December 20, 2008

Saturday, December 20 flight

Yesterday I took out the Mossie for a flight. I had planned to try out the hills but it was blue and the locals recommended staying in the flats. Most of the guys were planning to go to Temora so I decided I would go that direction as well. I declared The Rock and figured I would go past if it was good. I was hitting good lift in the blue including a thermal that was showing 10.5kts on the 30s average most of the time and got to The Rock at 2:00pm so decided to keep going in the direction of Temora. I planned to go until 3:00pm then turn around. I stopped 245km from home, 25km from Temora. The trip home was much more difficult with the lift getting further and further apart and thermals getting harder to work. Over Corowa I got a bit low and thought I might have to land there but managed to scrape away. I started a final glide back to the club and hit a good thermal along the way and took it. I did another 12km leg past the club to pick up a little more OLC distance. The total OLC distance was 520km which is a personal best for me. It also placed me in third place for the day in Australia and first in Benalla. We were happy to beat the Corowa guys as well. Today may be a better day but I am taking a day off. I went for a bike ride around town this morning and will be getting checked out in the scout later today.

December 14, 2008

JoeyGlide Banquet

The banquet was a good bit of fun with most of the pilots going to the reuse shop to buy suits/dresses (we had a couple guys come in drag). I missed the trip to the shop so I just threw on my hockey jersey to represent Canada. Michael Sommer, the winner of the two previous world championships in the open class and a member of the Benalla club was there to present the first place trophy. I had a chance to sit down and chat with him about flying and he told me about flying in Sweden where he won his first championship. Since Finland will be similar conditions I was taking good note. Michael likes to stay up drinking to the early hours of the morning so he got on well with us juniors. He stresses having fun at a contest. Today was a rest and recovery day and tommorow I will be back towing.

December 11, 2008

JoeyGlide Day Scrubbed

It is raining today so the day is scrubbed. Tomorrow does not look very promising either. It looks like I will end up in sixth overall for the contest. I am disappointed in the result but I have learnt some good lessons over the contest and had lots of fun. It has been nice to have so many people my own age to talk about our flights with and sit around the bar with. Tomorrow is the banquet. It is being held in the clubhouse and the bar has been stocked accordingly.

JoeyGlide Day 4

Today I probably had the highest task speed that I have ever been disappointed in. I flew at 104km/h and knew it was not going to be enough. I was joined by Eric Stauss in his Hornet again today and I could not pull away from him even at 100kts. After an hour and a half I looked at my watch and knew I should have been on final glide by then. I ended up taking some bad climbs and going a bit too far off course chasing cu's. Nathan Johnson again smoked everyone at 128km/h raw speed. The task was a bit of an under call because there was cirrus moving in from the north and the cd was worried it would cut everything off. The weather does not look very good for the rest of the week so this may be the last day of the contest.
JoeyGlide Day 4 results

December 10, 2008

JoeyGlide Day 3

Today was blue again but we flew an assigned task. It was tough in the start gate but as soon as I went through, it got much better. I flew with two pilots Adam Henderson in a 304c and Eric Stauss in a Hornet for most of the flight. There was also a Duo Discus flying with us for a while which had a coach and coachee in it. I felt much more confident about my thermaling. It was very easy to lose the core in the thermals but I think I did a good job of finding it again. We got a few cu's on the last leg but we were also into wind. About 80km from the finish Eric and I were still together and he had gotten in front. He went off to a grass fire off course that I thought looked good. I decided to stay on course and see if he turned in it. He did not so I kept going to the sunny side of the ridge that was just ahead. With some searching I found a good climb to get home. The final glide was a bit marginal and I hit some strong sink on the way back. I took a couple of turns in a thermal but in hindsight I probably did not need to. Task speed was 91km/h.
Day 3 Results

December 8, 2008

JoeyGlide Day Scrubbed

Today was scrubbed as we have a trough moving through that will probably cut off all convection and may give us some rain.

JoeyGlide Day 2

Today was much better although I think I would have really benefited from having water ballast. It was blue like yesterday but higher convection and less wind. The task was an AAT with Walbundrie to the north east with a 30km circle, Yarrawonga to the south west with a 30km circle and then Glenrowan to the east with a 15km circle. I went deep into the first circle and just needed to minimize the other cylinders to get back home on time. I came fifth for the day behind four guys with water. It is going to be tough to beat these guys dry even with the 2 points I was given on my handicap. I was quite impressed with the first place finishers speed, Nathan Johnson. He will be flying in the worlds in Finland and I had a chance to fly with him a bit today. He won yesterday as well and seems to fly quite consistently.
I have had trouble adjusting to this aussie weather. It would have been nice to get in a few more flights before the comp. The thermals can be very strong but so is the sink. The interthermal speeds I had been flying in Canada don`t work here and I haven`t quite figured out exactly what I need here. I was happy with the day though and I think I should be able to move myself up some more places from here.
JoeyGlide Scores

JoeyGlide Day 1

Sorry for not posting anything about the contest but the internet has been down for the past week. The contest organizers have had problems getting weather among other things. I had a rough day 1 of the contest. I pulled out to the grid nice and early then discovered water dripping out of the gear doors. The cockpit was slowly filling with water so I had to dump all my water. The contest director said I could adjust my handicap by 2 points but it didn't matter much for the day because I lawn darted 30km from the start. Three of the locals came to pick me up with beer in hand. On the way back from the retrieve without notice and without incident the tread tore off one of the tires. We discovered it when we got back and threw the spare on. I then rigged the glider and put it in the hanger and started getting the water out of the cockpit. The glider had been previously repaired and the drain whole was fiberglassed over so one of the guys drilled a new hole in the bottom of the fuselage and I dried it all out. I was a bit down about the flight but I was glad that I got everything sorted out and it wasn't any worse, which it definately could have been.

November 30, 2008

To the Rock in the Mossie

Today I did my first cross-country flight here in Benalla. It was also my first flight in the Mosquito and first flight using flaps. The Rock is 173km away and regularly used by the locals for their gold distance and diamond goal. It is in the picture above. The lift was quite good most of the time with cloudbase starting at 5000ft and getting up to 7000ft at The Rock. There were some tough spots as well but I never got below 2500ft above ground. It was a good start and I was happy to get in some practice before the Junior Nationals next week. The flight scored 413km and is posted on the OLC here

November 23, 2008

GCV Tow Out Gear

All of the gliders at the club here are equipped with full tow out gear. These and most of the club trailer fittings were made by a member. He also has made them for many of the private ships. The airstrip at Benalla is far away from the hangars and it is quite a chore to walk a wing all the way out there.

Track Cycling World Cup in Melbourne

This weekend I visited my Grandmother and Aunt in Melbourne. They came down from England to first visit my cousin Pete and his girlfriend Jo then head up to Brisbane for my Great Aunt's 100th birthday. The weather was not very nice in Melbourne so we were looking for something to do indoors. My cousin Pete is into bikes and a leg of the Track Cycling World Cup was going on in Melbourne at the time so we got tickets. I was not sure what to expect and thought it might be a bit of a bore. It turned out to be quite an exciting form of racing. I particularly liked the one-on-one sprint riding. The riders seemed to like being at the rear for most of the race and then sprint to the front in the last lap. This made for some very interesting tactics and sometimes the riders came to a complete stand still and it became a cat and mouse game to see who would go in front. It kind of reminded me of the start gate in a gliding contest.

Going for Solo Course

This past week the Gliding Club of Victoria ran a "Going for Solo" course. It started with two instructors with two students each. Later in the week another instructor and student showed up and they worked together. The goal of the course is to give the students an intensive training schedule and get them to or close to solo standard. None of the students on the course achieved a solo flight but were planning to come back and finish it up soon. It provided me with good opportunity to tow doing 16 hours. Next week is a cross-country course. The weather is not looking too good for the week with a few showers forecast. The forecasting has not been particularly accurate so far so who knows what the weather will actually be like.

November 11, 2008

Dual Pawnee

The Gliding Club of Victoria has a two seat Pawnee for training. I didn't know they existed until I got here. It has the same 235hp Lycoming engine as many Pawnees and performs very much the same. The cockpit hasn't been stretched that much and it is very tight when two people sit in it. There is an adjustable bench seat with two different sets of straps. All the towplanes here have cowl flaps but they still crack the cylinders often. They are trying a new procedure from Lasham where they continue to climb for 10 seconds and then start a slow decent. Nothing like the SOSA procedures.

November 10, 2008

Kangaroo Sighting

Since I got to Australia I have been waiting to see a kangaroo in the flesh. I wanted to see a wild kangaroo as opposed to one in captivity. The locals told me that there are usually some that graze around the golf course on the other side of town. Although its not really a wild habitat I thought this would be good enough. They also tell me that some come on the airport and it is common to see them as roadkill on the main highway next to the golf club. Since it is still very quiet at the airport I hopped on my bike and went over there. I went down a side road and didn't see a thing. As soon as I turned around and headed back up the road I saw the two in the photograph. They didn't move at all and I had plenty of time to get out my camera and snap a picture. I had just bought this digital camera last week for 70 aussie dollars (57 canadian). It did a nice job.

November 9, 2008

The Junior Worlds

I will be flying in the Junior Worlds for Canada next year. They are being held in Rayskala, Finland from June 21 to July 4. I have an LS-4 booked that I will be flying in the club class. It won the preworlds last year. SOSA has an LS-4 that I have a bit of time in but I haven't flown it in the past two years. It is a very nice handling airplane and very similar to the LS-8 which I have the most time in. I also am renting a Volvo with a tow hitch from the owner of the glider. Finland is mostly forests and lakes which can be very difficult to find landout options. I have been told by Jim Carpenter to fly up in the Muskoka area as it will be very similar to Rayskala. Flying in the Aussie Junior Nats will also be helpful as there will be pilots flying in the worlds as well there. The days are also very long in Finland because of it being so close to the pole. June 22, the longest day of the year will be during the contest. The tasks can be very long and 1000kms is not unheard of. It should be a good experience.

In The Land Down Under

Gliding Club of Victoria's LS-7

I am currently living in Benalla, Australia Towing gliders and flying gliders when I get a chance. I will be flying in the Australian Junior Nationals (JoeyGlide) starting December 6. I am using the Benalla club's LS-7 for the contest. I will keep you posted on the contest on this Blog.