Tag Archives: forbes

Last day at Forbes

The last day looked nice from the morning, but the forecast for thunderstorms soon proved to be correct. We were all set up under a great sky, and had a 146km task to the SE. I took the first start gate among most of the other pilots, and flew fairly fast down the course line under building clouds. I pushed hard, and got a little bit low halfway, but soon got up again. By then a Cu-Nimbus behind us had started dropping a lot of rain, and some lightning. There was another cell to the NW, but we could always run away from these. The problem was another huge cloud dumping rain in the area before goal.

The task was stopped soon after, just as I topped out at cloudbase, and I glided to a sailplane strip with some of the other pilots. We got caught by the rain, and had to hide under some sailplane trailers.

Blay Olmos won the comp with just 3 points on Johnny. The next day Olav and I drove to Mt. Beauty for the Bogong cup, it was a long drive, but it’s nice and green here, and a bit cooler at night.

Forbes, day 5 – 6

Yesterday we were supposed to have a 350km task, but he weather did not turn out as good as forecasted. The day was blue, with quite strong winds. The task was 260 something km to the NNE. I started towing early as third pilot off. We had 1 hour and 30 minutes of waiting in the start circle, and with the strong winds and weak lift it was a struggle at times, but it got better gradually.

I teamed up with Michi, Curt, Blay, and one of the Russians. We got a good start and stayed together for the first 100 km. It was stable and inverted and lift only to 1400 meters, so we typically glided until down to a 1000 meters, and then thermal up to the inversion again. It was slow going, and because of the strong winds it was not smart to get lower. We pressed 20 km upwind of track, as the wind was 90 degrees cross, to be in position to drift towards goal at the end.

At around 120km we went on a long glide towards some good looking paddocs, we had been aiming for the plowed and dark areas all day, and it had worked so far. Blay had topped out before us a few thermals ago, and we had lost him. I was upwind and highest with the Russian just behind me, Curt low to my right, and Michi downwind of Curt. We spread out in search pattern, but soon were low and in deep shit, and could not find anything. This was over a remote area, but there was a farm up front with a waterhole and some dark paddocs around. I aimed for downwind of the waterhole, in case it could trigger a thermal. But there was nothing, I could see the Russian had found something weak about a km upwind of me, but I was down to 150 meters off the deck, so I could not go there.

I saw Michi land next to the farm house, and I went downwind to the treeline at the end of the paddock, where I could land close to the farm. I got a shitty thermal off the treeline, and managed to hang on to it for some turns, and it improved to a nice 3m/s core. I was saved for now, but completely alone as the Russian was still struggling upwind, and did not come to my thermal.

This sucked, as we were going quite fast, and doing well in our little gaggle, we were doing good time to make it to goal, despite the slow conditions. Alone in this meant slowing down and taking all the lift I could find.

As we had pushed upwind all day I was now in a position to go more directly downwind, or so I thought, but the wind was at times actually headwind. I had to cross over an area with no roads, no farms, just trees and small grazing paddocs. I hesitated as going alone meant I would not make enough time to make goal, and the strong winds were not helping at all. Getting out of that area with no roads would be a pain. So I turned into the wind and landed next to a small town, actually going backwards on the final, it was howling. I landed holding the basebar, and had to hold my glider down while packing up or it would slide away.

Olav had gone very early, before the start gate opened, and landed 80 km out. Nic was doing well but pushed a little too hard and landed 50 km before goal. Not many in goal, and many of the top pilots landed out.

Today is a rest day, and the funeral service for Steve Elliot. Conditions look good, weak winds and cu’s forming in the sky. But we are not complaining too much from the poolside though.

Forbes, day 4, sick day for me.

When we came home from flying yesterday I felt awake and thought that the jetlag was gone, I was happy about it. But I soon found out that I could not sleep at all during the night. I felt sick and not very rested in the morning.

We got a 192 km task to the NE, forecast for cloudbase at 4000 meters, and 20 km winds.

Arriving at the airport we set up in the heat, 42 degrees today, and got ready to tow. I was number 7 in my line, and was again in for a good start time if I got up. When I got up to the start line, I had one pilot in front of me, and suddenly the wind switches around, and we get strong tailwind. It was a huge dustdevil picking up in front of us, and the two pilots that were coming in to land was caught by it. One pilot slams in hard, and is picked up by the ambulance. We’re told he’s OK, just have to be checked at the hospital.

The accident stops the towing for almost 45 minutes. Waiting in the harness in the sun takes it toll, I wanted to get up in the cool air, but by the time towing started again I was so sick that I decided to not push it. I packed up my glider and got a ride back to the hotel to take a cold shower and a get few hours sleep.

Olav and Nic made it to goal, I guess it was a fantastic day as long as you got up in the air.

Forbes, day 3

This server was down because of a long powerfailure that drained all the UPS batteries. This always seem to happens when I’m far away, so sorry for the downtime.

Yesterday was another good day, with very high cloudbase and strong lift, but it was also very windy. We got a 169km task with two crosswind legs. I had perfect timing to take the first startgate, but the tugpilot dropped me off downwind of the airport with a gaggle of 5 other pilots sinking out. Thank you very much. We all glided back to the airport for a second tow, and that took a while. So I was forced to do the last startgate again. Nic and me flew together for a while, but he landed out after only 30 km, and I was soon alone. The cloudbase rose to 3500 meters when I got to the first turnpoint, and going alone it’s way too slow. I always search for better lift, but with the windy conditions it was broken and difficult, and a gaggle would be much faster. I briefly had Olav and two other gliders under me, but they stayed behind when I glided to the next cloud and I did not see them anymore.

I glided with 110-115 km/h groundspeed, and tried to stay in the more organized lift over 2000 meters. The final glide was under massive cloudsuck, and I arrived around 1000meters above goal… Olav came in at 3000 meters, which must be a new record.

I got 31 place, Olav 39.

Today looks like another good day.

My condolances to Steve Elliot’s family and friends. We had dinner together when we came to Forbes, he was such a friendly and funny guy, liked by everyone. It’s a big loss for all of us.

More on day 2

Results can be found at;

The carnage on the first day seemed to never end, Olav’s glider was fine after replacing one upright, but he was then attacked by an eagle while flying the task. The eagle tore holes in the top surface of his sail with its claws. Steve Moyes had a bad landing, and hurt his finger, so he could not fly anymore, that was lucky for me as I could get parts from Steve’s glider to repair mine.

I wanted to get off the ground as soon as possible yesterday, but there were still some small things to do on the glider, so I had to wait a bit for the tow again. I was having a headache, and felt nausea from being dehydrated working on the glider in the morning. I drunk at least 3 liters before takeoff, so it would help during the flight, but I still felt sick and had to take it easy during the flight.

On course I teamed up with Lucas Bader and Phil Schroeder for a while, but I lost Lucas from sight when we went on glide again. I later heard he went a little left behind me, and got a new 5 m/s thermal and could start the final glide from there, while I had to take one more thermal.

I did get a OK time, despite taking it easy. We get penalized for taking the last start gate.

Briefing is in 3 minutes now, looks like a good day again today.

Forbes, day 2

Short report today, I’m dead tired from a long day.

Worked from 07:30 to 11:00 fixing the glider, got quite dehydrated in the sun. We got a 103km task, quite windy in the morning. Got off OK once the wind died down a bit, and got up. Took the last start gate, and flew to goal. Nice but turbulent day, clouds, crosswind task, cloudbase at 2800m.

More tomorrow

Forbes day 1, a dustdevil ate my glider

Today looked like a good day, we got a 187km task via one TP. The forecast was for some clouds and base at around 2200 meters.

We all set up at the airstrip, and got ready to go. The towing did not go very fast, and my line seemed to be the slowest one. Olav Lien was 2 gliders in front of me. As we slowly moved forward towards the takeoff line a dustdevil started forming just in front of us. Within a second it was huge and picked up a Nic that was lying down on the dolly ready to go. He was lucky and had the dolly runners to help him and hold him down, but when the dustdevil came to us there was no one to help.

We were all clipped in and ready to go, and got slammed around pretty good. The American pilot in front of me was lifted a meter up, and dumped down on his back 6-7 meters away from where he stood. Olav was flipped over on his back, and broke one upright on the glider. I managed to hold the glider down on the nose for a while, but eventually was flipped over on the back. The Australian pilot behind me also got flipped over, and his leading edge hit my glider and broke my outboard leadingedge, sprog, and one batten. The broken sprog also made a nice hole in the undersurface, in addition to the scars in the leadingedge from flipping over. My instrument mount was also cracked, but I might be able to fix that with some epoxy.

A total of 6 gliders were damaged. I do not know if we get the parts yet. In addition to the carnage caused by the dustdevil, one Russian pilot tumbled on his Combat while thermalling up over the airfiled, and came down under rescue chute. Another pilot flipped over on the dolly under takeoff and had to be airlifted out to hospital. He’s was not badly injured as far as I know.

I gave one of my uprights to Olav so he could fly, and he took off again later, but I do not know if he attempted the task yet. He was at least 1:30 behind the last start time.

So not a good start on this competition for me, I could not fly the task, and need lots of repairs to my glider. There was nothing we could do to avoid the dustdevil, but it’s a bit silly to have to stay in the line hooked in for a long time in these conditions. We should be able to tie down the gliders, and just go straight into the takeoff line to minimize the risk of dustdevils.

Forbes, practice day

The internet connection at the hotel here is really unstable, and I will not be able to write much on this blog, or answer to many emails unless the connectio improves. It took more than 10 tries to get this text uploaded.

We had a good day with practice flights yesterday, I got a nice 1 hour flight on my Litespeed, the glider goes straight, and feels good so far. I have not been thermalling since July, so I’m a bit rusty for sure.

Today is the first competition day, weather looks good.

Arrived in Forbes

I flew Oslo – London in the morning, and had to wait 7 hours at Heathrow for my flight to Sydney. Not too bad, I found a good book and a quiet pub, so time went by quickly at the airport. I could not sleep on the flight from London to Sydney at all, so that flight felt like it took forever.

Olav have been in Sydney a few days, so he picked me up at the airport and we drove straight from Sydney to Forbes. It’s a 4 hour drive, and we arrived hoping to have a short flight on the new gliders, but it was way too windy to fly. So I tried to sleep a few hours, before having dinner. We met Nic from Switzerland and teamed up with him as he was alone but had a driver and a big car. So we’re all set for the comp.

The weather here is sunny and warm, it was 34 degrees yesterday, but it might be windy the next few days. Looks like there will be around 80 pilots in the comp, many are already here, and the rest will arrive today.

Going to bed at 22, I quickly fell asleep, but woke up again at 03 hungry for dinner, and could not sleep more. Jetlag sucks…

We will go out to the airfield again today, and I really hope we can get a few flights in today to get a little bit used to towing and thermals again before the comp starts.