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Gold & Diamond

300 km Gold Distance & Diamond Goal Flight

Task Board
300 km task declaration
Wunkar
1st Turn — Wunkar, SA
Lake Cullulleraine
2nd Turn — Lake Cullulleraine, Vic
Astir CS, WUN
Goal — Waikerie, SA — Astir CS

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 ride.

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 band properly 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!

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Last modified: Monday, 01 April 2013

 
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