flight was done in our LS8 15m VH-PNL on 20 December 2013. It
took a full 10 hours. The first leg was in a north east
direction to Galong and then north north west to a point just
north of Tottenham which is 80km west of Narromine.
started at 10:37am (or
9:37am Qld time) into conditions that were far from
ideal for a 1000km flight. A 15-20kt north westerly was
blowing and convection was only going to 2,500ft AGL
initially. I spent an hour plugging along down low and then
was able to get some reasonable height to 6,000ft. It wasn’t
until three hours into the flight that the cumulus clouds
appeared. At this stage my speed was very slow – only about
85kph - and I was almost convinced that the task wasn’t
achievable but then I picked up a 6.4kt climb to about
11,000ft. Still not sure that the task was achievable, I
decided to enjoy the day since I had done the hard work and I
pushed on to the first turn point. Also, if I could increase
my average speed by 15kph plus I was in with a chance. The
worst likely scenario would be to land out 100km or so from
home. With Peter crewing for me, this wasn’t a problem.
had a good run on the last leg under cus going to 12,000ft.
About 190km out, I took a really big climb to 13,500ft then
cruised with no lift over a 70km gap to the edge of the
overdevelopment which spread for 100km on track to Tocumwal.
At the edge of the overdevelopment I thought I would get my
last climb of about 5,000ft, but could only find .5 to 1kt by
the time I got there. I spent 30 minutes achieving only 2,300
feet and I couldn’t get the last couple of thousand feet I
needed, so I pushed on under the murk. I headed on through
zero lift with some areas of light rain. Still holding out for
that last climb, I was considering the possibility that I
would have to land at either Jerilderie or Finley airport. As
I was approaching Jerilderie airport at about 5,000ft I felt a
big wump under my wing and hooked into 2kts and climbed to
1100ft over final glide – whoopee. I had to use lots of self
discipline not to push the stick forward and speed home out of
excitement. I managed to keep a calm 70kt cruise going to
cross the finish with 700ft to spare at about 8:30pm, twenty
minutes before last light.
the hard work at times, it was great fun all the way around
and hugely satisfying to get home!