The last few days have been pretty good here at Lake Keepit, and two days ago I looked at the Blipmaps and decided to try for at least 400km out&return. The forecast was quite good, not much wind, and strong lift.
I took off before 12:00 and spent a few thermals getting over the flats and on to the ridge over Mt Borah. From there it started getting better, but the day did not turn on as early or good as forecasted. The cloudbase stayed low(ish) at around 6500-7000 feet all the way up past Bingara, but as I passed Warialda the cloudbase got up to 7500-8000 feet, and the lift was better.
The skies towards Goondiwindi and Queensland looked fantastic, and it was hard to turn back at 200km, but the clock was passing 15:00 and I wanted to be on final glide before 17:00.
Getting back was slower than I thought, as I had to pass through a few blue holes and stopped in a few weak thermals wasting time to stay high, but I made it back with altitude to burn, and in retrospect I could probably safely have stretched it to 500km, but 400 is not bad for my first real XC attempt in a Sailplane :-)
Yesterday Thomas (Tugpilot here during the week), and I set a 321Km FAI triangle task. The forecast was for a totally blue day, and weak southerly winds. I got off early and flew over Borah to Split Rock dam that was the first TP. I waited for Thomas under the clouds there for a while, but he had defect batteries and radio communications were not very good.
We met up before the second TP at Narrabri, but soon split up again as we could not talk and the FLARM from my LS6 was sent away for repairs. Going south from Narrabri over the plains I wanted to get back to the ridgeline and better clouds, but saw Thomas on the edge of the Pillagra scrub forest and followed him to the flatlands.
By now I was having a very upset stomach, probably from some dodgy noodle dinner we ate at Tamworth the night before. I was in pain and really needed to get on the ground and to a toilet. I made one last attempt to fly on after getting high on the Kelvins ridge, but in the end I gave up, turned around from 8000 feet and dived for home with air brakes out.
Today is a somewhat forced rest day as I had to share the LS6 with another pilot here visiting from the UK. The next few days should be OK, but probably not 500km weather. I will fly tomorrow and maybe Tuesday before going to Sydney to fly home to Oslo on Wednesday.