Category Archives: Competitions

Dalby Big Air 2018, day 5, 6, 7

I woke up to heavy rain on the roof this morning, and it stayed wet all morning so unfortunately we will not fly the final task today.

Yesterday was a great day flying, nice clouds, smooth lift and not much wind. We got a 150km task, towards the south, 4 turnpoints. I had a slow start and ended up a few km behind the lead gaggle for the first thermals, but I pushed hard and caught up with the leaders at the first TP.

On the third leg I made a mistake coming in just under Rory that was thermalling just upwind of the track, but I hit massive sink and did not see him leaving, and lost a lot of height detouring back 90 degrees downwind to where Atilla and Olli were thermalling. I lost 20 minutes getting up there in a very weak thermal, and finally got to the last TP and to goal.  The final glide was 17km into 15 km/h winds, and I had good numbers for the first half of the glide, but had to stop to take a few turns in a thermal to be safe.

My teammate Len Paton got sick on day 3 and has been flat out in bed for 4 days since then. I probably caught it as well, as I had to spend day 5 at the house running to and from the toilet instead of flying. It was a bummer as the day was really nice for flying.

Great looking sky at goal day 6

Results at

Dalby Big Air 2018, day 3 and 4

Task 4 is cancelled due to too strong winds.

Yesterday we had a triangle-ish task, with a short final glide straight into wind. I had a OK start taking the first start gate with almost everyone else (20 minute gates). Trent and me flew together towards the second TP pushing upwind finding a very good lift taking us ahead of the main gaggle towards the TP. We pushed into wind going back on the 3. leg, and it was hard going with up to 40km/h cross/head winds.

I managed to find a few very good lines pushing into the wind, and got ahead again but had to push alone towards the goal to not fall behind by joining the gaggle that was 2-3km downwind and lower. I suffered the same fate as most pilots by not finding enough strong lift to gain glide towards goal and decked it a few km short.

Packing up on a lonely road
Packing up on a lonely road

Forbes Flatlands 2018, day 7

Since I was first to tow I got to spend almost 2 hours in the air over the airport before the start of the task. I grouped up with Olav, Attila, Ollie, Tyler, and a few others, and we stuck around for the second start gate, 20 minutes behind the main gaggle.

We had a good run towards the first TP, but lost contact with Attila and Ollie around the first TP. After that we went on a long glide towards the second TP and got very low in shit air. We lost maybe 10 minutes slowly getting up there and, and when we got up there and glided to the second TP we were catching up with the earlier starters.

We went on a final glide at around 8:1 glide, and I took it easy with a conservative slow glide. We made good speed on the task, but without the leading points from the first start gate it was still a little to slow. That low save cost us a lot of points.

It was very nice to have a day where things work out without major mishaps. Olav and me flew together the whole flight.

At goal day 7

Forbes Flatlands 2018, day 6

Blue and windy conditions on day 6, late briefing and start due to the long task the day before, many pilots were not home until 4am. The task was 144km dogleg via Tomingley to Wellington, first downwind then crosswind.

Again there was no time for us back in the line to get up to take the first start, the first start clock passed as I lifted off the dolly on tow. The yellow tug I towed behind was misfiring and spitting black smoke while towing, I was a bit worried but hung on as I did not want a retow , it would be way to late.

At around 300m the tug stopped, I thought it just hit some sink at first and I dived down to stay in position, but soon there was some frantic waving from the pilot and I realized what happened and released. It was a major struggle to get up from that low, drifting away from the airport I found a few other pilots at the edge of the start circle as we took the third start clock 30 min after the main field.

From there I was alone again, and had 3 low saves with my harness open ready to land. I did get up again and found a nice 4 m/s lift just before the first TP and got to almost 2300m. Taking the TP and heading into crosswind it was quite late and I only found a couple of weak thermals and then had to glide downwind again to stay over landable terrain. I decked it around 40km from goal in the same paddock as Noma, and Olav was just a few km back so retrieve was quick and easy.

Outlanding day 6

Forbes Flatlands, Day 5, (k)not to be.

I could not fly yesterday, we had some logistical problems after the car broke down, and I did not get the retrieve seat I thought I would due to communications problems. I was ditched in our house, and spent the day there, bummer.

Since I scored 0 yesterday I was way back in the towing order today, I got a retrieve organized thanks to Sasha, and we got early out in the field to be ready in time for the long task.

Towing was way to slow for the long task, and I was still on the ground when the first start gate opened. I got a looong tow in sinking air, it took twice as long as normal to get up to release altitude and we still towed for 200 more meters without finding any usable thermal. During the tow I felt one of my harness zipper lines had come loose on takeoff, and was slapping against my thigh, I did not worry about it as it was the left one that I use to close the harness, and it is short and could not catch or wrap itself around anything. I did not want to take my hands of the speedbar while towing.

I released in a weak thermal, that died quickly, and glided downwind to search for another. As I was gliding I tried to close my harness, but felt something sticking and I could not get the zipper more than 10cm closed, it felt like a shoelace had jammed. I soon hit a new rough thermal and concentrated on getting up, the zipper could wait until I was higher.

I got up to 1800m and started to work the zipper problem again as the thermal got a bit weaker and wider. I could see there was nothing stuck in the zipper, and I could open it fully, but it jammed after 10cm every time. I know from experience it’s not realistic to fly a long flight with the harness open, so this was a major issue.

I tried standing up in the basebar to reach down and drag up the zipper manually, and try to find the problem, but it’s not easy in rowdy air to keep control and reach inside the harness boot. I could not find the problem and gave up standing in the basebar after a few scary loss of control moments in the thermal.

I had to land to fix the problem, but I had now drifted quite far away from the airport, and it was getting late. I took a weak lift and glided 15km back to the airport in strong headwinds, I arrived with some height to spare, and struggled to get down in the thermals kicking off the field (As usual when you don’t need them). By the time I was down the tugs were in the hangar, and it was getting too late to attempt the task.

The problem was that the handle to close the zipper had been flying in circles during the tow,  creating a massive twist in the zipper line inside the harness, so much that it wrapped around itself creating a loose knot. When I first tried to close the zipper I tightened this knot without realizing it, and the more I pulled the worse it stuck, preventing the rope from sliding through the pulley in the boot of the harness. I checked that it worked before takeoff as part of my pre-flight, so this was a new issue for me.

So the best day, world record longest task, cracking conditions, good chance to do a new personal best, and this happens. If I was superstitious I’d say I was cursed in this competition. At least I do not have to do the 6+ hours retrieve drive back from Manilla tonight.

Forbes Flatlands 2018, day 3, bloody eagles, outlanding, roostrike

Forbes Flatlands 2018, day 3, bloody eagles, outlanding, roostrike

Day 3 saw good flying conditions with fairly light winds and blue skies. We got a 176km task towards the south via two turnpoints, and first start at 13:30. I had a OK start with most of the field taking the second start time.

After a round 50km we stopped over a small ridge, where I lost the first thermal and had to search around a bit for the core, just as I found it and started climbing again I felt something hit my glider, and of course it was an eagle that was attacking me again and again. I tried all the tricks to scare him off, or at least avoid getting hit again, but I had to glide off to avoid damage to my glider.

I then had to take some weak lift and struggled for a while loosing contact with the gaggle and ended up flying the rest of the day on my own. I had to take it easy in the blue conditions, and ran out of day in the end landing around 18:00 20km from goal.

The retrieve was quick, and we stopped in Young for pizza, before heading back to Forbes. On the way there two kangaroos jumped out in the road just in front of us, and we could not avoid hitting one of them. The car radiator was damaged, luckily we got some help on the way from other pilots who took our gliders and gear, and a local farmer who stopped by set out some water for us in his driveway 12km ahead. So we managed to get home by refilling with water and taking it slow.  We do need a new car though, and that is not easy on newyears day when everything is closed.


Forbes flatlands 2018, day 1

Arriving in Sydney on the 27. I had the luxury of being picked up by Olav Opsanger directly from the airport. He’s been in Australia some weeks already and had everything sorted with car and gear. We drove straight to the airfield in Forbes and the weather went from rain and 12 degrees in the Blue mountains to 32 degrees and sun + cumulus in Forbes. Olav got a short flight, while I was too tired after no sleep for two days of travel.

Thursday was first practice day, we got organized in the morning, and I picked up my new Litespeed RX Pro from Vicki and set it up at the airport for a test flight. The conditions were nice with 2900m cludbase and some good lift up to 3 m/s.

I flew for around 1:30, and enjoyed the new glider. It’s the sweetest handling and landing Litespeed I’ve ever flown, and I think we will be good friends after a few small tweaks.

My new RX Pro 2018.

Today was the first competition day. The forecasts for today were all over the place, but none were very good. We got an initial task of 176km towards Cowra, straight line to goal. We set up under a gray sky, and strong winds.

Setup day 1, gray and windy

After much waiting and a few delays the task was shortened to 140something km, and a bot more easterly to avoid the incoming rain. As the first pilots startet to tow around 14:30 we got the message that the task was cancelled due to rain.

Forecast for tomorrow is not that good yet, but the rest of the week should be great.

There might be official tracking in the comp, but we do not have it yet. I’ll post links if7when it’s ready.

You can also follow us with mine and Olav’s SPOT trackers here;

Oyvind SPOT tracker

Olav SPOT tracker

Brasilia Worlds 2017, final tasks, out of the race.

The flying conditions have been difficult the last days of the comp, with strong inversions making it hard to get decent height over the terrain and broken weak lift. We had a few tasks with nobody in goal, and one with just one pilot making goal.

I had a hard time in the start the last days as the gaggle of gliders in the air before the start is getting very crowded as everyone is struggling to stay up and gain altitude. There are always some pilots flying more aggressively, pushing out in the surges and breaking up the pattern causing  problems for everyone. I’ve tried to avoid those gaggles, and consequently end up low and behind in the start. It’s just not worth the risk for me, and with the thermal conditions we have had it’s very hard to avoid it.

Yesterday we had slightly better conditions than the day before and I was staying fairly high on the ridge before the start of the race. The thermal I just entered was a bit rough, and as I flew through one surge and fell into the sink I was using a lot of force to steer the glider back into the thermal. I hit sudden strong turbulence and felt sharp pain in my right shoulder. I realized the movement of the glider had dislocated my right shoulder, so I had limited use of the right arm. Luckily there was not that many pilots around me, so I could fly out of the thermal and I had enough height to fly back to the main road and the huge flat landing fields there.

As I glided back towards safe landing I got my shoulder in place and working again by resting it against the speedbar and pulling with the other arm, so I could manage an OK landing. It was quite windy so I could land without having to flare much, which would have been difficult.

I’ve dislocated the shoulder before, but not in the air like this, so it was an interesting” experience.

I chose not to fly again the last day today, my motivation have been in the red for the last few days, and this injury was the last straw.  Watching the livetrack now, and will head down to the Esplanada to watch the landings if pilots make it in.

Brasilia Worlds 2017, Task 6, Smokin’

Todays forecast was similar to yesterday, but it turned out to be worse conditions than forecasted and hard to stay up. We got a task to Weber goal we had on the first day, via a few turnpoints where there was a forest fire producing large amounts of smoke shading much of the task area. The inversion in the air the last few days have collected a lot of smoke and dust that shade the sun a little more every day.

I still cannot get a break with my start, and ended up low over the ridge again, in shit air, not going anywhere. It looked like everyone took the first start, so I did as well gliding away into the smoke at 1000m over the ground. It was soon clear it would be hard to stay airborne at all, and many pilots landed after the first glide.

I found a few weak and broken thermals, but got little company and help as most pilots around were landing below me. I stayed up for a while drifting off course and gliding into wind again, but eventually the odds for going alone in the blue (or gray as was the case today) are not good, and I had to find a landing field around 15km from first TP.

Only one pilot made goal, and loads landed early, so it was not a full scoring day.

tomorrow is rest day, which is fine as the conditions were forecasted to be worse than today.

Wolfi took a good shot of the fire today, wish I got this high!

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.