vrijdag 19 augustus 2011

The final days…
What is there to say about the last days? We all didn’t achieve our goal (for Francois and me 150 kph and for Willem 120 kph), but we all set a new personal record. Beside that we had a nice pizza fundraising evening for the USA Junior team organized by Garret and Bret. I understood they were quite successful. Unfortunately Garret wasn’t successful with his flight on the second last day. Despite his enormous winglets (or because?) he couldn’t keep up with the newer ships and he has to skip the worlds next year. Too bad!
The last day was a beautiful day with high speeds. It looked like we were going to make the 150 kph for a long time. But at one point a was the first to became low. Some misunderstanding because of the bad radio, one or two mistakes and there you are at 1200 feet above ground trying to get a good thermal that of course isn’t that good at that altitude. You know you shouldn’t do that, especially in Texas where it is way too warm at those altitudes! Fortunately the thermal got very good (12kts = 6m/s), but nevertheless I got way behind Francois. Apparently some of the clouds just didn’t offer what that promised. They got Francois as well over the hills, so in the end we had more or less the same speed. Anyhow, it was a very nice last day of our Uvalde experience.
In the evening we had to clean up the gliders and get in the trailers. A quick snap from the dinner they had prepared for us at the price giving and off to our swimming pool too relax with a couple of beers… Next day we all went home after we got the Discus and Nimbus in the RV. Willem and me drove to Houston and the other guys back to California.
Once more I would like to thank Steve Dee, Bret and Garret Willat for making this unforgettable vacation possible!!
Some pictures with thanks to Jeppe:

donderdag 11 augustus 2011

Uvalde, wholy soaring spot!


Sorry to write only so late on this blog! Why? Well, I arrived August 4th in the evening here in Uvalde after a 5 hr drive from Houston, and the morning after we started a 6 days in a row of flying (one training day, five contest days). A day goes from 7 am untill 9 pm, that hurts :-)! At 7:30 am at the airport to fill up the glider with water and put it in the grid. Then quickly back to the RV for a breakfast, then at 10:30 briefing, at 12:00 lining up of the gliders at the runway, at about 13:30 first start....landing at about 18:30, getting logger files out....and so on. And that when you dont land out....but I dont do that :-)!

Why am I at the Preworlds? Well, not because of my gliding skills during competitions:-)! But at the beginning of the year Jeroen sent me a email that an american guy named Boyd Willat was looking for a glider for the JWGC in Musbach. After talking to my syndicat I decided to go for the adventure, what seems to work out pretty well now for me compared to Boyd with the shitty weather over there....

While I sit and write this text here in the shadow under a tree during our rest day, I can´t imagine having flown in this heat for 6 days already...it feels like a sitting on a wood fire....but anyhow...

The first day was a training day, getting started on a for me new type of glider, the discus a, in a new environment. But who cares, no guts no glory! Thank god that I bought a battery pack for my Oudie just before the contest, because there was no navigation system installed in the glider, only two loggers without nav screens....well, I decided to put it a litttle bit over half full with water (about 120 liters) for the first flight. The task sent us far over the hilly sites north of Uvalde where you better not outland (later on more about that). It took me some time to get used to the units displayed on the instruments, but my Oudie did it al the european way! I passed the 10000 ft marker and it was a fun flight with coming back home.

Contest day 1 untill 2 went well. Day 1 was slow, day 2 I made it over the 100 kph (finally!).

Day 3 was an AAT-task with min. time 4hr30min. Everything went well, the last sector was over the hilly sites north of Texas. I arrived at this sector with a 106 kph speed, so I had to fly further into this sector to not being too early at the finish. Just before this sector I had a very good thermal up to 2600 m MSL....from there I went straight down for an outside landing after leaving the sector towards Uvalde....no thermal found anymore, I couldn t believe it. Would I not have flown further into that sector, I would have been home...4 other gliders landed outside...kak (is shit)!!! Thank God that the landing went well, I couldn t make it to a ranch or something better to land as this field, but no damage! Here the SPOT did its fantastic work (allthough I had a network on my mobile phone). By pressing the HELP key an SMS with my coordinates arrived at the mobile phone of Brat, Garret´s father. He sent Jeppe, who was here for a few days, with the trailer on the way! An hour and a half after my landing he was there. In the meantime I was lucky to meet a couple passing by on a quad drinking beers. It was a happy moment! It was the first time in Texas that the saying "In Texas the cows are prettier than the women" was not true.... But her boyfriend was there as well...Why does God punish me everytime?? But luckily enough they were the neighbours of the the person possessing my landing field and the closed fence around it. So at the time Jeppe arrived we could directly start our work...

Day 4, well, what sould I say....Filling up the glider with 180 liters of water, driving it to the grid, having a flat tyre arriving there, put the glider in the trailer, fix the tyre (thanks Francois) because a new tyre would only arrive later that day. So rebuilding the glider, filling it up again with 180 liters of water, driving it to the grid: AGAIN a FLAT TYRE!!! So put the glider in his box again, putting on the new tyre (thanks again Francois) which had  just arrived, and rebuild the glider once more....fill it up once more....drive it to the grid once more....now it was already late (I missed breakfast, briefing and the start in my class), so I put the glider behind the 18m, to have some time to prepare the flight....It was funny that I only during flight realised that the first leg was 180 km out to the mexican border....A big thanks to Jeppe, without him this day I would not have flown!!! He also managed a Hamburger for me so that I didnt have to start with an empty stomach....So I arrived at the airport at around 8 am, to finally be ready for the flight at 2:15 pm without having stopped to get things done....and offcourse, it was the day that I got the best result in points for me personally (over 600 I think)...

Day 5 the fall back: tired, lower cloud base, less visibility, too often too low....but made it back to Uvalde, thats whats counting for me!!!

Now a day of rest! Speak to you soon!!!!



woensdag 10 augustus 2011

August 9th

Everybody knows how hot it is here, this swimming pool i not a luxury, without we would die here….

Task for today, 440 km speed task. Jeroen and I talked about tack ticks and we decided we would start late, fly fast. so we did start late, nobody started later then us. The nice thing about the task was that we only had airfields as turning points. I thought, glider fields, but I was wrong.

As large as Schiphol…. Perhaps we can add Schiphol as turning point to the list of our National championships as well.

Jeroen and I ran up with 2 ASG 29's and a Lak 17, We got home earlier and got a 3rd place!! We where happy and going to try the same thing tomorrow…

If everything goes according to plan and I don't break my glider anymore I hope I have have more time to take pictures in the air, or call somebody while flying…….

What happened

There are a lot of thorns here in Uvalde. So large and strong that they can puncture a car tyre, and of corse my Ventus tyre. Using the fuselage car and jack of the trailer i jacked up the fuselage and repaired the tyre. While trying to install the tyre again i needed more space and for this the tail had to be lifted, it took some time and a car jack was needed to hod the tail up. The whole glider wasn't really stable and 3 people helped me the hold the Ventus. At some point it said, "watch out i think it moves forward" the answer was "say again" and the tail fell of the jack and the jack made a hole in the tail boom.

End of the competition i thought. I put the Ventus back in the trailer, went back to the RV park, had a shower, went to the MC Donald the have a quick mail and went back to the airfield. I found  John Murray, the dealer of Schleicher gliders, willing to help me repair my Ventus. It took us 4 hours the take of the of fabric and re-laminate the tail boom. The next morning I sanded everything and she was ready to go. Rigged, watered did the 5 hour AAT task, nothing worked, became 10th. Jeroen did a much better job he was fourth.

zondag 7 augustus 2011

The first two contest days…

You should never win the pre-worlds because it never happened that person won the worlds. I think it also applies for the training days: We screwed up big time on the first contest day. The weather wasn’t so good, the thermals were blue. So we decided to go way off course to get away from the cirrus clouds, but we shouldn’t have. Flying in the blue is pretty simple here: fly on the course line and wait until you hit that 3 m/s, or more...  Hard lesson learned, because it costs us 300 points. Willem was having some trouble as well: the power Flarms we are carrying interfered with his logger. Luckily they accepted his file from his Oudie.
In the mean while I’m getting used to this life style. Get out of bed, bring your rigged glider to the runway and relax until you can start. You fly somewhere between 4 and 5 hours, you rig your glider and then jump in the pool with a nice cold beer. Flying competition can be sooo relaxing!
The second contest day: Well, it wasn’t Francois day. Competitors for next year should be sure to bring at least a couple of reserve tubes for the landing gear (and all other rotating rubber). There are a lot of twigs with nasty needles sticking out. Francois was the lucky one to get the first flat tire… On top of that he damaged his glider trying to repair it. So unfortunately he had to skip the day!

At the briefing they told that the cumulus would dry out. So I thought not to start too late. The first one and a half leg were very slow (115 kph) and then the weather got rrrrealy great: 4/8 of cumulus clouds at 8500 feet and thermals up to 5 m/s (from bottom till top!) which made cruise flight possible at an average of 150 kph! The flight was great and the speed controlled the damage of the first part. I set myself a new goal for this competition: try to hit the 150 kph. The magic number over here is 100 mph (165 kph), but I find it hard to imagine that is possible with these older type of 18 meter gliders. But you never know:  Let’s go step by step… J
When you think a glider pilots life doesn’t get better than this, Garret installed the beer tender! So, i guess our special guest Jeppe just came in time...

Why me??


zaterdag 6 augustus 2011

August 5th

Yesterday evening we went to a steakhous, and yes I had a BIG steak!! And very good to. Again it's hot and the weather would not be a nice as the day before. I went to the briefing and we got a task, 3 hours AAT task, grid at 12 and first launch at 1245. Willem was taking car of all his stuff Jeroen and I put our gliders along the runway. It's really un believable but when you are waiting the car is running and the airco is doing overtime…. Not everybody went flying so not so manny gliders on the grid. Jeroen lost his glider because it was pushed forward without him knowing. The weather didn't look very good, I thought it took long for the gate to get open, Jeroen and I met in the starting circle and went at 14:38 for 3 hour AAT.

After 2 4meter thermals we got in to the first sector at a not stable 3 meter thermal. We had to climb a lithe bit to get to this,

Dear friend from Holland and Belgium, we live in the wrong country, why??,,

We finished the task after 3 hours 12 minutes with a average of 139.5 KM/H, in an old Ventus Ca. Tilo,  Quintus……..

The internet is not so good because we are not in the hotel anymore and posting this blog Jeroen and I heard we where the fasted of the day!! They also told us this isn't a good sign..... What do they know, we are Dutch!!