Brasilia Worlds 2017, Task 4 and 5

I was getting ready to take off on task 4 and had my trusty old Compeo+/6030 programmed and ready for the task. I mounted the instrument pod to the basebar, turned it on, and noticed that the screen froze, and no sound. There was no reaction to keypresses, so I had to take the batteries out to reset the instrument. Same problem when I turned back on… Oh oh…

Long story short – I did not fly task 4, as I had a faulty vario. The Compeo+ has been with me for a long time and never had any major issues, so it was a bit annoying to have it fail during a Worlds. I got it fixed at night back in Brasilia, by cleaning it out with compressed air and cleaning the connections and board with isopropanyl. It might also have been the SD card that was faulty, changed it to a new as well. I always used to travel with a spare vario, but left it at home this time as I had never needed it. Murphy’s law has a few things to say about situations like this.

I got a second hand Digifly AIR from Filippo on the Italian team, and he had it all set up for me this morning, very nice of him! The compeo worked flawless all day, so I did not need to turn on the Digifly, I cannot say the same about the YotaPhone, as it crashed 4 times during the flight. I will probably try to downgrade the Android version to 5.X and see if it’s more stable.

Today’s task 5 saw another quite stable and difficult day in the start, we had a blue day, with strong inversion at takeoff altitude, and this produced gaggles that were unsafe at times again today with too many pilots sharing very few thermals.

I took the first start quite high, and then went back for the second start as we could not get high on the ridge. After we finally found a OK thermal giving enough altitude to fly over the back into the task it was almost 3. clock, but I did not bother and started towards the first TP as one of the first pilots.

It was an OK run until after the first TP where I again ignored a weak thermal while on glide with a few pilots in front and below. We got a bit of bad air and I saw we would be way to low coming in behind a large forest-fire burning in front of us. I detoured to the left and spent some time getting back up alone from quite low. I saw the other two pilots in front land there, so it was the right decision.

From there it was a matter of trying to spot other gliders in the dense haze and smoke in the inversion layer, and another low save at the Posto Advance gas station.  After taking the 2. TP I knew the day was over when I found a nice 1m/s smooth thermal that I shared with a group of Urubu vultures while we slowly drifted towards Brasilia and the setting sun. I landed after 87km of the 131km task

It was a fun flight after the stress of the start-gaggles, and I enjoyed getting back up from low by myself a few times, but it is of course way to slow, and as soon as I lost the other pilots by the fire it would be hard to go fast enough to get to goal.

I picked a nice harvested field where a few other gliders had landed, and our driver was there in no time.

Another sunset outlanding
Another sunset outlanding

None of the team made goal today, with Johnny down at around 98km and Olav down at 108km. We are struggling and loose too much time, and results are far from where we normally should be.