Category Archives: Competitions

Big air in Kiewa valley

We arrived in Mount Beauty and found a great place to stay, a big house with large kitchen and apartement units. We met up with our driver Carla who drove up from Melbourne on her motorbike. After a disorganized practice day we went up to Emu and had a really nice evening flight. I took off first and found nice smooth lift, it felt claustrofobic with all the trees around takeoff, and strange to foot launch the glider. It’s a big difference from the wide open flatlands around Denni. I crossed the valley and flew around for one hour before landing on the airstrip. Quite nice to derig the glider on grass again, with a cold beer to cool down in 35 degrees.

Otto decided to leave us yesterday, he went back to Sydney to catch a flight back home. I think he got very tired, flying these comps is not exactly vacation, with dehydration, long retreives, and no food until late at night.

There’s 87 pilots in the comp here, last year it was very cramped on the take off sites with only 63 pilots. Tove is running this comp, and it seems like she let everyone who wanted in.

Yesterday the first task got underway, we went up to Emu, where the pilots got split between the two launches. The task was 119 km up the valley, and then out on the flats. Forecast was very warm, over 40 degrees, thunderstorms over the mountains and weak winds. I got off the hill after the early birds did not take off within their allocated half hour, the launch conditions were not the best with crosswind in periods. Quite a few of the first pilots got low, and a few bombed out, while others seemed to find good lift out neat the bottom of the ridges. I launched after Ron Gleason on his ATOS, we went straight into a thermal and climbed above take off. The turn direction was left, but Ron went right and messed up for both of us as I banked up more in the core and climbed up to him. I spotted a white and blue Litespeed going fast up furhter out on the ridge, and glided in over him. Wham – straight into a 5 m/s, quite rough but improving all the way up. It was a wild ride, and I had plenty of work avoiding the other cliders as everyone dived into the thermal from the area around.

I loked at the vario once more, climbing with more than 6 m/s average past 3500 meters. I left at around 3700 meters, still a long way from cloudbase as traffic became difficult with rigids and flexwing all thermaling in different directions and different cores. I was probably getting a little hypoxic as well. Gliding towards the edge of the start circle I had good air and stayed at around zero for a long time. Passing the start circle and gliding towards the Tawonga Gap I remember Tomas’s saying “The way to cross the gap is to get high and stay high”, no problemo – I’m still above 3500 meters, but not for long. I hit sink going upwind of the clouds looking for thermals, I try crossing upwind more, then cross and downwind, the ground coming up fast. I spot a few other gliders circling up ahead, but I’m falling out of the sky, getting nowhere near the glide angle I ned to get there. The air is quite rough as well, and it’s hard to keep up the speed and gliding straight. I land 26 km from the first TP near the main road, almost deaf from the pressure in my ears and shaking with andredaline. My vario shows max sink of -14.6 m/s

Looking at my tracklog when scoring I flew 14 km from 3700 meters to ground level at 300 meters. That’s 4:1 glide ratio…
It must have been waving, people were climing strong far from any clouds and each other, and also going down at fenomenal rates. Dave Sieb got to 4700 meters in strong lift.

Olav’s vario failed just after take off, and he bombed out. Gordon landed in Myrtleford, some 26 km short of goal, after having a similar expirience with strong sink as I had.

Today was cancelled with thunder and lightning at 10:30, forecast for the next days are good.

From bad to worse and then to goal. Tragedy.

Task 4 saw a great sky, cumulus streets forming all over the flats. We got a triangle task a little over 100 km, stronger that expected headwinds on the last leg would make it very difficult to make goal, and only 4 flex and 2 rigid made it, I never made it out of the start circle…

I got on one of the early tows as the conditions were great, got waved off in a weak thermal below a gaggle of pilots. The thermal got weaker and weaker, and stopped completely at 600 meters. I glided back upwind to the tow paddoc, and got a good 2 m/s just at the edge of the car tow area. I committed to drifting with that thermal from 150 meters over the ground, but lost the lift after drifting a few km and only gaining 300 meters. Now I was low and could not get back to the towing paddoc, so I glided downwind to try and find another thermal. I got something rough just 100 meters over the ground in the middle of nowhere, and drifted with this keeping between 50 and 150 meters for 5-6 km. Eventually I came over the main road and landed on the road after calling for Andrew our driver to pick me up. I derigged in a hurry, threw everything in the car and drove back to get another tow. One of the trike piots was still there and agreed to give me a tow. He dropped me off upwind of a cloudstreet where I climbed a few hundred meters and then hit megasink. I raced cross and downwind to get out of 6 m/s sink, but it was no use. On the ground again, 4 km out. I was the only one bombing out that day, just unbelivable. Gordon got within 4 km of goal, Olav and Otto around second TP.

Yesterday was totally blue, 25 km wind, 105 km task towards Hay, down/crosswind, with a 15 km headwind leg. I started off early as I had no motivation for flying fast after 2 days of bombing out. Flew for myself most of the time after the start circle, and kept between 1000 and 1300 meters most of the flight. Lost some time at the last TP where I got down to 250 meters and had to go downwind way off course to get up again. Had to stop a few times to gain more height on the final glide as well. Quite exiting for a while, my Galileo told me I was going to make it and not all the way in, I got a 3 m/s 5 km out, and gained a few hundred just to make sure I got there. Around 30 in goal, I was 23 for the day. Gordon second best score, Olav 4 km from goal, Otto around 20 from second TP.

Oleg won the comp, Paris second, Gordon third. Olav 40. I got 44. place, and Otto 46. It’s really crap to bomb out on the good days

Hikobe Junko, Japanese female pilot, was killed in a car towing accident yesterday. I knew her from the comps here the last couple of years. She locked out on tow and did not release, doctors were there at once, but sadly she died. Our sympathies to the family and friends, Hiko will be missed.

Now we drive off to Mt. Beauty for the Bogong cup, tomorrow’s practice day and then 8 more days of comp flying. I’m looking forward to it, it will be nice to see some mountains again.

Denniliquin, NSW, Australia

Short report before we head out to fly again;
2 days ago we got the second task after all the rain had passed the night before. We waited until 12 to make sure the paddoc had dried up, then we got a 3TP 120 km task to the north. Unfortunately it became overcast from the west as we were getting ready to tow up. Gordon was the first to tow and got out under the sun, the rest of us got to fly under a overcast sky, with cloudbase at 1500 meters. What a contrast to the first day. I flew reasonably well, and got within 8 km of the second TP, 80 km out. Around 20. place.

Yesterday I basically bombed out at 60 km, racing myself to the ground. I had jumped a couple of gaggles, and did good, until I became too impatient and glided off on my own. It was blue, inversion at 12-1300 meters, and weak winds from the SW. Olav got close to goal, Otto and Gordon made it.

Today looks similar, blue and almost no wind, getting quite hot.

Deniliquin, NSW, Australia

Last night we went to Echuca to see the Two Towers, it rained a little on the way back, and also rained quite a lot tonight. On briefing it was overcast and a little rain in the air. The task committee wanted to try to get a task done, a miracle could happen, so we drove out to the paddoc through more rain. Arriving there it was quite clear nobody wanted to fly in the poor conditions, while a few pilots wanted to practice towing. As long as the paddoc is reasonably dry it’s OK, but if the dust gets wet you’ll get stuck in mud.

The results are up on I came 22 yesterday, about 130 pilots here in all classes. Too bad we could not fly earlier in the day, I think that cloudbase was at 3800 meters, some people got to 4000 meters in the thermals. That’s the highest cloudbase I’ve ever flown under, and as we have full clearance to the gound here on the flatlands you can go a looong way with that height. I flew 79 of the 108 km task distance, if I had made the second TP at 80 km with enough altitude to drift over the tress it would be quite easy to just drift downwind into goal.

The forecast for tomorrow is bad, with storms and strong winds. After the front have passed it’s going to be great. (We hope)
Picture of towing paddoc on the training day
Paddoc on training day

Deniliquin, NSW, Australia

The practice day was pretty good, we got a few tows, but got out a little to late. I towed Gordon up first, he climbed straight out, then it switched to blowing from the back and cross. We waited, but had to give up, and moved 700 meters of towrope to the cross towing strip. Good thing the towing field is huge (Each of the 20 lanes are 2,5 km long) Eventually we could tow again, Olav got up in the last thermal, I had the rope break once, and got a few circles in zero.

Yesterday we flew the first task, after some waiting for the wind to calm down. We are in the aerotow, and there was confusion on where to set up. I had to walk my glider 300 meters in strong winds and 35 degrees to get to the right trike. The dolly stuck to the basebar on my first tow as I lifted off, at 20 meters the weaklink broke, and I had to kick and hit the dolly to have it fall off so I could land. Second tow was OK, and I got a good climb out of the paddoc with up to 4,5 meters average climb up to 3000 meters. As I started gliding my VG did not work, and I could not get the VG more then 1/4 on. That made it pretty tough to fly with loads of bar pressure.

The task was strange with a long crosswind leg against pretty strong winds. I made the first TP reasonably high, but the crosswind leg was in a blue hole, where there was lots of people on the ground already. I made it withing 2 km from the second TP, along with Gordon. Olav and Otto a few km back. 8 guys in goal, Oleg first.

Yoday was canned because of strong winds, we have been tuning gliders and making new headsets and stuff. Might be blown out tomorrow as well, it’s forecasted storms.

Deniliquin, NSW, Australia

We arrived in Denni last night after a long drive from Sydney. It was very windy on the way out here, and we had to stop to strenghten the roof-racks to make sure the gliders did not fly off. Quite calm today so I guess we will be towing later today. I’m really looking forward to test my new glider and harness. We were on Bill Moyes’s aerotow list, as he was going to bring three tugs out here. Now it seems that that won’t happen, and we will all be car-towing. Fine with me, as we got all the car tow gear with us just in case something like this happened

It’s blue and around 30 degrees here. A few pilots in town, most arrive tonight.

Sydney, NSW, Australia

I’m at the Moyes factory checking our gear. The gliders are ready, my harness is getting ready later today, pretty busy here with lots of pilots here to pick up gear. Stanwell’s quite windy but flyable, 26 gliders are beeing test flown today. We’ll might go later if we can get everything sorted. Nice temperature here, around 30 yesterday.