After one more check flight in the two-seater I got the chance to fly a single seater, a Jantar Junior. Nice little plane,with sensitive controls and good handing, not exactly open class performance but it’s better than my Litespeed anyway.
I took it up for a three hour flight around the area, I was told to stay withing gliding range of the airport, so I had to behave and not go too far. I got to take a look at Mt Borah and saw a lone hangglider struggling low on the west launch. The conditions were good, cloudbase at 8000 feet early in the day, and rising to 10k later. I had to go down to pee, as I have not learned all the tricks of the trade yet. In a hangglider it’s relatively easy to “get it out”. I will bring a empty bottle tomorrow :-)
It was quite gray skies at Lake Keepit this morning, which was perfect for doing a few tows to train aborted tows. Apparently I did well as the instructor got out and asked me to fly solo. I did four solo flights, the first two was just a landing circuit, then the weather cleared up a bit and I stayed up for about 1 hour in weak thermals. The electronic variometer with audio stopped working after about 10 minutes, I could look at the mechanical one to stay up, but it’s a lot better to fly with audio. After landing and getting some water I took the last flight and stayed up for about one more hour.
Tomorrow I will fly a single seater Jantar Junior, should be fun!
I finally got to take another sailplane flight today. I drove up from Sydney up to Manilla last night and went to the Lake Keepit club this morning where I got to fly the Puchatek 2 seater, as it will actually spin and I needed to practice spin recovery. That exercise went well, and we boated around in some good thermals for 2 hours and landed before the kangaroos come out in force. Dave Seib also came out and I saw him come gliding underneath us in the LS6, we met up for dinner at the Pub in Manilla.
Tomorrow I have to practice aborted tow, and then I hope to go solo, should be fun!
It’s been really heavy rain in southern Queensland with some massive flooding in some areas. The competition in Dalby have been postponed due to the floodings. Dalby itself was not too bad hit so far, but there is more rain to come in the next few days. The new dates are 18 to 24/3. It’s a long drive from Sydney at around 1000km. Atilla said he used to do the “Queensland run” in one day, but I think I might want to stop in Manilla to maybe do some Sailplaning at Lake Keepit.
Similar conditions to yesterday, but with clouds. We got a direct line task to goal, 120 something km, 5km goal circle. I got off and up easily, and waited around under the clouds for the next start gate. Many pilots took the first start gate, and I was in the position to do so, but having markers out front would be good and I expected to catch up. It seemed like a good day, nice clouds, good lift in the start gate, and not too much wind.
I left with Johnny and a few other pilots, we went on glide and got some good air but it was not enough to stop in. I saw a gaggle in front over the hills where the Boggabri Gap is, and went on a glide under them – That was a mistake as I could not find the lift under the gaggle, and nearly landed there. I struggled to get up there for a long time, and the shit thermal I was working did not get me anywhere near cloudbase. I lost sight of everyone else, including the gaggle I started with, and knew I had lost way too much time there.
It would not have been too bad by itself with that low save, but I had a horrible run for the rest of the flight. I was alone and out of sync with the conditions and could not find anything usable under perfectly good looking clouds. I nearly landed again halfway through the task, I was unzipped and ready to land next to a waterhole when a thermal released off the treeline next to it and got me slowly out of there again. After struggling on in more crap lift for the rest of the task I finally got a good thermal off the big forest next to Narrabri, and got to cloudbase there. This was the first time I was in cloudbase since the start circle, and also the first relatively smooth thermal since the start.
From that cloudbase it was an easy glide to goal, with good air I had 25:1 glide in and came in with around 15 gliders before me. Johnny won the day again, and will be in the lead again, I will probably fall way down the list. Tomorrow is the last day of the comp, looks like a good day on the forecast.
We got a 106 km task, via Baan Ban to a goal west of Narrabri. Blue day with low climbs, windy and difficult, I only got to 1600 meters ASL. I had a low save after gliding out of the start circle, just before the Boggabri Gap. Johnny was 10 meters below me and landed there, I got up somehow, and flew with a small gaggle of pilots towards the TP. Going to the TP was hard because of the wind, and it became a struggle to get there. I got above Conrad and a few others, and went on my own to the TP. We were 6 km downwind and with a 35 km/h headwind it was not an easy task to get there. I found some patches of lift, and that gave me the glide to get there. But I could not get up when I turned around and went downwind again. I saw Conrad getting up over where I landed 10 minutes later, and he got to goal from there.
In hindsight I should have stayed with what was left of our gaggle, but I was way above and needed only one good thermal to get to goal… Scott Barret won the day, I got tenth today. Seems like the day was fully valid, which is strange since the average distance flown was less than the nominal distance. Conrad is now in the lead, I”m in second and John Smith in third.
The road up to Borah was fine even after the 30mm rain yesterday, so we drove up and set up on the West facing launch. Some of the paragliders launched early and stayed up, but did not get very high. We got a 94km task with two TP, where the last two legs would be headwind.
After a bit of waiting we got off in a big gaggle, I climbed out and headed for the edge of the 5 km start circle. Grant, and Niel had already started, as well as Johnny. I was 5 minutes too late for their start so I hung back with Conrad and a few others to take the next start.
It was not exactly booming conditions, and we had a bit of a struggle getting up after the first glide. I got above the pack and glided off alone to a good looking cloud, I heard Grant on the radio climbing up under that cloud, and found a weak 1 m/s climb there. From there it was another long glide towards the TP, where a few gliders were marking the next thermal. I missed the core, and had to go back a few km, but there we got the best thermal of the day with 4,5 m/s lift up to 2200 meters.
I had now caught up and passed the gaggle in front, and could only see one glider in front. It was blue and headwind to the next TP, so I headed over to a paddock that had a fire burning in it, and got a few hundred meters there before gliding to the second TP where the conditions did not look very promising.
My VG had started to jam, and I saw that the pulley in the A-frame corner was not turning, the rope was melting the pulley and generated a lot of friction. I tried to leave the VG alone, but to glide headwind it must be on otherwise I lost too much.
I took the TP quite low, at about 800 meters (~400 above ground), and went downwind to the other glider that was drifting with something but not getting high. We struggled there for a while, drifting 5-6 km back, but we could see a group of paragliders getting up about 5 km upwind of us. It was very much a hit and miss glide, but I got a good liftline and managed to find a thermal and get up to 1800 meters just behind the second TP.
From there it was around 22km glide to goal, so I tried really hard to get to cloudbase, but the lift just died out and it was completely blue towards goal. It did not look very good, I started to glide hoping to find good air. I started off with 13,7:1 glide to goal, and got some good air while high and had it down to 12,5:1. As soon as I got lower the wind got stronger, and the numbers just got worse and worse. I get some broken lift and tried to get up a few times, drifting back, but could not gain enough height. The day was shutting down and I landed 8 km from goal.
Only Johnny got to goal, I saw Scott land in front of me on the next paddock, so I got 3. place for the day. Not too bad, but it feels much better to be in goal
It was the first time in many years that I’ve been flying with radio, it worked out well as we all could hear only each other since we set up Tone Squelch on our radios.
Today looks like a good day again, SE winds, 75% chance of OD so we might have to fly out on the flatlands.
I drove from Sydney to Manilla on Saturday night, after stopping by the Chinese new years party at Bill and Mollys place in Bronte. It was a long drive as the GPS sent me up the tourist drive road, which is a 100 km of very winding and narrow road. It’s probably very pretty in the daytime and good weather, but at night in dense fog and rain, it was a nightmare.
About halfway up the road I was stopped by another driver who said he was lost. (He said “I’m bushed” :-)) He had gone 50 km down the wrong road, since I had a GPS we could find out which road we were on, and could find the way out again. I arrived at the Imperial hotel in Manila at 01:45 and found Lars Olav sound asleep in the room.
It was windy the next day, and during briefing it was clear we would not fly the next few days. We got some really heavy rain yesterday, around 30mm according to the weather guy, so no flying. I teamed up with Dirk Barber, Niel Peterson, Grant Heaney, and we have Lars Olav as a driver.
Today looks good, but with all the rain yesterday it’s still wet on the ground and we have to wait a bit for the road to launch to dry out before we can go up. The weather looks flyable but the forecast predicts slow and low conditions with more and more cloud cover during the day.
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