Sunday, 19 April 2015

Dalby Day 7 - April 18 (Last Day)

Weather: NNE 25Kmh winds Heavy coverage of cloud with rain possible in the late afternoon.
Task: Dalby Airport to Millmerran Airport 76Km to the south. Cloud base 5500ft

With pilots having flown over 25hrs so far, the short task to Millmerran Airport was welcomed for the last day. Dense cloud cover did not allow a lot of sun in  but with the dark bases and strong tail wind it looked to be a quick run. This proved to be wrong. The first half of the course was slow and it was hard to find lift. Zeros had to be made the most of until about 35km from goal when good lift was found. About 30 pilots made it to goal with Konrad Heilmann making goal first in 1hr 11min. A great last day task.
Chris Lawry was the first Kiwi in, coming in 2nd followed by Conrad Loten in 4th place

John Durand Snr took out the overall winner
Nils Vesk in second place and Konrad Heilmann came 3rd

Hagen was the highest scoring Kiwi coming 7th followed by John in 10th place, Chris Lawry 12th, Conrad Loten 13th.
Captian Flockheart’s final log entry: “Many Lessons were learnt and will hopefully be applied at the next Dalby Big Air”

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Dalby Day 6 - April 17

Wind: NE flow 15 -20Kmh, 30kmh at boundary layer. 550ftm climbs Temp 30deg
Task: Dalby Airport to Flint, WSW 182Km.

As towing started, the skies above Dalby airport started to blue out. But with a 10km start circle which allowed pilots to find clouds around the perimeter of the airfield. Half an hour before the start the main gaggle was above the town of Dalby gaining good height.
As the start neared the cloud started to dissipate and only a few pilots managed to stay high for the start. The course out to the second forest crossing had good lift which allowed the pilots to stay within sight of each other. Pilots who were fast on this part of the course had good climbs over the second forest but those slightly behind found weak broken thermals just before and this slowed them down and spread out the field.

After crossing the second forest the sky had blued with only a few cumulus clouds and with high cloud moving in, things started to slow down. Good lift could be found to over 6000ft but at around 50Km from goal only light lift and slow climbs could be found and a few pilots started to land out.
If you were lucky enough to stay up, the ground started to give off heat and good climbs could be found. 15 pilots made it to goal, with John Smith arriving first.

Landing out was tough as there was no phone reception and no one in many of the homesteads. On the way back to Dalby well after dark many roo’s made driving back treacherous. We sighted a Brahma bull just before sunset at the side of the road that must have weighed well over 1000kg. Not something you would want to run into.
John Smith had a bad start but he pushed on fast under good clouds and caught up at first forest with the leaders. He went left of the course line at the second forest and getting in front of the group after the crossing.  Finding a  few clouds over 6000ft lift in blue and with high cloud moving in the group of three flew in zeros for half an hour preserving height until the sun came out again. Being the first to find lift, John had the jump on them 30km out and getting to 7000ft on a good climb and being 25km out from goal, John went for goal needing a 22:1 glide. Finding sink along the way he needed to stay in zeros. 10km short he found lift and then got a 12:1 glide and made it to goal on course line.

Captian Flockheart’s log: A search to windward should always be considered before heading off down wind.     

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Dalby Day 4 - April 15

Weather: Light easterly dropping off around midday and increasing late afternoon. Clouds.
Task: WNW to Warra then NE to Jandowae, ESE to Bell racecourse then back to Dalby 133Km

With light lift above the airfield, it was a slow climb to cloud base at 5900ft.  Gaggles formed to the west of take-off but had to keep moving up wind to stay within the 5Km start circle. Most pilots were in the air when the 12:30 start gate opened but not all made it high enough to leave. 
John Smith was one of the lower pilots and lead the lower pilots to the first thermal from start. It was a good climb and even the higher pilots stopped to top up. There was a fast pace to Warra and the few pilots that got low at the turn-point had slow climbs up. The lead gaggle had a fast line to the second turn-point but those who got low along this part of the course had slow climbs out as the cloud shadows on the ground left very little room for sun to get through. Many low saves were made on route to WPT 3.

John said over breakfast the next day “That if he had got a save at WPT 3 that he would have gone to Jesus”. But when John’s feet hit the ground he accepted the inevitability of his position and realised the only way he was going to get to goal was by car.
With the high cloud moving in and the wind picking up the day started to slow down with a lot of pilots landing around Bell.  Big John went well north of the task line to Bell and this manoeuvre won him the day. Those lucky enough to get around WPT 3 had a 21Km run to Dalby airport with a sky that was blueing out, so those who stayed high managed to get to goal, with around 12 pilots making it in. Conrad was the first Kiwi in with quite a few pilots dropping just short of goal.

It was a very technical day and the cycles very different from the previous days when climbs where everywhere. Most of the young guys who had been doing well did not make goal with most of the old timers making it. Staying high seemed to be the best course for the day.
Another great day at Dalby and it does not look like there will be a lay day as the forecast for the rest of the comp is good.

Quote of the day from Captain Flockhart log: “Survive the course’s filters”
Advice for the day “Pace yourself”


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Dalby Day 3 - April 14

Clear blue skies with clouds building early morning. Wind light and variable filling in from the NE around 16:00 and becoming stronger up to 17Kmh. Clouding in from the east 6500 -7000 increasing to a 8000 ft cloud base later on in the day.
Task: Dalby to Broadwater Dam 26.5km to the SW. Then north 61Km to Jandowae and return to Dalby Airport. 132 km triangle.

The start gate opened and the gaggle to the west of take-off were in the best position for the start. The lift around the airport was light and shifty in some places and stronger in others and those who got high quick had no problem staying high.
The run down to Broadwater Dam was fast and the pilots did not thin till the run down to turn point 2. A few pilots got low along here but most managed to find good lift back to cloud base.

For the lead pilots, those who stayed right of course had the quicker fly and in a good position for the run to goal. A cloud street to the east of course allowed pilots to get a good glide towards goal only needing a slight top up on the way to goal. Some pilots had a low save in a massive thermal which was became a cloud of sorghum as it sucked all the leaves off the ground. Other pilots got into thermals with dozens of Swifts that were feeding on the bugs in the thermal.
John Smith was on the left of course to turnpoint 2 and got down to 2000ft AGL and lost 10 minutes getting back to cloud base and put him into 6th for the day. The forecast wind had not developed which allowed around 20 pilots to make it to goal, three of those are on the Kiwi Trans-Tasman Challenge team, John, Hagen and Conrad. Kurt Warren won the day

Lisa put in another fantastic fly in her fluoro Red Moyes Malibu. Taking off at 13:00 she made a slow but steady pace around the course to land at 17:00. Four hours in the air to get within 15Km of turn point 2. Asking Lisa about her day all that was head was “Awesome!” Well done Lisa.
Three fantastic flying days in a row. So far this has been an outstanding Dalby!

Trans-Tasman Challenge; The Australians are winning with 12,505 points and the Kiwi team have 8991 points
Captain Flockhart’s quote of the day:  “if you’re not in Dalby where the hell are you?”

Advice for the day: Don’t always follow the gaggle if you think their decision is wrong.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Dalby Day 2 - April 13

Task: West to Kumbrilla Rd intersection  then west again to Meandarra Hwy. A quartering tail wind with a slight dog leg lay ahead. 
Again clear blue skies in the morning and clouds started to form around 10:00am. Winds light ESE.  It was forecast to overdevelop from the east.

Briefing was at 9:00 am with the usual banter and a few helpful remarks on the towing for the previous day. A missing pilot was found late at night due to not having a radio and having lost his cell phone. It was decided to have the start gate at 12:15 due to the over development, so there was a bit of a rush to get set up and ready.

The Sport class got away first followed by the Alternate launch and then the Main launch started. Thermals were strong around the airfield with one sitting just to the east of take-off. A gaggle had formed high above the airstrip, with a second gaggle a few km to the west, both topping out at 6800ft.   

Ten minutes before the start, the pilots over the airfield joined the main gaggle to the west and when the first start gate opened over 30 pilots headed west looking like a formation of planes flying off to battle.

With around 30 pilots in the air thermals were found easily and height gained quickly but the top guns pulled away from the rest and as progress was made towards WPT 1 the gaggles started to thin out.

A few top pilots landed on the first part of the course but they were pushing hard to get out in front. After reaching WPT 1 you found you had 71km to goal and not far away was a 6km stretch of forest that had to be crossed. This was not a problem as cloud base had risen to 7800ft and an easy glide over this part of the course was not a problem, even for the kingpost gliders.

Out past the forest and flying south of Tara I met two wedged tail eagles that joined me as I entered the thermal at 4600ft, and stayed with me all the way up to 7200ft hanging not far off my starboard wing. I was quite nervous that they might shred my sail but this was not the case, even though one of them passed over my leading edge with its talons missing my sail by 300mm while we looked each other in the eye, though no aggression was shown
For those of us who were a little slow around the course the clouds started to thin out and look raggedy but as the farmers were ploughing their fields late in the day and thermals were still popping off,  goal was easily reached. Staying between 5000ft and 8000ft during the day meant you got cold but with every cloud working there was not much chance of getting low.

There were a lot of happy faces in goal, with around 30 pilots there, including a few king posts. Every member of the Kiwi Trans-Tasman Challenge team got to goal.

John had a lucky break 30 km from goal when he broke away from the gaggle and found a good 700ft climb to cloud base and allowed him to go on final glide to goal. With this height he only had to top up slightly on course to goal which allowed him to win the day in 2hrs 17min and gaining 998 points.

Lisa, who has been doing a great job being the Trolley Dolly for the comp, bringing back the dollies once the pilots has been towed up, managed a fantastic flight on her Fluoro Orange Moyes Malibu. After everyone got away she flew cross wind to near Chinchilla where she had to land before she entered airspace flying crosswind  76km. Even Floaters can do it!
With Dalby at its best for task two, can it get any better than this?

Captain Flockhart’s Log:

He was heard to say that with his winning pace to WPT 1 the captain was leading the day  but after taking a different line to everyone else made a snail’s pace to goal. Safety in numbers was the best course. 

Monday, 13 April 2015

Dalby Day 1 - April 12

From Mark Alton:

Blue skies in the morning with cumulus clouds popping off by 10am and a light  S-SE wind
Task 124Km triangle.  Out to Jandowae then SW to Brigalow and 53Km back to Dalby.
Towing started at 11:30 after the Sports class were towed up. Those who picked low numbers for start order had up to 45 minutes to wait for the first start. Staying up was not a problem with lift around 600ft min; even those who had weak links break were able to get away low if you were lucky enough to find a thermal on your glide back to the tow line.

I had my weak link break at 340ft and lots of swear words were coming out of my mouth when I heard the vario start to beep and hooking into the lift I out-climbed a tug and tow and carried on up to over 6500ft.                                                 

The course to WPT 1 was littered with clouds with good lift with cloud base reaching 8400ft,  which made the first waypoint reachable to most pilots. John Smith was racing to WPT 1 and got low (300ft) but managed to scratch up and get back in the race. Getting away from WPT 1 was made difficult by the thermal drift which was to the E, with WPT 2 in a SW direction.

The first couple of thermals on route to WPT 2 were slow going, as the drift took you back towards WPT 1. Further down the course WPT 2 came into sight but for those who got there late the heat of the day was wearing off and the clouds thinned out. The glides between clouds got longer. Slowing up was the best plan. Under most clouds the lift was smooth with a constant climb of around 300-400ft min.

Once WPT 2 was reached a cross/head wind up to 15kmh made the run to goal slow for those who had not kept up the pace around the course, making final glide difficult.
Kurt Warren won the day coming in 3 hours and 2 minutes after start. 14 pilots made it to goal.

How good is Dalby? Classic race conditions and a technical day for those here to win.
Results can be found on the Oz Report, or for full result the Dalby club web site 

The Trans Tasman Cup is being fought for again, with NZ pilots Hagen, Guy, John Smith, Conrad and Tish.

Dalby Big Air 11-18 April 2015

Here's a report from Mark Alton in Dalby:

Tasman crossers, John Smith, Hagen Bruggeman, Guy Williams, Chris Lawry, Tish Lawry & Mark Alton.
Expats Conrad Loten, Kath Abbott, Viv Clements & Dave (Rangi) Stevens

11 April - Practice day.
Wind ESE fresh in the morning but dropping off in the afternoon with morning cloud breaking up.

Fresh juice was made by Rangi  at Lisa and John’s kitchen at the airfield campground.
After an unofficial practice day yesterday when the conditions were perfect from midday till 15:00 a handful of pilots had a great afternoon’s flying.

The airfield at Dalby turned into a campground overnight with pilots turning up from Western Australia, Melbourne, Cairns, New Zealand and Brazil for the great flying at Dalby.
The comp was limited to 53 pilots and most of them took to the air when the wind dropped off, to brush up on their towing skills and pick up thermals around the airstrip to 7000ft. If you did not get there on your first tow you could land and get towed up again.

 Guy was busy most of the day putting a new RX sail on his RS frame and John got to fly Viv’s new Laminar which he said “ flew better than his Combat L”.  John is aiming to win the comp after coming 2nd last year .
Winglets seemed to be in fashion on the Laminar and T2C. Will Moyes follow suit?