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It was going to be a big soaring day. Skysight was suggesting a 920km out and return to the north with blue in the west and cu in the east. I decided to try for a declared 1,000km, and set my outbound waypoint at about 30km east of where the edge of the cu was forecast to be at 3.30pm.

I towed out at 9.20am for a 10am start but Andy Aveling was already on the grid and took the first launch at about 9.30. I was off at 9.45am and on tow when I realised my hat was still on the ground, but it was too late to turn back. As I was clearly late, and could probably have launched an hour earlier, we towed up to cloudbase.

The leg north was slow, with a 20-30kph headwind and nothing better than 4 to 5kt climbs. I almost bottled out of the task, but decided I would turn back at 3.30pm, wherever I was. I got low twice on the shoulder of Mt Kaputar, but scraped away pretty well. My achieved speed of 67 kph was not reassuring. My rate of progress gradually improved and I finally got to the turnpoint just after 3pm, having achieved 98kph on task. The headwind evaporated and became a light westerly, so there was no tailwind for me on the way back. On the way south I almost got caught out by the regular 4pm westerly collapse, but scored a low save that got me into some fast cruising conditions.

I then had a great run south until around Castletop, where I dumped my water and took 2kt to base at 8,500ft. I scraped around the east of Mt Kaputar to the last good looking cloud, which disintegrated as I slid under it. I was still not on final glide, and I had to cut across to the west side and got a slow climb in the blue. My declared task was now assured, so I extended south towards Tamworth before turning back and landing at Lake Keepit a few minutes before sunset, for 10 hours in the saddle. It was my first completed 1,000km returning to Keepit. Very happy!

Barnes weglide


 Tomas Suchanek 1000 km

Flying a Ventus 3T 18m borrowed from Adam Woolley, Tomas Suchanek flew an amazing 1,071.76km flight out of Narromine yesterday. It was that kind of day and he was in the air for over 8 hours 54 mins. Tomas originates from the Czech Republic and is a regular and much welcomed visitor to Narromine.

Thomas Suchanek