Man ... what a weekend. We got up early on Saturday and after a quick brekkie headed for the airfield where MOM was already patiently waiting. We took off in the sun and enjoyed the smoothest air ever with beautiful views.
|sun beating hard in our faces|
|towards the sun|
After 1h 50min we landed at Tocumwal where Ingo and Bernie were already waiting. Tocumwal is a huge post-military airfield which was used as a training base during the WWII.
|the Liberator story|
|Liberator replica with Zig and Bill|
I sat down with Ingo and we talked about my flying, expectations and all the issues that I seem to have. I think he was glad to have someone to talk German to. We haven't identified any other problems but lack of self confidence in the decision process. Well, I sort of suspected that before. It's good to have it confirmed though.
|evacuating the hangar|
|get it all out!|
NSW has been badly affected by floods which is clearly visible from the air. Although it was very warm and sun was shining all the time there was no way to go for a XC flight. Thermals were extremely weak and the top of convection didn't exceed 3500 ft MSL. Even Ingo said it was too risky to go beyond gliding distance from the field cause there was just nowhere to land.
|flooded town of Nathalia|
I've even heard people cracking jokes about the temporary water frontage some can "enjoy" through their living room windows. One thing is sure though: paddocks are wet and soft and there is barely any ground heating going on.
|Ziggy, Bernie and Bill|
The air mass was unstable and Cu's wanted to form. I have never seen such a short living Cu's before though. Their life cycle could have been measured in seconds not even minutes so there was no point in aiming for a cloud. It wouldn't be there any more by the time you would get there no matter how close it was.
|Bernie before launch|
We still managed to get a few nice flights in and practice some extremely low level thermalling in close to no lift. I followed my temptation to show off and pulled the yellow knob around 1000 ft AGL on one of my flights. It almost ended with beating the tow plane down but we managed to scratch up on downwind position. What a shame it would have been ...
|Ziggy with Judy in Kookaburra|
|there are also some up-to-date gliders at Tocumwal|
Ingo mentioned a very essential point: not to put too much pressure on yourself. He said every championship he went to was pure fun. He enjoyed the atmosphere, the flying, the great holidays he had with his wife who was his crew. It didn't matter if he won, was 10th or 15th - the fun was the same.
|Kookaburra on tow|
|ready to go with Ingo|
|"pick up slack"|
|Bergfalke on tow|
Putting it all together there is apparently nothing wrong with my flying and I just have to be more aggressive and push harder. I will keep this in mind for my next competitions.
|just one of them is a model|
|Bernie in his element|
|you really have to achieve something to have a street named after you|
|downtown Tocumwal with a glider that Tom Stowers helped put up years back - what a small world!|
We spent two very nice days in friendly Tocumwal and flew back to Horsham on Monday. We made new friends and it was really nice to see everyone waving good bye and Bill saying: "Don't forget to come back". Don't worry Bill, we won't forget!