Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Piling in at Funston

Last Saturday I was trying a harness new to me with an unfamiliar mechanism, I failed to use it properly and let it distract me from flying the glider properly. The video below has the last few moments captured quite nicely. Fortunately I bounced softly into iceplant, the glider however, did not fare so well, a broken leading edge and downtube resulted.

I had had 3 or 4 attempts at getting upright in the harness before turning onto final, I believe my mistake was taking my feet out of the harness before going upright. You can see me hanging on the downtube and pushing on the basetube with one final attempt, but with my feet out of the harness it doesn't work, and I am suspended by a line that runs to just behind the knees. That is a big head down moment.

What I should have done at this point is forget about the harness and fly the glider. However I did not.
Also I had not noticed how much more north the wind was on the ground than just 80 feet up, this creates a rotor that I flew into quite slowly. Hanging and pushing on the control frame takes away the feel of airspeed.

Ultimately the gliders right wing stalls and falls to the ground, I loosen my grip and my body assumes the head-down position dictated by the harness and BAM. Unable to get my feet below me, the glider takes the full impact of its weight and mine combined, 5x the force of the glider just by itself.

There are a number of lessons that can be learned from this.
1. Always Prioritize flying the glider.
2. Go upright early when trying a new harness.
3. Give yourself an out if you you can even if its a belly landing.
4. Don't grip the control frame to the point where you cannot feel the air.

Crashing at Funston

Here is a picture of the break in the carbon.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The 2011 Ed Levin Speed Gliding event

Chris [blog] and Brian [blog] did spectacularly good job at organising the 2011 Ed Levin Speed Gliding competition. The weather finally co-operated this past weekend, game on ! Co-incidentally Zac Majors was in town and was able to compete (at least in the first day) other big names include Kenny Brown and Brian Horgan from McClure. We got one round in on Saturday (Chris's Start Gate Video) and one round in on Sunday. After the first round the wind was too strong or air too turbulent to safely run the course. [pic stolen from Mark Suttie]I free flew down and can attest to the turbulence, in hindsight I was glad the second run of the day called off. However I hadn't had a good run that morning and could have used a second shot. But with stiff competition I had small expectation of actually placing. Those guys really are good. Here is Kenny going through an "Altitude Control" gate [stolen from Don Herricks Video]
On Sunday conditions looked better but the forecast was worse. We got a round in with the altitude criterion removed, also finish was moved because the wind is 180 from the landing direction. Two very smart ideas.

I had a great time, I learned I still need more ballast (more for control than performance)

This was my favorite picture from the weekend, the camera was still on self timer from the Tandem with Lindsay. It sums up the casual and jovial mood of the very fun weekend.
lots more pictures here :


Rookie Class:
1st, John Hollander, Falcon 3, 2:55.78, DNF, -----
2nd, Mark Suttie, Falcon 225, DNF, DNF, -----

King Post Class:
1st, John Taylor, Ram Air, 1:53.2, 1:36.6, 3:29.8
2nd, Jason French, WW U2 145, 2:03.8, 1:57.7, 4:01.4
3rd, Mark Mulholland, Freedom 170, 2:19.8, 2:25.5, 4:45.3
4th, Robert Booth, Sport2 155, 2:08.2, DNF, -----
5th, Johnny French, Sport2, 2:14.8, DNF, -----
6th, Jim Bowe, Litesport, 2:26.9, DNF, -----

Open Class:
1st, Brian Horgan, Combat, 1:28.6, 1:18.6, 2:47.2
2nd, Kenny Brown, Litespeed, 1:38.9, 1:14.1, 2:52.9
3rd, Eric Froehlich, T2C 154, 1:43.2, 1:25.6, 3:08.8
4th, Ben Dunn, LS RS 3.5, 1:41.6 (+2 gates X 10 sec = 2:01.6), 1:13.8, 3:15.5
5th, Diev Hart, Litesport, 1:52.6, 1:38.2, 3:30.8
6th, Wayne Michelsen, Laminar Z8, 1:54.5, 1:39.6, 3:34.1
7th, Dirk Moris, U2 145, 1:47.3, 1:49.8, 3:37.2
8th, Zac Majors, T2C 144, 1:35.9, DNF, -----
9th, David Royer, Litespeed, 1:44.2, DNF, -----
10th, Pete Welch, Laminar MR2002, 2:12.1, DNF, -----

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New Angles

A nice day was to be had at the local Funston site yesterday. I've been waiting for a good day for a while now to try out some new camera mounts I put together around Christmas.I've needeed to air Tracey's new glider out since my last attempt also. Dingo thought I needed to take some weight off my hang strap, and so gave me something to stand on.Tracey's new Sport 2 135 is incredible, not only does it get a great sink rate with me on it, but retains a great deal of energy.I missed the earlier cloud bank stretching to Devils slide, however if I had flown to Half Moon Bay, I would have missed the rest of the afternoons wonderful air.More on these camera mounts soon...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Windy Hill - what did we do wrong ?

There was a perfect looking sky as Brian and myself headed toward Windy Hill. I had aspirations of getting up high, taking all kinds of neat pictures of snow in the Redwoods, flying around a bit then landing next to the pub in Pescadero. Well you've gotta have a dream don'cha ?Seriously though how did we scratch around in ridge lift for 20 mins and not hit a single thermal in a sky like that ?I did notice the ground was extremely wet and the clouds were falling apart over the top and downwind of us...Oh well we did get to fly in the snow a bit...Urs got this video of me landing in the "tight" Landing Zone. I have been playing with a few different video editors recently. This one is from AVS I kinda like it. It handles GoPro video input, and is fairly straight forward to use. In this demo version there is writting on the screen - I like the rotate, zoom, crop features so I guess I'll be buying it soon.