Silky winter soaring

Friday night it was blowing a gale in Oslo, I did not think it would calm down enought to be flyable Saturday, so I slept long and did not check the weather until 13:00. The sun was shining, and the wind had calmed down and the windtalker reported a nice 4 m/s NW at Sundvollen. I called Fredrik who was still sleeping and a little hungover, he wanted to come along just to get out, but did not bring his glider. It was quite gusty in Oslo, so we were not sure it was going to be flyable anyway.

Arriving at takeoff we soon realized it was close to perfect conditions, I started to set up in a hurry. It gets dark around 15:00, and it was now past 14:00. Fredrik did the beeing nice and talking to the tourists routine, while I got ready and suited up. I took off and wondered what was wrong when I climbed, I forgot my vario at home, and never thought about it while pre-flighting the glider. I just got it back from Brauniger, and had not put it in the harness. No need for it anyway, it was like riding an elevator on the ridge.

One thing I did not pre-flight was my shoelaces, because one got stuck in my harness zipper as I was trying to close it up. Typical when it’s cold, and it’s not the first time either. Learn from my mistakes? Naahhh. :-) So it quickly became cold with just jeans in 3 to 4 degrees below zero.

Getting high and cold over Kongen I decided to do a little XC before it became too dark, and went on glide towards Steinsletta. I could see the catabatic flow from Kongen on the smoke from some fires. The flow was making conditions in the closest LZ interesting, so Steinsletta was a much better option out on the flats away from the hill. It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed the flight conditions so much, it was thick cold air, smooth as silk. The air was perfectly clear and the horizon was pink 360° around, the sun had just set, and the full moon was reflecting silver in Steinsfjorden. Grinning and wishing I had a camera in my harness I did a 7 km final glide, and landed next to Fredrik who was there with the car.

The traditional dinner at Vik tasted good as always after a good flying day. Forecast for tomorrow is pretty good and we plan to going flying again.

Some images; ready at takeoff, takeoff, high and cold over Kongen, on final glide, and after landing.

Ready at takeoff Takeoff
High and cold over Kongen Final glide
After landing