Benalla Storm

Benalla Storm

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Just putzing around the skies...

I haven’t found the opportunity to get myself into a single-seat glider since JoeyGlide. The first few days after the contest I really needed a rest, the following few days the weather was poor, then I crewed for a friend for a gliding safari, and this past week the club’s aircraft has been booked solid.

So I was very excited this morning after briefing when a club member casually asked me if I would care to fly his aircraft today, a Speed Astir. Did he actually think I would say no?? His glider needed a minor repair and to be re-rigged and washed after yesterday’s landout. I also would need to land it at least once before going cross-country. I knew it was going to be a short day, but I was excited to be back in the air and having fun! I really wanted to enjoy myself in the air today before the pressure of the Nationals contest set in (contest starts on Monday!).

At 1330 I had my first launch and the day was booming! I decided to use spoilers so I could land as fast as possible and set out on task. I had in mind to fly a 2.5 hour task, focusing on flying the proper distance for time given the day’s conditions and practising my final glide. I set off to fly Corowa, Tocumwal, Benalla, about 220 km. I got to Corowa very quickly, about 35 minutes in. I think the strongest part of the day would have been to continue in this direction, but heaps of other pilots were out in that direction and I didn’t want to have to be constantly worrying about other gliders without a working Flarm. I opted to turn towards Finley, slightly north of Tocumwal. I felt the sky was getting weaker in this section so I turned early and headed towards Shepparton before heading home to Benalla. In all about 250 km.
 Throughout the flight today I really tried to focus on extending my glide distances and only taking the best thermals. I think I managed to do this much better during first stages of the flight when I was flying in the strongest air, but out near Shepparton I started to get low and the lift was weaker so I was forced to take weaker climbs. Another thing I focused on was really relaxing throughout the flight, both while cruising and climbing. I think sometimes I tense up which prevents me from truly feeling the air. I felt relaxed and un-stressed throughout the flight, and really enjoyed myself! ANDNDNANDNDNDNADND I successfully flew my first flight at 100 KPH!! I am very excited about this!

Tomorrow I have a glider booked and the day is looking good. I am planning to fill up with water and go hard!

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