Monday, October 30, 2006

Back in Innisfail

On Friday the winds were 90' crossed up on Tambo, initially it looked like we might get off OK anyway, but then a couple of model aeroplanes showed us exactly how bad the air was out front and everyone quickly packed up and went back to camp. On Saturday the forecast warned of high winds and storm activity in the area so no-one was really expecting much. Once we got onto Tambo the conditions seemed OK and the sky looked promising, however the forecast and the lenticular clouds that were forming above the up wind hills showed what was on the way. Given that we already had a valid comp there were allot of pilots who did not see the point in taking a risk with the weather for an extra day. On the other hand those who thought an extra day might get them up a few places were pushing hard for the day not to be called. Pretty much everybody wanted to fly if it was safe, after all that's why we are there. In the end the lenticular clouds got closer and the winds picked up until no-one wanted to launch any more and we had people hanging onto the nose and side wires of the gliders on launch. Meanwhile the pilots already in the air had been on the radio giving ever increasing wind speed observations over the course line, when Adam called in to say he was experiencing 62kph winds on the course the day was finally called. We watched a few topless gliders behaving like floaters on a high wind day and nervously watched gliders disappearing behind trees and over ridges. There was some breakage of aluminium, but as far as I know all pilots made it back OK.
On Saturday evening my 2 German backpacking friends came back as they said they would and after the festivities around 3am we headed off to Innisfail. We only stopped for fuel and arrived here at 11pm after another epic road trip.
The new gearbox has not arrived from Sydney yet, but it should be here within the next couple of days. I cannot say enough good things about Steve Evans from Solas Propellers who took back the original 2003 model Outback Gearbox that had the different stub axles and was not going to work with my car, if you find one of his adverts on Ebay don't hesitate to deal with him, he is very honest and reliable. (make sure you order the correct part though)
After being transferred 7 times on a call to Telstra this morning, repeatedly being asked the same questions and being treated like an idiot, and then finally being placed on hold for 5 mins  I hung up in disgust and vowed to stop dealing with them, again. I managed to do without Telstra for years after finding them to be equally lousy to deal with years ago. I was forced back into their arms reluctantly when I realised I was going to need a CDMA Internet solution and having a monopoly in this country that would be Telstra. Prior to this I had been with Optus for my CDMA voice coverage and found them to be just fine, it was frustrating to be told that I could not have  voicemail or roaming data through them because Telstra would not allow them access to those bits of the network though. For those not familiar with the system here, Telstra which was the government telco and is still 51% government owned has the only country wide mobile phone network and there is NO competition allowing them to offer high prices and low service levels to people in the country. In the cities other companies like my personal favourite Vodafone have set up in competition and you can get an affordable and reliable service from them. Any other company that offers CDMA in the country is using the Telstra network that Telstra have been forced to offer to other carriers, however my experience in the past with Optus was that Telstra still find a way to exert their monopoly by denying customers of other carriers access to the same services you get direct from telstra. When I was stuck in Innisfail last I saw an advert on TV for Southern Phone Company, they are a smallish regional community owned and operated Telco using Telstra's infrastructure. I changed my phone over to them today as they are friendly, helpfull, knowledgable and a fraction of the price of Telstra. I am still looking for a way to get affordable Internet access via the CDMA phone network, but perhaps I am dreaming until Telstra finally gets sold and starts operating like a real company and not a monopoly.
 I hate Telstra, nothing changes, Telstra suck. I can assure you that if you are currently using Telstra you are paying more than anyone else would be charging and dealing with the worst customer service of any Telco I have ever dealt with, I would suggest you leave them and pay less for more elsewhere. Again I find myself bitching about Telstra when I would rather be flying. I should be back in Canungra for some weekend flying before I head down to Newcastle (finally!).

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