Day 2 - FAVW »

Day 3 - Fantastic

30/11/2009

Permalink 20:00:00, by admin Email , 493 words   English (ZA)
Categories: no fly day, cross-country, ASW 20

Today was going to be one of my better gliding days and only now, looking back in retrospect, I realise just what a great day it was and also just how much opportunity there was to be had. I'm still very inexperienced at cross country flying so I fly super conservatively and even though I'm learning my own limits and that of the aircraft, the weather is still a huge mystery to me.

Final glide back homeIt was the usual dusty aerotow behind the super cub, but fortunately not as bad as before as earlier that morning a water tanker had sprayed down some water over the first few hundred metres of the runway causing the dust to cake nicely in places into a firm mud. This same mud was later, during my last day in VW, to cause a bit of a problem, but more on this later.

The tug dragged me through the sky, just barely, and took me to a release height of about 1400 ft in what felt like an age; ok, it was an age. The tug used all its horses and a few more donkeys up front might have made life a little more pleasant.

I released into what felt like lift, but as I have learnt so far with Karoo soaring, down low the thermals aren't that great and there is much bumping and turbulence and finding and centering good thermals is hard.

Landing after a successful day's flyingFeeling brave and with some good height and a few clouds about I headed west, into wind and towards a farm called Meltonwald (20 km) were I was reliably inform was an airfield. On passing the farm, nice and high (2500m AGL) I didn't see anything that looked like an air strip, but any how, with lots of height I headed more north west towards Canarvon 70km away and lots of blue sky.

Day end and a hangar full of planesThings were going very well and about 40 km from Carnarvon and just out of glide of home, for some reason, I chickened out. It may have been the big area of strong sink that I hit, just as home became a marginal glide, but I did a u-turn and headed back to safety. Thinking back I should have pressed on; I had enough glide for Carnarvon, where there is apparently an airstrip (and later I found out quite a good one), but NO. Also in my mind I was thinking, hey, this is only day 3 and there will be lots of nice gliding weather ahead (a bird in hand!!)

About 10 km after doing my U-turn I found a stonking thermal and climbed to 2600m AGL and as I was 50km from home I decided to practice a final glide and stuck the nose down and cruised back at about 140 kph speeding up to about 160 kph 20 km out. I arrived back with plenty of height (560m) and speed around for a few minutes to loose this height before landing.

Thinking back, what a great 2.5 hours flying.