Thursday, February 26, 2009

Back to my cosy forest cabin

I went for a run (more of a walk actually) and there was some pretty light through the trees and clouds this morning. There are lots of people I would like to see, so I think I should have a party saturday evening, what do you think ? The trip back was fairly straight forward except for detained at both ends. 10 mins in Sydney (96 days on a 90 day VISA) I didn't really have the 10 mins, but gott away with it, not sure why they didn't catch it on the way in, I didn't change the flight dates on the VISA... Oh well...
On the US side, 45 mins for absolutely no reason I could figure.
I asked and the answer was "step back behind the line Sir"
So I did, then asked again and the answer was "please sit down Sir"
I thought if I asked again I might get tazered...
So I sat down and asked again across the room :)
They asked me if I had other passports, or changed my name ?
Then they asked when I left, and well I couldn't really remember, not exactly... Anyway eventually I dug out my out going ticket stub, surprized I still had it, gave it to them. They said thank you Mr Dunn and gave my passport back.
"Can I go now?" "Yes"
Ah America - you gotta love it...

Its been a while since I was here, the seasons have changed, here is the pistachio tree in the fall. Spring or is it still late winter ?

OK one last flight ;)

The day before I flew home a few of us left the factory for Stanwell. We set up about 7 gliders for 5 of us. I ended up flying a Malibu, very easy to fly and still quite fun. There surprizly little bar pressure at full speed, (maybe 45km/hr?) but the descent rate is an impressive 4ms. I was a little slow getting the camera out, so I missed the close up of this sea eagle. It got within 10 meters. Here is Noma pulling off a flawless landing on the beach at Stanwell.

Nip Tuck

It was hard to bring the scalple to the sail on my glider, but this is what I did. My glider has had a flutter for a few months. It started at 50 km/hr until I flipped the inserts in my tip wands a month ago. That moved the flutter up to 75km/hr. The newer Litespeed models have a pocket sewn into the trailing edge for mylar inserts. The older models do have two layors of sail in the same spot. It was suggested that I could open up a pocket and slide in some mylar. I opened it with a very sharp seem picker, you have to be very careful to not damage the top layor sail cloth. With the mylar slid in the sail is quite flat. Of course you should remove the inserts before rolling up the sail. I haven't flown it yet and won't be able to until it shows up back on these shores.

Monday, February 23, 2009

One last southern hemisphere trip

Upto Newcastle area again, stopping at Cathos on the way. We ran into Camo there and he kindly offered me a go on his big Fun. The conditions were a bit light but I got a few passes in on the small bluff. The next day was much better. Merewether is across the beach there, It was on. Conrad was flying and flew off south somewhere, Adam was doing tandems. He was demonstrating his landing prowess, (that is the entire LZ right there.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Grockling in Sydney

Some familiar sites for Tamsin to enjoy, her home for a year back a few years back.
St Mary's Church in Hyde park. One of the many Ibis hanging around in Sydney. Woolloomooloo Bay Circular Quay, city centre behind. You can "climb" the Harbor bridge for ~$200. or a far less known and advertized tourist venue is the viewing pylon which offers simlar views for $10.
All China towns seem the same ? For some reason Dixon Street food court stuck in my mind from my visit 8 years ago. The power house museum had some interesting exhibits on steam and nuclear power, space and computers. Its a great city to walk around.

Flying Wet in Newcastle

I travelled up to Newcastle last weekend to visit Tinks, Monica and Scott. Scott very kindly very kindly lent me Monica's glider and took me flying, even though it was raining on and off! Newcastle has many sites close by coastal and in land. It is not that far from Manilla. The famous one is Merewether, there are also some dunes south of Redhead, where you can launch and fly upto these bluffs. Scott was flying a Sting3 and me a Moyes XT. It wasn't long before the next big rain cell came in. You can get an idea of the size by the tankers in the left of the picture. Fortunately we were flying dacron gliders :)
The XT is not known for its' handling qualities, but it didn't change much between dry and drenched. I've never flown in torential rain before ! Many thanks for the new experience :)

The Boneyard

Bruce took me to a very small site called the Bone yard. Single surface gliders are flown there, good handling is a must. Sydney docks are pretty close by. You can see why the site is called the bone yard. Cathy was doing some great dune and bush soaring that day. The dunes are pretty small !

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Manilla final task and awards

On the final day (Task 8 in 8 days!) strong winds were expected with light broken lift. The winds turned out not to be so strong, but the thermals were weak, especially earlier. I chose to launch later after watching a couple of pilot sink out, and sinking out myself the previous day. Unfortunately it blew down on launch when I wanted to launch, then I almost sank out, as my teamate actually did. I managed to climb back up and out, starting the task 40 mins after the last start gate. I wasn't the last in goal, but I was 48 mins behind the quickest time. Here are the day winners, Pedro, Blay, me , Jonny, and Francisco. Conrad also won a day. open class winners : Jonny in 1st, Blay 2nd, Pedro 3rd. I came in 5th after Bruce.
The rest of the results are here :
In Oz there is also the best of the rest class, Don, Dustan and Daniel. What an excellent competition, we flew 10 times in 9 days including the practice day. 8 out of 8 valid tasks, 27.5hrs and 520miles (963kms). A huge thanks to Monica who organised it, Tinks who helped, Davis for scoring , the task comitee, Dr death (Al Giles) for the weather and Vic and Tom at the pub. I think I flew better in this comp, and attribute better judgement to taking ibuprofen before launch to combat the hayfever headache I've been getting in the middle of the afternoon. Also to glider tuning. I had some trailing edge flutter and the handling had gotten a bit sprilally, so I decided to try relaxing the leading edge tension (this in turn puts more tension on the trailing edge on a glider with tip wands). As a nice surprize this cleaned up the handling emensly. I had much better feel of thermals and could find the faster rising cores much more effectivly. I did this simply by reversing the insert in the tip wand cantilever.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Task 7

Task 7 was set on a fickle day and the launch windows and start gates were pushed back one hour. On the first launch a number of us sank out. I was keen for a reflight and salvage some points. I ended up re-launching about 5pm. The courseline took us over a geographic feature we flew over on day1. Looks like something that should be checked out on foot. The wind was strong from the southeast (25kms/hr ?) and staying high was key. Returning from waypoint 2 wass challenging, the leg was only 28km but I drifted 11kms back passed the way point to climb. Look at the time!
All too soon it was apparent I would run out of daylight. Still plenty high, but not much lift just bouyant air back over launch. I landed at 8.08pm at waypoint 3 with my sunglasses round my chin, the sun had gone down 15mins prior. Still 8000ft here with Lake Keepit in the foreground. Not bad for a reflight on a difficult day.

Task 6

Here is the team I have been flying with. Left to right, Darren (Oz) , Jonas (German), Buck our excellent driver, Wazza (N.Z) and me.
Waiting to get air born on task 6 - an out and half return to the north 157kms.
On the way I saw these neat looking clouds a bit like jellyfish.
Cloudbase half way down course looking south.
I did fairly well for the day, 2nd quickest time, but the last start gate so not too many arrival points.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

From riches to rags

Yesterday (Task 4) was a very challenging headwind (20km/hr) task of 89km. I was surprized to make the 2nd turnpoint after getting stuck in the venturi between two ranges of hills for nearly an hour. I was even more surprized to make goal after getting a 6:1 glide for 18km and needing 7:1 for 20kms. Even more surprizing still was that I was the only one to make goal! I was pretty happy when I found out this morning.

Task 5 today I did not do so well, and from what I have heard I made the same mistake as a few others. Not picking a good courseline. The first 70km went by very quickly (straight line task 90km) I continued at the same speed and flew into the blue hole and sank out. The line to take would have been 5km east (quite a large detour for only 30kms to go....) I landed 8kms short, weaving my way through trees for a downwind landing. Hmmm better check those down tubes tomorrow morning.

Here are the results so far

Jonny has some good stories to tell on his blog here :

Don't forget the Oz Report also

Monday, February 2, 2009

Manilla Task 2 and 3.

Day 2 started off, with shredded thermals and almost a very quick ride to the bail out. Fortunately I bumped into something that got me up. This is looking back south at Mt Borah launch. It was a 128km task, not a huge distance but a difficult day and only Blay made it to goal. The turnpoint wass the race track at Boggabri. I found no more thermals and landed 10km short of goal.

Todays task was a dogleg west and south, 101km or so. Different air much nice to fly in, although Maxim from Russia got tumbled distroying his glider in the air, getting seperated from it after deploying his chute. Fortunately he was able to walk away from the wreckage. The course line overlapped with a flight from Gullgong in the opposite direction. I am only just recognising the below geography. I flew with my teamate Warren most of the way today, it was great to work together as a team.