Oz Open, last day, the new Litespeed S

It was nice and blue this morning, but driving out to the briefing we saw lots of high clouds move in over the area. The weatherman forecasted a front coming in from the west, with some embedded storms and higher winds. We got an earlier task than ususal, with window open at 13:30, and first start 14:30. It’s been possible to start before first start time in this comp, then your earlier start get added to your goal time. It’s mainly used by kingpost and floater class pilots, but it’s possible to start early for the open class too.

As we set up today the cloudcover became tick, and the thermal activity on ground died out. We quickly got ready and towed up at first possibility. It was dead calm and a very relaxing tow. Grant towed me into a gaggle and I released at 400 meters, to thermal up to 850meters in very slow lift. We averaged 0.3 for a long time. Gradually we drifted out and away from the paddoc, and seemed to stay at around 800 meters. The few brave pilots who went on glides came back to the gaggle quickly finding nothing but dead air.

After spending 45 minutes in the start circle the lift died out completely, and we all glided out to take a 10 minute early start. Even stopping in everything that felt like lift we got lower and lower. I had Steve Moyes below me for a while, it’s very good training to study his technique in the weak lift. Beeing outclimbed by Steve is a good refresher on how much concentration and work it really is to fly efficiently. Looks natural to Steve though, but that’s what 15000 hours in a hangglider will do to you :-)

I landed around the first TP, with Nils Åge just down the road, and Otto landed in the start circle. Robin and Johnny got to the TP, don’t know how far they went. It’s presentation night at the Golf club where we stay later tonight, should be nice with 100 pilots present.

All in all the comp has been a nice warm up for me, it was not until the last two days I felt relaxed and comfortable in the air again. It takes some hours in the air to get used to flying and the heat after the long fall and winter in Norway with no flying. I’ve done about 15 hours in the air this comp. It was fun flying both last days, even with shitty conditions. The earlier days felt more like a struggle to do anything. The real comp starts with the Worlds, I feel a lot more motivated and ready than when we first came down here.

The new Litespeed S
The new glider is different than the last one, it feels more solid in the air, but the handling is still very good. It has more progressive bar pressure but this will probably change as I get more hours on it and move the hangpoint. The performance feels extremely good, escpecially at high speeds, but there is a lot of new Litespeed S’s out here so it’s more the pilot skills that makes a difference. Compared to Robin and Johnnys C2’s we seem to have a distinct advantage on glide.

The glider had a new sailcut, tips look really good now, and the upper surface is tighter compared to earlier, while undersufrace tension is relaxed to keep the handling good. We got some carbon battens and transversals to keep the weight even lower at the tips. The rest of the hardware is the same as always.

We will spend the next two days here and relax, wash clothes, etc. Probably we go to Exhuca tomorrow and do some shopping and see a movie. We drive to Hay on Wednesday, and the first Worlds day is on Friday.