Wednesday, January 13, 2016

few more "really moments"

The last two days beat it all. Let's start with yesterday. The weather forecast was done based on data from few days ago and didn't take into account the cool air that managed to sneak in under the warm air mass causing a severe inversion.

The tasks were set based on 14,000 ft Cu's prediction. Almost 660 km racing task for my class, with the first turn point almost 300 km away. No earlier briefing or earlier launch was called. When we started launching after midday it was clear that the prediction was totally wrong. The back of the grid (where I was positioned) was hoovering at the release height for an hour or so not able to get any higher. The front of the grid managed to reach 3,000-3,500 ft AGL. The gate opened at 1 pm and I was nowhere near the starting height. Few little groups went off but as hard as I tried I was not in the position to go with them. Oh, did I mention that it was totally blue? It is an essential info as you don't start on your own on a low blue day.

Finally I got higher and could start the task from around 4,000 ft AGL. It was 2:20 pm by then. I quickly did the numbers and with the 120 km/h I was hoping to go around with there was just no way I could fly the task during daylight. Then I heard gliders outlanding down the track and some coming back on engines. I decided to pull the plug on this one. I think that I've grown up enough to know not to continue with things that are just no fun anymore. And this one was certainly one of these things.

the essence of Nemo

Oh yeah, and on top of it all I got Nemo again ... I towed behind Nemo 3 out of 6 launches that I had and there are 8 tugs available. What luck!

Today beats it all though ...

We got out in the morning and followed our usual routines: un-tie, covers off, water in etc. We knew that a weather change was coming in the afternoon and it could get nasty. The usual morning sms with grid and launch time info didn't come.

Instead we got this one @ 9:00 am:
"No task today. Extreme weather and wind changes make launching impossible".

Oh yeah, that's sensible. Knowing that tomorrow is going to be total crap with rain bucketing as the very active front passes through, we and quite a few others, decided to de-rig and store gliders in the trailers. So off went the water and we quickly pulled the glider into bits and into the trailer. We closed and tied down the trailer and went for briefing @ 10 am.

As we were heading for briefing this sms arrives:
"Change of plan! Task may be possible, details at briefing, grid 10:30-12:30 on RWY 08"

WTF? How can you legally cancel the day and then an hour later un-cancel it? This is against all the rules. Don't they even know it? You just CAN'T do it. A cancelled day is a cancelled day. Full stop.

Obviously the organisers lack some basic knowledge and they better study the rules before the world comps next year. This is a no-go.

We didn't bother rigging again in the heat. Have I mentioned that it's 43 degrees out there today and blowing gale? In the end they launched 18m and 15m classes and cancelled open. We ended up fixing the bills and getting ready for departure towards home tomorrow morning.

Before that though we're going out for a nice dinner with some interesting personalities tonight.

Monday, January 11, 2016

the "really?" moment

Really? This was the most common expression this morning when we got the task sheets handed out. No early briefing, no early grid, first launch as usual 12:00 with possible delays. And the tasks were:

task A

task A - check the distance

You would think, luckily there is task B if things don't develop as predicted. So here it was:

task B - seriously?

Long term forecasts were predicting a big day today. Already yesterday though, the models started changing showing an early arrival of the predicted front with thunderstorms and gusty winds.

The sky was full of high cloud moving in from early morning and it certainly didn't look like the predicted big day. The task has been changed to B on the grid, launching delayed and we were told to finish early because of the change coming through. Yeah right ... we'll launch you at 12:30, open the gate around 2:00 pm, send you out on 600 km racing task into the unlandable desert and ask you to finish early before the arrival of the front at 5:30 pm. Can you do some maths on it?

10 minutes after the day has been cancelled. No task C handed out. The task setters didn't have a plan for a short task, lets say a 300 km racing or 2 hrs 30 min AAT for the unpredictable weather developments. So we ended up not flying at all on a day that had about 3-4 hours of really great conditions with cloud bases reaching 14,000 ft (!). We could have roared around a 300 km triangle in less than 2 hours today. The change came through around 5 pm and shut it all down.

Still the all or nothing approach was hard to grasp and certainly can't be repeated next year during the worlds. If that's the case, there will be endless protests. People felt like the task had been set on yesterdays weather and noone looked out of the window.

I hope we can expect a better weather judgement tomorrow and in the following days. Not that I care that much about it but there is people fighting for the words qualifications and they do seriously care a lot.

We used the day to do laundry, have a nap and go out for a great dinner with Brian and Miles.

Good night!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

good day

I was on fire this morning. Don't know why but I really liked the tasks we were given. Everybody else complained. We were send into the mountains today, which I kind of like. The tricky bit was to squeeze between the tops of the mountains and the bottom of the airspace. There wasn't much room left. You only bust the airspace once in your life. I've done it before but few people had their first times today. They will never do it again. It's the same with missing a turn point ... been there, done that.

It was a 456 km racing task. I got scared when Nemo rolled in front of me to give me a tow - he's bad luck, take him away - I thought. He wasn't bad luck today as it turned out.

morning impression of the top crew

I had a good run with nice company today. Spectacular views and 10/10 thermals (10 kts up to 10,000 ft) were just a cherry on the top of a cake. It was just great fun and a nice ride.

thermal fucker

With good company I mean TF - thermal fucker - the very first 29 I got to fly :)

Tomorrow is another day, so it's time for some rest. But before that, I'll have a glass of wine with the top crew. Cheers.

Here is my flight on the OLC:

And today's results:

And this morning they took a photo of all us girls flying this comp:

from left: Anne (France), Cathy (AUS), Sarah (USA), Swaantje (Germany), Lisa (AUS) and myself