Thursday, November 29, 2012


It was a bit of a merry-go-round at launch today.  For the first hour or so, they couldn't get them launched as quick as they were landing.  There was an inversion about 3000ft (and the field is at 1400) so even the former world champions were having a reflight.

It did finally turn on though and everyone got on course - many well past the last start time.  The sky opened up and looked great.  Nine or ten in goal in the end.  There was a bit of a thunderstorm cell between the last turnpoint and goal - some went through it and go rained on and other went around.  All happy in the end though.

The pictures in this album may look like launch and goal....they're not...just launch with all the landings and reflights.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A few rest days...

The tasks yesterday and today were cancelled due to bad weather.  Most of the field ended up in Mudgee yesterday.  Cute little town with a nice brewery, but pretty nasty Thai food.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A few pics from the first two days...

Gulgong Day 2

The day called for possible thunderstorms in the afternoon, but they called a triangle hoping to avoid them.  Turns out the first leg was upwind so it was pretty tough for most.  Even well after the start, I kept hearing on the radio that they were still trying to make the first turnpoint.  I didn't think anyone would be making goal.  But apparently, once they rounded that first turnpoint things got easy.  I heard Dave May say that he glided all the way from the first to the second without taking a single climb.  

Unfortunately, the overdevelopment did come about late in the task.  As Atilla was coming into goal first, there were lightning strikes north of the field.  Atilla came in fine and got his glider into the hangar as Jonny came in sky high.  I knew something must be up for Jonny to be crossing goal at 2000 ft.  Apparently he went on final needing a 10-1 but just couldn't get out of the lifting air.  He took a wide final out over the town of Gulgong to try to get out of the lift and go around the darkest parts of the sky.    Once he landed, the wind started to pick up as the gust front slowly arrived.  Konrad and Glen were next in and Konrad managed a nice landing in the 15 knot wind.  Glen flew way out over the town at about 2000 ft and we were sure he was going to run away from the storm and land elsewhere.  Turns out he was just trying to find a part of the sky that wasn't lifting.  By the time he found some and came back, the wind had really turned on.  Glen, John Smith, Wolfi and Matt landed in pretty strong stuff but everyone pulled it off alright.  

Over dinner we heard that Trent made goal and then flew away trying to escape the storm.  He flew nearly back to the first turnpoint before he could find any air going down.  Cameron also had a pretty scary time trying to avoid the cloud suck.

Today isn't looking terribly promising.  The storm dumped a bit of rain and it looks quite stable out there now.  The forecasts are calling for little or not lift.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Airborne Gulgong Classic - Day 1

We made our way from the Central Coast to the little inland town of Gulgong for the Airborne Gulgong Classic.  I love these little outback towns….although the wildlife here seems to have become incredibly lazy.  Driving out we passed 4 wombats, 3 kangaroos and a giant lizard all sprawled out taking a nap beside the road - sometimes right in the middle of the road!  Lazy things!

Today was the first task day with great conditions.  They ran a 124km triangle(ish) task coming back to the airfield.  Adam Parer cruised in 15 minutes ahead of everyone else.  Having taken a pretty early start, he probably won't win the day though.   I think there were about 20 in goal in the end!

 The sky was gorgeous all day!  The entire week is looking pretty good at this point.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Music to My Ears

From 1st to 4th grade my family lived in Washington state in a tiny little town north of Seattle.  My father pastored the Clear Lake First Baptist Church and I've always felt like those years were the favorite years of my childhood.  Although dad was the pastor, he still had incredibly good taste in secular music and much of my lifelong musical preference comes from the years of listening to dad's favorites - Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Loggins & Messina, the Eagles....and Elton John.  We had every Elton John album on cassette tape back then and to this day I can still recite the lyrics to every single song on Captain Fantastic, Honky Chateau, Madman Across the Water and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (his best, by far!).  

Elton John played at the Entertainment Center in Syndey last night and Glen got us tickest.  I wish my mom and dad could have gone with us, they would have loved it.  He puts on a brilliant show.  Of course, that was no surprise.  

What was a surprise was two cellists in his backup band.  These two Croatian guys are apparently a musical sensation in their own right and will soon be spinning off to tour the world with their cellos.  They have a band called - what else - Two Cellos.  I've never seen two more psychotic looking fellows sitting on a stage in my life.  They were the opening act and they did three or four songs, all rather hard rock songs performed most frantically on their cellos.  They finished off their set with the best version of Highway to Hell I've ever heard.  If ever I see them doing a show where I am, I won't miss it.  

I can't embed any of the videos here, but check out this link to my favorite - a little duet with Steve Vai.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In the Land of Ice and Snow

They say that Iceland is green and Greenland is ice.  I suppose that depends on what time of year you go.  I just returned to sunny Florida from a week in Iceland.  I found that November is positively arctic in Reykjavik....arctic, but still a magical place.  Although the trip was mostly work - I went to the CIVL Bureau meeting there and we worked about 12 hours a day for 4 days straight - I did get a chance to do some sightseeing after the work was done and I was blown away by the gorgeous barren landscape where hot air seems to explode from random holes everywhere.

The city of Reykjavik is so perfectly tidy and colorful that it nearly looks like a toy village to me.

I even found a pretty impressive graffiti collection.

At times the landscape looked like another planet.   No need to worry about tree landings here - trees are few and far between.  But you have to beware of the massive lava beds that would make for a very very painful landing....not to mention the hot springs popping up everywhere you look.  

We toured a geothermal power plant. Since I've been back, I've heard so much buzz about Iceland and their energy independence.  What a cool thought!  Funny, these pictures were taken about 2 o'clock in the afternoon.  The sun never gets high off the horizon this time of year.  It's cool to watch it traverse  low across the sky rather than the usual rising and setting we have closer to the equator.  

And the highlight, of course, was the world famous Blue Lagoon.

Although it was the right time of year, there were no sightings of the Northern Lights.  I found a website where they are forecast and they were supposed to be visible on Friday and Saturday after I left :-(.  Iceland most definitely deserves another look and I'll be back again soon to try to catch those illusive lights!

Very special thanks to Agust and his lovely wife for being such great hosts!!