Benalla Storm

Benalla Storm

Friday, December 24, 2010

JG - Contest Day 4

Several people have commented that I did not update my blog near the end of the contest. This is mostly due to the fact that I am terrible at sustaining anything written, but also in part because I was not flying as good as I felt I could be. Here is how the rest of the contest unfolded:

Contest Day 4: Thursday, December 16

The weather conditions today were looking to be fairly decent. The task was set as an Assigned Area Task with a nominal of 277.1 km and a task time of 3 hours. I knew that the day would likely die early, so getting started shortly after the start gate opened would be key. At the same time, I did not want to leave too early before other competitors. I left my initial start point at the same time as the other competitors, but couldn't find any of them in the sky. The first 15km of my flight were very slow, and I found myself much lower than I would of liked. Luckily I found a good thermal that drifted me into another potential start point. At this point I opted to re-start. This put my start time about 10 minutes behind that of the other competitors. I flew well on my first and second leg despite flying alone. I feel that I made a good decision of when to turn in the first circle, leaving myself plenty of options further on in the task. I flew my second leg very well with a speed of over 100km/h. This put me in a position to make a difficult decision: I could turn for home before getting caught up in the river, following some of the others home, and certainly coming in under time. Or I could opt to fly a little bit further and longer and risk flying over the river (which I had experienced to be an area full of sink, but which others had reported was working well later in the day). I decided to fly further hoping for the supposed good lift over the river. Although I tried to stick to the scrub that should have been working, I did not find any good lift. The forecasted early cut-off was correct for once. With very few field options in the area I targeted a good looking field off in the distance, making a safe off-field landing decision. I was very frustrated at the end of this flight because although I felt I had made several good decisions throughout the flight, it did not pay off for me in the end.

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