Category Archives: Competitions

Off to Bassano

We drive to Bassano in Northern Italy later today. Kjell Chr. Krane drove from Narvik yesterday, he will pick us up in Oslo in a few hours. We are 8 people in his bus, should be around 24 hours of driving to get to Bassano. We might stop at Skyline in southern Germany to pick up Nils-Åge’s new harness.

Weather forecast is quite good for both Italy and Norway. The newspapers here have stories of how nice the Easter will be – like they ever get it right…

I will most likely be updating these pages from Bassano, but it depends on where I can get a internet connection. GSM data have been very unstable in Bassano earlier, maybe things have improved.

Jetlagged

17000 km and 26 hours later I’m back in Oslo. Wading through hundreds of email, and huge amounts of spam (Got to get the Spamasassin up and running again) It’s nice to get cold water in the tap and get under my rain shower head again, but I could do without the snow and freezing temperature outside. Life is a lot easier whan you only have to wear shorts and t-shirt all day.

I’ll get the images up on the web in a few days, and maybe a summary of the happenings in Oz. Next big thing will hopefully be the comp in Italy in the easter.

Cracking in Hay, heading home

I wish it was another comp after Hay to start all over again, but now it’s time to get back home. It’s been good, but too many canceled days. Tha last day in Hay was fantastic, we had cloudbase at 3700 meters, loads of 5 m/s thermals and a long task. Just as I remember Hay to be. The task was 194 km to the SSW, weak tailwind up high, stonger lower down. I flew all or nothing, having nothing to loose I wanted to see how fast it was possible to go. I pulled in the bar gliding at 110 to 130 km between the thermals, followed a cloudstreet for 40 km west of the courseline. I crossed back towards the courseline through a blue area hoping for the last good thermal needed for a 40 km final glide. Sadly I did not get it under the good looking cloud, and driftet along towards goal getting lower and lower. I landed 22 km from goal, If I had found that last thermal I would have had a winning time. Fun flight in great conditions.

Now I’m back in Sydney, we’re having a barbeque at Bill and Molly’s place. The French team are here, Gerolf, Steve and Vicki. My flights out tomorrow afternoon. I’ll spend the day at the beach if the weather improves a little, it’s raining now.

Fix Or Repair Daily

We did get to fly two days ago as the wind finally calmed down a little in the afternoon. The task was 167 km west. It turrned out the goal was in the middle of nowhere as the coordinates were wrong. I flew with Bo after the TP, conditions were OK with a strong inversion from 1200 meters. I got to 1500 in the best thermals. I forgot about the first TP and flew back to get it, then I joined up with Bo. We did a few good long glides, but got low near a lake. After drifting 10 km we got something 200 meters over a treeline and got up there. Only problem was the three local eagles attacking us on the way up. I attacked back once I got some height and the eagles left me alone to dive down and harass Bo instead. I glided when the thermal started breaking up at 1200 meters, Bo staid and and later I heard he got to 2000 meters. Next was a huge forest, I glided hoping to get something from the treeline where the forest begun but only found sink and landed 34 km short. It felt like my brain had shut down before the flight had started, I did not plan ahead or try to look around for clues and other gliders. I just flew along without any motivation or desire.

As Matt came to pick me up the fanbelt on the car fell off. I walked out a few km from the field I had landed to find him. We had no extra belt, and no tools exept a leatherman. We broke the belt trying to run it on again with the starter, and called the NRMA. He came around and changed the belt, but must have done a piss poor job, as the new belt squealed and finally broke again as we were to drive back at 23:30 after picking everyone up. We called the NRMA again, but the guy had no more belts. We finally got back at 4:30, and Matt got a mate to drive him out the next day with new belts and bring the car back.

Yesterday we flew south, 178 km towards Echuka. I tow up through a lot of sink, and get dropped off near some weak lift. I drift low over town and get up to 2000 meters over the airport south of Hay. The day seems good, with cloudbase over 3000 meters. It’s the first day here with clouds. Bloody warm on the ground with 47 degress in the shade measured in the paddock. I get up to 2700 meters and go on glide, get low and fight for a long time to get back up again. The cloud is really hard to read, and I cannot connect the thermals to the clouds. I plot a course towards Deniliquin under good looking clouds but the only one working is a ragged dead looking patch of fog. Arriving west of Denni at 1000 meters I decide I’ve had enough flying for today, park into wind and land 54 km short, next to the crossing highway.

I have a motivational problem in this comp, I’m unable to concentrate on the task and the flying. I have to really force myself to get out and up in the air. I never had this problem before, even if I did badly in a comp. Yesterday I would most likely have made goal if I had continued to fly, it did just not seem worth the effort. Sigh… Today is finally the last day, conditions seem good, with a little less wind down low, but more in the height than yesterday.

Blown out

Yesterday it was blown out. We set up and waited for a long time being sandblasted in the dust and sand picked up by the gusts. Today looks pretty windy as well, we have had two briefings, and the next one at 13:00 to finally decide if we go out to the paddock. The temperature have dropped 15 degrees over night as the southerly came trough, and people are wearing their fleece jackets in 25 degrees!
Only 3 days left if they can it today. This wind sucks.

Results are available at http://www.dynamicflight.com.au/Nationals/results_2003.htm
Task 2 was strange, looks like the course choice made all the difference. I did get to beat Oleg and Gordon 8-)

Smoking

Short report before we go out to fly again, it’s been late before we get back, so I write this in the morning before we head out to the paddock.

I bombed out on task one, difficult conditions in the start of the task, where I could only get to 800 meters. I made a bad decition, and had to land when the gaggle I was aiming for left and came back to the lift I had left. Great start on the comp – NOT! Olav did good and got 17. place. Gordon missed the start time and lost almost 15 minutes.

Yesterday we got away late, as the wind turned and the car tow people had to change lanes. Conditions were much better but there was a lot of smoke in the air from the bush fires. We got a 104 km task to the east along the highway. I took the 16:00 startgate with Johnny Jr. Gerolf and Oleg. Good air and tailwind made the first part quite fast. I stopped in a good 3 m/s thermal and got up to 2500 where Johnny and Gerolf glided on, Oleg glided straight out and landed 40 km short. The next area was difficult as we crossed over the river and came over some irrigated fields. I was a little to the left of the track and got really low over the higway. I could see some other gliders going up in some weak stuff behind me and turned around instead of going straight into the unknown. I think that was wise, as a few others landed out there where I would have gone. We driftet along the river between 400 and 600 meters for a long time. After about 30 minutes a group of 10 gliders joined and we could search over a larger area. Finally after beein low for almost one hour and getting nowhere we got up to 1500 meters and could glide on towards goal. The day was getting late and that glide became final glide. I landed 4 km short of goal, with 6 other gliders from the same gaggle. Olav made good time to goal and placed around 15. place. Gordon had a glass fiber tip break in the air, he continued to fly but landed 8 km short of goal.

Conditions today look good, southerly winds and blue skies after a front passed tonight.

Where the hell is Hay

Finally we can leave the smoke filled Kiewa valley behind and get up north to the Australian National HG Championships in Hay. The last two days of the Bogong Cup was cancelled because we had nowhere to take off. All the sites facing north were on fire, and it was tail at the Pines. It’s really too bad with all the fires, the conditions were really good all days, I think we would have had some fantastic flying in the valleys if there were no fires. Here’s a shot from “The Pines” site. The site is 300 meters high, and you can see how low visibility we had. Still good flying though, 10 pilots made the 160 km goal.
Smog at The Pines

Here are the fires on Mount Emu at night. The image is a little blurred because it’s shot without a camera support, 15 second exposure and ISO 400 equivalent on my digital Canon G2. The fires near Falls Creek and Mt. Buffalo were much worse.
Fires on Mt. Emu

Oleg won the Bogong Cup, Gerolf second, Paris third. Oleg’s Combat 2 seems to perform well, and he’s flying very consistent, by winning he comp while never winning a task. Olav and me placed way down somewhere around 40. place, both of us had 2 really bad days, with equipment failing, and bad decitions made. After bombing on the first day you’re way back in the launch order, which makes it ever more difficult to get a good day as all the good guys are ahead and impossible to catch up with. Hay should be a little better as we tow up and have a better chance of timing the start.

Gordon and I drove from Mount Beauty, Olav and Else Britt had spent the two cancelled days in Melbourne to have some time off. We stopped in Albury to visit Carla in the hospital, she was up for another operation that evening. Her femur bone had split in three, and the knee was a mess according to the surgeon. She seemed to be in good mood though, best wishes!

We came to Hay and booked in with Greg at the Hay Caravan Park for the rest of our stay here. Yesterday we picked up Matt our resident driver here in Hay, and went out to the paddock to have some test flights. The paddock is just dust, nothing lives there, not even ants. The sand was like snow drifts along the fence, a dead sheep covered in sand was blocking the gate. The conditions were quite stable, and I had to take a second tow to get up. Olav did not get up with 4 tows, Gordon took out a downtube after a failed start, he did not check the towing ropes were in the right place and took off with the keel rope under the arm. I circled up to 1800 meters, and flew around for one hour. Plenty of huge dustdevils, but far between the thermals. The area to the north is just dust, it’s like flying over the Sahara.

Registration and practice day is today. Seems like there will be a good number of pilots here. Since I flew yesterday I chose to stay in town, near the very nice Olympic size swimming pool. It’s 37 degree in the shade, probably well over 40 out in the towing paddock. Gordon went out to test fly his glider after a few adjustments. The weather is supposed to be good, which means bloody hot and stable. A front is supposed to move in in a few days and make it more unstable again, it’s almost no wind here.