Today I left work early and headed up to the hills, in hope of getting some flying. The weather was beautiful, but nil clouds.
But there was nobody at launch. Not a single soul. I don't fly totally alone, at least not when I can help it. A person that I know with a radio would do, but I didn't say that: My Restricted Rating would not look any good on an accident report if the comment reads "nobody was there when he launched".
Got on the radio, found out that the others were at the bottom of Flying Fox, ready to drive up. But the conditions looked good at Beechmont, so I got them to come over to me (instead of me going over there and missing it as usual).
After they had come over, the wind changed: more north. Better for Flying Fox. Still, I did the wind dummy and launched first: rough, bit north but ok. Mark, while flying alongside me, yelled over "we should have gone to Flying Fox!"...whinger! One of our fellow pilots buzzed us - but in a Spitfire (AFAICT, might have been a similar warbird though): Nigel flies old fighters for a living and plastic bags for fun.
After an hour of rough ridge/thermic soaring I facelanded, just before the lift dropped off. (Note: facelanding != faceplanting. former good, latter bad.) And then I realised that Phil, the local instructor, had been around all the time and that I had missed the opportunity to do my flight manouevre exam - the one thing left between me and an Intermediate Rating (which is completely unrestricted), as I had done the theoretical exam a couple of months ago.
Phil then sent off a student into nicely glassing off evening air, I thought "too late" but Paul pushed me and so I checked with Phil, quickly untangled my gear and off I went - into almost no lift.
I was sinking out pretty much immediately, went too low for showing a spiral, but the other things I did: After some surge control tests, an accellerated asymmetric 50 percent collapse and a B-line stall I had to do a spot landing, coming in low very near some tall trees and then turning 90° into the wind. I got all that done ok.
And now I'm an INT pilot (which in Oz ratings is FAI IPPI 5) Totally unrestricted. Allowed to fly totally alone (yeah, right, I'm foolish enough to do that.) and wherever Oz airspace regs allow. Very good. That rating will also allow me to fly overseas.
(But of course the INT rating has a downside, too: as INT I'm elegible to be duty pilot on the hill if there's no other INT or ADV or instructor around. A Duty Pilot is responsible for assisting/supervising RST rated pilots. This is a responsibility I'm not overly keen on. Ah well.)
Tomorrow I'm off once more to Killarney, this time not even bringing any tools with me: it's flying this weekend or bust!