Gliding Queensland

Chris Woolley's 1,250 km flight - Jan 2014


Queensland-based glider pilot Chris Woolley (Kingaroy Soaring Club ... also known as "Adam Woolley's Dad") flew his Ventus 2cxM VH-VCX on 17Jan14 from Kingaroy via Dirranbandi to Tocumwal covering 1,300 klm and recorded a declared "Broken Leg" one turnpoint task of 1,250 klm.

Why 1,250 klm? Chris had recorded a 1,000 klm triangle out of Narromine on 06Feb13 and he had been looking at "what else now" when 1,250 klm became another milestone to tick off.

Flying a downwind run from Queensland (somewhere around Kingaroy) to Victoria (somewhere around Tocumwal or Benalla) had been an idea talked about for some time by a group of Kingaroy pilots that included Bill Hatfield, Greg Kolb, Ivan Teese, David Jansen and Chris ... to take advantage of the earlier starts and longer days available for a north to south flight.

On 07Dec12 some of the group had done "practice" flights which saw Greg Kolb, Ivan Teese and Chris complete a 835 klm triangle from Kingaroy to Goondiwindi to Roma to Kingaroy. Bill Hatfield's triangle was 900 klm starting at Wooroolin.

However, as it turned out, when the weather patterns lined up it was only Chris that was available to fly on the day and even that looked a slim chance as he lay in bed at home in Kingaroy listening to the rain on the roof during the previous night. Probably a "blessing in disguise" says Chris as it allowed him to get a really good night's sleep when he thought that it would not be happening the next day!

Chris headed out to the airfield knowing that the weather for the leg from Dirranbandi to Tocumwal looked good but north of the Bunya Mountains looked marginal so a "B" task was set starting at Kumbia. As it turned out, the start from Kingaroy was possible. Despite serious forward planning, spreadsheets, checklists, etc the preparations on the day had a couple of hiccups with the weather that almost prevented a start. Once in the air (8:45 Qld time) there were nice cu's out of Kingaroy and Chris departed Kingaroy at 8.57 ... an average of 110 kph on the leg to Dirranbandi meant that he needed a better average for the long leg south to Tocumwal ... he got to 14,000 feet and found good cu's all along his path using Walgett, Nyngan, Lake Cargelligo and Griffith as his reference points.

Asked when it was that he started to feel that he had the flight "in the bag", Chris commented that his last climb was at 8:15 pm (NSW time) in 1-2 knots that eventually got him to 7,000 feet to put him in the position of being able to achieve the height, distance and time he needed to complete the task ... and he was at 6,000 feet over the finish line.

Well done Chris!