Friday, January 10, 2014

if this is not heaven then I don't know

Today seems to be one of these day that you can only see once a year if you're lucky. We're tracking the fleet and it looks like the task might be under-set. Some of them are constantly doing around 180 km/h for long distances. The task is a 4 hours AAT and they can possibly use all the distance available ans still be ahead of time. I think the photo below says it all:

Overdevelopments and thunderstorms were predicted but it looks like it's not going to happen. The sky is full of picture perfect Cu's instead. We will see tonight.

I am still out of action and probably will stay this way for weeks to come. I cannot even drive so we're trying to arrange our retrieve back to Horsham. There will be help flying in from Horsham on Sunday to fly and drive us all back home. It's good to have friends.

Here are some photos from yesterday's arrivals and landings:

Griffo's injury is inspiring our artist

In the meanwhile today on the grid:

Zig marching to the glider

Are we ready for Polka?

you bet we are!

Zig on tow

Diana on tow

on of the very first ones

We are expecting first arrivals in an hour or so. Beer is already chilling in the fridge.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

and they keep flying

Thy better do keep flying because we are starting to have a hospital here in the gliding club. Now it's not just me but also Griffo, who partially raptured his Achilles tendon pushing the Wilga after he finished towing. So now we have some logistics to sort out with one airplane, two cars and two gliders and just one driver ... we'll see how we're going to manage that. It looks like at least Wilga will have to stay here for a while since there is no one to fly her.

I'm watching Ziggy on the SPOT and he seems to be doing all right and already heading back towards home from very far away. It is a very interesting weather pattern today with a trough line sitting about 100 km to the east and blue conditions anywhere else. It will be interesting to hear the reports once they all come back.

here is me in a back brace again

Zig ready to rock and roll

on the grid

you don't wanna see me walking (if you can even call it walking)

Zig taking off behind Wilga today

the airfield is already dry

off they go
It was so windy on the grid yesterday that the pike cart almost took off (it it wasn't hooked up to the tractor). The CD Bill Mudge was in it and he's now called the captain. It didn't look funny but since nothing happened we can now laugh:

And here is some more art by the same artist. All the drawings relate to some true events we're experiencing here:

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

racing task day

Today both classes are flying a racing task: 360 km for clubbies and 500 km for sports class gliders. TF had to stay tied down again as my condition is not improving at all. I got new medication today and will see how I go with it.
It is blue and low out there and I'm following Ziggy's progress on SPOT tracker. He is half way through the task and seems to be doing just fine. Fingers crossed it will stay this way.
I was trying to make myself useful on the grid today and kept taking photos that I will share with everyone. Here is just a few of them:

no doubts - the best looking competitor

Scout towing Wilga?

Lou flying the Scout

We had our first World Comps Team meeting yesterday and talked through several issues. We are fairly well organised considering months still left till the comps. We will have some licensing and insurance problems to sort out but it all looks promising and we should be all ready well ahead of time.

Monday, January 6, 2014

we all have to keep learning

All yesterday's emotions sort of calmed down today. It was an extremely challenging day with lots of lessons to be learned. The weather was predicted to turn bad as the cold front was approaching. No one expected 45 kts wind gusts though. It started getting really nasty exactly the time the finishes started. Final glide calculations were all messed up, there were few outlandings in safe paddocks at the finish circle but some others just pushed too hard risking ... yeah exactly, risking what? The scariest one was the one we all watched live. The glider hit the trees at the beginning of the runway and spun into the ground. The pilot had more luck than anything else and got out of this mess uninjured. The glider is trashed though. There were few ground loops in paddocks and on the airfield as people were fighting the 45 kts gusts.

Zig ready to go

tugs landing

I'm not the only one with medical condition - here is Claire landing

she has no problems even with the heaviest gliders in the fleet

I have to mention Ziggy again after I analysed his trace. Not only he stopped to top up his altitude 15km out but also commenced a safe high approach (out of all the turbulence close to the ground) keeping the speed up to 80 kts and ended up with a perfect landing. It was really nice to watch. Some would say, why stop and thermal 15km out having 3000 ft AGL? He wouldn't have made it without doing this. There were fields of horrible sink on final and some didn't expect them. The actual L/D of some gliders on the last 15 - 20 km was 1:11. So again, on a day like yesterday you just have to overcook your final glide. If you are lucky and end up too high you can always fly a circuit, if you are less lucky you can end up like quite a few yesterday - in best cases with the shit scared out of you.

The day is cancelled today and we have a general pilots meeting. After that we're going for lunch to Banrock Station winery to have a meeting with our Leszno World Comps pilots.

Scott seems to be very happy with his Diana 1

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Yes, this will be my score today. I had some serious lower back issues some time ago and it seems that I stretched myself too much thinking that I was completely cured ... my problem is back now and I'm not able to fly so the comp is over for me. I hope to get better in the next few days to be able to enjoy TF a little more since she's a delight to fly. We'll see how we go. The doc put me on some magic medication for the moment. Let's hope it helps.

Today was one of these day when you either get a top speed or land out. The winds were blowing up to 40 kts on the ground as a cold front came through and quite a few gliders got damaged. Luckily no injuries.

Ziggy did great today, came in nice a high and did a perfect landing in horrible winds. He was complimented on for a good reason and made up quite a few points. We struggled getting the glider off the runway though and needed two people to assist it to the tie downs. This should give an idea of how the conditions were.

Wilga was great again an got to tow the heaviest gliders - no worries at all. We're very happy with her.

To be at least a little bit useful I went out to the grid with my better and bigger camera and took quite a few shots. There will be a presentation tonight. First few of my photos from yesterday:

on the grid

my grid buddies Craig and Craig

task sheet

Murray River

near Waikerie

we've got one very talented tuggie in here and he's delivering drawings every day

isn't that great?

Photos from today follow in the next post. Enjoy.