Monday, May 15, 2006

Sunday Update....

In a repeat of Saturday Matty & I headed down to Mossie again on Sunday. When we got there it was lighter and more Northerly. There was one other hangy and a paraglider too. I was not in a hurry so I waited for a while and watched the other hangy flying.
After I watched the other hangy land in the shallow water near the rivers edge down at the bottom landing I took off and flew around for a while.
It started to get much gustier and swung further around to the North. I started to feel rotor when i went down to the Western end of the ridge so I flew towards the bottom landing area and once I figured I could definately make it I flew back to the car park at the top to let Matty know I was going to land.
I flew around over takeoff and watched Matty tying on his glider. The wind swung further around to the north. I discovered that I could now no longer get past the first of the trees along the top before I was getting bad air. I flew back over to Matty and told him it was no good for the usual bottom landing and that was going the other way to a small carpark around the corner we looked at last week.

I get as high as I can and I watch as Matty drives my car around and down to the carpark. I fly along the riverback and am amazed by the amount of lift and how high/far I can get, the ridge to my right is huge and lifting well. I fly down a fair way but decided not to push my luck too far.
I set myself up for a bar to the knees dive down through the lift band and into ground effect over the water. I get my judgement perfect and a flare drops me on the small beach. I get my feet slightly wet but thats it. A good result.

It was looking like the wind might come around to the west and let us play at Cott in the afternoon, but no such luck. Again today (Monday) westerlies continued to elude us.

The weeks forcecast suggests that Mossie will be flyable again Saturday and Sunday but nothing else looks like it will come on for the whole week.

I have not had a chance to edit the video footage or even upload any photos from Sunday yet, but I will soon, keep an eye on Flickr...

Right now I am trying to bring back a dual G5 tower that is all B-Treed out.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Today was an exciting day. It was also a great day. It was also a terrible day. Fortunately everyone had fun, survived and probably learnt something too.

My alarm woke me at 6.30am this morning, me and Matty were planning to go and fly Mosman Park.

Its a pretty exciting little site on the river near Perth, you can find a heap of photos in my Flickr collection, the link is on this page. (Yeah, Yeah, when I have time I will go through and label them all!)

I got up and looked outside, no wind, it was supposed to be 20knots NE. I had a shower anyway and got dressed and spent 10 mins watching the Seabreeze graphs and wishing they showed something better than the 6knots currently on offer.
I was just wondering whether to bother to go see Matty around 7am when the phone rang, it was Matty. We decide to go back to bed for an hour and try again later. I get to Matty's place around 8.30am and we have a coffee and decide not to rush as its not on.

I guess around 9.30am we are at Mossie and its very light. We rig up anyway. It increases to maybe 10-14knots and I takeoff and fly around for a while. I decide I am feeling lucky and attempt a top landing, the wind has a fair bit of north in it and I come in very hot with a tail wind onto the grass area to the East of the ridge. Its a rush but a big flare stops me before I reach the Landcruiser parked on the grass. Afterwards for 10 mins I am so pumped full of adrenaline my hands are shaking! I love this sport!

Shortly after this it starts cyling more, dropping down to 6knots. The paragliding pose turn up and suddenly the sky is full of jellyfish. (photos on Flikr!)
It continues to vary and then picks up and stays stronger, I am busy taking photos and then Matty decides to fly. His take off from the far eastern end is perfect (I prefer to take off from the carpark) and he is soon mixing it up with the paragliders.
Matty is flying an Moyes extralite, its Muzza's old glider he just bought and its the first time he has flown it.

Its also the first time Matty has flown Mossie, I know how he feels. You look down at the water, deep water, and try not to think about the consequences of landing in it. The first time I flew I was loving it and I forced myself to tune out and just enjoy the flying before i forced myself to deal with the inevitable landing choice.

Matty has been up for a while when he flies over and yells something about landing. I assume he is thinking about trying a top landing and race over to tell the people flying model planes and watching the hang/paragliders to keep off the grass!

When I look back Matty is flying west along the ridge and then turns over the boathouse and towards the bottom landing area. By the time I realise he is landing I just have time to grab my camera and start snapping shots (Flikr people). He had great height and looked like he was going to make the beach. He was flying pretty slowly and with the VG full on, about 30 meters from the beach he let the VG off and the right wing tipstalled and the glider excecuted a sharp 90' turn to the right. Matty managed to get it pointing back in the correct direction but he lost energy and stalled into the water. The deep water. The last photo in the sequence taken from the top shows his glider lying flat on the water with Matty underneath. I raced to the car and drove down to the river at stupidangerousillegal speeds. I got airborne over the 2 speedhumps on the way down the hill, I screeched my tyres. I didn't care I could imagine Matty trapped under the sail, seconds could be precious.
All ready to dive head first into the river and swim over to help I was relieved to find that there was already help on hand. Matty was of course wet and pretty spun out by what happened, but he was pretty cool considering.

Me and Matty have talked about the possiblility of water landing many times. We fly alot of coastal sites and there is always the danger.
When you talk to people to have landed in water they tell you how easy it is to get tangled in the rigging of the glider and how hard it is to get out of your harness under water.
We always though it would be easy, hey its easy on land right? Just don't panic and you have plenty of time. Matty could not get out of his harness and if the water had been rough of if there had been no help it would have been a bad situation. Thankfully there was help on hand this time.

It got us talking about ways of making the glider float or getting out of the harness quick. The best idea for floats seems to be to use those big football sized floaty things that they use on craypots and put one on each side of the basebar and one on the keel. A little drag perhaps but light. We are going to try this out on my fun next time we are bored.
For getting out of the harness I think a quick release like they use on aircraft harnesses would be good, turn 180 and thump and everything released from the chest.

The best solution is to get out of the harness and swim away as quickly as possible. The problem is that the sail of the glider pushes you under water so you only have one breath to try and get out of your harness, this is hard even on land. The solution is an emergency air supply.

These people make an awesome light weight solution. We both want one thanks Santa ;-)

After that is was back to Matty's and we washed his glider (salt water in the river) in preparation for tomorrows flying.

Seabreeze promises us more NE tomorrow morning and NW in the afternoon and W on Monday.

If the forecasts are correct I may get to fly Mossie and Cott tomorrow!

I'm picking Matty up again in the morning and were back to Mossie again!

Friday, May 12, 2006

19 Dead Penguins found on a Beach in Argentina

That was the highlight from the world news this morning.

I was hoping to fly Mossie Thursday but it become another crazy work day with no time for flying. This morning I was up at 7am to try and fly Mossie again. Sadly today the wind was non cooperative. The forecast looks better for the morning and me and Matty will try again...

I took more pics at mossie today, find them in my flickr collection.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The thing about cars..

I have a long and chequered history when it comes to cars.
I love cars, but they are just inanimate objects and so I treat them a bit cruelly sometimes.
Over the years I have tried to do all manner of stupid things with cars and in the process learnt quite alot, unfortunately there were many expensive and painfull lessons.
I have progressed to the point now where I can pull the engine out of a late modem car, on my driveway, in an afternoon. I can then fix whatever needs fixing and get the motor back into the car again by myself the next day. This is not easy, the engine I am guessing weighs 150kg so you can't lift it by hand, but with the clever use of levers and hoists it is possible to get it done. It actually makes you realise just how easy it is to work on cars, the actual spanner work is really simple, what makes it hard is manouvering heavy parts around, this is where a proper workshop with hoists and good tools makes it much easier.
So anyway, I've got this Subaru Outback, its a 1999 model, the 2.5lt 4cyl AWD and its currently a manual. I have had it just over a year now, during this time I have covered well over 50,000kms and the car has been great. It gets better than 10l/100km in both the city and country and no matter how hard you make it work. The car has travelled 175,000kms now but the engine still feels fine. I had an $800 service follewed by an expensive radiator problem and then CV's and I had to replace the tyres. Suddenly this car was getting expensive! But to be fair to the car it was all just maintainance due to the number of Kms travelled, everything wears out and needs to be replaced sooner or later.
So a month ago the clutch went on the car, I rang around and got quotes ranging from $800 to $1800 so I got the clutch kit through a good mate for $200 and fitted it myself on a saturday afternoon.
The syncros on Second have always been a bit dodgy on my car and sure enough 2nd went bang the other day, I have been driving without second for a while now and I am getting used to it. It would be harder with a caravan though, it would probably destroy the clutch quickly...
So the solution? Well an Auto would be better for towing a caravan, the Outback manual gearbox is not a sporty sexy thing, its like stirring a bag of bolts with a wooden spoon.
So I already have the Hayes manual for the car and I can see the differences between the auto and manual versions. I am waiting for pricing for the Gearbox,TCM,Propshaft,Rear Diff, Oil Cooler, and Lever/Linkage that I would need to change the car over to an Auto. Funnily enough I tried to do this years ago with a Nissan NX-R and it ended badly, but that was paying some idiot to do the work.
I am pretty sure that the cost of the parts from a wrecker (Reycled Parts Supplier) will be comparable to the cost of a recyled manual gearbox or having mine rebuilt.
SeaBreeze promises us NE winds for the next 3 mornings. I will of course be at Mosman Park and look forward to flying there! I will take my camera this time!

Monday, May 08, 2006

I hate mondays

But as Mondays go this one was not too bad. As usual there was the wake up call to my mobile from someone having email problems at 7.30am. This was followed by several more phone calls and cups of coffee. Todays callouts are a not-properly-syncing Apple Powerbook - Why does Apple Insist on trying to exclude the ~/Library folder from a Home Sync when it contains so much important stuff?
A poor mail server with a load level of 9+ because of some users with 90MB pop accounts and their email clients set to check every 1 minute.
Finally setup a couple of laptops for email/internet access.
Rush Hour Traffic was impressive tonite, I am so glad I only have to brave it occasionally.
The wind looks miserable for the next week, there is a tiny little chance that it might be possible to fly Mosman Park in a NE on Thursday or Friday morning but its not looking too promising.

Video Capture Try 2

Wow that last image came out looking trippy, the blogger upload feature ate my photo and thats what it spat out. To be fair it was a bitmap file a la nero showtime.

A quick conversion to jpg later and ta da..

Sid in the dragonfly last sunday out at the Carters Farm.

Just a capture from last sundays flight, Sid in the DragonFly

Sunday, May 07, 2006

You think you know everything.

And then you discover that you can still be surprised sometimes. For the last 10 Years that I have been running my own IT business I have just had servers running that I could use for my own stuff. Now that i am selling up and planning to spend the next year travelling the globe and flying I need someone else to take over the running of the back end stuff. I was really hoping that Google would pick me for their domain beta program as that would have been perfect, who knows it may yet happen.

Anyway so after some looking around I currently believe the best way to host your own domain for free is to use a combination of Gmail and Zoneedit.

Gmail is of course where all your mail ends up, there is nothing else in the same league, web browser access or pop retrival too. (not to mention spam filtering, forwarding etc)

With your Domain Registrar
you specify at least 2 name servers that awnser queries about the services available from your domain, simply these servers show the way for web requests and emails. Here you specify the NS provided to you by Zoneedit when you set up your free account.

Zoneedit are very cool people. They give you 5 free domains hosted by them with email and web forwarding services for free. Here you can make email for go to or all email for go to bob09@gmail com. You can also redirect like I have done so that takes you to my flick account and takes you here to my blog. Cool.Huh.

Also I later found from an advert at zoneedit these wonderful people who offer a simple no frills www hosting servers for free with no ads or banners.

With these 3 parts you have a completely free domain hosting solution!!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

First Post.. Just Testing at this point, I may choose to record my thoughts here.
I got my digital camera back today and took some crappy pics. If you are really bored you can view them here. There are also some better pics from Bogong earlier this year.
Its looking like there is some west in the forecast south, i am off to cott to see if its strong enough to fly..