Gary"s and my Flight Of The Month --- by Bravo.
Now here"s a story to wet your appetite. A story of lovely flying in the middle of winter! From our own backyard - the Tweed.
I always take a consistant view of our daily forcasts and last month on Sunday night and Monday morning was no different. I had been watching the westerly winds run out of puff and I was focussing on flying from my fantasy mountain - the Tweed Range. The weather forcast was for a high pressure system to be over the coast with light variable winds for the next 12 hours.The temperature forcast was only 21"C.with stratus cloud thickening up later from the northwest during the day.A freshening westerly was forcast for late tomorrow. The dectalk meteorological wind at altitude forcast was light winds all the way to 10,000ft.- you beauty! Hope it stays sunny.
Unfortunately everyone was working this Monday morning and a quick call to fellow instructor Gary Richards had him keen and ready to go with me. Some pilots expect a lot from their attempts to go flying but we just wanted to get away from the coastal flying in the best possible way --- a few 360"s, some eagle cruising with the locals and perhaps soaring above and around the 3,000ft. plus mountains is all that turns me on - well mostly anyway.
Driving up to launch we watched the shity stratus cloud spread out and indeed it was thick and wide spread. From takeoff the ocean in the distance looked glassy - good sign. We set up however sunny breaks were hard to come by so we waited an hour or so just enjoying a light anabatic flow of air up the face. It"s not often I forget something but I left my vario at home so Gary says "borrow mine Bravo "- "but you have to launch first" - "no worries mate, I"ll call you in" I say.
Right on cue, a crack appears in the overcast and sunlight warms the launch area - I takeoff and work hard for 5-6 mins. just below and sometimes level with launch. But the air is smooth and no drift and the Tweed feeling is hard to describe as I circle in zero. Gary joins me and immediately we take skyward in gentle but ever increasing lift and the air is cool and we are happy together.
We climb for 15-20 mins. to 5,500ft. and as the crack in the clouds closes up we continue circling and marvel at our panoramic view from this caldera escarpment before gliding away to the distinctly, precipitous,pinnacle point - a narrow slither of rocky ridge almost a kilometer long, verticle on 3 sides extending some 3,000ft. to the valley floor. Here we find another sunlit area and again we climb slowly and increasingly skyward to almost a small cumulus cloud forming under the now thickening stratus in the late afternoon sky.This will be our peak for the day.
Gentleman Gary has no problem being without a vario as he stays above me and we chat on the radio and reflect on our familys, life and the meaning of it all, with the peace and altitude we over such a big mountain range. I wish other pilots were here to enjoy our experience this day - this winters day.
We decide to land somewhere different and glide above the rainforest encrusted escarpment flying north to the Qld. Border and then out into the valley and land next to Pumpenbil road (its real name) near the village of Tyalgum.The air is still and the sky is overcast.
Thanks heaps to Michael for driving duties and who said winters no good for flying? --------- Brian
p.s. Thanks Huey for the weather.