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Triangle Attempt, Noondeening 17 Jan 2001

Australia Day Long Weekend

For the last year or two my goal has been to fly 100kmk cross country.  I finally did that in 2000 with a 113km flight from Noondeening Hill.  Since then my new goal is to successfully complete a triangle in WA.  The lack of mountains makes this a bit difficult, our small hill launches tend to work best with a decent wind.  I've managed to jag a couple of good flights though, the first from Mt Bakewell, where I was over enthusiastic with my second triangle leg and landed after 33km, but with nearly 20km left to go to my start point.

The track log here is form my second chance was at Noondeening Hill on the 27 January 2001,  the wind was light but the  direction looked good on take off  when we arrived at about 1 O'clock, but by the time I set up it was going off to the east .  I launched in the edge of a thermal but didn't get much height and scraped down on the east side of the spur to the right of takeoff, hoping just to get enough height to make it back over to the regular landing paddock.  I did get enough, then over the bushy low hill east of the landing paddock got a strong little bit of lift.  I fell out of it every turn, but it was still there when I came back every time, and slowly got bigger as I climbed. I caught it about 450 feet below take off (100ft AGL) and  by the time I was at take off height was circling in lift all the way round. It ended up averaging 700-800fpm and going right up.

I thought this was a good chance for another triangle attempt, since the lift was strong and the drift wasn't and planned for Toodyay as the first turnpoint, The Range as the second, then back again, about 29km, not an FAI triangle as the short leg was only 5.5km, but nicely linking some familiar places and not straying far from main roads.

I got a bit of sink coming towards Mount Nardie, but a hit big area of buoyant air once over it.  After a few big searching circles a 700 fpm core appeared and I climbed quickly up again.  Every time I left lift to head cross wind to Toodyay I'd hit more.  I had to force myself to keep going and not circle.

The next leg to the Range was more into wind and quite sinky, but I got a reasonable thermal above the new sewerage ponds which gave me an easy glide to the range.  Right over the range I was getting low for the first time (about 1500 feet), and got a fairly rough climb.  I was having trouble centreing in it, and getting tossed about a little, so I decided to head upwind and see if there was better lift.  There wasn't, I got strong sink right down to treetop height on the little east facing ridge behind the range.  I shouldn't have left that lift so low, I guess I'd been spoilt by the great conditions higher up.

I think I flew a kilometer along that ridge, at tree top height, neither gaining or losing, hoping to at least get to a taller bit that looked soarable, but finally came to a point where I had to turn away or risk a tree landing and was on the ground very quickly.  I'd made it 10km to Toodyay, 5.5km from there to the Range, and another 2km back towards Noondeening, but was still 10km short of completing the triangle.  I really thought I'd done the hard bit when I made it to the Range.  My average speed was pretty good foe me I was only airborne for a little over an hour and the wind wasn't more than about 10km/h. I guess having airspace to keep below and a crosswind keeps you moving and not slacking off.  I still need to learn how to do that final triangle leg.


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