Forbes Flatlands 2018, day 3, bloody eagles, outlanding, roostrike
Day 3 saw good flying conditions with fairly light winds and blue skies. We got a 176km task towards the south via two turnpoints, and first start at 13:30. I had a OK start with most of the field taking the second start time.
After a round 50km we stopped over a small ridge, where I lost the first thermal and had to search around a bit for the core, just as I found it and started climbing again I felt something hit my glider, and of course it was an eagle that was attacking me again and again. I tried all the tricks to scare him off, or at least avoid getting hit again, but I had to glide off to avoid damage to my glider.
I then had to take some weak lift and struggled for a while loosing contact with the gaggle and ended up flying the rest of the day on my own. I had to take it easy in the blue conditions, and ran out of day in the end landing around 18:00 20km from goal.
The retrieve was quick, and we stopped in Young for pizza, before heading back to Forbes. On the way there two kangaroos jumped out in the road just in front of us, and we could not avoid hitting one of them. The car radiator was damaged, luckily we got some help on the way from other pilots who took our gliders and gear, and a local farmer who stopped by set out some water for us in his driveway 12km ahead. So we managed to get home by refilling with water and taking it slow. We do need a new car though, and that is not easy on newyears day when everything is closed.
It got windy, 35-40km/h, and not the good downwind windy, but crosswind windy,so it was slow progress on the task.
I had a OK start taking the second startgate with a group of 5-6 other gliders. We had a few nice thermals, pushing into the wind to stay upwind of the course line.
I stopped in a nice 3 m/s and took it to cloudbase around 90km from goal, while the 3 other pilots glided on as they were downwind of me. I topped out and saw the other pilots stop and start thermalling, but I got a bad line with massive sink and ended up 500m below in just a few minutes.
From there I tried to catch up, and passed on a weak thermal I should have stopped in, that was the mistake of the day. The next clouds were dying, and I had to slow down and go into “just stay up mode”.
I soon found myself low in broken lift and strong winds, and had to glide into the wind to reach a safe landing. Landed nicely and spent the next hour alternating packing up and just holding on to the glider so it did not blow away.
Olav made goal and said it was few pilots there today, seems like a hard task.
Arriving in Sydney on the 27. I had the luxury of being picked up by Olav Opsanger directly from the airport. He’s been in Australia some weeks already and had everything sorted with car and gear. We drove straight to the airfield in Forbes and the weather went from rain and 12 degrees in the Blue mountains to 32 degrees and sun + cumulus in Forbes. Olav got a short flight, while I was too tired after no sleep for two days of travel.
Thursday was first practice day, we got organized in the morning, and I picked up my new Litespeed RX Pro from Vicki and set it up at the airport for a test flight. The conditions were nice with 2900m cludbase and some good lift up to 3 m/s.
I flew for around 1:30, and enjoyed the new glider. It’s the sweetest handling and landing Litespeed I’ve ever flown, and I think we will be good friends after a few small tweaks.
Today was the first competition day. The forecasts for today were all over the place, but none were very good. We got an initial task of 176km towards Cowra, straight line to goal. We set up under a gray sky, and strong winds.
After much waiting and a few delays the task was shortened to 140something km, and a bot more easterly to avoid the incoming rain. As the first pilots startet to tow around 14:30 we got the message that the task was cancelled due to rain.
Forecast for tomorrow is not that good yet, but the rest of the week should be great.
There might be official tracking in the comp, but we do not have it yet. I’ll post links if7when it’s ready.
You can also follow us with mine and Olav’s SPOT trackers here;
The flying conditions have been difficult the last days of the comp, with strong inversions making it hard to get decent height over the terrain and broken weak lift. We had a few tasks with nobody in goal, and one with just one pilot making goal.
I had a hard time in the start the last days as the gaggle of gliders in the air before the start is getting very crowded as everyone is struggling to stay up and gain altitude. There are always some pilots flying more aggressively, pushing out in the surges and breaking up the pattern causing problems for everyone. I’ve tried to avoid those gaggles, and consequently end up low and behind in the start. It’s just not worth the risk for me, and with the thermal conditions we have had it’s very hard to avoid it.
Yesterday we had slightly better conditions than the day before and I was staying fairly high on the ridge before the start of the race. The thermal I just entered was a bit rough, and as I flew through one surge and fell into the sink I was using a lot of force to steer the glider back into the thermal. I hit sudden strong turbulence and felt sharp pain in my right shoulder. I realized the movement of the glider had dislocated my right shoulder, so I had limited use of the right arm. Luckily there was not that many pilots around me, so I could fly out of the thermal and I had enough height to fly back to the main road and the huge flat landing fields there.
As I glided back towards safe landing I got my shoulder in place and working again by resting it against the speedbar and pulling with the other arm, so I could manage an OK landing. It was quite windy so I could land without having to flare much, which would have been difficult.
I’ve dislocated the shoulder before, but not in the air like this, so it was an interesting” experience.
I chose not to fly again the last day today, my motivation have been in the red for the last few days, and this injury was the last straw. Watching the livetrack now, and will head down to the Esplanada to watch the landings if pilots make it in.
Todays forecast was similar to yesterday, but it turned out to be worse conditions than forecasted and hard to stay up. We got a task to Weber goal we had on the first day, via a few turnpoints where there was a forest fire producing large amounts of smoke shading much of the task area. The inversion in the air the last few days have collected a lot of smoke and dust that shade the sun a little more every day.
I still cannot get a break with my start, and ended up low over the ridge again, in shit air, not going anywhere. It looked like everyone took the first start, so I did as well gliding away into the smoke at 1000m over the ground. It was soon clear it would be hard to stay airborne at all, and many pilots landed after the first glide.
I found a few weak and broken thermals, but got little company and help as most pilots around were landing below me. I stayed up for a while drifting off course and gliding into wind again, but eventually the odds for going alone in the blue (or gray as was the case today) are not good, and I had to find a landing field around 15km from first TP.
Only one pilot made goal, and loads landed early, so it was not a full scoring day.
tomorrow is rest day, which is fine as the conditions were forecasted to be worse than today.
Wolfi took a good shot of the fire today, wish I got this high!
I was getting ready to take off on task 4 and had my trusty old Compeo+/6030 programmed and ready for the task. I mounted the instrument pod to the basebar, turned it on, and noticed that the screen froze, and no sound. There was no reaction to keypresses, so I had to take the batteries out to reset the instrument. Same problem when I turned back on… Oh oh…
Long story short – I did not fly task 4, as I had a faulty vario. The Compeo+ has been with me for a long time and never had any major issues, so it was a bit annoying to have it fail during a Worlds. I got it fixed at night back in Brasilia, by cleaning it out with compressed air and cleaning the connections and board with isopropanyl. It might also have been the SD card that was faulty, changed it to a new as well. I always used to travel with a spare vario, but left it at home this time as I had never needed it. Murphy’s law has a few things to say about situations like this.
I got a second hand Digifly AIR from Filippo on the Italian team, and he had it all set up for me this morning, very nice of him! The compeo worked flawless all day, so I did not need to turn on the Digifly, I cannot say the same about the YotaPhone, as it crashed 4 times during the flight. I will probably try to downgrade the Android version to 5.X and see if it’s more stable.
Today’s task 5 saw another quite stable and difficult day in the start, we had a blue day, with strong inversion at takeoff altitude, and this produced gaggles that were unsafe at times again today with too many pilots sharing very few thermals.
I took the first start quite high, and then went back for the second start as we could not get high on the ridge. After we finally found a OK thermal giving enough altitude to fly over the back into the task it was almost 3. clock, but I did not bother and started towards the first TP as one of the first pilots.
It was an OK run until after the first TP where I again ignored a weak thermal while on glide with a few pilots in front and below. We got a bit of bad air and I saw we would be way to low coming in behind a large forest-fire burning in front of us. I detoured to the left and spent some time getting back up alone from quite low. I saw the other two pilots in front land there, so it was the right decision.
From there it was a matter of trying to spot other gliders in the dense haze and smoke in the inversion layer, and another low save at the Posto Advance gas station. After taking the 2. TP I knew the day was over when I found a nice 1m/s smooth thermal that I shared with a group of Urubu vultures while we slowly drifted towards Brasilia and the setting sun. I landed after 87km of the 131km task
It was a fun flight after the stress of the start-gaggles, and I enjoyed getting back up from low by myself a few times, but it is of course way to slow, and as soon as I lost the other pilots by the fire it would be hard to go fast enough to get to goal.
I picked a nice harvested field where a few other gliders had landed, and our driver was there in no time.
None of the team made goal today, with Johnny down at around 98km and Olav down at 108km. We are struggling and loose too much time, and results are far from where we normally should be.
No goal today, I landed out around halfway into the 134km task, pushing into the wind. I was on glide to a gaggle of gliders circling in front of me and ignored one area of weak lift, but then got punished for my optimism and found just enough sink to glide too low under the pilots that were thermalling at the 3. TP, and I had to land there.
Found a nice field to land in though;
None of the team got to goal, Olav was closest around 10km short, and Johnny landed after 62km.
I did not like the first few thermals after the start gate, and glided out too early to get away, it was way to dangerous with pilots turning every other direction in a gaggle with 50+ pilots. We should stick to the same turn direction until after the first TP when the pilots are spread out a little more.
Day 2 and a 123km task back to the goal at Espanalada in Brasilia, the first pilot off the hill was Wolfi, into a bad cycle with very weak conditions that left him on the ground in 10 minutes.
The launch was then closed for a while due to crosswind, before pilots started taking off as we watched the Vultures showing us the thermals. Olav was early in the launch order and sunk out quite low beneath takeoff before getting up.
I did a very bad takeoff, my left wing dropped just as I picked up speed, and I had to use full weightshift to avoid turning back into the hill. The the zipper rope had a knot in it, so I could not close my harness until I found a lift that got me high enough so I could take my hands off the speedbar, which took around 15 minutes. Then I was super thirsty after the struggle to get up, but the camelback hose had a kink inside the harness, so no water for me today.
I did not have enough time to get the height for a good start, but it turned out OK as I found a good line coming back from the startgate and towards the first TP I could push to catch some of the pilots in front. After the first TP I pushed a little too hard, and had to stop in weak lift, loosing sight of the lead gaggle. From there it was an OK flight to goal, except when the YotaPhone crashed just as I came up to the 3. TP, it restarted by itself, but as I had just taken the TP it was pointing the wrong way and I had to to reprogram XC Track again.
Going on final glide we had a small gaggle with 5-6 gliders around, we had to stop around 14km out in weak lift, and I left it on 9:1 glide, hit the main thermal that you always find on final glide and shot up into the sky like a rocket gliding as fast as I dared. I came out of that last thermal with a 4:1 glide, so I had no problems making goal….
Setting up the landing I jammed the zipper in my shorts, and had another adrenaline filled minute trying to solve that problem while on downwind with 10 other gliders in the same position. To top that off the brakechute had twisted lines and did not open as it should, but I pulled off the landing anyway.
Oh, and I should mention that my new YotaPhone fell out of the car and broke the e-ink screen this morning. What a day! Things can only improve from here though.
Olav did a really good flight again, coming in just after the leaders at 17. place. I was mid-field at 67. and Johnny had instrument problems and missed the last turnpoint with 27m before flying to goal, and lost some places ending up at 102.
More than 100 pilots in goal today of total 134, skill level is high for sure!
It was quite a good day to start off the worlds, with blue skies, calm winds and very high cloudbase at over 3500 meters. We got a task of 107km out and almost return, with goal close to Planantina.
Despite having a total of 134 competition pilots on launch it went very quickly to get everyone airborne. I had a very hard time getting up above the ridge after takeoff, and spent a lot of time low searching for a core that could get me up to the rest of the pilots waiting for the start above. I finally got up to 2550m just in time for the first start gate and went on glide out of the start circle quite low compared to the rest of the gaggle.
I went with a group of pilots on track, but we got a pretty bad line with very turbulent and broken lift for the next 3-4 thermals, before we finally found a good core getting close to the altitude limit at 3500m. From halfway and to goal I could stay high and pick better lift, so I could catch up a little of the lost time from the start.
Olav, me and Johnny all made goal in the end, in 27. 64. and 72. place, making it an OK first day of the comp, but we need to speed up for the rest of the days.