Category Archives: Competitions

Warming up at Forbes

Today we saw 42 degrees at the Airport, it was much nicer to be flying in the cooler air. I flew a short 100km out&return, while Olav flew locally to check out his glider after Gerolf  had been very nice and spent some time helping him out to get better handling from his RS4.

It was a very blue day, but good smooth lift up to 2200 meters, it probably went higher later in the day, I landed just before 16:00 after a nice final glide.

The forecast for the next days looks promising, with very warm days.

On the road, and back again.

I picked up Olav at the airport late Monday night and we drove through pouring rain to the Blue Mountains, and slept there before doing the rest of  the trip to Forbes on Tuesday morning. The weather gradually got better as we got closer to Forbes, and Olav got a flight there in really good conditions in the afternoon.

This morning I got up at 04:30 and drove back to Sydney to get my glider out of customs. That went without a hitch, and i got a rather beat up looking glider box out of the freight company warehouse. Luckily I could not see any damage when I met Steve Moyeas at the factory and unpacked it. So around 12 hours in the car today, and tomorrow lookks like a good day for XC flying. I will get up early (Which is no problem because of jetlag), and have a test flight in the morning to make sure glider is OK, and that my new harness is all good.

On the road again;

On the road again
On the road again

Here’s something new at the airport in Forbes, there’s standing water! Olav said the area around the airport had lots of new small lakes. It will probably dry out over the coming days, and some of hte pilots said the thermals were much smoother than earlier years.

Wet ground at the airport
Wet ground at the airport


It’s time to head down under again! I was lucky with the timing of the flight to Australia, as it was chaos in the days leading up to Christmas. I had booked my flights on the 24/12 with a connecting flight in London, and I was prepared for lots of delays, but everything went on schedule, and I got my seat on Quantas’ newest Airbus 380 in London. The plane was just one week old, and none of the engines exploded or fell off.

As usual my harness did not arrive on the plane with me, but it came 2 days later. No biggie, I did not need it yet, as I was just relaxing in my hotel, for a day, waiting for Olav to arrive before driving to Forbes. I shipped my glider two weeks ago, but it also got delayed and arrived only today. I can’t get it out, since custom’s closed until Wednesday. This is much more annoying, and means I probably have to drive back to Sydney to get it.

 Walking around in our old neighbourhood in Sydney feels strange, in one way it feels like I never left, but also it’s like ages ago since we packed up and went back to Oslo. Nothing’s changed in Glebe, except it’s much warmer now and the trees are green again.

Olav’s flight through Frankfurt was cancelled, so he’s around 14 hours behind schedule, the weather forecast for Forbes and areas seems good the next days, not stellar conditions but flyable, so it will be good to get there now. There’s major flooding in SE Queensland, but it will not affect us for now at least.

Vågå Open 2010, final day and results

(Delayed update)

On the last day we saw a forecast for strong winds, but good thermal conditions. Looking out before the briefing at 10:00 the wind seemed to be dying off and we saw good cu development. At Salknappen takeoff we had nice conditions, 5-6 m/s winds at takeoff and a rising cloudbase.

I was in the task committee with Bjørn and Trond, and we discussed at length what to do about the day. The wind seemed to be less than the forecasted 10-15 knots, but the direction was more easterly than we liked for flying upwind and staying locally. On the other side if we went downwind we would have to set goal at Lesja, where it’s usually stronger winds again on that direction, and the task would be way to fast to get a good scoring day. We went around and asked what the pilots wanted, and in the end we decided to fly a 80km task in the Ottadalen valley, with a headwind second leg.

It turned out to be more wind that we anticipated, and I think the task was unsafe in some areas. I decided to abort the task for safety reasons and land back in Vågå. I was a bit shaken after having a very close call with Speidern while waiting at base for the start, and getting kicked around a bit in the leeside a few times did not help. I knew I would lose my second place by doing this, but I did not feel like risking an outlanding in the windy conditions.

Nobody made goal, some made it almost halfway, and Bjørn who pushed into the potentially unsafe areas did pay for it with a bad landing. It’s very easy to see in retrospect , but I believe it would have been a perfect task for the wind we anticipated – 5 knots less and we would have lots of happy pilots in goal.

Olav Opsanger is our new national champion, with Nils Aage and me on second and third place. All three of us are from the Jetta club, and Jetta is also the club winner again this year, with Lier and Oslo behind.

Winners Vågå Open 2010
3. Øyvind, 1. Olav, 2. Nils Aage

The final top 10;

# Name Glider Sponsor T 1 T 2 T 3 Total
1 Olav Opsanger Moyes Litespeed RS4 997 111 380 1488
2 Nils Aage Henden Moyes Litespeed RS 3,5 908 127 382 1417
3 Oyvind Ellefsen Moyes Litespeed RS 4 Atea,Skyline, 966 104 125 1195
4 Johnny Nilssen Moyes Litespeed S 767 72 234 1073
5 Kjell Keogh Aeros Combat L 13 790 108 163 1061
6 Dag Ring Moyes Litespeed S4 781 60 177 1018
7 Tormod Helgesen Willswing T2 154 638 41 293 972
8 Trond Olsen Willswing T2 154 Meg 511 60 361 932
9 Vegard Hansen Moyes Litespeed S4 622 58 243 923
10 Jan Erik Gjerland Moyes Litespeed RS4 733 164 897

Link to full results

Vågå Open 2010, Day 5 and 6

The conditions were overcast and slow in the morning, but the forecast said better conditions later in the day. We went up to Salknappen and waited in the clouds for the conditions to clear. We set a 31km task late in the afternoon, staying locally in the valley.

I took off as one of the first pilots, and took the second start gate as the first pilot. The conditions were very slow and the cloudbase was down on the ridge making me fly around the clouds which gave me a crappy start as I came back low into the lift. I was a little too impatient there, should have stayed back and waited for the gaggle and the next startgate.

The gaggle took the next start gate and caught up with me halfway to the next TP, where we had a excellent ridge race going up and down the ridge to tordkampen with me, Olav and Speidern very close together. Nils Aage and Bjørn were ahead of us and got to goal first and second, I pulled away from Olav and Speidern and got in as third, but with my earlier starttime I got 5. place in the end.

The task was heavily devaluated as expected since it was short and we flew it fast.

Results here, not much changes since first day with Olav in the lead, ahead of me and Nils Aage.

Day 6 saw rain again, and we cancelled the day at first briefing, it still raining heavily now at 14:30 so it seems like the right decision.

Vågå Open, day 2 and 3

Day 2 blew and rained away.

Day 3 looked promising on the forecast, and we woke up to a sunny but windy day. We first went up to Vole, but after hanging around at takeoff for 30 minutes it was clear it was too windy to safely take off from Vole. Nobody had set up so we loaded up and drove to Heidal and the Espesetra takeoff in search of better conditions.

At Espesetra it was very nice, and almost too mellow conditions. We made a 88km task to Frya, back to Kvam, Brandstadkampen, and goal at Frya, with first startgate at 14:45.

I took off quite early, and stuggled a little to get up, and I did not get the best startgate position. But I was not too far behind the leaders, and took the first startgate working to catch up. We had an OK run to the first TP, where Olav, Nils Aage and me pulled away from the rest of the gaggle. I was above and a little behind Olav and Nils Aage at the next TP at Kvam, where I went a little more upwind and got a good 3 m/s thermal.

I went on a long glide over the Frya plateau, and Olav came in behind me at Ringebu where I we were getting a little low and had no good clouds ahead. I found a weak thermal and we took a few turns together there but it was not enough to get us through the last TP and to goal. I saw a bird tuning over the last TP and went on glide to it, while Olav went a little left and got a good thermal. At the TP the bird was gone and it did not leave any lift for me, so I was now lower than Olav before the final glide to Frya. He overtook me and got in around 30 seconds before me.

Nils Aage came in a few minutes behind us, and Dag and Speideren were not far behind either. There were lots of happy faces in goal, and I think we got a good days flying from conditions that turned out to be much better than we had hoped for. Coming back to Vågå we heard it had calmed down after we left and many pilots had good local flights there too.

Tomorrow looks like it will rain again, but the next days should be good.

Vågå open 2010, day 1

I arrived in Vågå last night,after taking the very full train from Oslo to Otta. Thanks to Stefan for picking up my glider at Finn’s place and bringing it to Vågå.

We had a very windy morning, it was forecasted to calm down during the day. We went up to Vole at 15:00 in hope of a late task to Frya, but the conditions were not good for a task and we had to cancel it after waiting until 17:30. It did calm down more and I set up to fly down at around 18:30. I took off and found a nice thermal in front of the west takeoff that took me up above launch. I boated around in weak lift and got a few more weak thermals up to 1800m where the wave started generating widespread lift.

I felt that it could get a bit dodgy with wave and strong winds, and decided to land.

Hope it get better tomorrow, forecasts are very variable.

How to set up your Compeo/6030 for competition flying

I often get questions about programming routes and how I set up my instrument for competition flying, this usually happens at briefing just before takeoff, when I want to get ready to fly and have no time to go through the setup with someone new to the instrument. Sorry I could not help you guys at takeoff, but here’s the guide to use before the next comp.

Hint: It’s a lot better to do this at home before flying, where you get to know the instrument a bit better, than in the stress of setting up and getting ready to fly the first task of the nationals, or worlds…

I do not write about route programming here, I can do that if you find this useful – leave a comment.

General setup

I have software version 3.28 in my Compeo+, if you have an older version you might not get all the fields I have described here. Upgrading the instrument is not difficult, but not for the complete computer novice either. (I can do it for you, after flying)

There are three pages in the instrument, accurately named P1, P2, and P3 in the top middle of the instrument screen.

I have three fields that I keep the same info on all pages; it’s the upper right field that shows distance to active waypoint, and the upper and middle left fields that show Wind speed and groundspeed. These three are the basic information that always changes during the flight, and if you keep them in the same place it’s easier to read the instrument quickly and accurately.

The reason I lay out the fields like that is to have a natural way of scanning the display, like reading a page top left to bottom right; Starting with the Vario/McReady – course arrow – airspeed/height/distance to TP, next line down – ground and wind speed, and then the variable fields.

You change between the screens in flight by pressing right arrow button.

Page 1 – Startgate

The most important thing when you are flying and waiting for the startgate is to be aware what time the start gate is, and how far it is to cross the cylinder so you can time the start perfectly. It’s also the time to get a feel for the thermals and conditions, so it’s a good idea to note the wind direction and strength.

Page 1
Page 1 - Startgate page
Left side fields, from top.

Wnd Spd – Windspeed – Shows a calculated wind speed. This value is calculated from the difference between airspeed and groundspeed, so there is a big margin for error, consider it an estimate.

Gnd Spd – Groundspeed – Shows your groundspeed from the GPS.

Time – The clock from GPS – Shows the time your GPS is logging. If this time is wrong you need to change the UTC offset in the setup menu. (Typically when daylight savings change or you travel to another time zone)
Also note that you will have a countdown timer to the first startgate in the bottom of the screen when you have activated the competition route.

Right side fields, from top

Dist WP – Distance to center of active waypoint – This will show the distance to the center of the startgate cylinder, not very useful for now.

Cyl Arrival – Estimated arrival at cylinder. This shows the estimated time when you will cross the cylinder when you are gliding towards the cylinder. I usually calculate 1 minute per kilometer, which is 60 km/h groundspeed. This field is a “nice to have” as it confirms what you have estimated in your head.

Dist StCyl – Distance to start cylinder. Very important and useful, shows how far you are from the start cylinder edge. Combine with the countdown clock in the bottom of the screen to calculate when you need to start gliding to take an optimal start.

Dist Toff – Distance to takeoff point. Useful if you have to glide back for a restart in Aerotow competitions, otherwise useful for open distance flights.

Page 2 – On course

During the task you want to know how far it is to the next PT, to plan ahead and find the fastest route there. I do not fly with a mapping GPS, (Just look down for an updated map) so I rely on memory and the cross track information to know where I am in relation to the course and next TP. Having updated windstrength and direction is also nice.

Page 2
Page 2 - On course page
Left side fields, from top.

Wnd Spd – Windspeed – Shows a calculated wind speed. This is calculated from the difference between airspeed and groundspeed, so there is a big margin for error, consider it an estimate.

Gnd Spd – Groundspeed – Shows your groundspeed from the GPS.

Dist goal – Remaining distance of the task. Very nice to know if the goal is close to the last TP so you can start the final glide before that last TP. Also nice morale booster/destroyer depending on how your flights are progressing.

Right side fields, from top.

Dist WP – Distance to center of active waypoint – This will show the distance to the center of the next TP. Usually we have 400 meter radius, but sometimes there might be a 1000m or more radius for special cases. See the lower right field for distance to cylinder, but this is still nice if you forgot to set the right radius in the route (Been there, done that), as it will show you when you are close enough.

XT Error – Cross track error. This is very nice when flying crosswind tasks; it shows how many km you are off track. Minus is left of track, no minus is right.

Alt a WP – Altitude above WP. This is a glide estimate, showing how high you will arrive above the next TP if you glide for it now. I use it as a confirmation that I am where I think I am relative to the TP and wind.

Dist Cyl – Distance to Cylinder. Shows the distance to the cylinder of the next TP. Very useful if there are varying cylinder sizes in the task.

Page 3 – Final glide

Having made it here it’s all about the glide, so the setup changes to focus on glide angles.

Page 3
Page 3 - Goal page
Left side fields, from top.

Wnd Spd – Windspeed – Shows a calculated wind speed. This is calculated from the difference between airspeed and groundspeed, so there is a big margin for error, consider it an estimate.

Gnd Spd – Groundspeed – Shows your groundspeed from the GPS.

L/D gnd – Glide angle over ground. This shows what your glide over ground is in the moment, somewhat useful to get an idea of your glide, but it varies a lot and is not a good indication if you will make it or not. See the L/D Goal for that.

Right side fields, from top.

Dist WP – Distance to center of active waypoint (Goal). Again this is the center of goal TP, very useful if there is a goal line.

L/D Goal – Glide angle to goal. This shows the angle from where you are and to goal. The most useful function on the final glide! If you are on glide, and the number goes down (From 15:1 to 14:1) you are gliding well and should make it in unless conditions change (Or you speed up too much). If the number goes up (From 12:1 to 15:1) you will not make it and need to look for more lift, more tailwind, or a miracle :-)

Alt a goal – Altitude above goal. This shows the estimated altitude you will arrive over goal if you do an optimal speed glide to goal. (Calculated from the polar you have programmed in the instrument) This number takes wind speed and direction into calculation.

Alt a BG – Altitude above best glide. This shows the estimated altitude you will arrive over goal if you do a best glide to goal. (Slow glides keeping the speed at best glide all the way in) This number takes wind speed and direction into calculation.


  • All the glide functions require that the goal waypoint has the correct altitude, and your instrument is set to the correct altitude.
  • You will also need a somewhat correct polar to get useful Alt a goal/Alt a BG values (And useful McReady speeds).
  • The instrument glide functions cannot predict sink or lift on glide, only you can do that!

So there you have my setup, there are lots of information fields in the instrument so I am sure other pilots have different opinions on the optimal setup. Comments and questions are welcome!

(Not that I have been using the vario much lately – Here’s the weather outside as I write this)

Rain in Sydney, view from our living room vindow
Rain in Sydney, view from our living room vindow

Dalby 2010, Day 7

Another good day today with less winds than the earlier days, so we could fly a triangle task of 94 km. The towing was slow as the winds were swinging around a bi and we had to move the towing lines, I was still on the ground as the first start gate ticked over, and got up in a slow thermal that only took me to 1000 meters. I drifted through the startgate at 900 meters, it did not matter that much anymore, I just wanted to fly the task and get to goal.

The conditions improved during the day, with cloudbase rising from 1500 to 1800 meters, and we got a few nice thermals of up to 4 m/s. I took it easy and did not get too low anywhere, and had a nice 12:1 final glide. Lots of people in goal, Dave Sieb will win the comp.

Results should be at soon.

Now I will drive to Brisbane and get on a plane to meet Georgia in Fiji, we have a week of delayed Easter vacation. I will drive back through Manilla on the way home, hope to get a few more flights before shipping the glider back to Oslo.

Dalby setup day 6
Dalby setup day 6