27 April 2008

First XC flights

Yesterday I flew my first cross-country (XC) flight this season. In Finland, that is. Saturday, quite a few pilots gathered for the first day of flying at the Hyvinkää airfield. After noon the conditions became clearly thermic when a couple of pilots managed to stay up. I launched a bit before 2PM and after boating around a bit decided that conditions were good enough to try to get away.

Hyvinkää airfield is within the Helsinki main airport zone. This means that one can fly away only in northerly directions, and initially one has to adhere to a 4000 feet ceiling. So with a prevailing north-westerly wind, like yesterday, strong thermals that are not to far spaced apart are required.

And strong those thermals were! More interestingly there were long lines of strong lift. Once I decided to start my glide north, I expected to fly into strong sink but instead I just kept going up! The lift line didn't last forever but the next thermal wasn't far away. One more glide later I was out of the restricted airspace and could go higher. I never went higher than 2200 m and that was still over 300 m below cloudbase. Up there it was freezing though, so after some two and a half hours I started to feel cold and decided to look for a nice place to land. I noticed a large gas-station next to one of the national roads, which looked like an excellent place. Easy to arrange the retrieve and a possibility to get some warm food! So after a bit over 3 hours I was on the ground again, some 63 km from the airfield (see track).

Meanwhile Vesku and Samuli did fly approx. 50 km to a field some 25 km south from me. Our good pilot-friend Jony came to fetch us all, thanks! And the day was finished in style with a sauna in the middle of some forest, as our club had organised its annual meeting there. We missed the actual meeting, but were in time for the sauna and drinks!


Anonymous said...

Great to find you here.
Last Saturday got acquainted with people from PVL and made my personal record (pls don't laugh) - 16min in a thermal.
Danke, for dealing with me in Jämi on next-to-last weekend.

Robert said...

Congratulations! Your flights will surely get longer all the time. Before you know it you also want to go down to warm up!