SAFA Skysailor Magazine

6 SKY SAILOR September | October 2020 great looking clouds and was making excellent progress to Mt Tyson. The clouds were getting big and more numerous now, but there were still some sunny spots on the ground. Flying as a team, Peter and Ollie had almost caught up to me and were a few kilometres west of my position. However, I could not spot them and never sighted them during the entire flight, yet Peter and I updated each other via the radio on our progress. We headed towards Pittsworth next, but I went slightly further east to a great looking cloud and had a fantastic climb of 600ft/min to almost 6,000ft, just under its dark base, before gliding off fast and getting in the lead again briefly. Past Pittsworth, I found a slow climb that eventually took me to 5,000ft, but Ollie and Peter were ahead of me now and with the drift in that last climb I was further off course. I glided towards the nearest good looking cloud, aware that I had been flying for over two hours and the day could shut down soon. This cloud worked, yet it was not an easy climb. I got back up to 5,800ft, but had drifted seven kilome- tres in the process. I heard from Peter that he was low and soon after he had landed close to 100km from Dalby while Ollie was still going. I went on a long glide after my climb, trying to head more towards goal, but there weren’t many good clouds in that direction. I passed Clifton and as I got lower, started thinking I should follow roads to help with the pick-up since this glide felt like it might be the last of the day. As I sank down to 3,000ft above sea level, I should have still had 2,000ft ground clearance, but the ground looked closer than that. In fact, the ground in this area was 600ft higher than at Dalby. I saw a town about eight kilometres away. It was not on the course line, but was directly down- wind of me and I thought it would be an easy place for the retrieve to find me. I headed for it, but even with the great 15 knot tailwind I was not going to make it. Luckily just six kilometres from the town, which I now knew to be Allora, I found a small light thermal that gave me an extra 350ft but also let me drift while I circled for two kilometres. Now, with only four kilometres to go and 1500ft above the ground, I would make it. I made my final radio call that I would land at Allora, and got there with a few hundred feet to spare. I picked out a nice field on the edge of town and had a good landing into the 10 to 12 knot north-westerly wind. At the end of the flight, I’d decided to go towards Allora to make for an easier retrieve, but also to get maximum distance to ensure the 100km goal was achieved. When my flight was measured, I had flown 121.4km. Ollie had not made goal and had landed 112km from Dalby. Peter checked his distance later and had flown exactly 100km. I had the longest flight for the day in a flight time of three hours landing at 3 pm. Three of us had achieved Viv’s challenge and it appears that I had the longest flight in Australia in a hang glider on the shortest day of the year for 2020! After getting picked up and taken back to Dalby, Swendo drove my car out to get me and I then took him back to Dalby before heading home. Thank you, Swendo. Thanks to Blaino, Zupy and Bruce for flying the tugs, and thanks to Moyes for my RX-4, six years old and still going strong. Trev drove out to get Peter, then headed back home to the coast, and Christina picked up Ollie for the trip back to Canungra. It all worked out well. Winter in Queensland, it is not bad. The longest flight on the shortest day The landing field at Allora – Photo: Scott Tucker