Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Feb 16 - Black Swan

Yesterday I was biking around Lake Benalla and saw these Black Swans.  I had seen some last year but did not get a picture.  I later heard of the "Black Swan Theory" and have wanted some photos since.  Here is a quote from Wikipedia:
The term black swan was a Latin expression — its oldest reference is in the poet Juvenal expression that "a good person is as rare as a black swan" ("rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno", 6.165).  It was a common expression in 16th century London as a statement that describes impossibility, deriving from the old world presumption that 'all swans must be white', because all historical records of swans reported that they had white feathers. In that context, a black swan was something that was impossible, or near impossible and could not exist. After the discovery of black swans in Western Australia during the 18th century, the term metamorphosed to connote that a perceived impossibility may later be found to exist. Taleb notes that, writing in the 19th century, John Stuart Mill used the black swan logical fallacy as a new term to identify falsification, but only drawing on a London expression.
I also saw an interesting lizard but could not get my camera out before it slithered away.  One of the nice things about Benalla is the proximity of the town.  There is a nice walking/biking trail around the main lake, a golf course and bowls club, and the supermarkets are all within a 10 minute walk of the airport.
Black Swan

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Down Time - Strep Throat

The past week has been a bit slow for me.  On Tuesday of last week I started getting a sore throat and went to the doctors on Wednesday.  The doctor diagnosed it as strep throat and put me on some penicillin.  My tonsils swelled even more the next day so much that I could not eat or drink and breathing was getting difficult.  I went to the hospital Thursday night where they took good care of me.  By Friday morning the swelling was down enough that I could eat but I had to stay in the hospital for a total of 5 nights.  I am out now but still not quite 100%.  I will be on anti-biotics for the next week.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Jan 30 & 31 - Speed

Ben Loxton came up to Benalla for the weekend.  Him and I flew together a number of times last year.  Nathan Johnson was also coming Saturday night on his motorcycle.  Nathan and I flew together at JoeyGlide and the Junior Worlds in Finland.  Ben brought the VMFG LS-3 to fly.  I flew Louise's ASW-19 again on Saturday.  Our task was Ardlethan-Ravensworth, a 750km triangle.  Ben and I started at 12:45pm, a bit of a late start.  It was a struggle until we got north across the Murray river.  Cu's started to pop but we were still going into a strong headwind.  We got to Ardlethan at 4:20pm averaging about 75km/h.  We did not think we would be able to do 500km before 8pm when we expected the day to end so we headed back towards the airfield.  I did not expect my return leg to be 164km/h.  I averaged an 8 knot climb rate and had perfectly lined up cumulus all the way.  I could have flown a bit more but I was interested to see how fast I could make it home and wanted to be back to have a beer with Nathan.  Perhaps the 750km task was possible but there will be other days.  My Speed-OLC was 132km/h and tops in all of Australia.  Ben did another 170km to make 700km.  Chris flight  Ben flight
On Sunday I flew the club Mossie.  We expected another late start and most of us were waiting at the line for someone to go up and try it out.  The picture above is all of the gliders waiting to go.  There was some high cloud over the club from a convergence.  It was a trough or perhaps a mild front.  At 1pm the club ASK-21 went up for a passenger ride and came down soon after.  Jonas and I were chatting and we decided we would give it a try anyways.  I was first to launch and soon found a 5kt thermal to 5000.  I headed west along the convergence line for a bit.  On the other side I started to see cu's popping and went for them.  I connected to a 7.5kt thermal to 8700ft and did not have much trouble afterward.  Although I was getting strong climbs it was not as spectacular as I expected.  Perhaps the end of my flight on Saturday jaded me.  I flew 450km in total.  OLC flight info