Morning Glory Clouds of the Gulf of Carpentaria

Morning Glory 1997


1997 Morning Glory Expedition

The 1997 season was a mixed success. Some pilots got lots of waves, and others none at all. One particularly powerful wave system was seen at Burketown. The primary was estimated to have been 5000 ft high travelling at 35 knots, and was followed by four more closely spaced waves, all perfectly formed. Unfortunately it went through at 5:15 am, about 45 minutes before first light.

Four members of the Byron Bay Gliding Club visited the Gulf for a week in late Sept 1997 and caught a small wave on the last day of their stay, in company with Russell and Rob in the Grob 109 who escorted them as far as Point Parker before turning back. The Ximango and the C Falke continued west on their journey to Gove, Uluru and Williams Creek, and shortly contacted a second system which they soared another 100 miles or so to Borroloola. Pilots were two Rick's, Brian, and Dieter Horstmann.

Hans Gut in an IS28M2 from Townsville returned for his third season but, like so many of us this year, was unsuccessful..

Al Giles, Conrad, Triple Pete, Chris MacDonald, and Andrew Pepper came with their hang-gliders and a trike, but only C-Mac and Al managed short rides. Al distinguished himself yet again by becoming the first to soar a trike on the Morning Glory. After a couple of weeks in Burketown, Al and one or two of the others set off up the Cape York Peninsular to attempt a night flight on the wave. Al emailed me a précis of the event shortly after he returned. ( Al's email )

John Levett flew up with Russell White in FFN and stayed a week or so, but not a cloud in sight. John departed for Philip Island (to accolade Mick Doohan) by RPT and was replaced as co-pilot in the Grob by Rob Thompson. He and Russell managed a couple or three very average waves, the best of which took them out over Sweers Island for a 3 hour flight.

Geoff Pratt in his Monerai came up in early September and caught a couple of nice looking waves, of which he has some quite spectacular photos. This whetted his appetite enough to come back in October for another go. On the 16th October, after all the other pilots had left and the hang-glider pilots had gone up to the Cape, Geoff soared an excellent wave for over 5 hours, reported Paul Poole of Savannah Aviation.

On the 17th, Paul soared his Bonanza for 5 or 10 minutes on a small but very powerful wave. He cooled the motor, reduced power to zero (at which the Bonanza has a sink rate of 1000 fpm), backed off to 120 knots and was still climbing at 100 to 200 fpm at 2800 feet altitude. He then flew through the wave and experienced moderate turbulence.
Another wave arrived on the 18th, well formed with a high base.

Simon Carol and friend arrived for a very brief visit, but were unable to film a wave.

At least four tourists came to Burketown this year specifically to see the wave. Two of them stayed on Sweers for two weeks. I believe all four were rewarded.

If you haven't already done so, you may wish to read Pilot Notes.
You may also be interested in flight data from earlier years.

home | sitemap | aviation topics

Copyright © 1997-2017 dropbears