Category Archives: Competitions

2014 Santa Cruz Flats Race, day 1 and 2

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.

Glider;

The RS in the Arizona dust.

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.

Task 1 and results

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.

 Task 2 and results

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…

Cyclone Odlie giving us a nice sunset before the storm
Gliders packed up and out of the rain

Worlds 2013, day 10, task 9

Blog posts here are getting shorter as I am getting more tired :-)

Task 9 was around 250km, 4 turnpoints, going back to Forbes. Olav Opsanger again did a great flight and reached goal as only Norwegian, while Nils Aage landed just short, me and Olav lien just behind that, Johnny at the 3. TP, and Tormod between the second and third TP. Less than 20 pilots made goal, so the task was hard enough… The leader Manfred landed out and lost his 200 point lead, so it’s suddenly exiting again in the top.

We had real clouds for the first time, and conditions in the startgate were good, even though we started one hour earlier than normal. I had a good start with Olav Lien and Johnny, but got some really bad air all the way to the first TP. I lost over 30 minutes to Olav Opsanger and Nils Aage on the first 70km leg, just could not find any decent lift even under good clouds I had to take 1 and 2m/s thermal when Olav were reporting 5m/s thermals all the way.

After finally getting the TP I had a good run the rest of the task, gaining around 30km on the leaders, but the day ran out in the end, the last thermal was 0.2 m/s and drifted the wrong way, so I landed at sunset at 19:40 40 km short from goal after nearly 7 hours in the air.

Last day today, close to 200km out and return to the north, looks like a very hard day again.

Worlds 2013, day 9, task 8

Task 8, 184km triangle
Task 8, 184km triangle

Long task again today, blue conditions, light winds, and thermals up to 2000m. The team had a good day with Olav Opsanger, Nils Aaage, me, Johnny and Olav Lien Olsen in goal. Tormod landed near the second TP.

I had a low start at 1500 meters, but found good conditions along the course and soon caught up with the main gaggle. I was flying with Nils Aage and Olav Lien most of the task, but we lost Olav at the second TP. Final glide of 1:11 and straight into goal with around 4:30 in the air today. Reasonable fast day and much improved from yesterdays disaster task for me. Too tired to write more now, we are all looking like old men getting stiff bodies out of the harnesses in goal, only two more days to go so hope the shoulders and back can take the abuse a little more.

At the startcylinder and ready to go
At the startcylinder and ready to go

 

Worlds 2013, day 8, task 7

240km straight downwind task. Only Nils Aaage made goal from our team. Olav Opsanger had 4 tows to get up and away, and flew very fast to catch up, but landed 41km before goal, Johnny and Tormod around 25 km from goal.

I had a frustrating day – when I got ready to fly and discovered that my VG rope had gone up into the upright on my glider, so I had to derig completely, disassemble and reassemble the upright and VG rope, and set up the glider again while the clock was ticking. I got a good tow and find a nice thermal up to 1600m with some other pilots. I was too late to take the first start gate, and moved up towards the cylinder to get in position for the second clock, but hit massive sink and could not go back to get more lift. Struggled out of the startcircle at 10 minutes too early, and drifted up to bogan gate not finding anything to get up.

I landed at 38km out from the start. This is my worst competition result in my career so far, not having much fun these last days…

Happy happy joy joy
Happy happy joy joy

Worlds 2013, day 7, task 6

Task 6 was a dogleg to Gulgong goal, 220km. It was nice conditions early in the morning, but lots of cirrus moved in over us when setting up, shading the courseline. I got a weaklink break, and had to come back for a reflight. As I landed the winds picked up strongly, and that would be the case for the rest of the day. I got a good reflight towing behind Bruce, and drifted out of the startcircle under the shaded sky.

A lot of pilots took the first start gate at 14:10, so we had a nice gaggle going up towards the turnpoint. The wind was quite strong the whole courseline and increasing as we approached the turnpoint. It had been open flatlands with good landing options in strong winds, but after the TP we got hills and forested areas. I got a thermal over some small ridges, but the drift would take me in over trees and non-landable terrain. I was flying backwards into the trees in the wind, so I chose to play it safe and pull in to land at the last landable field. It was not fun to land, very turbulent and gusts of 50 km/h that increased to over 100 later in the evening. The task was stopped because of the winds, but sometime after I decided to land, so I get penalized in the scores.

James Stinnet landed just behind me and we packed up together in the paddoc and walked out to the main road, only to find locked gates so we could not get the car in. Georgia did a great job of finding an alternate route through another property so we only had to carry 500 meters.

Scores on the two stopped tasks are not fair, as they do not take into account start times and height of the pilots.

Courious cattle following us around the paddoc
Courious cattle following us around the paddoc
This guy had no hurry crossing the road
This guy had no hurry crossing the road
Lizard with a blue tounge
Lizard with a blue tounge

 

Worlds 2013, day 6, task 5

Task 5 ;

Task 5, 193km
Task 5, 193km

The forecast for task 5 was uncertain, but we got lots more wind than forecasted, and the gusts were close to the limit for towing. Everyone seem to get away safely as pilot’s towing skills have gotten better every day. I got my first weaklink break at around 300 meters above gorund (We normally tow to around 600m), I found a weak thermal to drift with in the strong winds, and drifted out of the start circle with a few other gliders at 1000m.

The thermal took off, and we got up to 2300m and could start flying the course for real. Just before the first TP I got a nice thermal that took us up to 3000m, it started to get weak so I went on glide, but I heard Olav Opsanger report 3900m in that same area behind me after I had started towards the next TP. We got some good air and stayed high in strong headwinds over the second TP, but a long glide into the wind saw me, Nils Aage and Johnny searching for lift over some low hills in 40 km winds, and lots of gliders on the ground below us. We had to get up to cross over a range of forested hills, so we tried hard to get up and just then the task was stopped because of the strong winds.

Results are at http://www.forbesflatlands.com/results.html

 

Wool, neoprene and lycra, and 42 degrees
Wool, neoprene and lycra, and 42 degrees
Hooking up
Hooking up
And away in the dust
And away in the dust