Another hot day, with overdevelopment southeast and blue skies southwest – but no problems for a task to the north.
Attractive cumulus clouds had developed in this part of the task area by 11:00, and they persisted all day. The task took pilots through some hilly areas, which offered good lift and enough agriculture for safe landing options. It also took pilots west, into a flat area where few cumulus were found. But once again, everyone got home, mostly with good speeds. More of the same weather seems to be in view; it may be difficult for organizers to schedule a rest day.
(As I write this, despite a good flight Sarah is not yet scored for a complete task, due to a problem with one flight recorder. She has submitted a log from another recorder, and should soon have a proper score.)
My discussion of airfield denizens covered snakes, spiders and kangaroos, but failed to mention the most prolific and annoying one: flies. These look like a housefly at half size, and apparently never bite. But they make a hobby of buzzing around your head and landing on your face. It’s a serious matter to engage in any job that requires two hands for more than 5 seconds, as these critters must constantly be shooed away. Here at Lake Keepit they are less numerous and troubling than I’ve seen elsewhere in Australia, which is to say that they are a considerable nuisance.
In view of how remote this site feels, it’s a trifle disappointing to note that airspace is definitely an issue here. To the south are several large blocks of military airspace, which frequently constrain gliders to altitudes below 9,500’ (a height that thermals have routinely reached during the past week). And some 28 miles southeast lies the city of Tamworth (population 60,000) with a small commercial airport that sees about eight flights a day. In Australia, this calls for an impressively large area of controlled airspace into which gliders cannot routinely fly. When you have a huge country occupied by a rather small population, it no doubt seems sensible to dedicate airspace to any reasonable purpose: a sort of “Take plenty – we’ve lots” approach. But it’s unfortunate to be excluded from interesting areas that commercial aircraft hardly use.
John Good has been a member of the US Team at many World Gliding Championship events, serving as crew, Team Captain and report author. He was the Deputy Championship Director/ Task-setter at the 2012 WGC in Uvalde, Texas and brings a wealth of international rules knowledge as Captain.