Saturday, January 12, 2013

tricky ... again

Yesterday was another European type weather day. It was supposed to be better than the day before and it sort of was but not really much. The temperature didn't go quite as much up as expected. It was blue (again) with lift up to 6000 ft at the most through the whole flight.

on the grid

world from my perspective

It was challenging but TF makes your life so much easier. I wouldn't have thought that you can average way over 100 km/h in such conditions but the glider makes it possible. Even after being penalized by the handicap the speed was still over 100. Unfortunately the speeds displayed on the results sheet are not the "off the stick" speeds. Better gliders have the speeds reduced and worse one get something on top. Well, that's the way it is in this country and I just have to get used to it.

I am still pleased with my performance yesterday:

and with the overalls after 3 days:

Lars revealed to me yesterday that TF's nickname is in fact "Thermal Fucker". I'm not sure if it's bad or good. He didn't want to tell be the whole story behind it but I'm sure there is one. I hope I will get it out of Graham.

Weather has changed today. We're now waiting for the briefing. Rumors are that they might try to set a task although chances of soarable conditions are pretty low. The cyclone Narelle that is west of the continent is feeding clouds into the southern parts of Australia. We cannot see any signs of sun out there but the gliders are ready and so are we. Predictions for next week look good again and there might be Cu's! We haven't seen these for a while now.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Day 3

Very challenging day yesterday. Blue as it can be with climbs up to 4000-5000 ft MSL and 350 km to run. We had one to almost 6000 ft MSL but this wasn't the standard. Big gaggles moving around, very crowdy with lots of plastic in the air.
In Australia even the 15-m class is handicapped. On such a weak days the handicap kills the best gliders. Glides are just too short to use the advantage of the glider and gaggles climb more less constantly. Oh well, we still hope for some really good and fast days ahead.

It was kinda funny with Ziggy yesterday. I landed, put the glider away, it was almost 7 pm and no sign of him. I gave him a call on the phone and he answered:

"Where are you?"
"18 km out" (my mind already switched to: hook up the trailer, don't forget wing stands etc.) But hang on, I can hear some familiar background sound. Then he added:
"18 km out on final glide"

Wow, he was one of the last ones to make it back home. He was on his own in this hard conditions and he managed to get back. Well done Ziggy!

Daily results for 15-m:

and total after 2 days:

all the others are here:

We are going back to 40+ degrees today an this gives hope for some better conditions. Even if it stays blue. Briefing starts in 10 minutes.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Competition day 1 & 2

I didn't have time to write anything yesterday because of quite a few outlandings and retrieves. About midnight everybody was accounted for.
It was a very hard day and we had a racing task (316 km). The sky was blue and it was extremely windy. At some stage I was showing 37 kts westerly winds at 5000 ft. Very challenging and I was very thankful for the heavy Mrs. TF. The daily winners got lucky and were able to start the task above 9000 ft - they managed to contact the wave. Most of us though weren't that lucky and had to start the task about 5000 ft. The biggest advantage for the winners was that they didn't have to stop for lift on the first upwind leg. I had to do it twice. I am very pleased though that I got around the task. It wasn't that obvious. We launched very late and start gates were opening for all classes between 3 and 4 pm. Normally by that time you are thinking about slowly turning back home from wherever you are.

So here are yesterdays results for 15 meter class:

and for all the other classes:

I was really glad we were the first class to be launched yesterday. We just made it back on time. Ziggy was further back and when he calculated the speed he was progressing after 130 km on task he figured there is no way he can compete the task before dark. He decided to abandon and got back to the airfield. I think it was a good decision. He didn't have to be retrieved like very many from his class.
We went for a retrieve to get Bernie back. It was already dark and very windy - not an easy task. Good that there were four of us otherwise it would have been a hard work.

after finally finding Bernie

Today is a very different day. From 40+ degrees we went down to just 22 today. It's cold! Winds were much stronger than predicted and only open and 18 meter classes were launched. They are on task just now. Strong southerly winds cause the sea breeze to arrive in Benalla early. It always cuts off the thermals. Today's task is to the north which will make it challenging to come back against the very strong winds. We'll see how the boys cope.

cold morning

Zig and his beast

end of the gridding exercise
my national stalker Simon

Jarek & Iza's "don't put it on the blog photo"

Monday, January 7, 2013

Practice Day

Today was the official practice day. It is still very hot. Ziggy did fly the set task and I played around with the engine and Altair navigation in the air. After few additional adjustments that I just performed everything seems to be working just fine and I think that I'm ready for the comp to start.

We're just finishing dinner in the club and will go back to the motel and jump into the pool just like we did yesterday. Because we're staying in the same motel for the third time the owners already know us. They also know Ziggy and his b..... talks. Once we arrived he played very disappointed about the missing welcome champagne. Sure enough the owner brought us two glasses of sparkling wine direct into the pool. How nice is that?

We're very happy to have the pool available in this weather. It's about the only way to bring your body temperature down quickly. I'm still struggeling a bit coping with over 40's every day.

We had the official opening this morning and it all looked and felt very serious:

except for us ;)

I was in the first row on the grid and flew TF first time with water. X-wind take off doesn't affect the glider at all. So different to all the Polish gliders. It wasn't a water day today but it was good to get some feel for the glider.

tugs ready to rock

waiting for launch

Today was probably the only day where I was relaxed enough to think about and take some in-flight pictures. This might not happen again as we're progressing towards the serious stuff tomorrow.

a woman needs a mirror in the cockpit

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Multiclass Nationals in Benalla

So, we arrived to Benalla yesterday afternoon. It was way too hot to rig gliders so we waited till shortly before sunset and did it then. The temperature hit 44 degrees.

ready to leave Horsham

TF goes out of the box

enjoying the sunset and dropping temperature

the Rigmaster

It's not better today. We played with water ballasts on both gliders and finally got them weighed. 6 hours in the sun and liters of water later we found out what the problem was. All the years we thought there is a problem with the 55 not filling up properly. We thought she only accepts 60 liters each side. We filled up the 29 today and she was full with the water flow meter showing not even 60 liters each wing instead of 85. Hang on ... the problem is not the glider but the fancy electronic water flow meter! To confirm that we lined up for weighing and put TF on scales. She was way overweight. The same has been happening to the 55 all the time and we thought she's pissing out of the vents not being full. It's annoying, very annoying but at least we know there is no problem with the glider! New water meter will fix it.

in line for the scales

Tomorrow is the official practice day. We will still have the same air mass that is turning stable. There was only 4000ft today - hard to handle with 43 degrees C on the ground and not much less at altitude. Tomorrow might be even worse with strong westerly winds. Change is predicted to come through on Wednesday.