Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Almost a great XC!

It feels like forever since I did a good XC from Mt Bakewell. The winds have been too strong or from the wrong directions for weeks.
Today was a chance, SE maybe not too strong. Thermals predicted.

When I got to the hill it was overcast by some high cloud, but that was moving pretty fast so I set up and waited. It must be burning season as there were several fields alight in the area.

The wind was about 8kt in the lulls and I think it hit 20kt during some of the cycles. Cumulus clouds were forming at different altitudes and the fires were all creating cloud at the inversion level.

I timed the cycles and got off into a lull and then managed to survive on the ridge for a bit. I was going from one bit of lift to another, but the thermals were moving downwind fairly quickly.

After a long period in sinking air I decided to stick with whatever I found next.
I got a fairly decent 2m/s climb up to about 2000ft, but then I lost it and had trouble picking the wind. I think there was a change of wind direction.
I managed to get back into another thermal and took that to 3000ft before I lost it too.
I felt  like the wind was more ESE up higher and it was going to try and take me to Toodjay and I had already decided I wanted to go to Calingri.

I left the thermal around 3000ft and headed in the direction of Northam expecting to find another thermal soon. On my right I had a big wall of smoke from the fires and I could smell smoke. I felt cool air at times and I had the impression that there was sinking air spilling off the wall of smoke to my right.

I had about a 6km glide down to the deck. I turned in a few bubbles, but never found anything I could use.

I had all my Vol Biv gear with me today, so my pack was up to 14kg.

It took me 2.5hrs to hike the 10km back to my car on to of Bakewell.

Not a great day for flying, but fun and good excercise as well.

Maybe Saturday will bring another opportunity.

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