Gold & Diamond
300 km Gold Distance & Diamond Goal Flight
300 km task declaration
1st Turn — Wunkar, SA
2nd Turn — Lake Cullulleraine,
Goal — Waikerie, SA — Astir
Friday, 5th December 1980, was the last day of my second
ever visit to Waikerie Gliding Club. Warwick McIntosh, my
course instructor, suggested I have a go at a 300 km goal
task. After all, what did I have to loose.
I was somewhat apprehensive, not having had that much
cross-country experience. Hey, I had less than 30 hours
total flying time! Still, there were three other far more
experienced pilots about to have a go at the same task. So
maybe I could just tag along with them and get an easy
The task was to head South to Wunkar, then North East to
Lake Cullulleraine, and then West back to Waikerie.
The first leg to Wunkar went well, though slowly. I
radioed in my position at the turn and I wasn't too far
behind the others.
The second leg to Lake Cullulleraine went way slower.
Worse still, I
was only 800 feet high at the turn and thinking about landing. But
I regained height and slowly began to work my way back towards Waikerie.
I had many low points on the third leg and had
landing fields picked out on more than one occasion. But
somehow I always managed to find some lift, claw back some
height and keep going.
Maurie Bradney, Chief Flying Instructor at the Waikerie
Gliding Club, was getting worried. They hadn't heard from
me for hours, and I'd reported that I was very low at that point. He got on the
radio and asked for my position.
I was delighted to report that I was at 5,000 feet above
Waikerie airfield. Of course, he then wanted to know what I
was doing up so high at the end of the task!
Shortly afterwards I landed safely and finished a seven
hour thirty-three minute flight. I'd completed my gold
distance and diamond goal tasks in one flight, at my first
attempt! Sure I'd taken an inordinately long time, having
spent too much of my flying time in either the upper 20% or
the lower 20% of the
usable height band. I would learn how to work the height
during the cross-country course on my next visit to Waikerie. But that was for later.
Through pure persistence I'd made it around on a day
when most others didn't successfully complete their tasks.
I was more than happy to shout the bar that night!
Monday, 01 April 2013