The day showed great promise with a forecast top of 37°. Derek Spencer’s plan was to launch around 11:00am and start on task around 11:30am. The task was YSFG – Hawker – Burra – Paringa – YSFG for a total of 813km. The task had the advantage that, depending on how well it went, Darren and Derek could decide how far they would push out to the east. If things were going slowly, then they could just do an Out and Return to Hawker. If things were going better, they could turn Burra and go to Morgan or Waikerie or Renmark or Paringa. Unfortunately, the day didn’t go as planned.
The SkySight model was predicting a very late start and it wasn’t wrong. To achieve a big flight, they needed to get away as soon as they could and stay airborne long enough to get far enough north to get into the better conditions. The first launch was at 11:48am and the flight was 22 minutes long. It was a battle to just stay airborne and lift topped out at 2300′.
The second launch was at 12:38pm. They got pretty much straight into a thermal. Unfortunately, as time was ticking by and the climbs were weak and difficult to use, it was becoming more and more obvious that even doing a 500km Out and Return was going to be a struggle. They pushed onwards and outwards in the hope of finding better, stronger and higher thermals but it wasn’t to be. Average thermal strength was 1.3kts and Max height 2900′ ASL. An outlanding was made after 19km.
The outlanding paddock was chosen by Darren and was an excellent choice. It was long, slightly undulating with sparse stubble. There were a few larger sized rocks that were easy to see and avoid, no SWER lines, good access from the road running adjacent to the paddock and the farmer’s house was a stones throw away. The farmer was most helpful with the derig of the glider. In short, a successful and safe outlanding.