21 January 2017

Mid - Task Update

Our pilots are on the second leg of their respective tasks. It was not easy to get going. The 15m Class was first on the grid. They started launching at 13:00 into the blue. Soon large gaggles formed low as the competitors struggled to stay airborne. It was quite spectacular to see them dump water in the clear blue sky. Remarkably there were very few relights, if any - a testimony to the skills of the pilots at this level of competition.
The 18m and Open Class launch was halted until 14:00 to wait for conditions to improve. The had fewer problems and managed to climb out without dropping ballast.

Unfortunately, Luke got stuck low and for a while, it looked like he would come back for a relight. In the end, he managed to climb and continue on course.

In 15m we are seeing speeds of 70 - 80 kph, the 18m guys are running at speeds of 100 - 113 kph - the beauty of more wing span and full ballast.

We are expecting the 18m back around 6p and 15m at 7p

Hopefully nobody lands out. The closing party is at 7:30 tonight.


Karl from Optikal has been taking some awesome shots of glider and people. Check it out at www.optikal.com.au

20 January 2017

Saturday, January 21st - the last day of the World Championships

It was a chilly morning despite bright sunshine. It is slowly warming up now and there is promise for a decent soaring day. Conditions will be blue again(!) with thermals to 5000 ft. The gliders have been ballasted, weighed and positioned at the grid, with 15m in the front, followed by 18m and Open Class.

15m has a 3:30 AAT task to the NW with 235 km minimum, 364 km nominal and 476 km maximum. Task B is identical but reduced to 3:00 hrs.

The 18m task is a 371 km racing task to the north and NE.

First launch is planned for 12:30 off runway 26

Friday, January 20th

We woke to the pounding of heavy rain on the tin roof of our hotel. It was still raining when the pilots briefing had ended at 11:00. Eventually, 18m and Open Class were canceled before they had to pull out to the grid but 15m Class gridded on the the hard surface runway because the grass areas were quickly turning into a sea of mud.

Waiting on the grid for the weather to clear
It was uncomfortably cool as we waited for the low clouds to break up. Eventually it started to clear and the sun warmed the ground. However, the already brisk wind increased to a gusty 25 kts with a significant crosswind component. The launch commenced at 2p but was halted after a few tows that looked quite scary because of the wind. It was just too dangerous to continue under these conditions, so the day canceled for 15m as well.

Tomorrow, the last day of the contest looks like it will be another blue day with thermals up to 5500 ft.

The closing ceremony will be on Sunday at 11am by the flags.


Sergei , Day 5

The key for yesterday flight was patience at the start gate  . Our task was 370 km race
It took 2h 20 min from take off to the start for me . We were sitting in the start area between 5000 and 6000 , pretty much all class in two or three thermals ,constantly converging and moving around , but nobody wanted to start .. From the forecast we were expecting high clouds moving from the west into the task area and shutting thermals by 6pm . Base on my preliminary calculations we should be on course just after 2 pm , but nobody wanted to start and that was really hard to force myself to stay on start , knowing that there is a big chance that you wouldn't make it home . My only hope was that the gaggle make it around faster . And that was the case - all gliders which went early on course up to half an hour were not able to pull away from the main group and ended up finishing with it  As in the previous day I gave up 3 to 5 minutes on the start but that was my security cushion.

My speed was 112.3 km/h , which gave me 901 points and 15th place for the day .

Sergei , MS

19 January 2017

Day 6 - Dave

Last night was International night where many of the teams provide food or drink from their home countries for all to sample.  Between the set-up, manning the Canadian table for a while and doing some tear-down at the end of the night, I didn't have time to get to the blog until now.  Our day was canceled today due to the amount of rain that came down over night and continued until about 11 am.  The 15 m guys are on the grid on the paved runway, because the grass is too soft, and might go fly in 2-3 kts lift with 25 kt winds and 4000-5000 ft top of lift.

For the international night, David Cost-Chretien, a Canadian that now lives in Sydney supplied us with Smoked Salmon, Maple Tea and Maple Toffee for our Canadiana.  David runs The Canadian Way and imports and distributes Canadian items in Australia.  Besides donating all of the food, he also spent most of the night at the table serving the food.  His enthusiasm and generosity are greatly appreciated!  We also served up Forty Creek Canadian Whiskey and it was a big hit, with several people telling me it was the best tasting drink of the night.

Team 4D and Aussie Dave manning the Canadian Table

Yesterday's task was a 384 km racing task, once again in the blue.  Before the start I was getting to about 5400 ft and once again huge gaggles formed near the start point.  The forecaster and task setter advised that a high cloud deck would move in about 1730 and shut down the day.  All of the weather sites that I looked at said the same thing.  With this in mind I decided to start at 1400.  Once again, the models were wrong and the late starters flew in much better conditions and were able to beat the early starters.  I don't know if they have better weather information or whether they just took the chance that it wouldn't come in as quickly.

I didn't have any particularly bad or slow spots during the flight and kept moving on course.  I started a few minutes behind a group, but after about 60 km, some of them were gone and another was 2000 ft below me, so I ended up on my own for a while and then met up with a couple other gliders near the first turnpoint.  By the second turnpoint, I joined up with more gliders and we had a group of about 8 that eventually worked its way down to 3 and we ran towards home.  About 50 km from home, I felt some good air to my left and turned into it and was rewarded with the best climb of the day.  For several turns it averaged over 9 kts and overall it was a 6 kt climb for 2000 ft that put me on a fast final glide home.  The other two that were with me missed it and ended up taking weaker climbs and were slower getting home.