Saturday, July 22, 2006

Luke Szczepeniak successfully completes his 50km

Last Sunday Luke took off in very tough conditions in the club Junior and to the amazement of many he made it to York Soaring over 50kms to the north. The day looked good with cu all over the place but a stiff 25 knot north wind broke up the thermals pretty quickly. Anthony Kawzowicz and Jerzy Szemplinski were among the very few to go cross country and stay above 847 ft (sosa ground) but many including your SOSA blogger were not so able. More to Luke's excellent achievement. Here is Luke's recount of his adventure

I took off from SOSA at 13:00, and struggled to stay up in the air near the club for about an hour and a half. There was quite a bit of wind from the north, and the thermals were broken up. To my amazement I managed to stay up with Anthony and Jerzy, but soon saw them heading away from Rockton. About 14:30 the conditions started improving slightly and so I started moving further north. I finally got a good thermal east of Puslinch and figured it was my turn to go on course. I headed towards Guelph Airpark. Due to the airspace restrictions, I could not use the thermals all the way to the top, and with the heavy head wind I wasn't making a lot of progress. Not having much luck, and with the trees looming closer and closer, I turned around and headed for the quarry north of Reid's Field. As it turned out, the quarry was working and I caught a good thermal.

I saw Anthony heading north, and took it as a good sign. This time, instead of heading over Guelph, I decided to stay just to the west where I could see another quarry ahead and some good fields, just in case things didn't work out.. This tactic seemed to pay off, as I got another strong thermal, but to my dismay, I saw that the Jantar had turned around and was heading in the other direction. I saw a what looked like yet another quarry ahead, and was fairly high, so I decided to press on. The object in question turned out to be a lumber yard around the Old GGC, but it was working quite well. With the vario chirping away happily I headed to Fergus. By the time I got there however, the few Cu had had disappeared from the sky. Not knowing the area very well, and only having a general idea of where the York Soaring airfield was, I stuck around Fergus figuring it was my best hope for lift. The search for the infamous "one more" thermal continued as the altimeter unwound. The Fergus airport looked better and better with every foot of altitude lost. My persistence paid off, I managed to find lift down wind of the school bus yard and my way to Arthur was clear.

The operation at York Soaring seemed to be running at a leisurely pace, there was a tow plane on the ground, getting ready to tow the Krosno, and the big 3 seat 2-32 was in the air. I landed the glider and pulled it off to the side. I saw a number of 1-23 and 2-33's on the ground as I walked over to the flight van, and was directed towards Allen who was in the office. After a quick and friendly conversation I arranged for a tow and called SOSA to let them know that I had arrived at York, and was getting aerotowed to Guelph.