Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Davis 365 Miles Later

Today was looking like great conditions for an early start as the wind was more south. We all raced out to the airport around 8:30 am and got prepared for what could be the day, however there was still high cloud around like yesterday. Davis launched first around 9:35am then I took off at about 9:45am. The first part of the flight here is amazing very low and slow but also very buoyant under the streets. I glided 10 miles before reaching cloudbase which was only 1,600 ft agl, It is amazing for some reason you always feel low especially when the landings are not so good and the retrieve even worse. The only good side to that is that there is a lot of encouragement not to land and just stay in the air all day. I was making good time today and was actually catching Davis who started 8 miles in front of me and was now only 2 miles ahead. I spotted him for the first time 30 miles out and made the mistake of trying to catch him. I ended up low at the wrong time and tried for a very low save but due to the lack of landings I gave up as I would have needed to comit once again to the trees but this time the thermal was just not good enough to be comitted... So I landed 42 miles out at 11am flying for just over 1 hour. Davis struggled in light lift between 1-400 up untill reaching the 100mile mark. This sounded just like the conditions I flew in yesterday. It was not looking like a record day by any means but he knew that this would be our last chance so he was going to go as far as he could. I have not talked to davis yet but sounds like he survived the hill country around the 200 mile mark and got back into some blue sky with a convergence line. He increased his speed considerably and was able to fly another quick 100 miles before getting shut down again by more cirrus. He landed early around 7 pm in full overdevoloped sky 365 miles out or( nearly 600kms). I would have to congratulate Davis as this was a awesome flight considering the days conditions. Nice one mate!!!!!
Tuesday, July 26, 2005

207 Miles

I launched at 10:30am with a 10-15mph ESE wind and cloudbase 1,500 agl. Bo Towed me crosswind about 3 miles so that I would not have to struggle as hard to avoid airspace. Lift was average 1-200 up max which was drifting me towards the airspace everytime I stopped to circle, this meant that every glide was nearly crosswind. Despite the very low base and crosswind I seemed to be making reasonable time as it was starting to street up, I thought to myself this is the day. Once getting around the airspace I went downwind nearly 20 miles on a single glide from 3,000 agl. It seemed to be getting better so I started pushing a little harder to increase my speed but minutes later I found myself low over the trees with nowhere to go but land in them and have to walk about 4 miles out. This was enough to will myself back up from 300 feet, I told myself earlier if I get back up I will follow the road. Base had now risen to 4,500 ft agl but was not looking as that great still at 100 miles out. I kept getting reports from Gary saying that if I could just stay in the air for 2 more hours conditions would improve a lot more. 1 hour later it started to get good again with climbs now up to 6-800 up and clooud streets so once again I started speeding up. I was now appoaching the hill country 170 miles out and noticed some big overdevelopment which was shading everything in front of me. As I have been told this one of the most important places to cross high as there is really really limited landing options. I asked Jamie to call Gary and get him to check out the weather map and see what this high cloud was doing. I got the report back that if I could get through it the weather on the otherside was looking good. From what I could I see the day was gone and there would be no record to be had so I might as well land while I could next to the road. Unfortunately no one wanted me to give up so I kept going hoping for a miracle only to find myself now low 201 miles out in the worst terrain you will ever fly over. There was a little sun to my west with some cu's just starting to pop I thought well this is do or die, so I committed to leaving the road aand heading deeper into the hill country. The problem now is the landings have basicly dissappeared apart from one very small clearing in the bottom of a revine 5 miles off the road. As I get lower I give Jamie my position and said things are not looking good. She replies I need more info cause there is no phone coverage here so once you land I might not be able to contact you. Wow things had just gotten worse not only was I in the middle of nowhere with no landings in leighside rotor, I was not going to have phone reception. This made the landing even more important cause if I crashed it could be a very long wait for help.. As I approached I needed to clear a row of trees very low then fly through a gap of trees and try and pull up before I ran out of field. So far so good I just literally missed the first trees was lining up to go through the slot before hitting some rotor which took me up 50 feet and banked me right toward one of the trees I managed to just miss the tree and straighten up but now I was looking like i would overshoot. I quickly pulled in to ground effect in hang going slightly up hill and flared about 3 metres short of the trees at the end of the clearing. Believe it or not I was standing on my feet I quickly turned the glider around in a 360 to see what I had just escaped. Wow I stood there for what seemed like an hour then I heard Jamie's voice on the radio, yes I was happy at least we had communication. I gave her my co-ordinates and started packing up expected a very long walk and a late night. Soon afetr I packed up she pulled up in the car, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. There was no way I could have survived the landing and not have to walk out. Well it was now a long drive home as tomorrow is looking good. Total distance 207 miles(333kms) in just under 6 hours..

Spanish Nats Day 7

Task seven of the Spanish open provided a 65km predominately downwind task with a very tricky start due to overdevelopment and rain along the ridges. After flying near launch for nearly an hour and thermalling with some people who don’t understand the importance of providing some space when thermalling a wet glider in light lift, I managed to make the 4pm start gate (the second last start gate). I worked to an upwind position at the entry start gate so I could fly onto the first turnpoint and then complete the second 5km upwind leg before the downwind 55km final leg. I came around the second turnpoint low but managed to find a thermal shortly thereafter and drift down the course line until gained sufficient height. I ended up winning the day with a time of one hour eleven minutes – 52km/h average. I’m now in second place overall.
Monday, July 25, 2005

Spanish Nationals

Dave seibs sends me an update, On task five, we flew a 105km triangle. Kiki, the current winner of the competition, and I left the start gate at the same time. I went straight along the course line on the flats, while Kiki went back to the hills. He caught up with Amir (from Israel) and myself at second turnpoint. I led out to the third turnpoint and was rewarded with a booming 4-5 metre thermal to 3200m, leaving on the fifty km glide to the fourth turnpoint. I hit it low for the downwind 15km final glide and had to take a light thermal to get enough height. Kiki came in over the top having found a good thermal prior to the turnpoint. He beat me into goal by seven minutes. The next day was cancelled due to strong winds. I flew anyway and flew 30kms up wind over some challenging terrain before returning to Arcones. Task six was a 78km task with tough 20km headwind final. No-one made goal this day due to the wind. I came third for the day landing 5kms short. I made the mistake of stopping to climb in crap and drifting two kilometers downwind. If I’d kept going I would’ve got second, however you’ve got to have a go. I’m now in third place overall, 300 points behind Kiki. For full comp results click here
Sunday, July 24, 2005

Mexico Adventure

After my short flight today one of my teeth starting hurting really bad. We were told that the only place that could be open on the weekend was in Mexico so we jumped in the car and raced down there. Once arriving in this small town and finding the dentist we pulled in to read the sign that says CLOSED, wow all of a sudden it starting hurting even more. We decided since we had driven this far we should in our broken Spanish if there were any other dentist intown that might be open. Yes there was another so we got directions and he was open I tried not to smile to much as it hurt. We went in there and saw that it was a home practice with some equipment from the 1980's but I was not complaining.. I only started complaning when i found out my only real choice was to remove the tooth, So be it I thought and 1 hour later and one big tooth missing we were on our back to America. On the way we had to cross over the big Falcon lake and there were I think vultures everywhere soaring the dam wall so I snapped this picture.

Red Bull

Well after some designing I eventually got my Red Bull logos on the glider. Here is a picture of me taking off from the airport under a beautiful sky but with not much wind..

I flew around for a little while just taking a few pics so you could see what the terrain looks like here. As you can see there is a lot of trees which go all the way to about 500 + kms. The other picture was taken above the Zapata airport which is where our great adventures start from!!!!!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Litespeeds Wining Nordic Open

Gerolf writes a quick update on the Nordic Open... After 5 days into the comp we now stand at 2 tasks overall. Both tasks have been providing quite interesting thermal conditions. The amazingly unstable air mass doesn’t need much sun to lift off and literally every little patch of sun will trigger a thermal. The only trick then is to line up these patches properly along your individually chosen course line – which thus can deviate quite a bit from the straight line - and if you’ve done well you can have a sleek run all the way through, despite all the shadow and valley wind traps along the task. On Task-2, we three Austrians – Michi, Seppi and me, manage such a clean run. It’s the locals that will struggle today. Synchronised by Radio-Austria (for the first time in years!) Michi and I perform some nice team flying and manage to arrive in goal a good 50mins ahead of Andreas, Nils and Jon. Seppi pays his risky final by coming 2km short. 10 pilots will make goal in the end providing lots of speed points to Michi and me – we end up with a hefty 300 points advantage over the Scandinavians. This sort of tumbles the overall scoring. The Top-10 after 2 Tasks therefore: Gerolf Heinrichs, Aut, Moyes Lss4, 1534 Michi Fiesenbichler, Aut, Moyes Lss3.5, 1309 Andreas Olsson, Swe, WillsWing T2, 1190 Jon Gjerde, Moyes Lss4, 1150 Nils Henden, Moyes Lss4, 1095 Seppi Salvenmoser, Moyes Lss3.5, 851 Jens Krotzeng, Icaro Laminar, 803 Jonny Nilssen, Airborne C2, 770 Olaf Opsanger, Nor, Moyes Lss4, 763 Bjorn Joakinson, Nor, Moyes Ls4, 753 Yesterday and today (thursday) have been cancelled due to rain and wind, but we are confident to fly friday and saturday! Greetings, Gerrrolf

Gliders Tumble In Spain

Dave seib send me a report on the spanish nationals I haven’t been so lucky over the past two days. The third task was a 162km task and I landed at about the 60km mark after a strong headwind and little lift – I was out in front. No-one made it to goal this day. On day four my glider was tumbled on launch by one of the many dust devils. We lost four gliders this day, two the previous day and two glider (and one pilot – broken hip) the day before. I was lucky with only a broken carbon tip, carbon under surface batten and a very bent number 11 batten. Carlos wife brought me my spare tips from down the bottom, Marino (Betinho’s old assistant) help me repair everything. I was able to launch a little late but managed a good second start gate. It was a 120km downwind dog-leg. I managed to catch everyone just after the first turnpoint and was in the lead with 50km to go, a 25km tailwind and 4300m height. I stop at 12km to go for a top up because I didn’t want to take any risks as I was in front. I climbed in a 4m thermal to gain an 8:1 glide ratio before continuing my glide. I hit massive amounts of sink on final and landed 800m short. A lot of people made goal. Today I’m going to win the task.
Friday, July 22, 2005

Road Trip

Hi well we finally made it to Gary's sailplane today after driving for nearly 800 miles. We arrived at a ranch called 4 6666's and were greeted by a very nice guy that told us were we could find the Silent 2 hiding in one of there many barns out the back. So we now found the glider and all we needed to do was to figure out how to disassemble it and pack it into the trailer and prepare for another 800 miles of driving. We read our instructions step by step and managed without any trouble to pack it up in under 1 hour and we were back on the road. We drove through this amazing canyon along the way, here are a couple of pics of our journey so far. We are currently in Big Spring which is where the next comp will be and then we will be driving back to Zapata tomorrow.
Thursday, July 21, 2005

Hurricane Emily Arrives

Well we were greeted this morning with Emily bringing us lots of rain but not much wind. It appears that it will stay wet here for a few days so Jamie and I are taking gary Osoba's sailplane trailer to pick up his glider and bring it back for him. There is absoulutely nothing to do here so we thought that we should do something and get out of the pouring rain.. So we are off on a road trip which should take us at least 2 days if not 3 in a pick up truck with the silent 2 trailer behind..
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Litespeeds S Dominating Spain.

Just a current update from spain. Dave seib has just won the 2nd task as well of the Spanish Nationals flying his new litespeed s 5. Kiko 4 time Spanish champion marked Dave at the start and ended up with a higher start position. Dave dropped him just past the first turnpoint and won the day by forty minutes. It was a 93km task on the flats in blue sky – Daves specialty. Base was about 3200m and while the air was very rough and thermals inconsistent, He managed to jag a 6.5m thermal while passing low over a forest. Dave tells me that his glider is performing great and he could not be happier, he is just not sure still whether to fly the all new 4.5 or the 5 but he sounds like he is having no problems tuning into his new stock 5. There are still no results up but sounds like he is gaining a huge lead over the tough fighting spaniards. Go Aussie Go.....

Hurricane Update

this is an audio post - click to play


Yes the hurricane is coming our way. I just stepped outside the room and into a gustfront that was blowing out of the hurracaine. It is likely to hit the Mexican Texas border sometime early tomorrow morning. The wind 100 miles to our south is reported to be around 70 miles p/hr and is expected to pick up as nightfall comes around. It is a catagory 2 but is threatning to be a 3 by the time it hits land meaning winds between 150-200kms per hour. The town of Zapata is preparing for the worst as flooding is possible as the town is located on the banks of the Rio Grande river. I will keep you updated as the latest news breaks.

Barograph From Yesterday

Well this is my first ever barograph trace so I thought i would share it with you. You can see that at the begining of the flight I was going very slow taking anything I could to stay high above the no landings or roads. I was told I needed to survive the first 1.5 hours then it gets easy but i guess that was not the case as I landed soon after..


Well the weather today is light wind from the east with good clouds and no where to go. So we thought that we might get some dragonfly practice in. Jamie just started learning the other day with Bobby and since today was light conditions it was looking good for more lessons. When we arrived Bobby said it would be a good idea if I tested the conditions first. I was a little nervous as it was my first time since Florida 3 months ago but all went well. Here is a picture of me flying high in the Dragonfly above Zapata.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Dave Seib Wins First Day

Well i just got a email from Dave seib who is flying in the Spanish nationals in Arcornes. They had a 86 km task with 13 pilots making goal. He was the first in and won the day by a convincing 25 minutes over Carlos punet one of the top spanish pilots. For more info and results on the comp CLICK HERE

My first outlanding

Here is my landing field that i had to squeeze into after my epic 120kms it looks big, but then again so do I . I landed between the trees and the fence where I am standing!!!! well hopefully i can fly 500kms so I get to some real landings next time!!! for more pictures of the WRE CLICK HERE

zapata flying

Here is a picture i took yesterday of the airport that we are towing out of in Zapata, check out the landings it is like this for 300 miles (500kms) before it opens up. This is taken from 4500 ft late in the day, usually on a record day you will be going over this terrain early at around 2,000ft. It can get very intimidating as you also need to push crosswind to avoid airspace.There are a couple of roads that are 30kms apart with all locked gates in between.....

My first xc in zapata

Well i woke up at 6 am with some excitement for a potential world record day. Jamie and i went out to the airstrip around 7 am and got organised in case it was the day that we have been waiting for. After a long couple of hours monitoring the weather our feelings were decreasing as there were not many clouds. The only thing that was to save us was the strong wind so we thought maybe with a later launch we still had a chance. Pete and i launched around 10:45am being towed to 3500ft our max height allowed, and dribbled downwind over the Mosquite bushes in light lift. As there is airspace at laredo we needed to push some crosswind which was not so easy when your max altitude was aroung 3500ft. We eventually got past Laredo a fair bit upwind still with not much landings and very little roads. We were now like 40 miles out and it had taken us nearly 2 hours i thought that we needed to start pushing harder if we were going to have any chance at the record. I started to get some good climbs then i heard that davis had landed 62 mile out and way off to my west, this did not stop me i kept driving hard untill i found myself low and drifting with no where to go except for a small opening in the mosquite trees. thay are a similar size to olive trees except they have big thorns on them like roses. As it was windy i managed to hover down in a area about 3 times my glider, i can tell you it was one of my smallest landing fields. They only good thing was that it was near a road which was the 3rd road i had come across on my 120km flight.. We then met up with davis and the rest of the crew in Laredo for launch, apart from Bo who had taken off later and was still flying without radio on a falcon. He ended up flying a new world record 190 miles (300kms). gary osaba i think was going to crack the 1000kms on his 7/8 scale sailplane 40:1 and robin hamilton on a swift flying more than 400miles. Tomorrow we should have a lighter east wind so the potential for a record is not likely..