Monday, November 27, 2006


Was on this afternoon. It started quite light but gradually increased in strength as the afternoon went on. I enjoyed a couple of hours in the air exploring the lift band and generally mucking around. Despite the work that has just been done it is a horrible little take-off. I rigged up with the glider tail to the wind and then weighed up my options. Being there by myself I was going to have to turn the glider around and T/O unassisted despite the increasing wind strength. I decided to clip the harness into the glider and climb into it and then turn around and T/O. I should have gone with my other plan of just wearing the harness and helmet and getting the glider to the edge of the ramp and clipping in and taking off then. The wind was strong enough to make it difficult to pick up the glider and when I started to turn it around, first some of the outside batons and then the pitt pin in one corner of the basebar snagged the netting that has been put on the ground. It resulted in one of those slow motion turtles where you realise it is inevitable and concentrate on not breaking anything. I managed to unclip my harness and roll the glider over the right way and then fly it down to the edge of launch and clip in and T/O. The wind seemed to me to be bang on, but the bottom half of the ramp was rotor city with the glider trying to turn sharp left until I hit clean air just after T/O. I almost made it to the car park on the beach after staying over the dunes when I landed. I got plenty of exercise walking back up to get the car and then retrieving the fun. I love my fun.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Back in Newcastle

Back from Gulgong. It was a really well run comp, great food and facilities at the gliding club and with Billo at the helm everyone had fun. For me personally it was all part of my ongoing learning experience and I can't wait to go back next year and fly better. I'm off to the UK for a couple of weeks to catch up with family but will be back in Newcastle again before Xmas.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Yesterday around 11am it was obvious that the forecast high winds were here and so I drove back to Newcastle. I collected some spares from Airborne and then collected my Power Harness from Kenny. I had a few beers and some pizza with Kenny and Jamie and then drove back to Gulgong arriving here just after 1am.
I have just finished putting some tape onto the leading edge of my shiny new Carbon Fibre folding prop and cannot wait to try it out. Conditions are looking fine here today and so I expect it to be another comp day. I am going to wind the inner rings down on the C2 and take the inside sprogs back up a turn and see how she feels..

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I love my Fun 160

After having a hard time with the topless for the last couple of flights I decided to fly my fun 160. It was a complete joy as always, from the second that I started rigging it, to when I climbed into my harness and carried the whole thing out to the aerotow line. The aerotow was rough in places as you would expect from a 37'C day with thermals topping out around 12,000ft, but with the fun it was too easy. I pinned off in lift and climbed up to 11,800ft under a large CU and began my drift downwind. I flew from cloud to cloud downwind until I got to the edge of the ranges, faced with Tiger country ahead and lacking the performance to get around or over it in the fun I landed, in a tiny paddock surrounded by trees and power lines and filled with obstacles and it was the easiest landing ever in the fun. Did I mention that I love my Fun?
Today they are forecasting 30knot winds so it looks unlikely there will be a task. I am itching to duck back into Newcastle to grab my power harness and Kennys prop so that I can buzz around here in the evenings...I have decided to buy Doggies spare raket motor, it is the electric start version and I can upgrade the old motor in mine which will make in flight restarts possible and so really improve the quality of the experience.

Monday, November 20, 2006


I'm not sure what's up with me. Since I had the near miss at Canungra I have not been enjoying my flying as much as I used too. Sure I still love flying, but this whole new level of fear has sprung up inside me. I have always been a gung ho and confident pilot and even when the side wires were banging away I would chuckle to myself and never even think about the dark side. However its becoming a problem at the moment. I have flown allot of hours on my C2 now and whilst it has never been my ultimate glider in terms of weight or handling, it makes up for it with performance, although that comes at a price. Having got to know my glider well, I went and changed its handling, now it is more stable with the VG on, but less so without the VG. I was only in the air for 30mins but my arms are killing me and the back of the basebar was biting into my hands I was fighting with the glider so much. I have a feeling that even though it was a rough day I was flying poorly and that did not help matters. I got to 5000ft in a thermal and started to drift away from the airfield, I was having real trouble staying in the lift and I was unclimbed by a couple of gliders, I was all over the place. Eventually when it became apparent that I was about to lose glide back to the airfield I left the lift and headed back. With the VG on and the bar in I was getting 1800ft/min down and the side wires were slapping like crazy as I went through parcels of heavy sink. I arrived about 600ft over the centre of the strip and using the average wind direction from the 2 main windsocks and the streamers and flags I set-up at about 100ft. I hit strong lift, so I got onto the uprights, pulled the nose down and dragged it up to punch though it. I was flying into a 15knot breeze, then I fell out the other side of the thermal and I suddenly had a 15not tail wind. I managed to round out and flare to keep the nose up, but I was probably doing 50kph when my feet hit the ground and as I fell I just did everything I could to keep the nose off the ground. I went through both uprights, but the force was applied  symmetrically and mostly forwards, and so the base bar and heartbolt appear  OK.
The nose plate and leading edges appear OK too but I have not checked them yet, I don't expect them to be damaged so I will get someone else to check.
Tomorrow I am going to fly the fun and find out what is going on with me.
I am physically fine, just my pride was damaged ;-)

Day 1

The day started strong early, but a wide band of high cloud shaded the airfield later. All the usual suspects made goal, the course was a 109km triangle.
I had a bad day, one weaklink, an aborted tow and then when I finally managed to hang on for the whole tow I could not find a core, just bubbles and zeros.
I was right at the back of the launch order, today I am going to make an effort to be earlier.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Practice Day

After a slow start people started aerotowing around lunchtime. Things speeded up as news filtered through that the thermals where topping out around 10,000ft as predicted for the day. I cut 13mm of each tip wand and wound the inner sprogs down 2 turns and then flew my C2, it seemed to fly better, but after Scott kindly test flew it he commented it was lovely to fly with the VG off, just divergent when you pull on the rope..

Friday, November 17, 2006


The forecast was looking iffy for today on the coast so I went exploring in the hunter valley and took the scenic route to Gulgong. The climax is setup and ready to go in the hangar, I took 10mm of each tip wand to see if it improves the handling a bit, it certainly makes it much easier to get them in.
The caravan is parked near the hangar, I don't have to walk more than 50 paces from my bed to the  runway, it doesn't get any better than that!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


40 knot gusts at the moment and its been very windy for the last 24hrs or so..

I have found all the local coastal sites and I am starting to get my bearings. Having the ocean on the wrong side confused me a bit at first and then having a lake on the other side did not help either. Yesterday I got to see a couple of C4s doing amazing things, both landing in places you would not have though possible. I am hanging for a fly, but I want the conditions to be good too. At the moment Friday looks like the only likely day, there is a strong southerly change forecast for later today and with that comes 30knot winds tomorrow. I am in a caravan park in Belmont about 20mins from the centre of Newcastle and well located close to the major coastal sites and the Airborne factory. On Friday afternoon I will drive out to Gulgong where the Aerotowing comp starts, yay! flatlands flying ;-)
I'm off for a swim, should be some good waves...

Latest Weather Observations for Newcastle Nobbys

Date/ Time Temp Dew Point Rel Hum Delta-T Wind Press Rain since 9 am
Dir Speed Gust Speed Gust
EDT °C °C % °C km/h knots hPa mm
15/13:00 27.4 1.0 18 13.7 NW 56 78 30 42 - 0.0
15/12:30 27.5 -0.5 16 14.1 NW 56 76 30 41 - 0.0
15/12:00 27.2 -1.6 15 14.2 NW 56 76 30 41 - 0.0

Sunday, November 12, 2006


I'm here!

I arrived around lunchtime and dropped the caravan off in a park in Belmont then headed out to meet Jamie on the coast in the hope of getting a fly....
The seabreeze was not cooperating though, too light.
I am off to meet Jamie and some of the locals for dinner later.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I spent yesterday fixing the van, the floor is fixed in place now and I fixed the electrics so that the solar panel works again and I have tail lights too..

Today I drove around the area and I am finally starting to get my bearings. I had dinner with Raef and got my climax and gear back.

It is forecast to be pretty Northerly the next few days, perhaps it will be possible to get off tambo for a fly, otherwise I'll be heading south..

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Back in Canungra

After another epic drive down from Innisfail I rolled into the Canungra show grounds in the middle of a storm last night. I parked under a large gum tree without really giving it too much thought, but within 5 mins someone had braved the heavy rain to come over and suggest I move somewhere I would be less likely to die.
The caravan is now parked and I am in the process of carrying out the repairs it has been waiting for since before Burketown. The weather is not looking to crash hot at the moment, but I am hanging for another fly, I can't wait to get one of these QLD thermals to myself and see how they go. I would really like to fly here again without the pressure of a comp to see how I go, it would also be nice to fly with a few of the locals if the opportunity arises.
Once I have my caravan repairs completed and I have either had a fly or if the forecast makes that unlikely, I will be heading down to Newcastle, it looks like its only about 8hrs drive from here, so I could be there any day now!

Monday, November 06, 2006


I got my car back. It desperately needs a wheel alignment, but other than that drives fine. The gearbox feels like new, funny that. I'll be on the road heading south in the morning and hope to be back in Canungra on Weds Evening. If it is on at Canungra I will fly a few days, failing that I will be in Newcastle for the weekend. At last....

Friday, November 03, 2006

Weekend Detention

Required parts failed to arrive. Not going anywhere until Monday afternoon at earliest. Another weekend in Innisfail. %^&$#!

So Close, and yet....

Yesterday morning my gearbox arrived. Within a couple of hours it was mostly installed back in the car and the mechanic realised he was going to need the linkages and mounting brackets that he sent back to Sydney on the last gearbox. I think we must be getting close to the sort of exception circumstances that would justify temporary insanity as a reasonable plea in the case of a mechanic who was tragically killed after a Subaru gearbox accidentally fell on his head, several times.
Several deep breaths later and the parts are in one of those magical over night bags, just don't get too hung up on  any particular day for delivery.
If the overnight bag actually gets here today (which i rather doubt) then I will start the drive south as soon as they let me have my car back. Failing that I may be able to leave on Monday, but not before, that would subject me to another weekend in Innishell, whatever it was that I did in that past life it must have been really bad.