Monday, January 25, 2010

Jan 24 - Yannick from Champlain visits

I have had a number of guests visit here in Benalla.  Selena and Angie from Edmonton are here for a few months.  A couple weeks ago Paul Fish was here from SOSA flying the LS-4 for a week.  Doug Bremner was passing through with his daughter last week and Timo the fellow I rented a glider from in Finland is currently flying an ASG-29 here.  Yannick Burgevin from Association de vol à voile Champlain contacted me the other day saying he would be in Melbourne and would very much like to do some flying.  He came up on Sunday and since the Duo Discus and ASK-21 were taken we had a flight in the IS-28 (Lark).  Unfortunately it was not a classic Australian day but we both enjoyed it none the less.  Yannick has a blog and an entry about the flight here Vol #125: Benalla.  For those like me that have trouble with french you can translate it with Google translate
OLC flight info

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jan 20 & 21 - Flying with Selena and Jonas

Selena has been asking me to fly with her and Wednesday looked like a good day.  We set out to fly The Rock-Conargo for a 500km FAI triangle.  It was blue the whole day.  Selena was flying very well in the Mosquito and I was having a tough time keeping up with her in the ASW-19.  We were not going very fast so decided to turn Tocumwal on the way back for 400km.  The run west was straight into a headwind between 10 and 15 knots.  The weather was weakening so we turned early and headed for home.  At the end of the flight over the airfield was some good looking lenticulars.  I managed to get into some wave but had to leave because I got too close to the Albury airspace.  Chris' flight Selena's flight
On Thursday we were expecting another good day.  The only temp trace we had was from the day before.  It suggested an 11 o'clock start to the day and good lift to 10,000ft.  When we took off at 11 we could barely get above 2500ft above ground.  I got very close to landing back at the field.  It was like that until almost 2pm when I met up with Jonas.  We got above 8000ft and started cruising towards Temora.  After we passed The Rock I noticed some high clouds moving in quickly.  I decided we would take the next thermal and then turn around.  It was perhaps a better idea to turn around right away.  When we got back to The Rock it was all under shadows.  There were still some spots of sun on the ground and we still got some very good climbs for a while.  Eventually the way back became completely consumed in high cloud cover.  The wind also picked up to 20 knots.  We found a few weak climbs but eventually knew we could not make it home.  I called Angie on my cellphone and asked her to organize a crew and I would call her when we landed.  We found a nice cut hay field and made safe landings.  There was some light rain and some wind gusts but nothing too drastic.  Our crews got there quickly and we stopped in Wangaratta for pizza on the way home.  Chris' flight Jonas' flight
Today the temp trace is giving a late start but showing 18,000ft.  The wind is very strong.  Some members took launches and scared themselves.  I got the glider ready and then saw a line of gliders heading back to their hangars.  I decided to do the laundry instead today.

Selena Blue, Chris Red

Jonas Blue, Chris Red

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jan 15 - Another trip to Kosciuszko

On Friday I had another flight in Louise's ASW-19.  I once again declared Temora-Hay.  On my way up to Temora I noticed that it was blue to the west towards Hay.  The forecast showed blue to the west but beyond Hay.  There was supposed to be clouds over the hills for most of the day.  I saw nice streeting going directly towards Mt. Kosciuszko so at Coolamon I changed task to the hills.  The run to Kosciuszko was good.  I stayed under cloud streets the whole way and averaged 119km/h.  To turn the peak I had to scrape in a weak thermal.  The way back started out good but getting to Mt. Beauty the lift weakened.  I dumped my water early because I was not finding much more than a couple of knots.  There was still a line of cu so I turned Lake Nillahcootie on my way back.  It was an eight hour flight and I was first to leave and last one back.  Again I am having troubles with my camera.  The picture above is Lake Dartmouth from a flight last year.

Jan 16 - Healesville

On Saturday Selena, Angie, Jonas and myself took a drive to the Healesville wildlife sanctuary.  We took the scenic route through the Goulburn and Yarra valleys.  Healesville is full of native animals including Kangaroos, Koalas, Platypus, Wallabys, Tasmanian Devils and Dingos.  There were also plenty of birds and reptiles among the exhibits.  On the way back we went through the Strathbogies.  The van we borrowed had a hard time getting back but with a bit of pushing we got back safely.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jan 11 - Hot

I looked at yesterday's temp trace with Graham Garlick in the morning and we both thought we might be able to get away between 10:30am and 11am.  I declared a 750km triangle and was ready at the launch point at 10:30am.  Graham was going to attempt a 1000km flight and took off first at 10:45am.  He did not get much more than a bubble and landed soon after.  I decided to wait on the launch and take a look at the updated temp trace.  The temperature was staying at 36°C.  According to the new trace we needed 39°C to get above 2000-4000ft.  That did not happen until about 2pm.  At 43°C it was supposed to go to 14,000ft.  I finally took a launch at 1pm and struggled for 2 hours below 5000ft covering about 100km.  When I hit the cu's to the north I got to 12,000ft and ran up a nice cloudstreet.  I did not have a real goal of going anywhere and just went back and forth a bit.  My highest point was 13,200ft.  The OLC gave me 500km for the flight.  The average speed was 97km/h which is not bad considering the first 2 hours were at 50km/h.  Graham watered up his ASW-20 again and flew a new Australian 300km out & return record but missed the finish point by 100m.
Thanks to Louise for letting me fly her glider.
OLC flight info

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Jan 9 - Temora-Darlington Point

I made another attempt at 750km yesterday.  I declared Hay-Temora.  I took off at 11:30am and did not start until 11:50am.  Over Benalla I was not getting much more than 3000ft above ground.  There were clouds to the north and I pushed into them but got to 1500ft before connecting.  I then started hitting some good climbs and got to just over 8000ft.  The way to Hay was still in the blue so I decided to reverse the flight and go to Temora first.  The flight would then not qualify for the 750km diploma.  My run to Temora was good but not great.  I averaged about 100km/h.  I expected to do a lot better.  I think I was letting myself get too low waiting for the very strong climbs and then having to take weaker ones.  After turning Temora for Hay things slowed for me even more.  I went a bit north of track to avoid a blue patch but it seemed to be better on the south side.  After a while of going slow I decided to turn about 100km short of the turnpoint and head for home.  The run home was much better and if I could have kept that speed I probably would have been able to finish the task.  I had a 105km final glide starting at 10,000ft and taking about 45 minutes.  I was quite exhausted after the flight.  It was certainly not my longest flight here but I was feeling a bit sick all day and did not eat anything until supper.  I had an early night and I am taking it easy today.
OLC flight info