Benalla Storm

Benalla Storm

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...

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