Tag Archives: oz2010

Flying “Jaws”, heading home

I’ve spent some time at the Moyes factory the last weeks, helping Bill Moyes finishing some of his projects. One project was to make a nice cockpit for the Dragonfly, to give some shelter to the pilot flying it. I’ve gotten some first hand knowledge of how cold it can be in the winter, so I think this was  a good idea!

Bill made some brackets, and a frame from aluminium tubing and profiles. We put it all together by pop-riveting the clear perspex and black plastic sheet to the frame, some alu profiles on the side, and sikaflex to glue the trim and jaws in place. We quickly realized it needs a few improvements, like hinges to swing it up for easier entry and exit, and possibly a way to get to the rudder pedals to steer when groundhandling the plane, but all in all a very good result for a first prototype.

Looks pretty good?

Dragonfly cockpit
Dragonfly cockpit prototype

I made up some nice sharks teeth to give it a bit more “Bite” :-)

Jaws
Jaws, now with sharks teeth!

We wanted to try it out at Rylestone, but the weather did not cooperate with us the first weekend. However last weekend we loaded it into the trailer and drove to Rylestone to try it out. Saturday was rainy and shitty, so we spent the day moving a trike and some other stuff to Gulgong. Bill has some of his toys there, and I had a look at the Tempest sailplanes he built. I hope I get to try one someday!

We slept in the “Terminal” at Rylestone again, and with Bill getting up every 2 hours putting more wood on the fire it was warm and comfy inside. I woke up and had a look outside at 4 AM, with a full moon and clear skies it was getting well below freezing and the ground was white from frost. I never thought I would experience this in Australia…

At 7AM Bill is awake and it’s time to go flying, frost and dense morning fog did not matter. According to every Australian I meet – as a Norwegian I should be used to the cold… In Norway we have real clothes for real winters, not the thin and cheap stuff you find in stores here :-)

I was doing some instructing from the back-seat, flying with Roger who is buying a new Dragonfly. He’s already had many hours of flying, so we just trained some landings and emergencies between heating up in front of the fire inside. I was wearing everything I had left of warm clothes, but I did not have windproof clothes anymore as I shipped those with my hangglider. It was extremely cold in the morning, but got a little better during the day as the sun heated up the air.

In the meantime we had got the wings back on Jaws, Steve McCarthy took it for a spin after warming up the Rotax 912 and reported good behavior and vibrations. I took it up for the second flight, and found that our cockpit worked brilliantly. It was just a little turbulence down my back, otherwise nice and comfy. The local eagles were coming up in the weak thermals to check me out, and we had a brilliant sky to play around in.

It was a good way to finish off the flying in Australia for this trip. We are packing up at home now, and have a flight home to Norway on Saturday.

Looks wrong with no glider on the roof.
The Cruiser looks strange with no glider on the roof. I'll miss this car, I did 22000 km on it in 5 months with no trouble at all. The ultimate hanggliding car... She's with a very good new owner now!

Oz winter flying at Lake Keepit

I spent a few more days at Lake Keepit in hope of getting some XC conditions, it was blue and windy the first few days, but the last day was OK with some late clibms to 4800ft and up to 4 knot thermals.

I flew the LS7 the first days, and took the Junior up the last day as it was already set up to fly.

Some pictures;

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.

Remember;

  • 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 http://www.hgfa.asn.au/~dhgc/ 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

Dalby 2010, day 5 and 6

I forgot to write-up about yesterday, sorry Trent! :-)

Day 5 saw a good day with not much shade from the morning, and what seemed like good lift. We got a 130 ‘ish km task, with a TP in the middle just for fun. I was one of the last to tow, and teamed up with a small gaggle taking a good start in cloudbase. We flew fast and dropped off most of the pilots from the gaggle, ending up with me, Dave May and Trent Brown flying together for most of the course. It was going OK with some slow parts over partly shaded areas. On the penultimate glide I had Trent ahead of me, and Dave behind and a little to the right. Trent god a good line and I followed him, but I got shit air and lost 2000 feet extremely fast ending up low and in the shade while Dave found something to my right that I could not reach. I had to land 27 km out from goal.

Today the conditions looked even better, but it was far between the good clouds. The task was a slight dogleg of 176 km. I got up in the middle of the towing line, but got a slow thermal and made the startgate 5 minutes too late and lower than the gaggle who just had left. I and one more glider spent the next 15-20 minutes just on the edge of the start circle, getting nowhere, slowly drifting away and not getting up. We were too low to go back to take a better time, and finally just had to go downwind and look for better air. We found some crap lift 10 km down the course, and a third glider came under us. We could not get high, and kept on going on small glides looking around for better air.

The course takes us over a big forest that have few good landings, and on the edge of that forest we needed to get high to cross it. We split up, and I went in over the forest for some good-looking clouds. I found nothing until I was down at treetop height, next to a small and shitty paddock between the trees, when the thermal I had found died after two turns I had to land there as there were no more options.

Xavier picked me up quickly, and we drove to goal to get Conrad. Tim landed just 4-5 km from goal, but in the middle of a big paddock 1,6 km from the road. It was getting dark as we drove into the rough paddock, where it was a big risk of driving into small waterholes and get stuck. We found Tim after about 2 km offroading and got back out without getting stuck in the dark, hanggliding is always an adventure.

I have no good idea why I am flying so bad in this competition, I just seem to miss the good lift and stay out of sync with the conditions every day. The conditions are not that difficult, and I have plenty of flatland flying experience, I’m in good flying shape, I climb and glide better than most here, but it does not seem to help much when I land short every day. Normally I can tell when I made a bad decision, and learn what I did wrong, but these days I can not see what I do wrong.

One more day and it’s all over, I hope I can at least get to goal tomorrow…

Dalby 2010, day 3

Much the same as the days before in terms of conditions, but a bit more sun from the morning. We got a 160 km task straight to goal. I got a long tow in very weak conditions, nearly had to go back for a re-launch but got up in some weak stuff and to cloudbase in time to take the third startgate at 13:30.

I saw a few other pilots taking the same start, but all were spread out quite far. I met up with Conrad after a few thermals, he got a ripper and got above me before a long glide towards a powerstation and the beginning of a overcast and shaded area. I got low there and spent the next 20 minutes getting back up to 1200 meters before spotting a dustdevil a few km ahead in the shaded are. I dived for it, found good lift in three turns and then it was weak and broken the rest of the way up. There was grass and leaves everywhere in the air from the dustdevil, but I could not find any stronger lift in the area no matter how much I was looking for it.

After getting high again there loosing another 20 minutes, I saw only a few small patches of sun on the gound, and overcast the rest of the way to goal. I found some lift, but it was not enough to climb in, and had to land 76 km from goal.

Today looks like a repeat again, very cloudy in the morning, windy from the SE.