Saturday, July 6, 2013

another day in the air

Weather finally improved and we got to fly yesterday. It was very challenging and hard work again. 3500 ft AGL at the most and 2.5 kts or so average lift. Asia and myself managed again to team fly. We were apart few times but eventually found together again. I'm really happy with flying with her. We have never done it before and it just works. It gives me more confidence and we can drag each other along the task if one struggles. I'm enjoying it.

Here are yesterdays results:

And total after 3 flying days:

photo by Ogonek

We've got a longer task today. Interesting cause the weather doesn't look much better than yesterday. We are still better off than Club and Standard classes - they have racing tasks over 400 km each. We have an AAT, 4:30 hours, between 370 and 590 km. I'm not a fan of AAT's but with this weather forecast I'm pretty happy with it.
Gliders are on the grid, all ready and the first launch will be at noon.

Friday, July 5, 2013

sunny morning

Finally we woke up to see sun in the sky! There is a bit of a worry with Cu's developing really quickly and spreading this early in the morning. Let's hope it will recycle again and we will get some normal soaring conditions today.
We went out for a fancy French dinner last night. 4 courses and some wine (not too much though). It was very nice although I have to say it again: nothing can beat Ziggy's steaks. I think the problem here is that they don't have to best quality beef. It was nicely done and tasty but meat was chewy. Anyway, we had a nice night out. Probably the last one for now as the weather has improved and we will be flying so there will be no time for fancy dining.

We're now waiting for the briefing. Gliders are already lined up on runway 11. All are keen to fly today :)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

day cancelled ... again

The organizers tried very hard but there is nothing you can do to win against weather. Overcast with 400 m AGL basis. We waited on the grid till 3 pm and the day got cancelled. No chance whatsoever. There is many birds here at the aerodrome and once it becomes soarable they all take off and use the very first thermals. We've been watching them every day. Today though, they took off few times, flew around uncoordinated heavily flapping their wings just to land back on the runway after few minutes. They are still sitting in the grass. I think this tells more than hundreds weather forecasts.

Kerrie was very excited picking up little flowers in the grass. There is no green grass in Australia, not even mentioning all kinds of little colorful flowers. It's amazing how something obvious for you can be something special for someone else.

Once the day was cancelled Ziggy had his moment. He got to sit in his new glider for the first time. Funny, there was never enough time before. He hasn't flown it yet but is already talking about putting the 55 on the market. Who would want to drive a Holden having a Rolls Royce available ;)

We'll be going out for a nice French dinner tonight.

International night

We had the international night yesterday. Tons of good food and drinks. It was fun and it looked like some had bit more to drink than the others. Weather today looks really bad again. We will have briefing an hour later than usual. Gliders are on the grid already and they will soon be wet. Some steady rain is approaching from the west. Hopefully there is not much wind in it.
Here few pics from last night:

Czech Republic






rainy rest day

Today was called off yesterday in the evening. We slept in till 11 am :). Then we went for a nice brunch and coffee with something stronger in the city center.

It's been raining all day long and we're now preparing for the traditional international night tonight. It is a night when every team is serving some traditional food and/or drinks. We have polish national drinks (grass vodka with apple juice and one other vodka), sausages and pickles.
We also found some nice pictures of us on the organizer's web site:

We're hoping we'll be flying tomorrow but Zig the Met Man says we might not. We better do because there is some more points to gain :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

day cancelled in the air

We were sitting on the grid, first launch was being delayed million times and sniffer did almost beat the tow plane down twice. Finally they started launching 15-m class. We could barely stay up and they cancelled the day in the air. We all landed and are now enjoying wine and cake. Tomorrow doesn't really look much better either. We will see. They are planning international night for tomorrow night.

shiny wing

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

lesson learned

No I won't be making excuses. I effed-up yesterday. They say you will bust the airspace once in your life - I've done it some years ago. You will also miss a turn point - this happened to me yesterday. I missed the observation zone by 3 meters. I got penalised with 50 points for that.
How did that happen? I'm not 100% sure but know it's all my fault and I will not do it again. I had too many warnings turned on that covered the screen at that moment and Flarm started yelling at beeping at me. It's no excuse of course and I learned my lesson. Never ever miss a turn point again!
If it wasn't for the penalty I should be happy with my flying yesterday. It was extremely tough especially at the beginning. We had 340 km to run and were launched after 1 pm into virtually nothing. We struggled to stay at or even below release altitude for almost 2 hours. Most of us got rid of the water by then. The gaggles were horrendous with all classes represented. There were some converging gaggles as well. Everybody tried desperately to stay airborne. Scary stuff but we're used to it and girls do know how to behave.

We departed on task shortly before 3 pm when it just cooked up for w moment and we were able to go above 3000 ft AGL. We had a good run for the first 150 km showing about 95 km/h on the averager. Amazing what the glider can do it such a marginal conditions. Then the cirrus layers got thicker and thicker and gradually started shutting the weak thermals down. It was getting late too. With 180 km still to run it all started looking pretty poor and we were tippy toeing trying to use everything we could find. The sun was still pretty high up but the cirrus was just too much. Shortly before that last turn point we got into an area with thinner cirrus and some heating of the ground. I said to Asia we better hope it will cook up again to give us the final glide home. It did! Right over the last turn point we easily established final glide and had a nice 35 km run back home. What a relief.

Here are the results for yesterday:

And overall after 2 days:

And here is my flight on the OLC:

Yesterday we were flying under a weak front (this was where the cirrus was coming from). Today the front has passed and the air mass is different. Predictions are not good at all but we're all on the grid and now waiting for the morning briefing. You can smell the moisture in the air, there are some over-developments visible on the horizon and the sky is covered with cirrus again. It is a different type of cirrus though. It feels sticky and not really fresh. I'm excited to see what happens when the temperature raises.

Monday, July 1, 2013

after day one

Yesterday was a good day. It was low and weak and we all still managed to get good speeds in. We had a 340 km long racing task and were rarely flying above 3000 ft AGL. My average lift for the task was 2.8 kts. It started blue and very low. I got annoyed at the start line where all gliders were orbiting gradually going down from 2800 ft AGL. We finally decided to go and try connect to the little Cu's visible on the horizon. We did so just before the first turn point and had a nice flight from there. It was low but lift was reliable and we felt quite comfortable even below 2000 ft AGL.
Asia and I managed to stay together for the whole flight. We lost sight of each other at some point but eventually found ourselves together again.
We all did well. Point differences are not big and we have a good starting position. Note, how close together all the speeds are. Very equal performance.

And here is my flight on the OLC:

On a day like yesterday I just have to forget about the engine. When you're flying that low you are often very close to the decision height and you still know you can get away. I have to fly like I had no engine at all and if worse comes to worst just land out. In the end I'm the one having the best crew in the world!

It's pretty amazing what task you can manage and with what speed in yesterdays conditions. I think it's the glider. She wants to go. Somebody once told me: "She's very fast. Do not try to slow her down". I keep repeating it to myself every time I feel like slowing down.

I've got no in-flight pictures - it was too stressful and low to even think about grabbing a camera.
We're now waiting for the Day 2 morning briefing. Weather should be similar to yesterday with the difference that there will be a front approaching in the afternoon so the day might be shorter. We'll see what the task setters have for us.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

day 1

So! Welcome to the jungle! The serious stuff starts today. Amazingly the sky is almost perfectly blue and it's much, much warmer than previous days. XM is all set and already on the grid. We practiced the "getting ready" procedure this morning and found out that getting up at 6:15 in the morning will be just perfect to have plenty of time to have a nice breakfast in the hotel, prepare everything, grid and even update the blog before morning briefing. It looks like we'll be enjoying a blue day today. We will know more after the briefing.
Let the real fun begin!

opening ceremony

Rain cleared and it got warmer just in time for the opening ceremony. It was fun. We're all ready and excited for tomorrow - the first competition day. It's time to get serious ;)