||It´s late in the afternoon after what´s been a
beautiful summer day. I´m sitting in the glider "Charlie three", my
std. Cirrus, enjoying the view of southern Småland from the air, with
its forests and lakes, bathing in the eveningsun. I have been in the
air for more than 6 hours now. A little while ago I rounded the last
turningpoint on a 600 km long task with three turningpoints, and now
glides north towards the goal, Ödestugu airport. Hopefully I will land
there in about one hour. If I make it I will score a new club record in
long distance flight! The weather has been relativly good with 2-3 m/s
climbs and a cloudbase that reached more then 2000 m in the afternoon.
||A short while later I begin circulating with a
little more then 1 m/s climb under a deacent cumulus, which saves me
from an unwilling visit to Feringe. Slowly I regain my altitude, and
eventually I am able to leave the cumulus on 2100 m. Once again I go to
the north. From here I can reach Hagshult airport, only 36 km from
Ödestugu. If I get there, it will at least be a shorter drive to get me
back by car. I maintain the speed for maximum glide, 90 km/h, and
prepare myself for half an hour of straight forward flight until my
altitude runs out.
ten minutes later something unexpected happens. 15 km ahead a small
hole in the cloudlayer has formed, and I can see a beautiful sunbeam
shine in a low angel towards the ground, straight in front of me.
Evening sun doesn´t produce much heat, but in spite of that a small
fraction of a hope comes into my mind. Imagine if the sun could produce
some thermals! Since the small sunbeamed area is in my way, I aim
straight on it. For another ten minutes I stare on the suspotted peace
of forest ahead of me, while I come closer but also lower. What if…
that moment, just before I reach the sunspotted area, I see a small
cumulus start forming way up there straight ahead of me. I don´t even
dare to think… Straight ahead, continue straight ahead…Yes! 0,5-1 m/s
climb is slow, but for every circle I get closer to Ödestugu and a
triumphant homecoming. Dear God, don´t let the climb stop now! This
thermal shouldn´t really be here at all, it´s to late, and there is
definitly no other if this one stops.
climb doesn´t stop. I stay there for a long time and gain much more
altitude then I really need. Thanks to my extra altitude I can afford a
grand passing of the finishline at maximum speed, 220 km/h, screaming
of joy. The feeling of finishing this day is not possible to describe
the sun goes downwards the thermals get weaker, and when I reach
Feringe airport, 75 km from home, it´s hard to find much more then 1
m/s climb. Up till now I have believed I could finish the task, but
when I look to the north from here my hopes of coming home dissapeares.
5 km north of Feringe there is a last cumulus, and after that I see an
unbroken layer of stratocumulus as far as the eye can reach. No
sunshine and therefore no thermals either, all the way home. I can´t
reach my homefield from here with 2000 m altitude.
if this wasn´t enough, I get no climb under the cumuluscloud either! To
continue straight ahead is pointless, so I turn back south again. If
nothing else I will have to land on Feringe airport.
|| © Mats
Coming home after a long
flight, a wonderful feeling!