Category Archives: Competitions

Worlds – Wrap up

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.

Worlds – Last day

The final day we had a gray day with a high layer of cirrus clouds, we drove out to take off and set up after waiting for a while. Cumulus clouds were building and we got a task of flying straight back to Brasilia, 72 km. I took of quite late, as the conditions were slow to be waiting for the start gate for one hour. I took the first start with what seemed like everyone else, quite a sight when 110 gliders go on glide together. Conditions were slow but reliable, we got some weak lift and I stayed with my gaggle until the forest. Most pilots went to the left of the course line, while I went to a good looking cloudstreet to the right with a few other gliders. We got up and stayed under the clouds until the end of the street. We caught up with a few other gliders 30 km out from goal, and I got stuck there for a while in zero lift. The leading gaggle caught and passed us there when they got good lift to the left of us. Coming up on goal it was very weak conditions, we had to stop and thermal a few more times. A few other gliders were 100 meters above me and a little in front, when they went on final glide my instrument said I would make it, but I stayed to gain more altitude as I was not sure there would be more lift. Nils Åge was on final, but I could not get any info about his glide on the radio. As the glide came down to 13 /1 I went on glide, and of course got lots of lift when I did not need it anymore. I got to goal at 58. place, 10 minutes after Nils Åge, Olav came in 10 minutes after me. Johnny got low and landed after 13 km. We actually got some good flying out of a crap day, very nice to get to goal on the last day.
Manfred won again with a good margin, Robert Reisinger also had a solid 2. place, while Antoine hung on to third by a few points. None of us did well in the overall results, I’ll summarize later on why and what we learned.

The prize giving was great with more than 1000 people at the party. We gave up at 03:30, while some pilots came back at 07:30 this morning.

We pack gliders and equipment, Nils Åge, Olav and Fredrik travel back on Tuesday, while Johnny and I have to wait until Thursday.

Worlds – Day 12 and 13

Yesterday was gray and overcast, no one belived we would fly, but the sun came partly out and we got a 70 km task to Formosa. It was very slow at take off and no one got any good thermals, several people landed down. I took off after Olav and went on glide towards some gliders turning out on the plains, I got lots of sink and had to change plans and go for another couple of gliders closer to the right of me. I could not get up and slowly got lower and lower until I had to land. Shit. What a waste of time.

No pilots made goal, Nils Åge and Olav landed near the first TP, Johnny just outside the start circle.

Today was cancelled with rain and general crap weather, tomorrow looks dubious, but I bet we will at least go out there no matter what.

Worlds – Day 11

We drove out under an overcast sky, and no one set up until the meet director said we had to. The rigging was done with little enthusiasm, and as I had finished the undersurface battens the day was cancelled. Heavy rain this afternoon, thunder and lightning.

Worlds – Day 10

Difficult day today, we got a different weather system with southerly winds and overdevelopment in Brasilia. So the task was set 108 km to the north via two TP. It was very slow and difficult at the start and on the ridge, lots of pilots down just after the start and before the start gate. We only got 400 meters above the ground before the start gate, while it was OK under building clouds in the start gate where I took a 4 m/s to cloudbase at 2600 meters. Olav and me started together, but I lost him when our gaggle went back out to take the start time we already had taken. I took the first TP quite high, and went on glide to some climbing gliders ahead. The sky was now totally overcast over me, and I flew through light rain. There was some sun ahead almost out of gliding range. I went for some burnt black hills that was still in the sun, and came in there with 3 other gliders. We did not find anything but turbulence, and had to go back to the last usable landing field to land. 10 minutes later the gaggle came over us and climbed out from the same hills. Bad timing for us today. Johnny also landed in the same area, while Nils Åge and Olav came close to goal. The retrive was difficult as there was no GSM coverage to the north, and we did not get any radio contact. Approaching goal we heard from Olav on the radio that he had lift, and the Swedes told us Nils Åge also got lift back. It rained hard on the way back to Brasilia, the weather forecast for tomorrow is not good.

Worlds – Day 8, rest day

As we drove out on day 8 we could see some clouds building high on the horizon, while we were setting up it became clear we would have overdevelopment in the area. The organization did try to set a course that would keep us out of trouble, but after having three different task briefings and people were getting ready to start, the start window remained closed and the day was cancelled. It rained hard as we drove back to Brasilia so it turned out to be a wise decision.

Today was planned as rest day, and we take it easy. The weather is overcast and rain so the timing was good. The bad new is the weather forecast that predicts shitty weather for the next week. I do not believe it will be that bad, the official meteo info we get in the comp seems worthless regarding clouds and thermals. The wind direction and strength have been OK, but that is the easiest forecast. My wrists and back need some rest after having flown 2 long days with a right turn in the glider. I did some tuning to have more high-siding in the glider and this made the glider spiral right. Most gaggles have gone left so I had to lowside and work hard to stay inside the thermals and avoid traffic. I have adjusted the right glass tip, so it should be straight again now.

All in all I feel the organization of the Worlds in Spain was a level better than here. The good things is that it is more room to set up here, and more launch lanes so it easy to take off when you want. Everyone takes off as soon as the window opens anyway, and the conditions have been better than in Algodonales with fewer death gaggles and no low inversion. The scoring is also efficient, with provisional results ready at 21:00 every night.

You may have noticed that I have not written about Jon Gjerdes results. He was refused to fly in the worlds because he did not qualify within 60 days before the world. This is a CIVL rule we did not know about, we applied for an exception since he had travelled all the way and was technically qualified, but it was refused. He then wanted to fly with us anyway to learn and train, but after the first day he was refused to even fly the course, and to quote the CIVL stewards could “under no circumstances land in goal”. It was also pointed out that the team would be penalized if he did break the rules. This of course no fun at all and Jon decided to go home. During the comp there have been many Brazilian non-competitor pilots flying the task, and landing in goal. This is not acceptable for us, and we will protest. It is clear that we are being treated unequal.

I think the last two flight have been the best and most rewarding flying I have ever done. The 155km day I flew fast and stayed with the top pilots all the way, I even beat Manfred the last half of the course as he passed me in a thermal before the second TP but I beat him to goal. (He had a later start time so he did have a better time anyway :-)) 27. place that day was really nice as I have had a hard time the first days of the comp. Getting to goal after a 192km task was also very satisfying, I lost the gaggle early and did much of the task flying on my own, or with a few other pilots. The level of the pilots here is incredibly high, I did not climb much on the total score even after two really good days.

Worlds – Day 7

It was good clouds early in the morning when we drove out to take off, the weater forecast said it might OD and the local pilots thought so as well. We got a long 192km task, with a long headwind leg in triangle back t to the startpoint and to goal. I took off quite late and lot the lead gaggle just after the start gate. 1 minute on the lead gaggle is almost impossible to take back as long as you follow the gaggle. I got low after the 3 TP, together with Steve Moyes I got back up from very low over a sunny hilltop. One other pilot passed over our heads and landed at the end of the field where we got up. The last leg to goal I flew alone when I lost Steve after I stopped under a cloud to pee, too much water before takeoff. I got to goal after flying for over 5 hours, my speed section time was 4:15. 51 pilots in goal after close to 200 km is quite impressive. The clouds were good all day, and no OD to be seen, although it was quite overcast in the end of the day.

Nils Åge landed just after takeoff, Johnny 20 km from the 3. TP and Olav somwhere between the 3. and 4. TP. Manfred won the day again, and increases his lead in the comp. Tom Weissenberger tumbled and came down under parachute into some trees, he was OK but need a new glider. Too bad as he was doing well in the comp.