TryGliding Just Go membership Classifieds

Ian Steventon4

Circling over Tocumwal at the start. Photo by Ian Steventon

By Lumpy Patterson

Tocumwal Soaring Centre proudly hosted this year’s 20m Two Seat Sports Class Nationals. We had 18 pilots flying in nine gliders – two AS32, three Arcus and, making up nearly half the field, four Duo Discus, which was great to see.

We were keen to ensure some social activities and learning experiences at this event, having two junior representatives and another pilot entering his first competition.
Tocumwal has been fortunate over the summer period, at least in terms of gliding, having received very little rainfall, which has enhanced our season. However, other spots within the tasking area have encountered more than their fair share of rain. This made tasking during the competition a little challenging, but we were able to set some good distances in most directions and flew six out of the seven days.

Chris and Bernie

Bernie Sizer and Chris Graham

We also had a group of glider pilots from Tasmania visiting us during the event, which gave the teams an opportunity to share their experiences with a wider audience.
Saturday night was the Welcome to Tocumwal Soaring evening with a great BBQ cook up by our CD Tom Gilbert, proudly sponsored by It was a great way to get everyone together for a catch-up prior to the competition.

During briefings we were fortunate to have speakers willing to share their experiences in our amazing sport over the years and provide some insight into their preparations and thinking on competitive soaring. Their presentations were very well received by all pilots and guests.

Taylor 1

View from the cockpit of Bruce Taylor and Brad Edwards.

Slow Heating
Day 1 featured a three-hour AAT Task with some thermals to 6,000ft. However, the day proved to be rather challenging, with some high cloud slowing the heating, which took some time to get going. Everyone took their time on the first two legs, carefully making their way to the sunnier areas, and a few experienced some low spots along the way.

Most pilots only just managed more than the minimal distance on this day with Adam and Keith taking the line honours, followed very closely by locals Bernie and Chris in the Duo Discus. This was Chris’s first competition and what a way to open the account! Sadly, juniors Josh and Jason fell a few kilometres short of the line but managed a well-executed outlanding and aero tow retrieve.

Speed Task
Day 2 saw a speed task of 389km with pretty good conditions, making the most of the trough sitting out to the east of Tocumwal. The forecast had a nice cu line which wasn’t very wide but would be rewarding if it developed. This turned out to be the case as we skirted along the controlled air space boundary in some fast flying conditions. The tricky bit for the day was the transition from the cu back into the blue for the last 110km home. It was still OK, but softer conditions meant the lead changed a few times on the final leg. Allan and Justin rolled into first place very closely followed by the rest of the gang.

Gear Changes
Day 3 turned out to be very interesting for all of us, with a big square task heading up onto the Hay Plains. The forecast was to have the trough sitting over most of the task area with heights to 10k, however this didn’t quite materialise. High cloud moved in faster than expected and some over-development resulted in a few spots of rain.
There were a few gear changes on this day, working between the storms and shadows. Those who read the play and left early had a better run than the later starters. Everyone managed to get home, which was a sterling effort, however one glider skipped the last TP to avoid a possible out landing, which was a good call.
Tuesday was also our quiz and trivia night, and pilots left much wiser than they arrived. It was great fun testing everyone’s knowledge with a good mixture of questions about the local area, some Aussie icons and, of course, gliding.

David and Steve

Davis Jansen and Steve Evans. Dave ans Steve wonthe competition. Dave will be heading to Uvalde to fly in the 20M WGC in August.

Mixed Bag
Day 4 was either going to be very difficult or quite good. As it turned out, it was a bit of both, and a 3 hour AAT was set. Considering the experience of the day before, the task had some big circles to allow for any over development which might have occurred. The day was influenced by some upper level wind along with cu which saw lenticulars forming at the top of thermals. Nevertheless, it was a mixed bag with some great climbs, soft areas and some great energy lines, which were used to maximum effect on the run home from the northeast, which provided some good entertainment for all those in the air.

Reading the Clouds
A 3hr 45min AAT was set for Day 5, heading out west to start with, then up to the north towards the Hay Plains again, working our way home from the Urana area. Today, the trick was to read the clouds correctly and with that, you would be very well rewarded. The first half of the task was reasonably easy to work once the pilots connected to the cu, however, most hit a low spot while trying to reach them. It was a good run under the cu with heights of 8,500/9,000 agl reached for the second and third leg.
The third turn seemed to make or break the teams today. Some over development occurred, and turning too early in the first and the second turn points pushed pilots deeper into the third, where shadows from cloud were spreading. Navigating the best route home seemed to make the difference in the speeds today – some only needed a climb, while others in softer conditions required many. The Juniors had a great run today in the Duo Discus, snapping at the heals of B1 and B2. Well done, guys!
Some very strong wind blew in from the southwest on Day 6 after the trough had moved through overnight and, with thermal heights forecast at around 3,500/4,500ft, a 2hr 45min AAT was set. The temperature was very slow to build up with the cooler air, and the task area was also compromised with smoke from a bush fire in Bendigo region. After consultation with the CD and SO, the day was cancelled.

Josh Jason Goda

Josh Geerlings and Jason Tang. Josh will be flying in the JWGC Poland in July.

Final Day
Day 7 was still influenced by the cooler southerly air, which was coming up through the Kilmore gap, although much weaker than yesterday. For this last day, a 2hr 45min AAT was set heading down towards the northern end of the Warby Ranges, then up to the northeast chasing the better air with a run home from the northeast.
It was a fairly tricky last day, and it certainly paid off to have other gliders around if you could manage it, with 3 kts to around 4,000/4,500 agl. The big brown paddocks seemed to be working the best today and there were enough of them to keep most pilots in the air. There were two out landings, but everyone was home for the final dinner – no worries. The mighty Duo Discus made it onto the podium again, with Steve and John (Bob) keeping level heads on a day when it would have been easy to end up sitting in a paddock.

Congratulations to David Jansen and Steve Evans on winning the event – literally on the last day. Adam and Keith were able to stay on top right till the end by flying very consistently, but were just pipped at the post.

For the most part, the airmanship shown by all pilots was excellent and should be congratulated. No incidents occurred during the event, and I’m sure that the format allowed for some great learning experiences for everyone, including visiting pilots.

The final dinner, held in the Drome Café and Museum on the airfield, brought a great atmosphere and was very well catered.

On the poduim

The winning teams on the podium.

17 - 24 February 2024

1 Jansen & Evans              Kingaroy SC           ASG32Mi             5,523
2 Taylor & Edwards           Lake Keepit SC      ASG32Mi             5,477
3 Gateley & Woolley          Bathurst SC           Arcus M               5,346

Full results at Soaringspot