Where the hell is Hay

Finally we can leave the smoke filled Kiewa valley behind and get up north to the Australian National HG Championships in Hay. The last two days of the Bogong Cup was cancelled because we had nowhere to take off. All the sites facing north were on fire, and it was tail at the Pines. It’s really too bad with all the fires, the conditions were really good all days, I think we would have had some fantastic flying in the valleys if there were no fires. Here’s a shot from “The Pines” site. The site is 300 meters high, and you can see how low visibility we had. Still good flying though, 10 pilots made the 160 km goal.
Smog at The Pines

Here are the fires on Mount Emu at night. The image is a little blurred because it’s shot without a camera support, 15 second exposure and ISO 400 equivalent on my digital Canon G2. The fires near Falls Creek and Mt. Buffalo were much worse.
Fires on Mt. Emu

Oleg won the Bogong Cup, Gerolf second, Paris third. Oleg’s Combat 2 seems to perform well, and he’s flying very consistent, by winning he comp while never winning a task. Olav and me placed way down somewhere around 40. place, both of us had 2 really bad days, with equipment failing, and bad decitions made. After bombing on the first day you’re way back in the launch order, which makes it ever more difficult to get a good day as all the good guys are ahead and impossible to catch up with. Hay should be a little better as we tow up and have a better chance of timing the start.

Gordon and I drove from Mount Beauty, Olav and Else Britt had spent the two cancelled days in Melbourne to have some time off. We stopped in Albury to visit Carla in the hospital, she was up for another operation that evening. Her femur bone had split in three, and the knee was a mess according to the surgeon. She seemed to be in good mood though, best wishes!

We came to Hay and booked in with Greg at the Hay Caravan Park for the rest of our stay here. Yesterday we picked up Matt our resident driver here in Hay, and went out to the paddock to have some test flights. The paddock is just dust, nothing lives there, not even ants. The sand was like snow drifts along the fence, a dead sheep covered in sand was blocking the gate. The conditions were quite stable, and I had to take a second tow to get up. Olav did not get up with 4 tows, Gordon took out a downtube after a failed start, he did not check the towing ropes were in the right place and took off with the keel rope under the arm. I circled up to 1800 meters, and flew around for one hour. Plenty of huge dustdevils, but far between the thermals. The area to the north is just dust, it’s like flying over the Sahara.

Registration and practice day is today. Seems like there will be a good number of pilots here. Since I flew yesterday I chose to stay in town, near the very nice Olympic size swimming pool. It’s 37 degree in the shade, probably well over 40 out in the towing paddock. Gordon went out to test fly his glider after a few adjustments. The weather is supposed to be good, which means bloody hot and stable. A front is supposed to move in in a few days and make it more unstable again, it’s almost no wind here.