WGC Blog


This weekend was AAFCs first weekend glider ops with 7 cadets which integrated seamlessly with our own glider ops. A big thanks to Nigel and Mal who were kept busy towing both days with Matt instructing on Sunday. Thanks also to all AAFC instructors and the great atmosphere. 

The AAFC had 21 launches on Saturday and probably as many today. Sunday was the best day weatherwise with flights to Dalby, 8000ft was to be had... still a bit of water in the paddocks. Scotty had an outlanding near Clifton, never a good thing to do at 3pm on a Sunday! He was ably assisted by Matt and Brian Mahoney.

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Dear Club members,

we have been successful with the Queensland Government Sport and Recreation Grant to purchase new equipment.



Queensland Government Active Clubs Grant



27 February 2020

Dear club members,

we were successful with round 1 of the QLD government Active Clubs $2,000 grant application.

The application was for equipment either off-field or on-field to support our club activities.

Our club can only apply for equipment or training under one category, either:

  • on-field support to help deliver quality physical activity experiences
  • off-field support to improve the ability to manage the organisation.

We intend to purchase an advanced S7 variometer set in the front and back seat of our PW-6 two-seater glider to enhance flying.


David Kinlan

President – Warwick Gliding Club

On 10 February 2020, the Queensland Government provided $2,000 to Warwick Gliding Club to purchase equipment to enable Queenslanders to participate in sport and recreation activities.

We are very grateful to receive funding. The money will go towards off-field equipment to enable our club members to support their gliding activities.

David Kinlan
President Warwick Gliding Club

Saturday 7th of December 2019 was remarkable; a high cloud base day that started early, provided clouds that were reliable and gave high rates of climb, yet didn’t break down to thunderstorms. The weather previously had been unseasonably dry leading to weather that would normally be expected out of NSW rather than QLD. The US website NOAA Ready Weather had identified the good day 10 days prior, and whilst the depth of forecast convection had varied a bit the forecast had been stable and showed an early start as the day neared. Five days out Skysight started to show the day and agreed that it would be very good. Again the forecast stayed stable which is always a good sign.

I rigged the night before and stayed at a motel in town as there would not be time to get ready and maximise the day otherwise. NOAA suggested a depth of convection of 2700m agl by 10:00, and skysight agreed, suggesting a launch time of around 09:20 to be on task by 09:30. CU was forecast to the North. The morning dawned smoky as numerous bushfires were burning and there was a concern that this would slow the start time. A comparison of Skysight’s forecast temperatures showed the day was lagging by around 1 degree - how much would this delay the launch? Erich towed the two seater just prior to 09:00 and felt the day had not started yet so I delayed, finally launching at 09:40. I knew straight away this was too late as the air felt alive and there were already high based CU visible to the North on the scarp line. The first climb confirmed this, a five knot climb to 10,000’ and I was kicking myself for not leaving earlier! Through 12,000’ just after 10:00.

The flight itself was straight forward, indeed I felt the 1000k was on from the first climb of the day and didn’t change that view all day. The stats showed an average climb rate of just over 7kts and this resulted in a speed of 130kph over a distance of 1003km. The CU formed on track as forecast North of Toowoomba and I stayed under the CU all day. Cloud base started around 12,000’ and eventually got to over 16,000’. I tried to stop for climbs of 8kts+ during the majority of the day and the good ones showed peak rates of 12kts. There was no real streeting, but it was possible to generally link two or three clouds without turning. Inter-thermal block speed was 80kts off the first climb, and rose to over 100kts pretty quickly. Even the first 200k leg achieved 120kph which I’ve never seen before, and in the middle of the day i was achieving 150kph.

Enough of the facts, more interesting is the ‘so what’.

Gliding clubs are sometimes victims of perceived wisdom: Things like ‘you must be on glide by 17:00’ or ‘never launch before 10:00’. As an outsider I’ve rarely found these ‘facts’ to be absolute. So start with an open mind - every day is different. We are so often limited by this sort of thing. In a similar vein you will often find some people will look for problems and use these to justify not trying, or not doing something: Don’t get me wrong here, we all do this game for different reasons, some just do it to go solo, some to stay up for an hour, some to do 300’s and that is absolutely fine. But, if you get to the end of the season and wish you’d done more or flown further then you need to not let the negative thinking in. I’ve always turned the radio off once I’m away from an airfield, partly to save the batteries, but mainly to get rid of the negative talk - radios are terrible for this. Be wary of negative comments, everyone has an opinion but may not always be right regardless of their experience. Talk to the optimists before you fly!

Distance: We are victims of a badge system which is now legacy, OLC is the new badge system (at least for me!).

Whilst I always find the 1000k appealing, how often do we fly 300’s or 500’s when the day supports your glider doing a 350 or 600k task? To avoid this run skysight depth of convection and rates of climb for each hour of the day - then do the maths and add up how many km’s that gives you. Obviously you need to know how fast you are in your glider at (say) 4kts. Once you know how many kms are on offer you can plan a task that optimises the day. On a day like the 7th you can add a bit more speed on as you’ll benefit for the TAS effect of being high - it’s significant, for example if you’re achieving 120kph real speed but you’re up at 14,000’ then your XC speed will be 148kph (k’s per minute x number of 1000’ you areat = 2x14 = 28 extra kph in this case). You will surprise yourself with just how many 750k+ days there are.

Skysight: just excellent. If you don’t have the full subscription service then why the hell not - you’ve spent $1000’s on your glider, it’s pennies and will optimise your days flying. Lecture over!

High based CU days are different: We so often give upon tasks because we ignore the potential energy we already have. If I’m at 12,000’ on a 500k task and it’s ‘late’ at 15:00 and I’ve ‘only’ done 300k I’m likely to give up. But objectively I have 130km already ‘saved’ due to my height even in a 40:1 glider. I only need to do another 70km to be ‘home’. The moral is ‘keep going’ you’re nearly there! Also early in the day your XC speed may be quite low - worry not, the bit you’re not seeing is this potential energy that you’ve gained. For example in the first hour you ‘only’ do 60km, that’s terrible right? No, you’ve also probably climbed from launch (2000’) to 12,000’ at (say) 4kts. That’d take 25 minutes so you’ve actually done your 60k in the other 35 minutes of the hour - you’re doing 103kph!

The shape of the ground is important: I flew out of Temora once, climb off an early tow to 6000’ and I immediately depart going North, it was another hour before I got above 3000’ because the ground shape is so poor to the North. Warwick seems to have good ground shape to both the North and South, we are lucky!

Airspace: We are less lucky with this! On a good day the Brisbane 12,500’ step is a royal pain when you’re going North - avoid it! Anything that limits you climbing, or even that just distracts you, will slow you down.

Debrief: We very rarely do this yet in my job this is where we learn all our important lessons. Go though your flight in detail, what did you do well, and more importantly what did you do badly? How will you avoid repeating the mistake? How often did you take ‘one more turn’ in that thermal and why, how many times did you turn the wrong way and what made you do that? There is some outstanding software, use it. And so it goes on, be critical and you’ll improve next time!

So what’s possible? I think on the 7th around 1150km was possible, I could have gone 30min earlier, and landed 45min later. But we are generally limited by ourselves. Gliding is a bit like the Roadrunner cartoons - he runs off the cliff but he never falls until he looks down. Don’t look down!

Above all - launch not lunch. You’ll surprise yourself!