Friday, February 29, 2008

Bright 321, Task 2

Isolated showers, falling as snow at first this morning. That was the Alpine forecast, doesn't sound like Bright in the summer does it?

Winds were lighter today so we went to the Pines. The task was elapsed time to Yarrawonga via 2 turnpoints. Quite a few people bombed out just after launch opened, the second wave off the hill jumped into a better cycle and we climbed out no problems.

We had an airspace lid at 4500 ft, if you go 100 meters into it, you get a zero for the day. There were huge thermals boosting people towards cloudbase/airspace, I saw lots and lots of spirals being held in for long stretches - I wonder if blacking out trying to avoid airspace would get us any brownie points with the airspace board of whatever quasi-government that monitors it with spy satellites?

All I could think about was how to stay under 4500 ft - after my share of 5G spirals, my brain got smashed into my spinal column and in my altered state I flew right past the 1st turnpoint, and ooops, there goes my race as I was downwind of it in a blink of an eye.... As someone from a small town would say: "That'll learn ya..!"

Looks like we will be out there again tomorrow for some more acro moves beneath the invisible lid at 4500 feet.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bright 321, Day 6

What a beautiful day today - so we decided to drive out to Beechworth for a pastry. Oh and the clouds were gorgeous!

It looks like we will drive out to Beechworth for a cup of tea tomorrow.

stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bright 321, Day 5

We went up Mystic today and a few pilots saw the writing on the wall and so they went for a free fly. It was a smart decision in hindsight as the wind picked up and the organizers decided we should try Mt Emu, so we drove into the Keiwa Valley, but it was too windy and starting to OD. I hear we may try Mt Broughton tomorrow.

The law of averages is the only way you can be happy doing comps - to get one good comp, you have to go to all of them. As I type this a huge gust front is ripping out of the SW and it's raining, thunder and lightning too....

Today's forecast mentioned snow in the mountains... Is this an early fall??

I am drinking wine now.


Bright 321, Day 4

If we all had one of these little Gems, we would have had a task today - put alas, our giant wings don't like the breeze whistling through the trees...

Doesn't a high wing loading mean stability?? Gavin sure thinks so...

Someone burn a glider for god's sake!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Bright 321, Task 1

Well the game is on - today we had blue skies and strong climbs with a fair amount of west wind aloft. The task was a cat's cradle for a total of 63k, but the farthest turpoint was only 8k from launch!

Lots of speed bar was needed on any leg that went in the direction of Mt Buffalo - pick a bad line and you could get stuck bad in the lee side of something. Craig Collings won the day in 2:18, Mark Watts was second, dunno who was third, but it wasn't me!

The conditions were good enough that I didn't see anyone land out today, and even if you got stuck, with patience you could still make goal. Tomorrow looks good, stay tuned!

Provisional Scores:

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bright 321, Day 2

Yes, you guessed it, Day Canned. Too much SW wind...

Tomorrow looks like a much better day. I hope someone burns a wing!


Friday, February 22, 2008

Bright 321, Day 1

Beautiful Cu today, but too much SW wind for a task. The briefing this AM went for 3 hours, no kidding, the big issue was how to implement the FAI rules for Airspace.

The FAI rules are anything but clear, and it wasn't long before the group came up with a few scenarios whereby the rules totally contradicted themselves and some of the assumptions became highly suspect, so we broke into small groups to brainstorm and that really sped things up and got us back on track.

Amazingly, in the end, everyone was satisfied that we had a clear interpretation of the rules - it was fair and enforceable and even took into account how the scoring software might be affected by the penalties.

Because of the type of airspace we have around here, this is my take on how the rules affect this comp: if you penetrate a chunk of controlled airspace vertically by MORE than 100 meters, you are scored to that point, and get a zero for the day by getting a penalty equal to your score. Getting a zero score this way hurts you but not the task's validity.

If you penetrated less than 100 meters vertically into airspace (either once or multiple times on that flight) no penalty applies, but you get an official warning - and if you did the same thing the next day (or subsequent days), you are scored to the point you entered airspace, and get a zero score in the same way as above.

So you get one "get out of jail free" card per comp, but only if you penetrate airspace less than 100 meters vertically. Note that if you penetrated (horizontally) into the side of an airspace "step", your infraction is calculated exactly as above, i.e. only your distance vertically above the horizontal airspace boundary is what is measured!

While it may seem a little strange, that is the interpretation of what a group of about 20+ smart people finally agreed upon.

Lastly - this was my interpretation, so don't get your pants in a wad if the above isn't spot on....

Tomorrow looks 50/50 as the wind is forecast to be strong....

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sofa King Good

Awesome cloud flying yesterday in light south flow. A whole van load of Kiwi's and some Melbournites headed up to Mystic, but it was over the back. So we went to the Pines and launched about 3pm.

It was on, so I launched right away with the intention of flying back to Bright, lucky for me Brian Webb had the same idea. It's always more fun having someone to fly with, of course it wasn't long before he was ahead of me but that has upsides as well, as he is a great thermal marker.

We actually didn't need to thermal much because the big clouds were providing such good lift lines, after leaving the hill we only used 5 climbs to get back to Bright (45k). There was a strong south in the valley bottoms and the final glide calc doesn't tell you about that, so we didn't quite make the L-ZED.

The others tried flying out on the flats, not sure how that went. Today the sky is overcast, not much lift out there.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Just Another Day (in the sky)

Just another day in Paradise. I've flown 5 days in a row. My new harness has arrived. The comp starts Saturday. Life is good.

The Pic is of Trelawney on his M2.


MYSTIC CUP - 17/Feb/2008

Despite the blue and high pressure conditions, yesterday's Mystic cup was really sweet. Thanks to the efforts of the task committee, we had a really enjoyable day - elapsed time start from Mystic, Gold Mine, Smoko, Lil' Mystic, Lil' Pyramid, Smoko, landing paddock - 35 km. Craig Collings won with a time of 1:14. Find more results here.

Sadly, we only have one Mystic Cup left - but it need not be the end of Weekend racing now that we have a really easy way to score tasks using Geoff Wong's online scoring program, AirScore. Lately I have been setting and doing practice tasks around Bright and when I get a couple people joining in, I score it using AirScore. I'm calling these practice tasks "The Alpine Challenge", and the results can be found on the AirScore website.

Get your speed sleeve's ready, as next Saturday the Bright 321 starts!

Friday, February 15, 2008

MYSTIC CUP - 16/Feb/2008

Super high pressure, very stable conditions for the 7th Mystic Cup today. The task committee called an open distance task, but OLC style, where 3 turnpoints (optimized by the scoring software) would be used to get your max distance. A really smart way to deal with the conditions, I will remember that if I do any small comps back home.

The thinkers figured out that a zig-zag early on over known triggers would get you the 3 turnpoints, then heading out the valley towards the flats would rack up the kilometers. That would have worked well, but as the day progressed it just got more stable, and so what really mattered was how much patience you could muster.

I got impatient and made a suicide run to apex from Mystic after turning around on my way to Clearspot - I wasn't quite high enough to make it there comfortably, and as you would expect suicide runs aren't how you win tasks ...

Heike made a run for Gungle's Gully and then onto Mt Porepunkah and then ran down the range, that worked well for sure. There were a few wings in the sky late in the day and they probably did well too - they headed towards Myrtleford and were on there way back, so expect some big kilometers there.

Tomorrow is another day and we will do it again, and that is what matters....

Thanks for the beer Hamish, cheers from down-under!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Back in Bright

Finally we are back in Bright and got to fly today. It has been cold at night due to the south flow, which has been a bit strong for flying Mystic until today. I got to launch to find a massive remodel going on, they are laying a gravel/sand foundation for huge rolls of astro-turf. Launch is going to be super slick...

The Bright 321 comp starts next weekend, this weekend is the Mystic Cup, if the weather holds we should see lots of taskable days - it's about bloody time!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Rain, rain, go away!

We made some new friends and spent a couple hours hanging out on their 100 acre property - most of which is rain forest with some stunning views.

It's raining like mad here. Which is why we are stuck here - our car is going to have to wait for the river to recede, but looking at the weather makes me think it is going to be at least a week, maybe longer...

My wing is lonely by itself in Wandiligong....

From drought to flood - it's the way things work here.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Day 8 - Killarney

G'day to all my readers - I hope you have already mowed the lawn, and are enjoying these simple words and images with your favorite beverage in hand.

Today is the last day of the comp and they have called for a radio briefing at 10:30 am which probably means it is quite windy on launch, but who knows, we still have lots of time to drive up if it backs off...

If the day is canceled, this would be the (provisional!) overall results.

Official results of the comp can be found here

UPDATE: The task was cancelled when it started to sprinkle, the start was open and a few pilots were in the air. It did get nice later, but it was reported very windy later in the day.

I will be blogging the Bright 321, so stay tuned...

Task 6 - 1/Feb/2008

The day started off blue - no clouds... which is weird, I haven't seen that happen here, could it be really good?? Up on launch Cu started forming and it was a bit windy, which makes for nice ridge soaring and therefore no bomb-outs, but good launch technique was important.

There was a rumor that a 200km task would be attempted, which meant someone thought it was a stellar day. Partly because there wasn't a turnpoint that far out, and maybe because it was a bit ambitious, the task ended up being a straight line to Millmerran, 114 km west. Elapsed time start, so you could leave when you wanted too, picking a gaggle you wanted to fly with. People were a lot higher at the start, so it wasn't "instant survival" mode as soon as you left launch like most other days - it looked like a really sweet day for flying.

As I was driving down, I heard a tree got in a pilots way, and a different pilot had an issue with the ground, and an ambulance was called, but from what I heard, the injuries were relatively minor.

Really nice Cu was setting up down the course line and pilots were blazing the course. About 30k out, the Cu diminished and some blue holes pulled pilots down, but there was still cloud.

Lots of people in goal, which was a dry barren field, and it was really windy at times, huge thermals must have been releasing. Everyone in my retrieve vehicle made goal, so today they finally earned the "A Team" nickname I have been using with them on the radio.

At HQ later, I heard that Trelawney couldn't get a tracklog out of his 6030 - I bet he will be sporting a backup GPS real soon... What a buzz killer, as he was doing so well.

Tomorrow is the last day, day eight.

Task 5 scores:

Overall after 5 tasks: