I landed in Sydney at around 07:10 yesterday, met with Thomas who had some problems getting his glider through customs, and helped him to get all that sorted and loaded so we could drive to Forbes.
We met the rest of the team there, Olav Opsanger, Olav Lien Olsen, and Kurt Opseth, who had arrived the day before and had a nice day of flying while we were driving.
It’s around 28 degrees here, which is nice and cool for mid-summer Forbes, with blue skies and almost no wind today. I got my new glider set up and had the first flight today. Glider goes great, handles like a dream, it’s by far the best hangglider I’ve ever flown! I also had new harness from Skyline, which was perfect as always. Only problem today was a leaky camelback, so it was a bit cold with 2 liters of water running down my back at 2000 meters.
Today was official practice day, with a 100km triangle, but since this was my first flight with new gear I stayed locally and just enjoyed the air. Only Olav Lien flew the full practice task from our team, and he came back quite late so it may have been difficult and slow at times.
The last day, and finally I get the glider going straight, and my GoPro started working again after playing dead for a week. Wohoo!
The task was a triangle of 102km, going southwest and then northeast away from the potential overdevelopment over the hills and near goal. We got lots of dustdevils on the ground while setting up, so it felt like a more unstable day than earlier in the week. I had an uneventful tow behind Bobby in the tug, and got a slow climb just in time to take the first start. Thermalling up we could see overdevelopment around us, and there was rain and shade moving towards the first turnpoint.
I took the first start with most pilots, and we did a fast glide towards the first TP to try and get there before the rain, but it turned out to be too late as the rain moved in, and we stopped to wait in some weak lift over Casa Grange mountain. It was really nice to be able to glide straight again without fighting the glider, my glide ratio improved a lot the last day! :-)
As there were some small spots of sun we tried to slowly go towards the TP and find some lift, I was in a gaggle with Chris Arai, Larry Bunner, Joe Bostik, Mitch and a few more, and spent some time drifting towards Eloy airport which is a very busy parachute dropzone, so it was not the best place to hang out above deployment height for the parachutists.
We did not get much lift on the way to the TP as it was shaded and some rain in the air, so it became a slow glide to the ground as the few sunny spots were too short lived to give us any lift. I saw lots of gliders on the ground at the TP, and turned around for the sun as directly as possible after taking the TP. There was no lift, so we all landed one by one. I was the highest in the last thermal, so I got the furthest from our gaggle, just beaten with 1,1km by Michael Bilyk who had been in front of us, so I got 2. place on the day score and moved back up a few spots in the toal.
Everyone landed pretty much at the same time, which was good as there was gustfronts moving through the takeoff/goal are as well as on courseline towards the second TP.
All in all this was a great competition, I had a great time both in the air and on the ground. Its a super nice and relaxed spot to fly, and making it back to goal where you park the glider overnight and just walk 10 meters to jump into the pool is just unbeatable.
Thanks to our team with driver, Moyes and Kraig for great support, tugpilots, and Jamie and all her crew for organizing it. I’ll be back next year!
The conditions were forecasted to be similar to yesterday, and the task was set to a 100km, going south to Meyer and then north west to Maricopa before heading back southeast to goal at the hotel. Once in the air it looked like a good day but with stronger than forecasted winds. Again my glider was not flying straight and the lastest adjustments were not sucessful, in retrospect I should have overdone it more to get at least a right turn instead of another day with fighting a left turn. At least the gaggles were a bit smaller after the first clock and the turndirection was right so I could relax more while thermalling.
I waited for the second start time in a gaggle with Olav Opsanger, Johnny, Kraig, Chris Arai, Michael, Mitch and a few more I did not recognize. We had a good run to the first TP catching up with most of the pilots who took the first start, and I got a great line getting in front until halfway to the second TP where we flew into blue skies and headwind. We topped up in around 1800 meters and I chose a bad line and lost 200m on the lead gaggle before the next thermal so they got away in front from me.
I still had plenty of pilots under me marking the thermals, and I caught up with Olav Lien Olsen as we glided ahead into the blue. Unfortunately none of us could find useable lift and around 10 pilots landed in the same area, 6 of us on the same field around 15 km before the last TP. 30 minutes later we spotted the lead gaggle gliding over us on final glide to goal.
On the way home we got a lift with the Mexican team, as our driver had locked the carkeys inside the car while picking up Nils Aaage, Olav and me thought we might as well catch a ride home with them instead of waiting out in the sun.
They did not tell us they had to pick up one more pilot, who was in the middle of a property, 3km from the road behind locked gates. Fortunately the wire across one gate was long enough so we could get the car under it, barely…
Will it fit?
Olav Opsanger did a great flight, coming in just one second behind Johnny who won the day.
After a few slow days without flying it was good to wake up to sunny skies and a promising day. We got a nice task that kept us close to the hotel where we take off and land, 102km in total.
After a nice tow and hanging around in the start gate for more than one hour, I took the first start gate at 13:50 and joined Nils Aage as we slowly made our way to the first turnpoint in very weak lift, it was extremely slow and we got caught up by the second clock starters who started 20 minutes later at the first TP. From there I found better lift and stayed with the first gaggle all the way in to goal. I had a long and shallow final glide with Zac Majors just below and in front, and coming into goal there was some traffic over the center of the 400m radius goal circle. I headed a bit right of the goal to avoid those gliders, I thought I heard the vario make the goal sound as I flew over the golf course, so I turned right to land. Unfortunately I was still 40m away from goal, so I did not get any timepoints for the task, and dropped down on the scores. I lost around 300 points compared to the time I would have got, so that was a bummer for the day, still it was a good and fun flight.
The team did well – Olav Opsanger did a good flight again with 9. place. Olav Lien Olsen came behind us into goal, and got 17. place, Nils Aage got stuck and did not quite make it into goal to 22. place, while Thomas landed near the second TP for 36. place.
I’ve heard about the good flying in Arizona from my teammates who went there several times in the past. The September timeframe is a good time for us Scandinavians, as the season at home is ending now. So this year I tagged along with the team hoping to have some fun flying over in the western US desert. This year we are 5 pilots from Norway, Olav Opsanger, Nils Aage Henden, Olav Lien Olsen, Thomas Lindal and me. There are also 3 Swedes here, a scattering of South Americans and an Ozzie among the US majority.
My main goal for this comp is to fly and get some more hours and practice flying after a crap season at home, so I’ve bought a used Litespeed RS 3.5 from Bruce Barmakian, and he kindly brought it to the comp for me. The glider is in good shape, but the sail is quite soft after use, and the performance is far from as good as my RX I have at home. After the first day I replaced the worn out VG rope, as I had a hard time pulling the VG, I then got a left turn on ¾ to full VG, so that made day 2 quite hard as we had good conditions for long glides.
I also fitted some Skyline wingtips to improve the performance after day 1, on the first day I was outclimbed by pretty much everyone, but day 2 with the wingtips I could climb much better and at least keep up with the newer T2C’s in the thermals. I expect the glide to improve once it’s flying straight again, I’ve adjusted the glider after day 2 so we just need another flying day now.
Day 1 was a short task of 82km, keeping us fairly close to the takoff/goal. I got a super smooth tow and a OK start in weak conditions. I struggled a little with getting high in the thermals all day, but got to goal about 5 minutes after the lead gaggle when they outglided me after the second TP.
Day 2 was a 121km task, and conditions were a bit better but with high clouds moving in and shading the courseline in the later part of the task. I got a terrible start after trying to move upwind and find a better position around 20 minutes before the start, we were 4 gliders heading out, but found nothing and I had to glide back to the main gaggle and did not have enough time to get high again. I took the start behind and 3-400 meters lower than the main gaggle, and suffered for that mistake the rest of the task coming in low and behind in the lift. I met up with Nils Aage scraping in very low at the last TP in the shade, taking 0.1 and 0.2m/s lift to stay up, thus taking forever to get back up to final glide attitude and loosing even more time. I attempted a 15:1 final, it was good for a few km, but then deteriorated rapidly to 18:1 so I had to stop over Casa Grande downtown where we got some residual heat from the buildings and roads generating a nice weak thermal to get us into goal.
Yesterday, and today is gray and windy with some rain, we are under the tropical rainstorm Odlie, which is predicted to bring catastrophic flooding in our area today and tomorrow, so it looks like no flying the next days…