Monday, December 31, 2007

2008 - Day One

People have flown everyday since my last post - not epic conditions but XC'able almost everyday. I have been sidelined with a tweaky back, and if I'm not ready to fly for the Mystic Cup this coming weekend, I'm going to drink my self into a coma...

Last year Mystic launch would close on fire ban days, this year it won't close on fire ban days, we just have to take the long road up, this will be a huge increase of flyable days.

Oh yeah, Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

It's 84 degrees - Merry Xmas

It's 84 degrees and sunny with nice Cu. Merry Christmas y'all. It's been flyable everyday, a bit too windy mid-day today though, but it's backing off right now. Sunday Craig Collings flew from Mystic to Corryong despite lots of shade and low base. Yesterday was the only blue day I've seen since I've been here.

When the high pressure moves far enough east we should get just the right mix of juju for us to bust some big triangles.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Green and Lush

This time last year the State of Victoria was on fire - the smoke was so thick you could actually see smoke inside your house. It was like this for weeks on end. We left and went up North to Canungra.

This year it's rained a lot and it's lush green. I'm expecting the extra rain will lower the fire closure days for Mystic launch and it may also be less windy than it was last year.

The picture was taken out of the backyard, and is looking south up the Wandiligong valley, those are Apple and Chestnut trees in the orchard.

It's raining hard right now and there's more to come, but it should be good Sunday or Monday, so stayed tuned for your flying fix.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Power of Observation

I've flown three times in the last 5 months and that type of deficiency can cause a variety of ailments. One would be that it lessens your power of Observation. Let's use my last flight as an example - a bit of background information first. One of the really nice things about the flying in Bright Australia is that the quality of pilot here is very high. A few days ago I had the pleasure of flying with Bright local and 6 time Australian National Champ, Fred Gungl, and it's great to have someone that can keep up with me (they call this being cheeky in Oz).

Flying with people that know what they are doing helps you go places and can be very instructive especially when they say intelligent things over the radio. Take the other day for example. The sky was fairly overcast and I was in a climb on the west side of Goldmine, and Fred in a climb on the east side of Goldmine. Fred called out his climb strength which was about the same as mine so I stayed where I was. Then Fred called and said that there was a cloud forming between us, and sure enough, looking up I see this beautiful little cloud and it was growing fast. I should have seen that cloud on my own. I moved my turns toward the cloud and my climb rate increased and I was at base soon after.

Speaking of clouds, Fred had another interesting observation in response to someone saying they thought the clouds looked scary, he said that the overcast sky made the cloud bottoms look darker than they should have been based on the cloud height. The clouds ended up being benign and it was great fun flying up to the bottom and then out around the edge and looking down at base.

The Weather

The weather is very different here this year, it has rained more in the last week than it did during my 5 months here last year. El Nino ended a while back and this has increased rainfall which should lessen the bush fires that were such a disaster last year. I think the moisture should give us more cloud days and flying with cloud is the stuff of dreams.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Oz Flight One

I've been in Oz over a week, during which time a virus has been busy using my DNA to spin copies of itself, but today I finally got in the air. Yesterday the sky was pure blue and delicious - big cotton candy marking the lift and a south wind to push pilots out towards the flats. I wasn't feeling up to flying, so I decided to torture myself by turning the radio on. I heard lots of psyched pilots calling climb rates to each other as they went XC. Even the virus inside of me wanted to fly...

Today the sky was very overcast, and I had to get out and try. Despite the high cloud, Cu was popping so I headed up the hill. The climbs were weak but one drifted a couple of us over the back and as we pushed through the inversion the climb sped up, maybe we could go somewhere today afterall.

Fred, Neil, Veronica and I headed over to Gold Mine. Fred spotted a cloud just starting to form and so we worked a core that drifted toward the cloud, other thermals joined up and the climb got strong - we were at base soon. We followed the spur toward Smoko and got to base under a bigger cloud, ran for the edge, then crossed near Harrietville to the foothills of Feathertop.

Base was to low to go to Feathertop, so we worked back up the East side of the valley but it wasn't working as well and landed near the Big Shed Cafe. Day one in Oz was sweet.

It is very green here compared to last year, it's a good thing. Stay tuned....


Sunday, December 09, 2007

To Oz in a Time Machine

It took 24 hours of travelling to get to Oz, the flight from San Fran to Sydney is 13.5 hours, add connecting flights, layovers and crossing the international date line and strange things can happen - I left Portland at 6pm Dec 7 and arrived in Melbourne at 11 am Dec 9th... A time machine of sorts.

The rusty tin roofs and brick buildings are in Melbourne, Heike gets here on Thursday then we go to Wandi.