How to glide somewhere really hot. Part Four.

Posted 6 years, 8 months ago    0 comments

Day 7. Practice day (yesterday).

We started the day with an opening ceremony of sorts in the auditorium next to the airfield. This new building doubles as a movie theatre. The mayor of Benalla came along, along with the minister for aviation who announced $200,000 of funding will be coming for Benalla airfield.

We then had morning tea followed by a more typical pilots briefing with weather report, and the rules. A few interesting differences between flying in NZ and Aussie:

  • This contest is the first they've used start lines instead of start circles.
  • No ops normals.
  • They don't have SPOTs setup like we do in NZ for contests.
  • Thermals go up to 15,000 feet!
  • Almost no gliders have transponders, they just don't use airspace, and don't really need to. And because of that, controllers aren't used to gliders at all.

Our task today was a good one. I launched late due to my lateness, so the rest of the 15 meter gliders left without me. The first leg was very difficult, with everyone struggling. Started at 5000 feet, and flew between 1500 and 3000 on track.

Once reaching the first turnpoint we got some good air, and after a lot of slow thermals, climbed up to 10,000 feet. This gave a pretty good glide to the next turnpoint, with one decent climb to get onto finals, and home.

Took about 50 minutes longer than I should have, most of it spent on the first leg and then mucking around to get to 10k. Turned out to be the slowest of the day of ALL classes, but not too worried, that's what practice days are for. It's going to take a while to get used to finding scratchy thermals in blue over unusual countryside.

I forgot to mention yesterday, we finally found out who our Tasman trophy competitor is, a friendly chap Ian McCallum. Flying an identical glider type, the Ventus C. He didn't know until the day before either!

The rather plush auditorium for our briefings. More seats than the clubhouse.
The rather plush auditorium for our briefings. More seats than the clubhouse.

The mighty Ventus C
The mighty Ventus C

Day 8. It rained, but then we competed. 

Yes, somehow some sort of small front came through and delayed our launch until 2pm. We were almost not sure if we were going to be flying, but the sky opened up, and the sun came out. It was a touch windy too, with 20-30 knots wind on the ground, crosswind to most of the task.

A 316km racing task was set and can be seen here:
http://www.soaringspot.com/ausmulti13/results/15-meter/task/day1.html

I made a few mistakes for this first competition flight in Aussie:

  • Started too late at nearly 4pm! Just too late for a 300km flight. Even though the thermals do keep going later here, 30 knots of wind isn't going to help, and makes final glides that much shorter.
  • Didn't keep upwind of the Walbies on the way home. This was critical, so I could ridge soar home. Partly because I was late, the thermals were weaker, and one thermal took me 11km downwind.
  • Need to take a damp cloth onto the grid to wipe the dust off the glider after towing it down.

Lessons learned! Overall a very enjoyable day.

Anyway landed at an airfield 30km awa with another glider, after getting stuck behind the hills. An aero-retrieve and landed back at the airfield about 8:30.

Results are here:
http://www.soaringspot.com/ausmulti13/results/15-meter/daily/day1.html 

Until tomorrow...

Organised chaos
Organised chaos

Sitting, waiting for the sky to clear
Sitting, waiting for the sky to clear

The view of the hills I should be on...
The view of the hills I should be on...

There was a touch of haze today
There was a touch of haze today

Tow back in sunset from the nearby airstrip
Tow back in sunset from the nearby airstrip



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