Saturday, March 22, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Wow, it's been over a week, but I got back in the air yesterday. There have been a few flyable days since my last flight, but mostly it's been windy and troffy.

The Cu is back, making for a beautiful sky. One peak over from launch is a mountain we call Clearspot and it usually gives up the best climbs, yesterday was no exception - I found a nice strong climb and Cu began forming way above head. The vario went into solid tone just below the cloud and I clipped the edge of it around 2200 meters.

Just out in front another nice Cu was building so I pushed out to it, and it was a repeat. The wind was really moving at us from the north and progress was slow over the crossing to the next range called Little Buffalo. The Porepunkah airstrip was busy with lots of sailplanes being towed up - they have a meet every Easter weekend. I pushed out and just made it to the end of the spine where there was just enough lift to get me over the ridge and to a nice LP (landing paddock) next to the Mt Buffalo highway. Brian Webb got there high enough to connect with the climb and he made it out of there.

Looking at Brian's tracklog was interesting - he flew right over the top of the ridge that parallels the valley and the wind must have been hitting it square enough that his line was in ridge lift as he didn't have any big climbs but made it out of the Ovens valley - I just couldn't see it happening but I think down lower the wind was less - determination, a comp glider and lots of speed bar is all one needs... if you want it bad enough.

The weather looks pretty crappy for the next few days, but it could be very flyable (today was an example) in the mornings or evenings.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Beep Beep

This morning the haze was gone from the air and Mt. Hotham reported light south - time to go flying.

The day started off slow, so we watched droves of students dive off of Mystic - these students aren't signed off yet, they couldn't have more than an hour airtime but they were learning how to thermal and were skying out!

Which meant it was time to get on the horse and ride. Clearspot gave a good boost above 2000 m, and the crossing to Mt. Porepunka was going well, at 55k/hr.

Once on Porepunkah, my wing was being pulled up the spine and I climbed slowly over the top where I found the elevator up to 2k again. I left Mt. Porepunkah and pushed toward Myrtleford, crosswind aloft and headwind down low. Chappo got boosted over the mountain just behind me and went over the back, towards, well Gundowring way.

The south aloft had shifted to west and I wonder how far Chappo got - I could see coming back up the Kiewa but the crossing back to the Ovens valley could have been interesting. I didn't get too far down the ridge, the incessant valley wind was killing my glide.

The forecast looks dodgy, so I am going to Melbourne for a couple days to check out the city.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Corryong Fly-In

Corryong was a blast - I love the place. The fly-in was a success, lots of smiley faces, lots of airtime, lots of kilometers flown. I will write a bit more later. Enjoy the pics


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Valley Tour

A bit high pressure but not totally blue, as I got under a small cloud over clearspot.

Too much North wind to really go anywhere today, but there was enough lift to tour the valley for 3:20 worth of airtime. I looked at the Hotham weather station when I got back and the wind really dropped off after 2pm, so maybe that was the time to head out...

The forecast calls for fresh west, so I might give it a miss tomorrow.


Monday, March 03, 2008

Free Flying

Today was my first time flying to the Kiewa via Tawonga gap. Bill Brooks and I topped out over Pyramid and the glide was easy.

I was punching upwind once there, but the big bowl to my left was feeding a consistent cloud cycle so I got on the bar and went upwind and connected with it. It was nice to be at base over tiger country.

On the bar again, I got to gungl's gully where I found a climb that I didn't need to turn in, it was weird but fun. Over to clearspot next, then I phaffed around and it was really hard to get down over the LP (landing paddock).

Chappo had a nice run to Kancoona and back. Tomorrow looks windy.


Saturday, March 01, 2008

Bright 321, Task 3 Final Day

Fantastic conditions today - 84k race starting at Blackfellas to Smoko, then with goal at Milawa Airstrip. No airspace issues today as the climbs were topping out under 8000 feet! No clouds were found to guide us and once we got onto the flats it really slowed down and if you didn't shift gears, you would dirt.

I was totally underdressed and spent most of the day shivering in my shorts - and was glad to just squeek into goal behind the lead gaggle.

Steve Nagle had a reserve ride to the slopes of Mt Buffalo, but he and his wing are fine, and a pilot had a hard landing at goal and went to hospital to get checked out, we hope no injuries result. Craig Collins won the day and therefore the comp, which means he got paid $1000 per day to fly in this comp!

Heike won the female class, and gets $200 per day for flying the comp... Today Heike beat me by only one second, which is hardly a beating!

Full Results can be found here.

Free flying has returned to Bright for now.