November 30, 2008
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 http://www.onlinecontest.org/olc-2.0/gliding/flightinfo.html?flightId=-328482375
November 23, 2008
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.