Benalla Storm

Benalla Storm

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's Over...

The final night party was a lot of fun. Then on Saturday morning came the closing ceremonies. I was so proud of everyone who made the top ten in each class. Tim Kuijpers looked thrilled and a little overwhelmed as he stood on the podium and we all listened to his national anthem being sung. And then it was over. People were packing everywhere, and many goodbyes were said. I already miss having breakfast with our Austrian neighbours, briefings in the big hangar, jokes and songs on the grid, flying with my dear Aussies, evenings with the Swiss and their pool, and most of all the flying! It's a little hard to believe that it's all over! So sad... I finished in 41 position (not last yay!). I will take a little while to digest before writing a formal article for Free Flight, but can definitely already say that I learned heaps! 

Chris and I have one more day in Germany before we head home. Chris will be helping for duration of the Eastern Junior Camp, and I will be helping a few days at both the Eastern and Western Junior Camps.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day 8 Cancelled, Contest is over!!!

Selena was on the front of the grid today.  The weather did not look promising but the organizers wanted to wait as long as possible to allow the club class to get another day.  Tim Kuijpers from the Netherlands had only a small lead in front of the two German pilots.  The sniffer, Brian Spreckley, did not take off until one o'clock and kept delaying first launch.  A storm started growing just to the south of us and we felt a few drops but Brian still stayed up.  Shortly after the storm passed Brian was forced down and shortly after that the day was cancelled for both classes.  The Dutch camp was very excited for their victory.  Below is a photo of Tim being thrown into the Swiss pool.  Tim is a very friendly fellow and there were many people going up to congratulate him.  Tonight is the last night party and many people are getting ready for it.  There are many visitors here just for the party including our friend Jonas who is staying in our caravan.
The storm to the south
Tim from Holland in the pool

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 7

As Chris said, Club Class was pushed off of the side of the grid to give the Standard Class a better chance to fly. Chris decided to have a nap on the grid.
I really didn't think we were going fly. Storm clouds had moved through earlier in the day with verga, then some altocumulus came in, then dead calm air. Slowly though we started to feel a few thermals move through and they decided to launch the grid. I think people were still skeptical and I heard that one Standard Class glider dumped some water on the grid. Soon enough though they were getting pretty high! Cloud class got pushed on and we launched into beautiful air! I had forgotten what the ground looked like at 8500ft!!

Well, as much fun as it was to be in thermal wave to 2500m, the start gate opened at 2000m so I was forced to lose altitude, and much of the working band, to get low enough for the start. It was tricky because you didn't want to get too much below the working band or it was very difficult to re-connect with the clouds. I managed to find a few other gliders at the start and we flew south along a band of clouds to the first turnpoint. It was pretty fun, and I had to keep reminding myself to fly fast! Along the first leg we met up with some Standard Class gliders flying the other direction, gave them a wave, and kept on going south. As we flew south the clouds kept forming, although they got weaker as we got further south. I flew most of this leg behind Nathan Johnson, and let me tell you, he is an amazing pilot, and is especially great at finding energy lines. It was great to watch him!

We finally joined a gaggle "low" in the first turnpoint (by low I mean 1600m higher than we have been getting most of the rest of the comp!!). I was following behind a group of other gliders, and was hesitant because I was much lower than them. Nonetheless I managed to get final glide partway along the second leg! How cool. I realised I was going to be a bit over time so initially thought I would just clip the second circle. When I got there there was a massive cloud leading right on track into the turnpoint so I followed it further in, gaining altitude, speed, and distance (how sweet!). I then turned for home, still above final glide, and cruising along well. I reckon I still could have flown a little bit faster as I finished 300 feet high. It was a neat finish and I hope someone got a photo or two because I was on final with 5 or 6 other gliders! Just in time for a good landing and a cold beer. I finished the day in 15th place with 74kph (still 20kph slower than the winner, unreal!). I need to fly more consistently. (Although I have never had this problem before...) Unfortunately points from the day were severely de-valued due to the short task time and distance. Tim Kuijspers from the Netherlands has moved into first place ahead of the Germans so hopefully he can hold his lead today! Andrew Maddocks also had a great day finishing in 9th place!

Day 7

Today we started out with a 2.5 hour AAT and were gridded in front of the Standard Class.  The contest manager decided to allow the Standard Class to launch first to get in a longer day so we had to push all the Club Class gliders to the side and then regrid after they were all up.  The task was also changed from to a 1.5 hour AAT with minimum 69km, max 247km and nominal 154km.  The pilots were reporting the highest cloudbase of the contest and some reported wave.  The start gate was limited to 2000m to avoid any advantages/disadvantages of getting in the wave.  She is at the first turn now and after turning will have a nice tailwind for the second leg.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011



The temperature jumped up today and it was definitely the best day of the contest! Chris was kind enough to act as my brolly bitch in the hot conditions.  

It was a strange day. A strong line of cu along the Black Forest, a big blue hole that was only barely working, a strong section of cu along the Swabian Alps, back through the blue, and a ripper leg home. I am pretty sure most people got pretty low in the blue. Throughout the flight climbs were sporatic - one time taking a 4kt climb, the next being forced to accept a 1.5kt. I tried my best to stay with the gaggle, but found myself slipping behind, then caught up, and then fell behind again. I ended the day ahead of a few other gliders I spent the most time with. The biggest mistake of the day was leaving too early. All of the best competitors left about 40 minutes after I did. But to be honest, I just wanted to get around, and was absolutely thrilled when I managed it! And Chris being a good crew brought me one of the most delicious beers I have ever had! 

Unfortunately one of the other competitors landed out in a poor paddock and is going to the hospital. Hopefully he will be alright!

Also be sure to check out the latest videos from Hubi:

Day 6

Sorry for not updating earlier, the internet is still not working very well here.  Today the weather looks quite good but I have heard it is a bit tough on course.  The task is a 235km zig zag.  Selena has just rounded the last turn point and I expect her home soon.  We will update soon.


The Worlds is making me have a flashback to this year's Nats:
- dodgy weather
- mass landouts (more people have landed out than made it home)
- BC trailer on the field (I keep thinking Bill has come for a visit)
- Winzeln turnpoint is the new Tillsonburg

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Land out

Selena got stuck in a blue hole and landed out shortly after starting.  There are already many land outs from other competitors reported.  We can now only hope that 25% of the field does not make 100km and the day gets cancelled.

Day 5

The weather looks good for today but there is a lot of moisture on the ground from all the rain we have been getting.  It may take a while to start getting good.  We have been given a task which is almost identical to Day 4's task, Bonndorf-Zwiefalten-Winzeln for 258.9kms.

Last night was 'International Night' in the hangar.  Many countries brought food and drink from their homeland.  We were also warned about a drug/alcohol check today so the pilots could not sample all the different drinks although the team captains and crew did not need to worry about this.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 5: Cancelled

Today has officially been cancelled. This will be our official rest day which I think is good so that later in the week when the weather improves we can fly fly fly. It will also give Chris and I an opportunity to get caught up on laundry and groceries as this has been difficult to do without a proper crew.

We also saw a presentation about the JWGC 2013 to be held in Poland. Leszno looks like a fantastic site and it sounds like it will be a great contest!

Day 5

We woke up this morning to the sound of pouring rain on the caravan. Needless to say the campground is soaking wet and there are puddles everywhere. The Austrians got to work building a trench between them and Italy.

Grid time has not yet been announced. Briefing is scheduled for 1200. There is talk of making this an official rest day, but we won't know for sure until the briefing. The morning has given many teams the opportunity to make repairs. Yesterday during out-landings a few wheels were made flat, gear doors broken, etc. Nick Maddocks has taken his glider back to the Schempp factory this morning (he ground-looped in an outlanding the other day, breaking the tail, and unfortunately putting him out of the competition).


I was one of the very first launches and the air was cycling upwards, and I soon found myself at cloud base around 1700m. As the launches continued the air cycled downwards and I was drifting further and further away from the clouds with the start in a blue hole. Most other Club Class gliders experienced this too and I found myself in the most disgusting thermal with 25-30 other gliders. The group wasn't really moving down, but we weren't going up much either. And the organisation was terrible, one big jumbled mess of fiberglass floating around the sky. And then someone at the top would decide to switch directions and we would all be forced to turn the other way and re-organise ourselves from the top down (I was near the bottom). One pilot from the Netherlands Tim Kuijpers managed to hook into wave and found himself at 2500m. Then they announced in the air a start altitude cap of 2000m and he had to come back down. Finally the air picked up again and the gaggle got to cloud base and we set off.

When we started I found myself somewhere in the middle of the gaggle. There were many gliders ahead of me and above me, and several gliders also behind me. I was still cautious about the start because the air didn't feel very strong. I decided to head downwind and east of track to avoid the Black Forest. This ended up being one of the best decisions I made all day. I managed to cruise along at cloud base as I heard the Aussies getting lower and lower. They think that they got dumped in the lee of the wave that was created by the Black Forest, and after having the vario pegged at -10kts found themselves in paddocks with several other gliders. The radio got pretty boring after that... I didn't have the heart to tell them, but as they were landing out I joined the Belgium DC Niel Deijgers in a thermal that averaged 8kts to 7500ft. (I definitely owe him a beer for that one!)

I flew along with the now much smaller group along to the first turnpoint. We managed to duck into the circle and head back along the clouds to the second point. I saw DC low around the first point and I was a bit worried that he may have landed out. 10 minutes later he joined my thermal with the group higher than me! The cloud street we followed to the second point was beautiful and we went fairly quickly. A few times we got lower in the working band, but I managed to always stay within it with the group. We all shared times leading out, but when I did I made sure that they were still on my flarm behind me. Nearing the second turnpoint the strong part of the group got about 200ft above me. I decided to continue following them despite my lower altitude in order not to lose them. However, they slowly drifted further and further ahead and I drifted a bit further away from cloud base. It worked out that a few other gliders joined in behing a bit lower, and we stuck together again. We all opted to follow the cloud street back south. Initially this led us 10 degrees off track, then 20, 30, 60... However, going towards Musbach was a huge massive blue hole with a few despairing cu's scattered through. The cold front was moving in, taking a lot of energy, and leaving big areas with no sun getting through to the ground. Eventually I ran out of energy and I landed at an airstrip with 6 other gliders. At least I had company!

The most impressive thing about yesterday is Tim. He flew the entire task by himself and was the only pilot to make it home!! UNREAL! I think the key is that he managed to leave so early giving him more time when the air was still working. However, there were many other pilots that also left early and they didn't make it home so this shows what a good pilot he is.

Three people from the Standard Class made it around, but at this point it looks like it won't count as a day as 25% of the field has to fly a minimum of 100km. Club Class has a day and I finished the day in tenth place. WooT!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Selena has landed off field at an airport with a few other gliders.  It looks like her flight will put her above a few of the pilots ahead of her in the standings.  I am just heading out and there is yet to be a finisher at Musbach.  There was just some very heavy showers that passed through the airport so it is possible no one will finish.

Day 4

Today a 238km racing task has been set for the club class.  The weather report called for good conditions but also a good chance of over development.  Selena is still in the air at the moment with many of the top pilots landing out already.  There is some ugly looking clouds over top the airport right now so returning to the airfield could be the biggest challenge today.  The last I heard from her she is with the Swiss.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The launch time was delayed and delayed. They kept saying that it would get better, but it really to me looked doubtful. The sky was covered with low dark cumulus and higher cirrus. Finally the cirrus moved by and the ground got some heating and the bases were able to lift. Club Class was launched. I was near the front of the grid and it felt like a long time before the rest of the fleet was launched. The air was pulsing and cloud bases were no higher than 1400m. A couple of gliders had to take re-lights. I managed to find Johno in the air and we started with a few other gliders as the bases were lifting to 1500m. The first section of the flight out was a huge struggle. Climbs were far between and sporatic in strength, some of them 3knots, others only 1knots. I really focused on staying within the working band. Johno managed to slip above me as we flew, and at one point I decided it was very important to stay within the working band so took a climb that he didn't need to and we were separated. I was still loosely flying with several other gliders, using them as thermal indicators ahead of me. I reached the first turnpoint with a very low airspeed so decided to turn directly for the second circle. On the way to the second circle I found an amazing cloud street. I was flying with two other gliders, but I was cruising at cloud base and they were significantly lower. I reached the edge of the second circle in no time, and realised that I couldn't turn directly for home or I would have been 30 minutes under time. I decided to fly further into the circle. This was the good decision. The poor decision came a few minutes later. I hadn't anticipated flying so deep into the second circle, so forgot to take into account in my pre-flight planning the Stuttgart airspace that was located in the second circle. An airspace warning popped up on my PDA. I pushed the nose down to decrease my altitude. What I should have done at this point is to turn around for home, keeping myself out of airspace and within the working band that was just sucking you in at cloudbase. Instead what I did was keep pushing further into the circle, marginally increasing my distance, but putting myself out of the working band. As I turned to home slightly beneath the working band the air was calm calm calm. I knew immediately that I was in trouble. There was no lift to be found anywhere and I was still 2000 feet below final glide. I did manage to find one climb around Horb am Neckar, but wasn't able to fly much closer to Musbach as the terrain was rising and the outlanding fields increasingly poor. I decided to try to fly towards an alternate airport, hoping to find some lift along the way. I was unable to find any lift, was unable to find any lift, and was forced to land in a paddock only 15 km from the airport.

This was a very simple mistake that I made. The more I fly the more I realise how much of the skill in this sport is directly correlated to how much experience you have as a pilot. I know that if I had more experience I would not have made this mistake. So it is all I can do to learn from this so I can be better in the future!
Check out the latest movie from Hubi!

On Task

Just like yesterday the weather has improved and the sky is now looking quite good.  Selena is now on task with Nathan Johnson, my teammate from the 2009 JWGC in Finland.  We were initially worried about another band of cirrus coming over the task area but at the moment it looks like it will clear.  The wind is lighter today and we hope it will not be giving the rotor effects the pilots encountered yesterday.  The task was reduced to 2 hours and the weather man expects the end of thermals to be later than originally anticipated.

Day 3

We have been given a 2.5hr 161km AAT. First launch is currently scheduled for 1300. It is still quite cool and the clouds are low and dark. Thermals are forecasted to be weak increasing to moderate throughout the day. Bases from 1000m MSL to 1400m MSL. The day is supposed to shut down by 1630. However, the clouds are starting to break up bringing some warmer temperatures on the ground. Hopefully the clouds will soon start to lift and we can get in a day.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fun Pictures

The Austrian team flying kites at 9 am one morning.
How they mow the grass in Klippeneck. (sheep in the background)

The Austrian pirate flag. They have caused many pirate-ish shinnannigans.

The full rainbow over the trailers yesterday morning.

Contest Day 2 was a very tough day. On tow I thought I back released about 100 feet on tow when the tow plane shot unexpectedly down creating a massive slack in the rope. I focused as hard as I could but tow was very tough, and it almost happened two more times. After release I found the thermals to be incredibly rough and broken. On one side they would be 6knots, the other side minus 4knots. It was very difficult to climb, especially when the gaggles were forming because everyone was low. Winds were very strong, approximately 30kph. It seemed like very strong lift was being produced due to the updrafts along the Schwarzwald. The day was forecast to cut off early, so I felt the need to get started as early as possible. I got up to 1500m and set off on task, roughly flying with a few other gliders. I think the working band was between 1300m-1500m, but finding massive sink in between thermals I very quickly fell out of this working band. Below this it continued to be very rough and broken. I took many thermals that felt strong on one side, but being unable to properly thermal it was very slow to gain any altitude. I circled in one spot for a very long time, but only gained a few hundred meters. When a few other gliders joined me at the same altitude I opted to set off with them. I took a slightly different route staying closer along the Schwarzwald, but keeping them in sight. We re-joined each other further along for another thermal, but this one was also not producing much altitude gain. I soon found myself out of altitude and out-landed in a good paddock.

Day 2

The weather has improved and a task was set and Selena is currently on task.  There were a number of relights mostly in the standard class.  I heard that the start of the task actually had some very good lift.  We can see some cirrus to the west that is moving in; we are hoping that it does not move in before the end of the 2.5 hour task.


Last night the Italians had us over to their camp site for dinner. Not surprisingly we had pasta. It was delicious of course.  They also had some authentic parmiagano cheese that I quite liked.

Today the weather does not look very good.  There is a rainbow sitting on the horizon at the moment.  We expect the day to be cancelled at some point but we are gridding and are waiting to wait.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This is how the sky looked as I was strapping in for my flight today. Before starting the launches they opted to change from the A task to a 170km nominal AAT task, shortened from 3hrs to 2 hrs. I was partway through the grid and counted 20 gliders in a gaggle together shortly after launch. Right after launch I was quite happy to find a weak thermal that kept me at release altitude a small distance away from the gaggle. It didn't take long for it to die though and I was forced to join a large group of gliders. The discouraging part was that at 1800 feet I was above most other gliders in the group. It continued like this for awhile. They finished launching the Club Class but opted to hold the launches for the Standard Class. We had 46 gliders in two or three thermals around the airport. The centers that people were flying in kept shifting, so gaggles of 25 or more gliders would be centered, then shift. After the first few gliders landed back they had the sense to cancel the task. Many gliders began to land all at once, so being one of the higher gliders I decided to stay airborne as long as possible. An hour or so later the day finally began to build as the temperature increased, and when I finally decided to land it took me awhile to come down. It felt like a better airmass was moving in which made me feel rather optimistic. However, talking to a few of the teams around the field apparently the weather prognosis for the next few days is not terribly optimistic. I also took the time to test out my bug-wipers. Pretty nifty!

Also take a moment to check out the latest movie from Hubi from yesterday's activity:

Day 2

A task has been set for Club Class and the grid is made. 167 km racing task. Turnpoints: Start Freudenstadt, Bonndorf, Plettenberg, Finish Musbach. Temperatures are quite cool today. Lift is forecasted to be moderate to weak with tops reaching 1300m-1400m. A layer of high cirrus is moving into the area, but hopefully it will pass us soon allowing the ground to heat up and the thermals to begin.
And a German fighter jet just flew past the contest area. Tres cool.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This is a small glimpse of what it is like to be at a Junior Worlds when we aren't flying...

We are set to grid right now so I am hoping for a better day than yesterday.
The fields were pretty wet this morning. So much so that Johno decided to use his pitot tube as a clothes line to help dry out his socks. Nonetheless the sky built early and they set us off at the scheduled 12 o'clock launch time.
It was a busy start gate. It took me some time to find the Australians and once I did I tried to stick with them. I soon found myself flying amongst several gaggles, at one point sharing a thermal with approximately 25 other gliders (it's hard to count that high...). It was a fun start! Johno set out early because he got sick of the gaggling so Matt and I made our start at a similar time. I tried to follow Chris' advice to stick with a group of people. I was following behind a small group and had a great run out and from the first turnpoint back towards Musbach, only turning a few times. Following others was a great way to learn and I saw how much faster I need to fly in good conditions. Johno was ahead of us and was telling us that the conditions were dying in a blue hole ahead of us. I knew that there was a need to start gearing down as I approached this hole. I found myself in a thermal with a few other gliders. Two of them got to the top before I did, and one of them was Sebastian Naegel. I took a few more turns and left a thermal about 200' below them, hoping that keeping up with the group would be advantageous. I hesitated partway out, hoping to get a climb as I was starting to get low. Unfortunately there was nothing to be found. I saw another glider and tried to find a climb with them, but we were only circling in sink. I decided to set off towards one more solid looking cloud hoping to get a climb there, but was unable to connect. I was the first one to land out today. The biggest mistake I made was not gearing down fast enough for the changing conditions.
Tonight is a German night and they are serving sausages, cheese, and apple wine. Half of the Club Class landed out and all of the Standard Class so hopefully people will be back shortly to enjoy the international festivities.

On Task

The grid is launched and Selena is on task! I think most pilots are happy to finally be flying. I expect her to return around 5pm local time. You can follow her spot tracker at The competition also has a tracking page at but Selena's tracker has not been added yet. We will let you know how she does tonight.

Day 1 Task A

Task A has been assigned for Club Class as a 276.4 km racing task. If I was able to connect our computer to the internet I would load a map, but instead the turnpoints will have to suffice: Start Freudenstadt, Neuweiler, Kirnbergsee, Grafeneck, Hohenzollern, Finish Musbach.

Cloud streets are already beginning to form so now we are just waiting for the temperature to increase a bit for the bases to lift. Winds are forecasted today to be fairly light. First launch is currently scheduled for 12.

A moment to thank my sponsors...

Yesterday Nick Maddocks (Maddog Composites, Australia) took some time to help us fix the gear door on my glider. Within minutes he was able to come up with an ingenuitive solution to something neither Chris or I could figure out. I now have a gear door that closes all the way! Thanks Nick!

A few days ago we also received a gift of a canopy cover from Jaxida (Uli Schwenk). It fits like a glove on the LS1d, and is a little bit less embarassing than the pink one we were using before. Thanks for the gift!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day 1: Round 4

GRIDDING IS OPEN!!! We had a lot of rain overnight, but we woke up this morning to a text message saying that gridding and briefings will be held at the regular times. Exciting exciting! Time to get to work!
Much to everyone's relief the day was cancelled at the 1330 briefing. We spent some time debating with the group what to do for the rest of the day and finally settled on going to the Aussie Camp before going go-carting in Sulz. Much better than staying around the airport all day being bored with Nathan.
Hopefully the weather tomorrow will clear up and we can get a day in. Although there is a lot of moisture around the area and we just got another huge downpour of rain.

Day 1: Round 3

It's still raining. It's still pouring. And still very very windy. Gridding has been postponed until further notice. Team Captain's meeting is cancelled. And the Pilot Briefing isn't scheduled until 1230. I am hoping that the good weather will finally move in tomorrow.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Opening Ceremonies

The Opening Ceremonies were held in the neighbouring town of Freudenstadt. A very large stage was set up and a big production was made with speeches, official walk-on of the teams, and a huge concert afterwards. It felt pretty cool to be representing my country at such an event. Chris and I won the award for smallest team representation.

A video has been made by Hubi and it is incredible. Be sure to check it out:
At 1315 we received news that the day was officially cancelled. It was just in time as a huge angry cloud moved in bringing with it very strong winds. Luckily most people were able to get their gliders safely in their trailers before it hit. There are still a few gliders tied out on the field. Winds this evening are forecasted to reach 70 knots. Hopefully things calm down tomorrow.

Contest Day 1: Round 2

We woke up this morning to very strong winds blowing through the camp. The Austrians were launching their kites by 9. Gridding was initially postponed until further notice. At the 1030 briefing we were told to wait until 12 for more news. It is now just past 12 and we have been told to rig and grid and await task information at 1330. Winds are blowing very strong, around 50kph with a direct cross-wind, but the organisers are still optimistic that we will get a task in.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

First day scrubbed. Hopefully the cold front will finish passing us overnight and we will get in a good day tomorrow.

Contest Day 1

Sorry for the delay in posting. Internet access is very difficult to connect to. I will update photos from the Opening Ceremonies from last night ASAP.
We woke up this morning to the sound of pouring rain on our caravan. Team Captain's meeting was scheduled for 10am. Pilot's meeting was scheduled for 1200 then pushed back to 1300. Standard Class has been scrubbed for the day. Club Class is currently sitting on the grid. Initial launch time was scheduled for 1515, but has been pushed back to 1545. Right now we have been tasked a 1.5hr AAT. The day still is overcast and dark, although I have seen glimpses of blue sky and have had the occasional shadow.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Practice Day 3 (Cancelled)

Today, the last training day, was cancelled due to the weather. We gridded and some pilots launched but after a number of gliders were circling low over the airport they decided to hold launches.

Today I think was the first day we did not have anything to fix on the glider which was a nice change. At the Team Captain's meeting this morning there were complaints from the campsite of noisy guitar players late at night. Tim, a pilot from the Dutch team, and I may have had something to do with it. Those in the hangar bar certainly enjoyed themselves.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Mandatory Practise Day

We woke up this morning to a warm front passing through and drizzling rain. It is forecasted to continue throughout the day and as a result the mandatory practise day has been cancelled. We have spent the morning fixing the undercarriage (it is rather stiff and when Andrew Maddocks had a look at it last night he found a bolt without a nut) and updating some things on my PDA and colibri.

Internet access is quite poor here so uploading pictures etc might be difficult. We will try to keep you as updated as possible. General information about the contest can be found at and some pictures can be viewed by clicking on the Gallery link.

Arrival in Musbach

We arrived in Musbach Wednesday afternoon and the field was busy and full of life. We went for dinner with the Italian team in Freudenstadt and I met many familiar faces in the main hangar in the evening.

Thursday morning we completed our registration and technical inspection. After a long morning briefing the contest began to grid. Selena flew the day and made it around a 3 hr AAT task. We had some difficulties transmitting with our base station radio so I was not able to assist her from the ground. We will hopefully be borrowing a radio from the Australian team until we can get this fixed.

In the evening we had speeches from the local town and evening live music. I also attended the team captain's meeting. There have been a few hiccups in the preliminary organisation of the contest such as water ballasts for Standard Class and aircraft movement around the field, but hopefully these will get smoothed out before the first contest day on Sunday.

We have limited internet access here again so please be understanding if any updates are delayed.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 2 cont

Selena made it back today and the weather was even better than what we expected. She flew the 180km task at 77km/h which was better than one of the experienced pilots flying an LS-8. We do not know any other speeds at the moment because the scores are not being published. She had another radio problem today and was unable to transmit. When she got back we found the push-to-talk button not working and were able to get it fixed before too late. Neither of us were enthused to take the instrument panel off again. We will be leaving to Musbach in a day or two and will keep you all updated.

Selena's words:
At the morning briefing the group was still very upset about the accident. Many pilots have left, and the grid was significantly smaller today. The contest was officially cancelled, but they decided to continue with morning briefing and task-setting. However, they made it very clear that if at any point a pilot decided the weather was weaker than anticipated that they could return home to the field at any time and no one would think anything of it. They put a huge emphasis on making safe decisions. You can also tell by the small task that the committee is hesitant.
Standard Class was put at the back of the grid again and we were given a 180 km racing task: Klippeneck, Bad Ditzenbach, Hayingen, Klippeneck. Cu's were popping all around the air field, with booming cu's to the northeast (in the task area), but still they held the grid as cloud bases were low (one of the downsides of having a contest on the highest point around!). By the time Standard Class launched the conditions were phenomenal and I was getting to 2400 m at the start! Matthew and I had been intending to try to stick together today, but unfortunately by radio wouldn't transmit. We still managed to leave the field around the same time, and I caught up with him and a few other LS4s in the first thermal after the start. The long run with a slight tailwind to the first turnpoint was fantastic. The group was flying fast, energy lines were easy to pick (especially with three other gliders in front of me showing me the best path!), and we only took a few climbs. As the sky began to blue out the group kept pushing, and I missed one critical climb and fell a bit behind. I did manage to meet them again as I was going into the first turnpoint, but they were already on their way out.
The way to the second turnpoint was a little bit slower, but haze domes were still forming leading to good popping cu's. I met up with an LS8 along this leg, kept up with him for awhile, lost him as he sped off, but in the end managed to beat him home. The direct path home from this turnpoint was through a blue sky, with a line of cumulus tempting the pilot to the West, but not before a significant detour! I started out high so thought I would try to stick in the blue. In Australia good climbs can still be found in blue! However, I soon realised that I was not getting the same kind of climbs that could be found in the cu and decided that the detour was worth it. I talked to many other pilots on the ground who went through this exact same process, all also opting to detour for cu's. When I left the second turnpoint I was 4500 ft below final glide, and without any significan time spent thermalling I soon found myself only 2000 ft below final glide. Pretty cool! However, the final stage of the flight was spent stepping up into the Schwaebische Alps with fewer land-out options and rising terrain. I didn't want to get stuck low here so I took some good climbs before coming home.
Overall, it was a really fun flight! Conditions were way better than anticipated, and everyone made it safely around! I need to focus on increasing my speed in my glides, but otherwise was fairly pleased with the flight. I am feeling much more comfortable with the terrain, fields, thermal triggers, airspace, and the climb into the Alps which is great as that is exactly what I was hoping to accomplish in this pre-contest prep period! Now to get comfortable flying in the Black Forest...

Day 2

Selena's addendum:
In the morning Johno, Chris and I gave the glider a good wash and polish. By the time we were done I was afraid that I would drop the wings when we were de-rigging they were so slippery! Then we got to work on the instrument panel. This picture demonstrates a bit of Chris's dedication.
We also spent some time hanging out around the trailers, and Chris was working on his "On the grid again song". Together with one of the Swiss pilots we started getting some pretty good ideas flowing and some funny verses were sung. Unfortunately no one had a pen so they have all been forgotten and I am left with one verse stuck in my head. At one point the Swiss guy kept coming over to offer ideas while Chris was singing, and his son very politely came up to Chris and said in a very cute 5-year old Pommy accent, "Excuse me, could you please stop that? I am trying to play tennis with my daddy."
Chris's words:
Last night we were up late getting Selena's instrument panel sorted out for the contest. Her radio and GPS are now working reliably. One of the problems of renting a club class glider is they rarely come well equipped.
The contest has been canceled at least officially because of the accident two days ago. They are still giving tasks and launches but no scores will be made available. Today the weather looks good and Selena is on task at the moment.  We will update you on how she does later in the day.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Klippeneck is an interesting airfield. Located on top of a hill that is one of the highest points in the Schwaebische Alps, the field is 1000 feet above the valley below it. Matthew, his dad, and myself were given an aerial tour of the local area in a power plane by a pilot named Hans Peter. He was very kind to do so, and had a good time giving us a demonstration of what happens if you come to the field low on base. "If you are turning right like this on base, and suddenly realise that you are below the ridge and all you can see is trees, just make a hard left turn away and you will see this off-field landing option here at the bottom of the valley." He then proceeded to do a low fly-by of this off-field landing option, just in case we missed it.

The Klippeneck airfield is quite long and runs 05-23. However, the middle of the field has a huge dip and the threshold of 23 curves around the mountain and becomes runway 20. I have to say that a flat-lander like myself found this to be quite surprising. Needless to say I found my first landing to be a little bit intimidating, but have since realised that it's not so bad. There are also four huge hangars at this airfield filled with more gliders than in all of Southern Ontario combined.

And we thought Derek Mackie drinks a lot!
The first few days before the Klippeneck contest began the airfield was very, very quite. In retrospect this was understandable because the weather was quite poor. However, slowly the gliding field came to life, and the pre-contest prep began. First a few people showed up at the airfield, and the next thing I knew the beer trucks were pulling in and one of the hangars was quickly turned into a briefing room, dining area, and disco/coctail bar. Soon after the glider trailers and caravans started pulling in and the field came to life. Over 90 gliders are registered at this contest! All of these pilots, plus crew, families, and some fans make it a very active place to be! You can follow the Klippeneck website with this link:
First day gridding. Photo credit Chris Gough.
Photo credit Chris Gough.
The Klippeneck contest has five classes: Standard, 18m, Open, FAI, and Double Sitter. Unfortunately this puts Matthew and I in our LS1s in a tough position. We have found ourselves in the same class as LS8s, Discus 2s, and the like. Luckily our class voted to be handicapped, but it won't matter too much as Matt and I will be leaving early to go to Musbach for the World Juniors. 

The first day a task was set of 160.5 km and the grid was made. We sat and waited, and waited, and waited. Finally at around 1530 we commenced launching! Matthew found himself at the very front of the grid, leading the way of the Standard Class. I was launched shortly after and found the initial conditions to be quite good. The start line was opened, and I made my way to the start. The 10 km return to the start with the gaggle was a struggle, and before I made it across the line I saw two other gliders that had landed out. Back over the field I found myself in a gaggle at 900 feet with 12 other gliders. Needless to say we were not able to get away, and the unofficial day "winner" flew 65 km out and return.

The second day a task was set for Standard Class of 131.6 km. You can tell that the conditions aren't stellar because of the short distances set on the tasks. We made the grid, and waited, and waited and waited. Finally we were launched. With the Standard Class at the back of the grid we didn't make a start until 1500. Before the start the area around Klippeneck was booming. I found myself able to climb above cloud bases riding the front of a cloud which was heaps of fun! It is interesting in Klippeneck as they have a start altitude and speed cap. I tried to follow Chris's advice to stick with the gaggle, but I soon found it difficult to keep up with LS8s and the like.

The whole day was a huge challenge. After the initially great conditions I was frustrated to find myself drifting further and further away from cloud base without finding good climbs. I flew most of the course between 1500-2000 ft AGL. Luckily, most of our course was across friendly landing options (I almost found myself in a few of them!). At a couple of points along the course I found other gliders in my course, and even found Matt (also struggling with the conditions) around the second turnpoint. The path between the second and third turnpoints was across rising terrain, so I tried to make sure that I had enough altitude to get into the third turnpoint. I had enough altitude to climb along one ridge, and was hoping to find some lift along the sunny-side of the hill. I was quite surprised to very quickly find myself go from 1500 ft AGL to 450 ft AGL! Unfortunately the ridge produced no lift and I was forced to land on top of the hill. I landed 8 km short of the third turn-point. Chris and Nathan Johnson (another Australian competitor) were kind enough to come and retrieve me. I managed to find a very kind farmer who helped me pull the glider to the edge of the field, and we were de-rigged and on the road within 10 minutes. Along the way we saw many other trailers picking others out of fields.

When we returned to the field after a late meal we found out some pretty awful news. One of the competitors named Alex was flying a self-launching motor glider. We don't know any of the details of the accident, but he died. This is the most terrible thing to ever happen at this contest, and the entire group is quite devastated. Scores from yesterday are all 0 and today was declared a no-flying today. The have decided to continue with the contest, although the contest director has resigned as he was quite close with the pilot. Understandably we saw many people pack up their gliders and head home today.

Introduction to Germany

Sorry for the delay in updates to this blog. I have not been able to get internet access at all for the last 10 days. Today is a non-flying day and so I will finally take the opportunity to give you all some updates!

I landed in Germany and within a few hours was at the gliding club in Ober-Moerlin. Within minutes of that I was in a plane having a scenic tour of the local area. Unfortunately I don't have the camera that I captured some good shots from. Except for two days, the weather was absolutely terrible for the two weeks after I got here. I made a visit to the German Aerobatic Championships and was able to enjoy two delightful days of constant rain (rain, not drizzle). However, I did get to visit many gliding fields in Germany and Switzerland.

Ruedi and I in front of a commonly used tow-plane, a Robin.
After two long days on the train and in a car I managed to retrieve the VW Golf from Ulm, kindly lent to me by Ruedi and Uschi Benz, and the glider from Frankfurt, kindly rented to me by Gerald Salzinger. (Many thanks to all these people who have helped me!!) Two days after that I picked up Chris and our caravan from Stuttgart, and everything seemed to be coming together. The only thing that is mildly embarrassing is that the rego on my glider is pink. (It's already bad enough that I'm a girl that flies...)

When I picked up the car Ruedi took me for a short 20 minute flight of the area around his club, FSV Gerstetten. Cloud bases were pretty low, but the area around Ulm is beautiful. On our short flight we were able to see seven different gliding clubs with a cumulative membership of around 1000 people (roughly the same amount as all of Canada!). It was pretty crazy. I felt like the small-town girl who suddenly found herself in the big smoke.

When I arrived in Klippeneck I was happy to see that Matthew Scutter, an Australian competitor at the World Juniors, had also already arrived at the airfield. We tried to get some flights in all of last week, but unfortunately many days it was overcast and raining. I did manage to get one short flight in, and Matthew did manage to get in one two-hour flight.

Unfortunately Matthew found some problems with the aileron controls of his glider. Initially he was intending to take it to the DG factory, but I managed to convince him that my friend Jonas Schwengler (who I met in Australia my first year) should have a look at it first. Jonas is a member of the Akaflieg Stuttgart, and knows an incredible amount about fixing gliders. Sure enough Jonas and his colleagues were able to diagnose and fix the cause of the problem! And Chris and I also were given a tour of the Akaflieg. Some of the prototypes that have been designed by this Akkaflieg are the FS 24 "Phonix" (the first fiberclass glider), FS 29 "TF" (with variable wingspan in the air), and the FS 31 (the cockpit was used for the ASH 25).
Akaflieg Stuttgart Hall of Fame.

Jonas and I.

Canadian Nats 2011 Overview

Chris told me that it's pointless to write about a contest weeks after it's finished, so I will give just a quick summary and some photos from the contest. If you want to hear more you can talk to me directly and I will be happy to give you some stories.
Canadian Nationals 2011. Photo credit Maria Szemplinska.
Overall the contest was really fun. The weather wasn't the best (an Australian friend sent me an email asking whether we were having the Canadian National Gliding Contest or the Canadian National Land-Out Contest), but good times were still had! Throughout the contest I tried to focus on flying consistently. I learned a lot about being patient while flying, and was able to stick it out on some pretty weak days and made it home. Of course, there were also days that I landed out, but always in safe paddocks, and never before giving some hard work in the air. One day in particular that sticks out in my mind is the day I had to take two re-lights before making it around the course and having my first day win (tied with Jim Fryatt).

I will let the pictures tell the rest of the stories.
Day 1 cancelled.At the waterfall with Jay Allardyce. Photo credit Chris Gough.
In the air.
First day win.
Late evening retrieve.
Pep talk on the grid with Chris. Photo credit Maria Szemplinska.
Chris and his crew Emil Kaminski getting ready. Photo credit Maria Szemplinska.
Final day land-out.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Canadian Nats - Practise Days 1 & 2

On tow with the Scheibe SF 27. Photo credit Kareem Shehata.
Well since you all now know that I caused damage to the glider I was meant to fly at the Nats, you are probably wondering what I was able to fly! Words cannot express how grateful I am to Bill Cole who was willing to lend me his glider for the duration of the contest, despite the off-field incident that had just happened. (As one friend pointed out to me, I didn't have a very good sales pitch when I called Bill. ¨Hi, Bill, can I borrow your glider, I just damaged another one...¨) 
With MX. Photo credit Martin Brassard.
Anyways, enough about awkward phone calls. Bill was incredibly generous to me! The day before the contest started I got a ride to the Toronto Soaring Club with Dave Cole (Bill's brother). There I was given some bonding time the Scheibe (gave her a good washing!) before heading out to the flight line to have some flights. The Scheibe is a beautiful ship! She is a delight to thermal, easily outclimbing other gliders. Her favourite days to fly are days with no wind and she will do well on any day with weak conditions (of which we had many during the contest). I also think that it is pretty cool that I can now say that I flew a vintage wooden glider at a National contest (ya, I'm old school). I also need to thank the Toronto Soaring Club for giving me free tows on this day and an old school TSC pull-over (donation to the Junior Team :p).

MX landing. Photo credit Kareem Shehata

The first practise day I took a few more flights at SOSA to practise some short-field landings. A task was set for all of the contestants. However, by the time I completed my short-field landings, the day was beginning to decay. Rather than risk an off-field landing I opted to stay local. This still gave me an excellent opportunity to make friends with the Scheibe, getting used to her flying characteristics, and enjoying her outstanding thermalling capabilities. As the day collapsed I decided to land as I was hearing more and more about off-field landings. After I tied down the Scheibe I went out on a retrieve for Pierre Gavillet! Although I had no clue who he was at the time, I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet someone new. This turned out to be a great idea as he is really a delightful pilot, and he even had cold beer for us to drink in his trunk after we finished de-rigging the Libelle. What a guy! It turned out that about 25 people landed off-field this day (including the 505 which landed out TWICE). Needless to say I was quite glad that I didn't opt to go cross-country.
On the grid. Photo credit Maria Szemplinska.
On the second practise day another task was set. We all pulled out to the grid. And we waited. And waited. And waited. Finally the day was scrubbed. I had a great adventure with Chris Gough and Jay Allardyce as we went to a beautiful waterfall in Hamilton to cool off with some blueberries and beer. Just think you guys, in thirty years...

Canadian Nationals 2011

The grid. Photo credit Martin Brassard
This year's Canadian Nationals was one of the biggest contests we have had for many years with 38 pilots registered! The field was divided into three classes: FAI Class (Open, 18m, & 15m ships), Club Class 1 (Standard and higher performing Club ships), and Club Class 2 (lower performing Club and World ships). There were also four Juniors competing at this year's Nationals, a huge improvement from previous years! Needless to say there was lots of action on the flight line with this big of a group, with people bustling about in pre-flight preparation and hanging out on the grid. There were also many good laughs shared by all with evening dinners (thanks to Virginia Thompson and Lynne Gough for organising these meals!), beers, and even a few campfires! I hope that everyone found it to be a positive environment, and next year we will have another huge competition!
Briefing tent. Photo credit Maria Szemplinska.

June Training

This year the Canadian Nationals were scheduled to be held at SOSA. This is one of the largest gliding clubs in Canada, and they fly full-time during the summer. For this reason I thought it would be a great idea to join this club this year so that I could get as much practise in before the start of the Nationals. 

Dave Springford was kind enough to make arrangements for me to borrow a Club Libelle from Craig Muir. Thank you so much to Dave for making this arrangement for me! And also a huge thanks for the generosity Craig showed me in being willing to lend me his glider for this preparatory period and for the duration of the Nationals!

I also made contact with another friend of mine, Luke Szczepaniak who very kindly allowed me to live in his trailer while I was at SOSA. He also lent me his bike. Very nice. 

Unfortunately the plan to fly lots during the month of June did not come to fruition. I was able to very quickly get my annual check-out and a few short training flights in the Libelle. Unfortunately, the weather was really truly quite disappointing. It seemed that rain was always in the forecast.

I did however manage one cross-country flight in the Club Libelle. Although the day was very slow to start, it soon turned into beautiful weather to the north. I enjoyed a delightful and fast run along several groups of cu's on the way up, and in no time at all found myself north past Arthur. However, I was very mindful of the fact that the days in this part of the world tend to end much earlier than in Alberta or Australia, and as such turned back towards the field around 3pm. It was at this point that a very fun flight turned into a great challenge. I had a relatively strong headwind (at least for a Libelle), and it seemed that all the good clouds that were taunting me were in restricted airspace! It was a slow grind back south. Unfortunately I was unable to make it back to SOSA. In one last attempt to get final glide I opted to try for lift over a plowed field. Unfortunately this field did not give me much of anything. I was forced to land off-field. This small decision turned very quickly in a big mistake. The field was not as flat as I had thought from the air, and in landing up-hill I hit a rock and caused some damage to the fuselage.

I learned several important lessons from this incident. First of all, I gained a new understanding of what it means to prepare for flying in an area with fewer land-out options. (In the Prairies and in Australia where I have done most of my cross-country flying most any field is a good option.) Solid pre-flight preparation in a new flying environment is key. I am very glad to have learned this important lesson before beginning my flying in Europe where off-field landing options are even more restrictive. Another big lesson I learned was not get tunnel-vision on a situation. I was intent on finding lift over this field and did not properly consider back-tracking to a better landing option. I was also so focused on the obstacles that were present around the field that I didn't take the time to look at the slope of the field. Safety in flying is the most important thing. I also learned some important things about filing an insurance claim!

I have decided to write about this incident so that others can hopefully learn from what I did and not repeat my mistakes! Fly safe!

A moment to thank my sponsors...

I would like to take a moment to sincerely thank the following sponsors:

Sears Optical West Edmonton Mall was kind enough to donate for me a pair of Ray Bans (Polarised). Thanks so much for helping have good sunnies to use for the contest!

WestJet donated two tickets for anywhere they fly through their ¨Caring for our Community¨ Program. These tickets were used as the grand prize for my raffle which was a huge success (tickets sold out!!). A huge thanks also to John Mulder for arranging for these tickets to be donated.

Stacey Camp was kind enough to donate two paintings which were used as the second prize for the raffle. Thanks so much Stacey! You are an amazing artiste! Check out her website at

Blacks Photo Southgate donated three 100 Print Cards. Thanks so much for your support boss!

And also a huge thanks to everyone who purchased raffle tickets or made personal donations. A huge part of me following this dream is a financial cost and I am so grateful to everyone who has given me support in this part of my adventure!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Final Australian Stories

I left Australia a few months ago now, but there are still a few last stories and photos I would like to share before moving on to the flying adventures which this summer holds.

Mountain Flight with Tobi Geiger

On February 26 Tobi and I decided to go for a flight together in the mountains, him in his LS4 and me in the GCV's LS4. With equal performing gliders Tobi was adamant that this would not be a coaching flight, but rather a fun team-flying adventure. Although I know he is the stronger pilot, I was determined to have fun, take the lead at times, and enjoy a fun flight! In this picture Tobi is blue and I am red. As you can see we flew very close together for most of the flight.

We set off on the first leg towards Mt Buller, not really expecting to get on the peak. Along the first leg Tobi took a track further west than I did. It didn't take long for him to get quite low, scraping for a good climb. I couldn't resist getting on the radio and saying, "Now Tobi, if you only get to cloud base there are 5 knot climbs!" He managed to climb back up and we continued onto Mt Buller. Surprisingly we even managed to make it on top of the peak!

From Mt Buller we continued on, past some breathtaking waterfalls on top of Mt Cobbler, past the townsite of Mt Beauty, towards Mt Bogong. On the northwestern side of Mt Bogong is a ridge that extends out. I knew from talking that it is best to approach the top of a mountain at ridge-top height. When we got to this mountain we were below this height, so it was to my great surprise when Tobi turned his glider dead towards the ridge and started flying quickly towards it! Next thing I knew he was climbing, climbing, climbing, so I decided to get on his tail and follow along! Sure enough, 2kts, 3kts, 8kts, 11kts of lift! What an incredible sensation! Before I knew it we were on top of the highest peak in Victoria! I was still keeping a very close eye on what Tobi was doing to learn and mirror his actions. He was cruising along the peak, not very high, but still climbing, and even stopped to wave his wings at the climbers below us. I dipped my wing just long enough to see that my shadow was indeed very big!

We continued past Mt Bogong a little ways, but were mindful that we still had a long distance to cover to get home, and the day was forecast to cut off early. Shortly after we turned back I got a little bit lower than Tobi. He started circling in a strong bubble, but I was having a hard time hooking into the source of lift he had found. I wasn't losing height, but I sure wasn't climbing as fast as he was! He decided to open his spoilers to come back down to my height. Just then I hooked into the bubble and started climbing! Unfortunately Tobi wasn't able to re-connect and he had to fly further down the valley to find some lift. This wasn't much of concern as the Mt Beauty flying club operates out of this valley with a beautiful landing area.

On our way out of the valley we decided to take the southerly route past Mt Buffalo as I had never flown this path before. I was following along at this point, a little bit unsure of how to head out of the mountains. We passed over the saddle of Mt Bogong with little height but plenty of energy. What a thrill! 
We then began to head out of the mountains back towards the flats. At this point I decided to stop following Tobi and make my own way, which was, of course, a mistake. Although we were still flying relatively close, all the difference was made when I got forced to take one poor climb to get back up. The ten minutes that I spent in this thermal were the ten minutes where Tobi managed to make it home on final glide, and I landed off-field, cut off by high cirrus cloud. 

Nonetheless it was a great flying adventure, and one of the best flights I have ever had! I never would have flown the route I did unless I was with a more experienced pilot. In choosing to do so I was greatly challenged, learned a lot about mountain flying, and enjoyed the beauty and thrills of the mountains in a whole new way!!

Bacchus Marsh Vintage Glider Museum and Avalon Airshow

On Saturday, March 5 I enjoyed a great drive out to the gliding clubs in Bacchus Marsh with my friend Kah Chong on his motorcycle. We enjoyed meeting many members from the three clubs that operate together out of this airfield. Kah even got a flight in the Zephyrus! The highlight of my day was visiting the Australian Vintage Gliding Museum. For me it was incredibly cool to catch a glimpse of the roots of the sport I love so much. I think it's easy today to get caught up in the fancy schmancy ships while forgetting all the amazing feats that were accomplished in gliders with much lower performance. I even got a chance to sit in a primary glider! If you don't know about those, Google it!

On Sunday, March 6 I was given an opportunity to volunteer at the Gliding Federation of Australia's booth at the Avalon Airshow. I had a lot of fun talking to people of all ages about gliding. It was interesting to hear the various levels or response towards the thought of actually getting in a plane, everything from "I would love to do that!" to "You would never get me in one of those!". And of course, it was great to be able to catch glimpses of incredible fly-bys of a wide range of airplanes. The glider demonstration consisted of a Salto with jets!


GCV Goes to Mount Beauty 

The very last weekend that I was in Benalla the club took a bunch of gliders to fly out of Mt Beauty. I also managed to convince all of my favourite people at the GCV to come along for the weekend (what luck!). As a result we had a good collection of private and club gliders available for flying that weekend. My friend Craig Collings was kind enough to host me at his house for the weekend. Unfortunately, the weather did not co-operate and I have to admit that more coffee drinking was done that weekend than flying. I did manage to still enjoy a flight with Craig, and had two flights off the winch in an ASK 21 with Tobi, one of which turned into a reasonable local soaring flight at the end of the day. We finally decided that we needed to come down to pack up for the weekend, and so (unfortunately) Tobi was forced to do a sweet beat-up over the field! He increased the airspeed to 90kts, pushed down over one valley, up the other side, down the next valley, came back up and around, set up for the field. On the final part he pushed it within metres of the lake at the end of the strip, causing some people walking along it to duck (even though, silly them, there were trees right beside them that were much taller than them that we had to pull up for)! Then we passed low over the field before pulling up to set up for a circuit.

Queensland Flying

The last adventure I had in Australia before I left was a quick trip up to Queensland. During this trip I got to see many of my JoeyGlide friends which was great! My mom was also in Queensland during this time for a work contract so we were able to spend a few days touristing around the area together. I dragged her along for an opportunity I was given to fly in a motor-glider thanks to the generosity of Phil Behnke, a man I had met at the Avalon Airshow. (I think she loved it!)
Although the conditions weren't phenomenal on the day we went flying, I still got to see some pretty incredible views along the Queensland coastline. With the pilot I also got to practise going through the shut-down and start-up procedures. I was greatly inspired by the presentation Diane Davey gave at the WIG week, and learned as much as I could about motor flying in hopes of one day pursuing it further to chase the Morning Glory!
I also had the opportunity to meet with Lisa Trotter, top Australian Glider Pilot and Sports Psychologist. We talked about my strengths and weaknesses as a pilot, mental aspects of the sport, positive self-talk, and many other things. It was a great opportunity to reflect on the many things I had learned while in Australia, and to begin the mental preparation for the World Juniors.

I was also invited by my friend Mike Codling to go to his gliding club. I had an LS3 lined up, kindly on loan by Graham Hennessy, and we planned to go dual in the Duo Discus the following day. Most unfortunately the weather did not line up, and although we made the drive to the field, we spent most of it debating whether cloud bases were at 500' or 300'.

Overall though it was a great last adventure in Australia, filled with a bit of flying, and some great times with my mom and Queenslander friends!

Australian Summary

Paper airplane contest at my farewell barbie.
While in Australia this year I learned an incredible amount about flying and contests. A summary includes:
- 2 contests
- 3 new glider types (Speed Astir, LS7,   Standard Libelle)
- great mentorship from Tobi Geiger
- new skills flying in a mountain environment
- first participation at a Women In Gliding event
- aerobatics flight
- motor glider flight

- experience as an Operations Manager at the GCV
- 100hrs+ total time

I am really appreciative of all the friendships I deepened and the new ones I made. Many thanks to everyone who spoke with me about gliding, allowing me to learn new tid-bits along the way. I am also very thankful to the GCV for allowing me to fill the role of Operations Manager. This allowed me to learn new leadership skills and gave me more time in a thriving flying environment.