After the plenary I flew down under to Sydney, met up with Attila Bertok and got “the keys” to his sailplane that he keeps at Lake Keepit, where there’s a competition going on this week. I arrived late on Monday night, got the glider rigged on Tuesday morning, and after a couple of check-flights in a two-seater with instructor I was good to go (Emergency procedures and such). I have not flow sailplanes for a year so I felt a bit rusty the first hours, but I got a nice day of local soaring around the airfield and managed to land nicely.
Today I had signed up for a coaching flight with legend G. Dale, we flew in the Grob103 as the Duo Discus was booked for other pilots, but we still did a fairly good speed of 93km/h average in our 250km AAT task. It was very interesting to fly with a very good competition pilot, I still have a lot to learn about the mechanics of flying the glider efficiently, while we chose almost exactly the same lines to fly in the sky.
Seems like it was yesterday I looked at the snow outside, now it’s late summer, what happened?
Well.. Flyingwise it’s been a bleak season at home so far. We had our Nationals in Vågå as usual one week in July, I think these pictures tell the tale of the weather we had;
We did not fly a single task in the nationals, weatherdemons vs hanggliding – 8:0 The nationals ended on Saturday, and on Sunday it was flyable and taskable again… I took some pictures from flying in Bøverdalen that Sunday;
The week after our nationals was my XC flying week this summer, but even though we got some good flying, the conditions were too stable for any real XC attempts. I did get to try out my new GoPro camera boom from Instinct Windsports, works great! A few examples from a late evening flight over Vågå (We took off at 19:00). So not a single good XC flight at home this summer so far, and it’s getting late into the season now.
After that week I headed back south to Elverum and Starmoen airport to run a beginner course in Hanggliding. The course went really well with 8 students, we had really nice weather most days, and flew 8 out of 9 days with really good progress and great students. It was a scootertowing course, and we did around 250 tows that week with great results. Some pictures; (Some images by Morten Heller and Frederic Bakken)
Workwise it’s been quite busy spring and summer, I did the next big Cisco certification – CCDE in April and May. (Which involved 3 trips to London in 3 weeks), then flew to Miami, had a week vacation on South Beach in Miami, and Long Island in the Bahamas, before heading up to Orlando for the yearly Cisco Live conference.
I also did a quick trip to the North of Norway, to meet family and also meet classmates from highschool 25 years ago, which was great fun! Weather was “interesting”;
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.
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.
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…
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.
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
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