SAFA Skysailor Magazine

4 SKY SAILOR September | October 2020 by Scott Tucker With the coronavirus restrictions easing in Queensland in June, allowing for unlimited travel within the State, a much-needed Dalby weekend was planned for 20 and 21 June 2020. The 21st was the winter solstice, the least hours of daylight during the year, and Viv Clements had set a challenge to fly over 100km on this day. With generally very light thermals and only two to three hours of thermal generation it was a decent challenge. Nine pilots turn up on the Saturday, but it was a difficult day to even stay up with too much cloud and not enough sun. Only one pilot, Ollie, got away while everyone else landed back at the airfield after struggling for half an hour or less. Sunday started with a cold morning and blue sky and the forecast was for thermal lift from 11:30 am until 3:00 in the afternoon and a 10 to 15 knot north-west wind to help us along. We were hopeful. After two pilots had gone home the night before, the remaining seven of us got ready at the airport and waited for conditions to look soarable. By 11:00 am there were small cumulus clouds, but Michael Zupanc (Zupy) went up in his trike and reported very little lift. Close to midday, the sky looked better, and we started lining up in the launch dollies to give it a go. A task of 128km south-east to Warwick Airfield was set. I was just hoping for a decent cross-country flight as I had only had one short cross-country flight this year before the lockdown started. I was third in line, and was about to get towed up at midday. I could see the first two struggling and hoped we were not too early. The tow was rough down low due to the wind, and I pinged off at 2,000ft above the ground, a couple of kilometres upwind of the airfield. John Blain (Blaino) had dropped me near some lift, and I found it and slowly started climbing as I drifted with the wind. I gained about 600ft before the thermal slowed to almost nothing. I kept circling The longest flight on the shortest day Light lift at Dalby – Photo: Scott Tucker