Monday, September 13, 2010

Santa Cruz Flats Day 1

SANTA CRUZ FLATS SCORES What can I say it is great to be back here in Arizona at the Santa Cruz Flats. This year my father has even made the journey out and it will be the first time ive flown with him out of Australia since the Worlds in 2003. There are 40 pilots here and we are set up on green grass next to the pool which is 20 meters from the bar. Pilots Briefing Is this really a hang gliding competiiton? You can set your GPS under a tree have a swim or even walk 20 metres back to your room and relax in the aircondition whist enjoying a film before walking your glider out to the launch line. I was very relaxed today as there was priorty staging and maybe something to do with the Margaritas that were also consumed last night. I eventually made it out there in the 36 degree and was set and ready to go and fly the 96km task. I watched many pilot tow first and many came back down as the conditions were weak and low. I towed up behind Carl and we climbed out to 2500ft agl and spent the next 1hr trying to get a good start. All but one pilot did the last start and none of us were high. We glided into the first turnpoint and got donw to about 1,000ft before hitting a climb. I was on top with Kraig, Robin,Nils and a few others. We left the turnpoint and headed off with a big gaggle climbing below us. I hit the next thermal and we climbed back up to 3000agl before heading off again. After this glide there was only 5 of us Kraig, Carl, Robin Nils, Ricker and I we ended up losing Ricker and Robin as they went more downwind as we got low. We hit a climb and got up to 3200agl with Kraig and Carl on top and NIls and I below. I stayed and topped out a little more while the others were on glide in front of me. Carl ended up flying all the way to the ground and Kraig was also low circling in front of me. I hit a climb with Nils and we waited for Kraig to climb up to us so that we could fly together in hopes that we could get around the course on this difficult day. Us 3 stayed in front all the way to the 2nd turnpoint and got caught up by robin, ricker and Larry before the 3rd TP. I was not doing anything special just trying to stay in the air and fly smart as I knew it was going to be challenging to finish the task. We could have landed on any glide as we were getting low all day and after rounding the last turnpoint we had a headwind of 10kph with some shading to slow things down. At the end we were all still together and I glided out first toward goal on a 14.8:1 and I hit a 300fpm climb and the others came in just below and did not get the climb so they pushed on. Larry and the Rigid came in later and hit the climb below me and climbed. I left on a 12:1 and made the goal just. The others landed a few kms short and Larry came in a few minutes later landing about 20 metres short of the goal. The rigid was the only other pilot to make goal with many landing on the 2nd leg. A hard first day, lets hope the weather gets better as I dont want to spend another 4.5 hrs in the air tomorrow. Here is Day 1 Video.