Monday, November 23, 2009
The weather was a little to good on friday with temps of 45 degrees it took less than 1 hr to have thunderstorms. The day was cancelled and with similar weather forecast but with more wind it was time to party. We had quite a big night on friday as we knew we were not going to be flying on saturday. Saturday we waited for some signs of wind and before to long it was gusting over 25knts. We had a quick awards ceremony before making a 870km journey home. I arived home at 9pm and will now relax for a few days.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Gulgong Classic Day 5
Today was looking worse than yesterday but there was a chance it would improve later in the day. We decided on making a later task with the conditions and set a short 103km task down into the Beautiful Glen Alice. I was the first one to open the hangar doors and pull my glider out with my harness still attached from the day before. It sure is nice not having to set up in the 39 degree heat that we've been having. I launched first and climbed out in a 600fpm climb to 8,700ft asl. I guess the day was already much better than we expected. I flew around with Atilla for 1 hr before the start gate before he left me and went downwind for the start. I headed back towards the strip for a cloud that formed but never got the climb I was looking for. Then I hear Atilla say that he was starting and I thought that I did not really have much choice as it was 20 min intervals today. I was 8 mins late and lower when I started than the main gaggle. I hit a good climb only 2kms outside the cylinder and topped out at 9,500ft. I now had only 8 mins to wait for the next start but I was 3kms outside the cylinder so I left and headed out as Atilla called a climb 7kms in front of me. I hit a climb with Chris Jones downwind of Atilla as he left high above us. We climb good in a solid 900fpm climb to 10,000ft and raced off after Atilla and the others. They all went way to east to the clouds and Chris and I stayed more on course line. We were rewarded with another 1000fpm climb almost to cloud base which was high above me. Atilla came in 2,000ft above and topped out and headed off down the course line. I left below cloudbase 58kms out from goal and glided for a big cloud that was dumping some rain just past Rylstone. I tried to go around the rain to the west but Atilla was higher and went straight through the middle on course line. I got through the rain and still had a 12:1 glide to goal so I kept going. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Chris just on my left wingtip. I thought that I had left him behind in the last climb but he must have gone straight through and caught me again. We had great air and actually climbed for about 5kms and ended up on a 7:1 to goal. Tim was at goal telling me that there was a East wind at 15kph which meant almost straight headwind. I was thinking that he was confused with East and West being that he is in the southern hemisphere. I must have been in convergence ans Chris went a little more right and climbed even higher. I got my ass kicked coming into goal as Tim was right and I was now diving in to rotor behind the scenice Blue mountains. Chris and I will cross the line to the second taking 1hr 47min with Atilla winning the day in 1hr 40 mins. Next in will be Ollie about 30 mins later followed by another 7 more litespeeds. It was an amazing day out today achieving some new PB's and seeing the scenic valleys and cliffs that belong to the Blue Mountains. Looks like similar weather tomorrow but a bit more wind..
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Gulgong Classic Day 4
Today was looking quite good with light winds a 6,000ft blue day with moderate climbs. We decided on a 130km triangle task taking us out the west and back to the airfield. The window opened at 12:15pm and no was launching becuase it looked stable, so at 12:45 I decided to tow. I was first up and pinned off at 1,000ft agl and climbed up in a 4-500fpm climb. Everyone was now lining up and starting tow as the start window opened in at 1:45pm. I ended up heading out to the edge of the start and starting all by myself at 2pm. I knew that it was going to get better and I should probably wait and fly with the gaggle. I left anyway and was doing great for the first few thermals before getting low about 15kms before the 1st TP. I scratched back up and tried to keep pushing as the gaggle behind was now catching me. This is probably the worst thing that I could do as I was leaving thermals and then scratching low. I made the turnpoint and got a reasonable climb back to 4,000 ft and saw the gaggle only kms behind now. So I raced off and went through some light lift and kept going as I was looking for a strong thermal to keep me in front. I got very low and went into survival mode taking anything I could find. I ended up getting down to 150m agl before I slowly climbed back up. Once I reached 2,000ft the thermal kicked and I climbed well. Just before I topped out Curt and Ollie came gliding in and joined me. They must have left the others behind so we took off together and did the last turnpoint. We stopped for a light 300fpm climb for a few minutes before heading off. Curt kept gliding and got low and landed so I was being a little careful as I had nearlry done the same thing just before. Ollie and I hit another light climb and I did a a handful of circles before heading off to the forest just in front. I was rewarded with a 500fpm climb to 6000ft and was now about 500ft higher than Ollie as he hung back for a few more circles in the last climb. I quickly glided off so that he could not see me and I did a long glide. I hit the thermal of the day a solid 7-800fpm climb to 7,200ft and wnet on final glide. I ended up winning the day in 3hrs 18 mins and Scott was 2nd in 3hrs 08 mins but starting 45 mins later. Ollie was 3rd starting 15 mins later in 3hrs 15 and Atilla 4th starting 30 mins later also at 3hrs 15. Another great day and about 12 pilots make goal.
Gulgong Classic Day 3
Today was looking very similar again with slighlty more South winds and stronger. We set a 233kms task to Baraba which is the next town past Manilla. The conditions were quite stable here early and then once the inversions started to break the wind mixed down. It was not very pleasant on the strip as it was bloody hot and cross wind nehind the tree line. We decided before anyone towed that it was not going to be very safe so we canned the day. We dont want anyone else to get hurt as we are all here to have fun.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Gulgong Classic Day 2
Another great day with the forecast of stonger winds we fly north to Manilla 209kms away. The day started off slow and the launch line was taking forever to get into the air. I finally got off the ground after waiting in 40 degrees for 1.5 hrs. I eventually got off and climbed up to the inversion 7,000ft asl. My headset was not plugged all the way in so I was not sure where everyone else was. I figured out the problem and soon heard Dave on the radio saying he had wound down and landed with Adam. I did not know that Adam had actually broke his glider the one named (Jonny beater). This is the glider that Ricky Duncan flew and beat me on up in Canungra. After some violent spins Adam was seperated from the glider. Sounds very similar to Andy who did this a couple of years ago at Forbes. It is said that he fell for maybe 10 seconds feet first before throwing his parachute. His parachute with stood the free fall which is believed to be a High Energy, one of the only chutes tested for free fall openings. Adam was flown to John Hunter hospital in Newcastle where Conrad is looking after him in intensive care. He is in good spirts and is conscious with a seperated rib cage. Early reports say no spinal damage but he has a collapsed lung with some fluids inside. Adam was flying very well placing 4th on the first day. There were about 4 pilots that landed to assist Adam, we thank all of guys for looking after our dear friend. I eventually started and just took it easy as it was not that pleasant in the air. There were some very rough thermals and felt like a day to tumble. I made the turnpoint low and then got up to high for the first time as we now reached the clouds. Base was very high not that I ever reached it but the sail plane guys said it was like 14,000ft. This made our last leg straight downwind for 145kms. There were some climbs more than 1,000 FPM and we did this leg very fast. I think I averaged over 90 KPH and on final I saw ground speeds of 150 KPH on my GPS. Atilla won the day, Curt will be second and I should be third about 10 minutes behind Atilla. Scott did good finishing with Curt but he started 15 mins before. we had a total of 8 pilots in goal including our up and coming Canungra boy Joel. He did his PB flight in so many ways and to make a 209km goal is very impressive. Today the weather is looking similar again today so we should be in for another great day. :-)
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Gulgong Classic Day 1
The weather this year is looking fantastic for some great flights. There is about 25 pilots here in the comp and everyone is ready to commit some combat in the sky. I am blessed to have Tim here from America to drive for me and the boys for the week. Todays weather was looking great with 10-15knts SSW winds and cloudbase over 10,000ft agl. We the task committee Atilla, Curt and I decided on a 139km triangle, Knowing we could have gone more than 300kms downwind it was hard to convince Atilla to come back. I have been a little sick the last couple of days and today was no different. I tookoff and broke a weakling at just over 200ft and somehow manged to get up. I climbed out with Curt to about 8000ft. I then pushed upwind in the start to get a good position and did the 2nd start with Dave May, Curt and Rodrigo. I had a reasonable run to the first turnpoint and then nealy caught Atilla who had done the 1st start. I had one bad glide and Atilla got away and the others came in above me including some that had done the 3rd start. The day was just getting better and that turned out to be the best start for the day. I got low near last turnpoint and after being quite sick all day and dizzy I decided I just wanted to make goal. I did not have the energy to pack my glider up so I scratched as much as I just wanted to be on the ground. I eventually got back nice and high and did a 27km final back to goal at the airstrip. On final my ears felt like they were going to explode and I still can not hear. Hopefully tomorow I will feel better. Only 6 pilots made goal with I think either Curt or Scott Barrett winning the day.