Another two for one report this week. Things are swimming along just nicely as we transition out of the holiday season. The sun has been rather relentless and the airstrip is starting to look like a bit toasty golden lately which makes nice firm ground for towing. Progress is happening on multiple fronts, let’s see what’s been happening at the club?
Not much flying happened today but it was almost too hot to fly anyway (32C+). A group of us had a very successful crack at the weeding of the drain bunding. This made the job go much faster thank goodness. The plants thank you greatly.
We eventually retreated to the club classroom to find the cold drinks and Peter initiated Kristoff to some local geography and common weather patterns that create specific soaring conditions.
And sometimes a cold drink is not enough
Tow pilot: Luca Ruzzon
Duty instructor: John McCaw/ Peter Taylor / Kristoff Ahlner
With the impressive weather beaming the kids got out ALL the toys in the shed to play.
Peter took care of some instructor training with Kristoff to get him settled in, we had a new recruit start his training and it was nice to see Greg again.
Tim Duggan MQ
Rangi De Abaffey CV
Greg Tucker CC
Grant and Peter ST
Kristoff and Andrew PB
Wayne, Brian and Bernard PR
Tow Pilot: Bruce Cooper
Instructor: Peter Taylor
Monday madness came unexpectedly as a call from Kristoff and Bruce at the club concerning a possible internal defect in the wing of one of the twins. This brought the CFI and club engineer all the way out for invasive inspections with a borescope that afternoon. Thankfully no gremlins were found on the camera and some peace of mind was gained.
While we were fussing with the glider, it was nearing dinner time and Bruce happened to look up and spot at a perfect cloud street that had formed above the airfield stretching east. It was then that I realised the evening winds had softened to a whisper, the setting sun still vividly luminous, yet a mere fraction of it’s midday blaze falling over the peaceful Canterbury country side. It was the perfect summer evening. One thing leads to another and before we knew it Bruce was roaring down the runway with Peter and Kristoff close behind in the Janus. Instructor training apparently.
Tesla tow mode camera has the best situational awareness Solo time for Kristoff!
Kristoff takes the Janus for a romantic moonlight walk post solo at 9.30pm!
I was gutted I missed the shot of him flying across the moon on circuit downwind.
Tow Pilot: Bruce Cooper
Duty Instructor: Kristoff Ahlner
It was great to see some familiar faces out during the week (Carl Ridgen and Alex Hewson) and hope to see you a bit more with these long days to come.
Beni and Kristoff were the true winners of the day, having a surprisingly epic 5+ hour flight in OR! I’ll let Beni tell you about it…
The 5 1/2h circuit
Friday morning at Springfield, looking out the club house window, the Northwesterly was already on the ground, the sky grayer than I’d hoped for, minimizing chances of a long thermal flight.
“This day isn’t what I thought it would be” The only chance was some wave, although with my limited knowledge, neither I nor Kristoff (Duty Instructor) and Bruce (Tow Pilot) found any signs that gave much hope… for now. Flying looked 50:50 but that’s good enough, so we DI the Grob(PR) to get in a few circuits since being a student you always have something to practice.
I put on sunscreen and took my water bag in case I got thirsty between my circuits. The calm wind allowed a launch on 04 with slight crosswind.
Over the radio Bruce’s announces: “I see tiny wisps over Springfield ridge which could be wave. Do you want to try?” I was very hesitant to waste a long tow should it not work, but decide for it.
My hopes started to rise as more small curly clouds appear and I begin to feel pockets rising off the Springfield ridge. “We’ll memorize this spot as our plan B” Kristoff stated from the backseat. We continue the tow and release up the valley from the lime works, but it barely allows us to maintain height.
Impatiently, I move our search area, flying towards the lee of the Big Ben range. Kristoff preferred we stay in the earlier “good air”. As I turn into wind, I’m trying to remember as much of any search methods from experienced club pilots. Every second flying into the wind without climb feels like an eternity. With tension rising we finally hit a rough but good climb. I wondered whether this was a thermal or a rotor. After some circles, I opened the turn into wind to recenter and found the answer. The vario screamed, but the glider stayed calm. It felt like sitting in an armchair, in front of a big screen, watching the landscape going down. It’s only my fifth flight, during which I experienced wave in a glider, and it still feels like magic! I just found my first wave on my own! Those who think it was just luck may be right but are kindly requested to remain silent…
We asked Bruce, who was back at the airfield, to request opening airspace G951. Just as we get the call that G951 is open, I lost the wave bar. Kristoff took over for a moment and brought us up over Mt Torlesse into wave again. Although the Craigieburn range looked tempting, due to Kristoff’s limited familiarity, me being a student and neither of us being sure where the exact border of airspace G951 was since we had no map as the expectation was just a circuit, we resist the temptation and decided against it. First world problems!
Kristoff and I were still thoroughly enjoying the stunning views! Using the wave, we raced the old GROB back and forth for hours between the Big Ben and Torlesse at max rough air speeds which it would normally go down like a brick.
Finally, back towards Bell Hill, finding ample lift around, we almost repeated the entire soaring syllabus from rolling on a point, side slips, lazy eights, to full spin recovery.
After 5h 25 minutes, we landed on 04 with 12 knots headwind. What a great day!
Big thanks to the heroes of the day:
- Bruce for pointing to the wispy clouds.
- Kristoff for enduring with me so long. I let him fly for a good hour, which, enabled me to have a brake.
- Mike for working tirelessly on PR while I left him to have fun after our nose hook change from the previous day turned into a nightmare due to a screw holding the rudder assembly in place sheared off.
Too windy to fly apparently. So Kristoff, Beni and myself went Blokarting instead. We ended up having more fun than we had paid for apparently. Halfway through the session we all had to come back into the pits just so the instructor lady could wag her finger disapprovingly at us and threaten us with sanctions for being, in her words “RIDICULOUS”🤣
I think she was just jealous that she had to play mother hen while we got to ride the fun blokarts.
Tow Pilot: Peter Chadwick
Duty Instructor: Rob Campbell
To make up for the day prior, the westerlies were working well on the ridges and the fat cumulus street kids loitered around the plains amusing themselves by bashing over the head unsuspecting little gliders that wandered past . . . and then trying to gobble them up. The smaller cumulous were just satisfied toying with our varios.
Dana got back into the air after being away for the summer, Fabian and John McCaw took PB over to the esk rivers, Solomon, Colby and Rod all made good on executing syllabus exercises for signatory reward. Even the Jag Club came out for a Sunday picnic.
The only thing missing was a few more friends to share it with.