Monday, April 30, 2007

The All American Dream!!

Here I am just living it up on the front porch like they'all do around here in the south!!

The stairway to heaven!!!

Well you'all come and join me for dinner!!

I wish you'all would stay for dinner!!

There is room for at least 2 more!!!

day 2

Jamie is working on getting the audio blogs going so we can keep you all up to date with our very latest adventures. This was a test one that we tried this morning as we sit in the lounge room after Chris cooked us pancakes.. In A Mansion!! Roadtrip #1 - Lazy morning blogging

This is me living up the good times!!!

Road Trip

Day 1!!

Well it was time to depart the lovely Quest air and make our way to Airzona. After organinsing our stuff long with many others we hit the road around 2pm for a 12 hours drive to Chris Smith's parents house.

Here is the route that we took to get there.

When we arrived in th early hours of the morning I thought I was still dreaming when I walked through the doors. This place has to be one the biggest houses I have ever stayed in with every room looking like a display room.
My bedroom is amazing I felt like a king when I went to sleep last night and amazing enough i felt the same way when I woke up.
Saturday, April 28, 2007

Flytec Results 2007

Click Here For RESULTS

Jonny and Dustin smahing records!!!

Audio Post

Flytec 2007 #13

This is a picture of Dustin and I after we landed 283miles or 456kms and 7hrs 30 mins later.

This is a google earth shot of our flight flying through Florida and almost all the way through Georgia landing about 18miles from South Carolina.

The Story...

Well after a long hard day before maybe my hardest ever competition task I wake up to great conditions. My head is sore my vision is fuzzy but I can still see that the windsock is standing out straight and there are clouds drifting past my trailer window.
I managed to talk Chris Smith AKA (Chopper) who I think must have also been half asleep at the time into driving for me, I told him it would be a long way because I did not plan on landing until after the 400km mark. Somehow he agreed so I raced upstairs to the Quest club house and found Dustin sitting on the computer and said yo Beatch lets go break a record.
He looked at me like I felt slow and not really interested, so as much as I did not want to go flying alone I walked away and said see you then. He quickly came running down the stairs and said okay okay wait for me I will be 10 minutes.

I slowly got ready but Dustin was far from ready with a flat radio no headset a nearly flat vario and little motivation. I now needed a tug pilot and I spotted Bo and asked him for a tow, of course he said yes and we were off. I tried waiting as long as I could for Dustin but from previous experiences I knew that records are made by getting in the air early and landing late. It was after 11am already and I was at least 1 hour late so I hooked up to the Dragon fly and Bo pulled me up to 2,000ft right above the airpark.

I found some light lift and decided just to drift with it downwind and this would give Dustin some time to catch me. I eventually hit cloud base at 3,300ft agl and I could see Dustin now being towed downwind towards my cloud. I headed off slightly crosswind for some clouds as it had started to blue up right downwind. As I looked downwind it did not look like a record day anymore and I was thinking that I should have taken off an hour earlier when the sky looked good. As I crossed the turnpike I start to get a little low and find some light lift and this will allow Dustin to catch up to me.

When we reached base we had to push a little crosswind to the west to avoid getting blown into the Ocala state forest. I was having troubles navigating because it looked like trees and swamp lands and little roads as far as the eye could see. I was now trying to remember what Davis had told me in my half asleep state about which path to follow so that we would not get stopped. Between the two of us we slowly figured it out and we were now passing by the Ocala state forest to the west side.

At this point Dustin and I are wing tip to wing tip gliding towards some more landable areas to the west again to avoid the swamp. We can now see two big lakes in front of us with swamp lands surrounding a huge area around them. We ask Chopper to call Davis and find out which side of these lakes we should be going so that we could continue. I am looking at my 76cs which luckily has the American base map on it to tell Chopper our position so that he could relay to Davis. It appears that we are on track even though it does not look inviting landing wise in front of us, so we keep going.

After going to 2 clouds that did not work we find ourselves heading downwind now off track towards another road that had some landings. I am now about 1,000 ft higher than Dustin and am just hoping that he finds a good thermal so that we don’t have to land in this area. Sure enough he glides into an area that had only one landing option and maybe the last choice at our altitude and hits a solid climb. This was quite a relief and now for the first time the sky was starting to look good.

We are only about 100kms out from Quest and it has taken nearly two hours so it was not really record conditions so far. Davis called Chopper and reported that we were actually off track to the east by about 15kms but we were heading towards the convergence and that we should keep going that way. So we keep going downwind for a little while before Dustin gets low again and is nearly forced to land on the edge of a swamp downhill. Somehow he gets to the tree line and hits another good thermal from low.

As we climb up we notice another large area of trees and swamp in front of us. Then we get another call from Davis to tell us that we were about to run into Jacksonville airspace. This meant that we had to now head straight crosswind for 20kms to get back on track and out of airspace. Down below us was finally a nice looking field and I told Dustin that this might be the end of our journey as we were going to have a hard time pushing west. This field was looking very inviting as we had flown about 150kms from quest and this was the first real landing field we had seen.

Dustin the smart boy he is convinced me that we should climb out to cloud base and then decide what we should do. I said okay and we topped out to about 6,000ft and decided we should try and head west as there were some more landings that way that looked good and with some luck we could get around the airspace and back on track. Dustin was gliding on my left and I saw him hit a strong climb and then I saw him getting thrown around like a rag doll. I decided after watching him nearly tumble that I might just skip that thermal and find another one. Dustin had the same thought and quickly escaped the turbulent air and was now tip to tip with me again.

After two thermals we had managed to make it to highway 301 just near a town called Starke 155kms from Quest. We now had the airspace some 30kms in front of us which we still needed to avoid. We just had to stay to the west of 301 and we would be out of airspace so our hard part was now over. I got a little jump on Dustin at this point and headed more west for some good looking clouds and this would ensure we cleared the restricted zone.

I did a long glide and got low at the 200km mark and was forced to take a light climb as there were not many landings in front of me and I needed to be high. Dustin was about 5-10kms behind me and this will be the first time we had not been in the same thermal for the last 175kms. A few minutes later Dustin comes in above me and we are back together again. We top out to 6,500ft and head downwind under a cloud street into Georgia.

Chopper is below us and is still trying to catch up with us however we have great looking clouds in front of us so he has his work cut out for him. Davis sends a report that the convergence is setting up to our east. I told Dustin that we should stay more to the west under the good streets and that the convergence would actually move inland towards us. I keep track of our average speed and notice that now we are making good ground and that the 205mile record was going to be easy to beat.
We continue to follow 301 to the north despite the slight crosswind and before we notice we are at the 260km mark. I said to Dustin who was about 20 meters off my tip that we had now flown just over half the distance of my record flight from home. It seemed like we had made so many decision to this point that we had been flying all day. I was dreaming of how nice it would be to have these conditions back home where you can just fly downwind and not worry about any landings. This conserves a lot more of your energy when are not constantly trying to make sure that you have landings or that you will not be stopped by trees or swamps.

Cloud base has now risen to 7,500ft and we have cloud streets as far as we can see. There is a big fire about 60kms to our west which is making our visibility worse. The wind is still south west at about 25kph so we are actually flying toward the smoke as we head north. As I look to my east I can still see the ocean and the see breeze approaching ever so slowly. I find this amazing that we have flown nearly 300kms with the ocean in eyesight nearly the whole way. It is at this point that Dustin’s 5030 will run out of batteries cause he did not charge it for a couple of days. This means I will have to stay below him and make sure he is in the lift so that he does not hold me back to much.

Dustin and I are now approaching Jesup the biggest town we have seen since we left Quest. We get Chopper to call Kevin the current record holder and as soon as he answer he puts the phone to the radio and I tell Kevin that Dustin and I are 7,500ft and just about to break his record. He did not sound impressed and then the phone call dropped and he never called back to our surprise. We were still following highway 301 toward the north heading for South Carolina.

We crossed over a paper mill factory and the air smelled so bad that we did not hang around for long. Dustin actually was right behind me on glide and came on the radio and asked me if I had just farted. I laughed to myself and said that is funny I was thinking the same thing. We were now approaching the see breeze clouds so we headed more west again to stay in the good air. It was hard to see as we were now in the smoky haze but there were a few clouds ahead.

All of a sudden we were in the convergence as we passed over the rigid wing record distance at 230 miles. Dustin and I were still tip to tip racing down the convergence line getting some amazing glides. At one point I noticed we had been flying for about 20kms reaching speeds of nearly 80kph and we had lost only 200ft. This would have to be the most amazing part of any record flight I have ever done. To me this section felt like conditions you would experience once in a lifetime with somebody else. Dustin and I were so close that I looked at him and I could see a grin from ear to ear despite the balaclava he was wearing.

Soon we ran into an overdeveloped sky and the sun had disappeared leaving us with shaded ground and no clouds. The only thing we had on our side was the line of smoke from the fire 150kms back that was showing us where the see breeze was. I now felt like I was flying at Lake Elsinore in the smoggy convergence line. We followed this for as long as we could then it disappeared on us.

Chopper had now finally caught up to us after 260 miles or 7 hours of driving and he really wanted to see us land. I could tell that he was excited for us despite thinking he was only going to drive about 20kms to the turnpike pick up a coffee and return to Quest. We were now on our final glide and I gave Chopper an estimation of where we would end up so he drove there and waited for us. Dustin and I were side by side as we did our last glide to the main road.

I knew the road was coming up by looking at my gps even though I could not see it. All of a sudden I saw the road and I told Chopper that I could see a tower on the road that had a flashing light on it. He came on the radio and said well I am sitting in the car right beside the tower which to me seemed amazing after the distance we had flown. I told him that I could see a nice field just down the road a couple of kilometers and that he should drive there to watch us land.

I saw him pull up and park then moments later Dustin and I come diving in. I said to Dustin on the radio lets do a wingover, you go to the right and I will go to the left. We crossed the road like it was a goal line and then pulled up into our wingovers. Just as I am going over the top I realize that we are going to be coming out of the wingovers heading toward each other. I think Dustin figured that out at the same time so we were both prepared and when we came out we quickly turned away from each other like a well planned routine. We both spot landed right next to the car just before 7pm and 283 miles (456kms) later.

Chopper was there to greet us with a bottle of water a big smile and most importantly the car. As soon as we got out of our harnesses Dustin and I expelled our last bit of energy and gave each other a couple of high fives before getting told to pack up by Chopper. We did pack up after catching our breath and before we knew it we were preparing for a 7 hour drive back to Quest.

This was Dustin longest flight by over 100kms despite several record attempts from Zapata over the last few years and surely one not to forget. This was my 6th flight over 400kms and I was 46kms short of my personal best distance. However I would say that this was by far my most memorable record flight to date and the memories will last forever.

I normally do all my record flights from home and will spend 10 hours flying alone over the Australian outback. This flight was so much different given the fact that I have never flown over any of the terrain or even looked at a map to study the area. I felt lost almost the whole flight and for sure the record would not have happened unless Dustin had decided to come with me.

The most amazing part of this whole flight was the fact that Dustin and I shared 52 out of 55 thermals together and glided side by side on nearly every glide. Getting to share the convergence at the end of the flight was a bonus and just made for memories that will last for a lifetime.

Special thanks to chopper for driving the whole way there and back and relaying the important information we needed to achieve this flight. This is usually a thankless job but none of you would be reading this story if it was not for him. Also I would like to thank Davis for his weather updates and guidance throughout the flight as this was also a major key factor to breaking the record. Last but not least Steve Kroop from Flytec USA for giving Dustin and I $250 dollars each for breaking the record using the best instruments well apart from not having one of them charged.
Friday, April 27, 2007

Race of Champions

Here I am getting ready to combat for some dollars on the last day.

These are some audio blogs I did while i was in the air competing.

40 kms From 2nd trunpoint!!

Flytec 2007 #7 - 40k from 2nd Turnpoint

Jonny's Leading!!

Flytec 2007 #9 - JOHNNY LEADING

On Final Glide!!
Flytec 2007 #10 - FINAL GLIDE

The winners!!

Flytec 2007 #11 - WINNERS!!!

Here is a picture of me cossing goal on the last day after a 158km task.

This is what you get when you compete in the Flytec race of champions, lots of money!!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Flytec day 6

Last night Bobby caught me before I went to sleep and told me that we needed to do some in air footage in the morning. So I woke up set up my glider and before I knew it I was being towed up by Lisa with Bobby about 5 feet behind me filming. I got towed up high and did some aerobatics with Bobby filming everything. The day was not so clear so the filming did not turn out so great and by the time I had landed I was already stuffed. The forecast was for cloud base and top of lift at 7,500'. The lift would be 500-600 fpm. And the wind would be out of the north at 11 mph. The forecast earlier had been for stronger winds late in the afternoon but the later forecast called those off, predicting 15 knots. Still we didn't want to come back into an area that might have high winds late in the day. (The winds did indeed pick up later at Quest. I missed out on setting the task today as I was in the air but as soon as I landed Kraig came up to me and said that they had just set a 205kms task to Florida Ridge. I was not feeling like fly that far today after a early wake up and a exhausting aerobatic flight. It was to late to change it so I tried to rest for awhile before the window opened.. Once we got airborne there was plenty of lift and we climbed to 7,000' before the start window opened at 1:30. Almost everyone was at the edge of the start circle and high so it was a mass start. I opted to start a little to the east of the main gaggle and when the clocked ticked over I was out in front and a few hundred feet higher. The Brazilians and Gerolf came in just below on the first climb but they kept going more to the east hoping for a better climb. I stayed back and watched them heading of course and finding no lift. I decided to go straight through the blue toward Wallaby ranch and I was rewarded with a strong climb to base. I had about 40 gliders following me with gerolf and crew off to my east and lower. I pushed on trying not to stop for anything to light and managed to nail every climb. I held my lead for over 100kms before I had a slow climb and the gaggle caught back up to me 90kms out from goal. I decided to stop taking chances at this point and just fly with the gaggle so that I did not finish to far behind them. We kept getting good climbs to around 7,500ft and our average speed was around 70kph. We had a very interesting final glide from bout 30kms out from goal. Gerolf, Nene, Maskara and Andreas went a little to the left and Andre, Bruno, Robin, Kraig and I went more to the right and we instantly pulled about 2,000ft on the others in the first 10kms. They were looking quite low and I saw the 3 talons stop and start circling but Gerolf kept going. We all ended up hitting lots of lift and basically whoever was in front was not going to be beaten. Gerolf will win the day a few seconds in front of Bruno then Robin and the rest of us will be within the minute behind them. This would have to be the best day I have flown In Florida making the task in 2hrs 49mins nearly 70kmph. 93 percent of the field I think 72 from 80 pilots made goal breaking all the Florida task records. I will maintain my lead with gerolf now in 2nd place 140 points behind and robin will move into 3rd 330 points behind me.
Friday, April 20, 2007

Day 5 Aussie Aussie Aussie

Finally, the forecast turned around and we had a prediction for 5,000' cloud bases and top of the lift with lift 400 - 500 fpm. The winds were predicted to be out of the north at 11 - 14 knots, so not an out and return day, but a good flying day.

Apparently Kraig ,Gugga and I had done something wrong on day 4 and we were told at the pilots briefing that we had to go to the back of the staging today and that we had no priority. I am still not sure what Kraig and I did wrong as we are on the task committee and we have priority over everyone so that means that we should be able to launch when we want. I guess not so we accepted our penalty and kept quiet.
Kraig and I were the only ones that had our gliders not in the staging line because we decided we would just get ready, walk out to launch 5 minutes before the window opened and takeoff.
This worked out great Kraig was first to launch I was second and gugga was third.
We climbed up under a cloud at the edge of the circle and most pilots got going with some holding back for the 2:15 PM start time. The task was 138 kilometers and all the pilots were high and at the edge of the start circle so there was no reason to be hanging around given the cross wind legs later in the task.

As we headed down course line the cu's got thinner to the south toward the first turnpoint at the 27 and 544 intersections, despite being a little blue we were still getting good lift and the rounded the turnpoint high.
The next turnpoint was east of 27 on highway 60 which comes out of Lake Wales. This was the first crosswind leg so many of us try to stay high but still the lead gaggle got low about 10kms from the 2nd turnpoint.

The second leg got soft with only a couple of ragged cu's on the course line and a 15km crosswind. There was about 10 pilot sin the lead gaggle and gerolf was on top with the Brazilians about 8kms before the last turnpoint. We were all in a weak climb and the guys above us left for the turnpoint and we went upwind a little and hit a strong climb.

Kraig and I topped out and rounded the turnpoint a little higher than Gerolf and co and I decided to go more upwind than they did and I hit a 500 up. As we topped out 24kms from goal I could see that I nearly had the numbers.
We left and along the way I hit another climb which I stopped and climbed in and Kraig kept going as he had nothing to loose unlike me who was still holding first place. He told me he was getting pretty good air so I left a couple of minutes later and made the final easy some minutes infront of Gerolf and the others who were not far behind on the scores.

Primoz I think was the only one from the top 10 that did not make goal that day and this will be the first 1000 point day.
Aussie Aussie Italian…

Here is Kraig and I walking to the launch line in Aussie spirits before we kicked all their butts.
Thursday, April 19, 2007

Flytec day 4

Day 4
Today was not looking great with the forecast of 250 fpm lift and 3500 ft agl with 10-15knt wsw winds. This made it very hard to select a task as we can not go down wind from here due to Orlando airspace. We decided on a 72km crosswind then downwind task to the North east.

We had a visitor to the launch line today!

We has some amazing sky’s before launch with high winds up high there were heaps of wave clouds they were rolling through like waves on the ocean.

After a 30 minute delay we take off and to our surprise we find great lift and we climb to about 5,000ft agl. I was beginning to think we had under called the task but when we did the start gate we glided into the shade and soon we were all scratching in light lift. We caught the 2pm start on the first glide and soon there was a death gaggle of about 50 gliders turning in less than 200 fpm.
Gerolf along with the Brazilians and a few others decide to glide off and I did not want to get even lower and try to thermal with all these pilots at low altitude. Luck has it they hit a strong climb from low in the shade and over a lake and by the time we got there we missed the good part of the climb and dribbled in light lift before gliding to the turn point in light rain.
Kraig and I arrived there at about 1500 ft agl then we glided down wind with wet gliders for a few kilometers before hitting a light climb. As I did my first turn the glider dove out of the sky and realized that the glider was not flying sogood and this climb was now going to be a zero climb rate.
I struggle at 1200ft agl with a death gaggle of about 15 pilots including the French combat team. We will spend the next 25 mins drifting in zero for just over 15kms with a height gain of 50ft. Eventually we hit a forest 17kms out from goal and the thermal kicked to 3-400fpm. This will be the best thermal for the day and will get me into goal in 3rd place behing Gerolf and Robin.
Only 3 of the guys that were in front of us made goal plus the gaggle I was with with a total of 14 pilots there. Many of them landed after the turn point, were the weather was very difficult. Lets hope the weather will improve as it can not get any worse than the last 2 days.

Here is Gerolf landing at goal after winning the day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Flytec day 3

Day 3
Today was going to be flyable with the wind expected to be 10-15knts we decided to fly the task we set on day 2. This will be a little cross to start with then will get slightly easier on the last leg. However the conditions were very stable and the launch window did not open until 2pm and still the thermals were very weak and most pilots were struggling to stay up. With the last start being at 3:30pm we had no choice but to get in the air and fight the weak conditions with huge gaggles. We all did the last start in one huge gaggle of about 60 pilots and the maximum altitude of 3, 700ft agl we all glide off on course. It seemed like a day that you did not want to be out in front as the climbs were weak and the glides were long with many pilots getting low. I was a few kms behind the front gaggle and was busy just trying to battle my way through the kamikaze pilots.
Today was a day that was not going to be easy and staying high was going to be the trick to doing well. After 1hr30mins of flying we made the first turn point still in one huge gaggle and then did a long glide crosswind glide were many pilots including myself got low. I decided to start heading more downwind as the ground approaches I hit a light thermal and drift with it. I notice the gaggle has hit a climb upwind of me and now much higher I have no choice but to hang on and hope that this thermal gets batter. I soon drift over a new housing development and the thermal gets stronger and I climb out to 3,000ftagl. I am now the same height as the gaggle and about 1-2kms downwind of them.
I head off towards goal and manage to catch up with Gerolf and Andre Wolf who are now just above me 30kms out from goal. We are now in front of the main group and push hard for a couple of thermals. I miss one the climbs they get and I watch them do a long glide before hitting some lift. I glide off after them and will arrive about 1,000ft below them 18kms out from goal. I hit the thermal and soon a group of about 5 pilots come in just below me and we climb out to 2,800ftagl. My 4030race is telling me I need another 800ft to make goal but thermal stops so we head off. I notice that Gerolf and Andre have not climbed and are getting low before goal. I hit a light thermal and decide to stay and wait for the numbers as I slowly drift towards goal. My Flytec tells me that I will make it with 50 feet so I head off on a slow final from 16kms out.
Hot on my tail is Primoz and a couple of litespeeds and none of us are going to fast as we know just getting to goal will be good enough after such a hard flight. My numbers start getting better so I pull in and dive into the airport at River Ranch a few seconds ahead of Primoz. Gerolf will land 150 meters short of the 400m goal radius and Andre will land a few kilometers short. Only 9 pilots in total made goal with most pilots landing between the turn point and goal.
I will win the day in 2hrs47mins flying my beautiful litespeed RS 3.5 recieving 993 points.

This is me landing at goal after a challenging flight.

Flytec Day 2

Day 2
With strong winds in the morning and forecast for the winds to back off later in the day we set a task of 110kms downwind with one turn point. After the pilot briefing it was still windy so the safety committee met and decided to wait for another hour and see if the conditions would back off. However the winds stayed strong and the day was cancelled.

Here is a photo of Quest after the storm had passed through us yesterday morning...

Flytec Day 1

Day 1
The forecast was not looking good with a tornado watch present in our local area. I woke up to the sound of some heavy rain drops and quickly jumped out of bed to see if I could see any tornados. There was nothing real scary looking but we had some very heavy rain for about half hour which was enough to turn the flight park into a water ski park. The rain stopped and they had a pilot briefing but the winds were up to 30 knts and they reissued the tornado watch until 5pm. So needless to say the day was cancelled.

Here is a picture of Bobby's new Dragon fly that he built from scratch over the last few days.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Brasil Trip

After one week of building gliders and test flying for Moyes my alarm wakes me up at 5am. As I roll over on the trampoline that I am sleeping on in Bill and Molly’s house to hit the alarm clock I know this will be a very long day. I arrive at the airport with 7 gliders and my gear to find out the plane has been delayed for 5 hours. Luckily I was still able to check in and then I returned to the Moyes factory where I then built Gerolf’s new glider. Had some lunch then it was back to the airport for the 24 hr flight to Rio de Janeiro I boarded the flight and there was not one empty seat so there was not going to be any stretching out or laying down across 3 seats for a slightly more enjoyable flight. I was informed that cause of the delay we would now have to spend the night in Buenos Aires because we would miss our connecting flight to Rio. I thought wow this could be fun as it would be all expenses paid by the airline staying in a nice hotel in the centre of the city. However when we arrived in Argentina they had delayed the connecting flight cause there were to many of us and the plane would have been empty. So it was now onto a smaller plane for the last 3hrs of the journey to our final destination Rio. I arrived there at 8 pm with my entire luggage 330kgs worth and managed to clear customs in less than 20 minutes. I was greeted outside by Nixon his daughter Leonarda and Edson another local pilot who would help to bring all the gliders back to the house. After arriving home I had some dinner a shower and then it was off to bed as I had been up for nearly 40 hours. The next morning I woke up knowing it was going to be another big day of assembling all the gliders and making sure there was no damage. After assembling 6 out of the 7 gliders I finally came to the one I would be flying for the comp. This was actually Edson’s glider and as I started to open it I had that feeling there was something wrong. Well yes I was right my glider had been damaged the front section leading edge had a nice big dent in it. This is just what I needed 2 days prior to the competition starting in Andradas some 7 hour drive away. Luckily Nixon had ordered some replacement leading edges so I quickly opened them hoping they had not been damaged otherwise I was going to be screwed. They were fine so I started to change my leading edge knowing this was going to be a pain cause of the stainless pot rivets you need to drill out and then put in with a hand riveter. This job is not to bad when have good equipment but here in Brazil this can prove to make a 1 hour job into a 3 hour job. So after finding the a drill and the right sized rusty drill bit I was off and less than 30 seconds later the drill bit broke and somehow I managed to put it half way into my finger. There was now blood everywhere and my finger was hurting like crazy. I quickly washed it with soap which hurt even more then taped it up to stop the blood for pouring out. I then went to the hospital where I got a tetanus shot to prevent anymore infections and got it bandaged up properly. So now it is Wednesday afternoon I have a glider that still needs to be fixed a finger that has a 11/32 drill hole in it and the comp starts on Saturday, oh and I still have not even test flown half of the gliders. I went home for lunch had a shower because it was like 35 degrees and 100 percent humidity and then for some reason I passed out probably from the drugs and little sleep. I wake up Thursday morning and am only able to bend my finger a little bit but I still have to go on. I start fixing my glider and soon well a couple of hours later it is all done and time to go test flying. I thought that I had better test fly the others ones first because I knew I would run out of time to fly my glider. I had a great flight on Andre’s glider flying over the favella’s in Rio and then landing back at Sao Conrado beach. Here is a picture of me flying over the Favela's in Rio! I then went back up for another test fly on Gugga’s glider and the conditions had weakened so it was pretty much a sled ride to the landing. I had some Brazilian guys to pack the gliders for me, so I just rested on the beach side in the typical Brazilian way. I almost feel like a local when I am here flying cause I know a lot of people and if I don’t know them they all know me. If you have never flown here it is a spectacular place for a free flight and if you’re lucky enough to get the conditions to fly to the Cristo some 15kms away it will be a flight you’ll remember forever. After sunset I returned to my Brazilian home for awhile before going out for dinner. I went across the road to the huge barra shopping mall where I went to my favorite fast food restaurant Spoleto a nice Italian cuisine. I then returned home for another restless night as it is so hot here and the house has no air-conditioning. Yes it was now Friday and it was time to travel to Andradas where I will spend the next 10 days flying. Somehow the day managed to get away on us and before I knew it we were on Brazilian time which meant the 2pm departure was now a 7pm departure. I tried to sleep as much as I could in the car but the roads were almost like 4wd tracks and I think one time we locked it in to 4wd. This was a shortcut I was told in my half awake state that I was in. So we arrived in Andradas at 2am on Saturday morning to see the place crowded with party goers, but I was in no state to party. I went to the hotel and went to sleep knowing in a few hours I would be waking up to go flying. I wake up to nice blue skies and a big breakfast, and then it was off to the hill some 40 minutes drive away. I arrived there walked around and checked out the launches, it is similar to Manilla except for it has all green grass and you need to walk less than 50 meters to launch in 3 different directions. This was a well maintained launch and it was looking like a great week of flying. I quickly set up my glider which had still not been test flown and gave it a good once over making sure everything was right. To my surprise I found out that today was actually not a comp day for their nationals but it was part of a 2 day regional comp. This was great news it meant there was no pressure on me and if the glider was not right I could land and prepare myself for the real comp which would start tomorrow. They set a 101km triangle task back to the landing field at the bottom of the south launch. I took off and got straight up and my glider was flying great so I was relived to know that the most important thing was all set for the comp. Here is a picture of the takeoff in Andradas as I climb out!! I headed to the edge of the start circle and got low before finding a weak thermal which would place me in a average start position when the clock ticked over. I was about 20th through the start and lower than the others but after the first glide this new Litespeed Rs 3.5 showed it’s performance and soon I was only behind the front gaggle of 4 gliders which had a much better start than everyone else. I then went a slightly different way and managed to get out in front and was the first around the turn point. I managed to hold the lead all the way until just before the 2nd turn point where Andre, Maskara and Lucinho joined me. We all did the turn point together and climbed out and headed towards goal. I was now somehow the lowest I made the mistake of gliding to fast so the others had me to find the last thermal again for them. Sure enough I see a group of birds circling 90 degrees to my right so I make a quick turn and hit the climb and the others will come in above me. I left thermal early trying to make a break but they all followed me and I hit one more climb 15kms out from goal. I had a slight disadvantage for the final as I did not know what goal looked like and I knew to win I had to leave early and try for risky glide. I was hoping they would not come as I have nothing to loose and they were still in serious competition. I was wrong Andre 50m above me and Maskara 150m above me followed me despite the risky final and I was unable to pull away being the lower one on final. Maskara won the day with Andre 2nd and me in 3rd some 12 seconds after Maskara. I crossed the goal line at about 2 feet doing over 100kph before turning around and landing into the wind. There were about 40 pilots that made goal and only about 5 of them managed not to crash it was a spectacular and entertaining afternoon. Day 1 The real comp was now about to start with about 6 Swiss pilots Andreas from Sweden Dustin from the states and me from down under, along with all the crazy Brazilians this was going to be one hard comp to win. The first day saw a task of 97km out and return called but the conditions were a little over developed. The gringo’s as the Brazilians call us being Andreas, Dustin and I had a great start upwind and much higher than the others. Here is a picture of Andre Wolf about 30 minutes before the start gate. We pushed hard to the turn point and as we approached it we got sucked up under a big dark cloud and had to fight our way out and find the turn point 2kms in front of us. I did the turn point and decided to head back more to the left of course and follow the same route that I used to get to the turn point. Andreas and Dustin went more on course line to the right and soon we were passing everyone that was still heading there. We had at least a 5-10km lead and I was now about 10kms left of course line under some dark clouds. It looked average on course line that is why I did such a big deviation but I was soon shutdown as rain started to fall in front of me. My only hope was to go even further off course into the mountains or do a 90 degree turn and head out the sun and the main road to goal that everyone else was following. I was indecisive and then I saw a gaggle out there in the blue circling so I thought there must be lift in the sun. If I went straight ahead I would get wet and definitely land or I had to risk going into the middle of nowhere in hope of going around the rain to the left like 25kms off or course line. As I climb in a light thermal I weigh up the options and decided to go for the sun and the main road in hopes of finding lift and avoiding the rain. Well I flew out there and wasted all my height to find out there was no lift and they were circling in zero’s trying to avoid landing. I was however much lower and spent nearly 20 minutes trying to get up slowly losing height until I landed. About 5 minutes later I see Dustin fly over my head and land just up the road, but many others flew over higher and the winner was Gugga on his new RS 3.5 some 15kms further in front of me. Maskara will be 2nd 500m behind him on his T2, apparently they were together but Maskara mentioned that at the lower speed the RS had a better glide which showed with an extra 500meters. I will end placing 26th for the day with nearly 300 points from the leader. Here I am with scova in the retrieve on the way home from a outlanding. Day 2 Today was looking great with a little less over development they called for a 102km task with 2 turn points and goal about 40kms away from town. There is ever only one start in these Brazilian comps so you have to make sure that you are in the right spot at the right time, which can prove difficult some days. It was my turn to have a bad start today and I was immediately 10 minutes behind the lead gaggle. I pushed hard as I had lots of markers in front of me and nearly caught the lead gaggle by the first turn point. I was only about 4kms behind them after rounding the turn point but decided to go a different way than everybody else to get a jump on them. After gliding through what I thought would be some great looking clouds and getting nothing but sink, I was forced to slow down and take some slow climbs. After watching about 20 gliders go past me I started to get impatient and pushed on low toward the 2nd turn point hoping to get a strong climb. Well I was wrong and I soon found myself at 200m agl at the 2nd turn point and was only able to go down wind searching for a climb. I managed to find some light lift and maintained a slow climb out watching nearly the whole field pass over the top of me. I eventually got to base and saw another gringo Dustin who had a really bad start which made feel a little better. I was on radio with all the Brazilian team as they are practicing for the worlds and was informed that I was now 25kms behind the lead gaggle. I set myself a goal to beat the two gaggles that were only less than 10kms in front of me into goal including Dustin. Dustin and I caught the first group pretty fast and we were now 22kms out from goal needing and extra 1000ft to make it. I detoured to the right of course line and Dustin went straight line along with everybody else. I thought how can I be wrong more than once in a day and finally it paid off with a strong climb 12kms out I was able to beat both the gaggles into goal placing like 21st for the day. Andre Wolf will win the day on his new litespeed RS 3.5 5 minutes ahead of Maskara and lucinho. There were about 40 odd pilots in goal and a lot of happy faces pigging out on cold fruit that is supplied in the goal field. We landed at and airport and they had some amazing looking aircraft there for us to look at. It was Gugga’s birthday so about 20 of us went out for dinner and then partied on when we arrived back in Andradas. Here is a training Gyrocopter that they tow behind a truck down the runway. We thought about towing Dustin up but he was to scared, Im not sure why? Another picture for you to look at. Day 3 With conditions being a little more stable today they were not hesitant to call a dogleg task of 101kms with the last leg being into a 10kms cross headwind making things difficult for many pilots. The start today was very cloudy with about 40 pilots trying to stay out of a big dark cloud that sat right on the edge of the start circle. I will lead the gaggle out of the start as I look behind me I see a sky full of gliders hot on my tail. The conditions look a lot more stable in front of us on the flats with only one more decent cloud a few kilometers in front of us. Andre hits the climb to my right and I make a sharp turn but arrive lower than many of the gliders that were following from behind. We top out and race off into the blue sky’s now 25kms from the turn point I am behind and lower from the main gaggle but there is still a long way to go. We all get low and I managed to find a better climb than the main group just to their left and soon they all come in above and we climb out in 1.5 m/s. Andre leaves first and soon everyone follows, with conditions looking a little average I am not keen to push as hard as these guys are. Andre finds a good climb and I come in about 300m lower and don’t seem to get the climb they have and soon they have pulled away from me now 12kms from the turn point. They do a long glide and end up having to go down wind from the turn point to for a strong climb. I went upwind and hit a climb and this managed to get me high about 3kms from the turn point. I am now on the final leg of 58kms to goal and about 4kms behind the lead gaggle. Here is Lucinho flying his Aeros about 40kms out from goal. As I watch them getting low in front of me I stop for a climb as there seems to be less headwind up high. I keep a close eye on them and soon watch them hit a strong climb and race off after them but arrive low into the bottom of their thermal. We have a couple more good climbs before hitting a big blue hole about 30kms out from goal. I managed to catch up within a 100m of the leaders and then push on low for a cloud that looks within reach. Andre and Maskara follow a little higher and soon we are getting down to about 250m agl I hit a broken strong core and call Andre over but it does not turn out to be much and Maskara was higher and pushed on a little further and hit the good climb. I got there lower than Andre and he managed to get it stronger than I did and pulled away from me in the climb. He actually swapped his glider for the RS 4 today so maybe in this broken stuff it was a slight advantage in climb. The others manage to glide in above me and I am now about 8th for the day. We top out and push on for one more cloud about 15kms out from goal and hit a good climb taking it to base for the final glide. I am about 7kms out and I see the first gliders crossing goal and I will arrive in 6th place about 5 minutes behind Maskara who will win the day a few seconds in front of Andre. Gugga the current leader will come in 10th place about 10 minutes Maskara which will mean a swap of leaders. Andre would be doing great except that he had a bad first day placing 64th for the day and is moving up fast he is now 11th and I am 10th with only a few points separating us. There will be 30 odd gliders making goal again despite the difficult conditions. Day 4 So far the weather has been pretty nice to us but today was going to be a manufacturer’s nightmare as they were calling for more instability. They decide on a 105km task that will have 2 turn points and have us landing out in the flats where there is less chance of thunderstorms. Most of the pilots had a good start with two separate gaggles today about 5kms apart. Here I am on top of the stack above launch! We all ended up gliding to the same cloud once the start opened and I was king of the castle. I was actually flying with Gugga’s video camera as I know in previous flights that this can bring me good luck. So I top out and race off with Andre just on my left and Dustin just on my right with about 40 others just behind. We start to get lower and Dustin hits a climb to our right but I keep pushing on with Andre and everyone else will go to Dustin for the climb. I hit a strong climb with Andre and soon they gaggle comes in below but we pull away from them as they have to deal with a lot of gliders at the same height and don’t get the good climb like us. I push on high at base and get a great glide flying my stock aluminum RS 3.5 and top out 5kms from the first turn point some 5-8kms in front of the big gaggle. Andre and I make the turn point and head for the 2nd turn point and get a 2m/s climb 45kms out. I tell Andre that I want to push upwind slightly under some clouds before making a long glide to the next big clouds. We got a strong climb and soon we were heading for this storm that was towering to about 25,000ft which made me hesitant after the recent episodes in Manilla. I keep a good close eye on it as I approach and notice it is starting to rain about 5kms to my left. I see some rolling white clouds below the big dark base and take a slight detour knowing that this will be the lift line. Sure enough I hit 3m/s and climb to within 500m of base and decide to leave early knowing that I don’t want to get sucked up in this thing, Andre to my surprise some 250m lower decides to stay and climb almost to base. I get a few heavy rain drops as I exit the side of the cloud now 20kms from the last turn point. I get a thermal low about 5kms short and Andre will come in above me after leaving the cloud higher. We get the last turn point and head left of course line for the same thermal we just left and climb out. I see the gaggle low and about 10kms from the turn point still so I am in no rush. I hear that many of them are landing so I decide that I will not push the final as it will be hard to beat Andre given that his above me by 100m. As soon as my 4030 race tells me I have goal I see Andre leave I do one more circle and follow him and will cross the goal line at about 5 m before turning back into the wind and landing on the wet red dirt. Andreas will be next in nearly 15 minutes us followed closely by Gugga and then Klaus a local Rio pilot. Only 3 from the top 10 will make goal and only 11 pilots in total with the rest getting severely wet about 10-15kms before the last turn point. Gugga will now be leading followed by Maskara, Klaus, Andre and now me in 5th place. It has turned from a T2 and Aeros top 5 to having 4 Litespeed Rs’s in the top 5. Day 5 After some pretty decent rain yesterday we woke up to blue skies and calm winds. I notice as we take the scenic drive to launch that the day is already starting to develop much earlier than any previous day so far. By the time we reach the top of the hill there is a sky full wet cumulus clouds. I decide to set up so that I have a good launch position despite the ordinary looking weather. Haraldo the comp organizer is keen for us to fly and will set a 100km task but as the day goes on concerns about the towering cu’s are starting to be noticed. There is no such safety committee here so it was difficult to express your concerns except to the meet head that did not see a problem with the day and was not willing to listen. I watched patiently for awhile and then decided that the conditions in my eyes were not suitable for a comp task and the risk of someone getting hurt was quite high. I talk to some of the top pilots to see if they could influence the decision but many of them tried and still could not get the message through. I made my own decision and started packing up my glider which made many people think twice, especially the ones that were still keen to fly. Haraldo was only moving the window opening time back to see if the conditions would improve. Some pilots decided they want to fly anyway and takeoff before the window opens. There is plenty of lift out there with cloud tops reaching more than 25,000ft so these pilots will cruise around while we sit on launch and argue that our lives are more important than another comp day. One of the pilots that launched early came back over launch and decided he would start doing some aerobatics and show off to the 70 pilots standing on launch. I looked up to see him enter into a flat spin that looked to me like there was not much experience hanging below the glider despite the 20 years of flying. He exits the spin in a very unpleasant way and then starts into a wingover. I was trying not to watch as I knew that it was not going to end up happening the way he probably planned. He comes out of a shallow wingover still in a dive and goes straight up for what appears to be a loop with hardly any airspeed and soon stops. He tries do put in a weight shift and nothing happens and soon the glider rolls over onto its back and starts a quick couple of tumbles. He manages to get his parachute out fast as he needed too cause he was now only 200m above and to the left of launch. The parachute opens fast and he comes down and lands about 300m to the south of launch with only a scrape on his chin. The glider was not into bad of shape with broken sprogs and a tear through the top surface where he hit the small bushes. Apparently that was enough then to cancel the day so we went back down the hill for a relaxing afternoon in Andradas. Day 6 We flew a task of 105kms getting good climbs low base and some overdevelopment towards the end of the flight. It was quite a difficult day having a strong headwind at the end of the course causing many pilots to land out. There were only 5 pilots in goal with Nick from Switzerland winning his first ever competition day 30 minutes in front of me. Maskara, Nene and Gugga will be the last pilots to make goal another 30 minutes after me which means I will now be within striking distance on the last day. Day 7 We arrive on the takeoff to find cloud base on the flatlands lower than takeoff so nobody is in a hurry to set up. At launch the cloud base was about 100 feet above launch and there were about 20 Para gliders flying just buzzing hill and we waited and watched hoping for base to lift. The launch was packed full of spectators and pilots and slowly the cloud base lifted but only to about 800 ft above launch then it started to rain so they day was cancelled. Results 1º Gugga Saldanha 4288 (Bra) (Terminal X) - Moyes Litespeed RS 3.5 2º Leonardo Máskara 4189(Bra) (Rotor) - Wills Wing T2 3º Jonny Durand 4151 (Aus) (Moyes, Red Bull) - Moyes Litespeed RS 3.5 4º André Wolf 4010 (Bra) - Moyes Litespeed RS 4 5º Nenê Rotor 4004(Bra) (Rotor) - Wills Wing T2 For the total RESULTS CLICK HERE!!