The results from the worlds can be found at http://www.dclaveno.com/Brasilia2003/Brasilia_2003.htm The official results page seem to be non existent at the moment.
I’m killing time in Sao Paulo, deleting spam and catching up on work email. It was quiet when I left Brasilia, no hangglider cars outside the hotel, and no pilots hanging out in the lobby, everyone have gone home or to Cearâ. The five weeks have passed quickly, while it still feels like a long time since I left Oslo.
Johnny and I planned to go flying the last days here, but the weather was not promising, so we packed the gliders and shipped them home. We decided to take the safe and easy choice of shipping the glider by airfreight, instead of taking them as luggage. The damage rate was quite high on the gliders brought in to Brasilia, including mine that was properly packed in a box. We now have insurance, and get the glider directly to Oslo. The paperwork and hassle of getting the glider shipped was huge though, we spent 5 hours at the airport and customs. 5 copies of passport and documents had to be stamped and approved, 12 copies of the freight papers made, written on a typewriter. Major problems with customs computer systems, and no officials could speak English. Luckily our contact at the freight company spoke a little English and liasoned for us in customs. The gliders should arrive in Oslo next week, with an Air France cargo flight.
Nils Aage have collected lots of pictures from the worlds on his laptop, I will put a selection up on the website later, Rohan’s inflight pictures and videos are also in the collection, and I will go through and put up the best of these.
So… Why the bad results? I have thought about the flights and comp, and there are as always a combination of things to blame. I found the conditions during the worlds to be very different from the practice days and the Brazilian nationals. It was never easy to get up after take off, I always seemed to get stuck low on the ridge, with lots of people in the gaggle. I did not fly aggressively in the gaggle, and thus got pushed out quite often the first days. As a result I climbed too slow in the start to keep up with the main gaggles.
The key point in this worlds was to stay with the gaggle, if you end up alone or with only a few other gliders you will land quickly. Paris Williams is a prime example – he’s very fast and wants to push ahead on his own, this flying style did not work at all for him here. I put a sticker on my basebar, reminding me to stay with the gaggle, even if the gaggle does stupid things. I found it hard, and broke with this strategy several times, regretting it almost instantly. When I managed to stick to my plan it went quite well, and flying more aggressively in the gaggle got me to goal. Technically I’m satisfied with my flying, I repeatedly got up from very low, and could glide with the fast pilots, I could pick good lines and found lift where I expected. All the hours of flying this season have paid off.
A pilot must adapt to the conditions, the lessons learned here were good, always be prepared for completely different flying than what you expect. I did well in good conditions, but the crappy days I fell behind and landed out, being too impatient or getting too low beneath the gaggle. My morale suffered quite a bit during the first days, I was ready to give up competition flying quite a few times cursing the whole thing while packing up in some dusty field in the middle of nowhere, but a few good flights changes the whole thing. The last day I felt very relaxed and had no problems in the 100+ glider gaggle in the start circle, I flew fast and was in for a good time until I had to stop in weak lift to be safe to get to goal.
If I could only fly more comps and stay in this flying shape it would be much easier to get more consistent good flights and better results. Even the Oz comps in January are a few months to far away in time to maintain the form. Ideally I should do the rest of the Brazilian comps, and then Oz and Florida, before the European and Norwegian comps in the summer.
Big thanks to the rest of the team for a good comp, escpecially Fredrik for driving and picking us up in all the remote and difficult places we landed. Thanks to Marcelo Menin for introducing us to the area and lots of good advice, and Vicki and Matt from Moyes for help and support. And all the pilots who made it a great comp to be part of.