at the controls for it. Dave Pickles achieved 230km and Ian Bogaard and I made a flight of 287km in the Duo. See the Online Contest daily score for the results. (Scroll down to number 39 or so.)
This is the first time that Ian and I have soared over the Liverpool range. This wasn’t very easy on the day because cloudbase was less than 1000ft above the peaks and we had to remain in range of an airfield at all times because we don’t have a trailer for paddock retrieves yet.
Well, every post must have a title and this one summarises the weekend perfectly: “Choppy Thermals.”
Saturday had a strong wind of at least 10 knots blowing from the East all day. This made it very turbulent below 2000 feet and broke up the thermals. Most of the strong lift seemed to be smaller than the wingspan of the Puchacz. Most pilots chose to fly to the East, so they changed over to the Maitland radio frequency to listen out for the sky divers and other traffic. Joe took his camera up with him in the back seat of the Duo so we may see some good photos and videos published in the gallery soon.
Sunday started out with some promising cumulus clouds but they disappeared by 12:00. The atmospheric inversion was very strong and very visible, thanks to a layer of smoke trapped in the inversion. This put a lid on the thermals and nobody was able to climb above 4500 feet. However we did have some fun over the mountains to the South of Warkworth. It was easy to get down close to the hills and pick the thermals coming up out of the gullies.