Monday 30 December 2013

Stanwell again and 28km flight

Flying in Stanwell can be boring after some time especially if you hang out near take off for too long. That is why some of us like exploring the North and South from Stanwell. Going North is relatively easy, there are no 'jumps' without the ridge. You just have to watch the weather because walk from the deserted beach on the bottom can be long and 'exciting' (famous Australian snakes and spiders...). On the other hand no one wants to be blown to the lee side of the hill. It is never a good idea for paragliders.

Ralph, Mitsi, Alex and Nir encouraged me to go down south and do the 'jump' over Stawell Park. If the wind is right it is relatively easy. If not you can struggle and end up on the bottom. This time I get lucky and went South with Nir and one hangie pilot. Going south was fun with a bit of tail wind component. In the meantime down over the beach a squadron of seven Navy helicopters flew past approximately about 2km away (probably with Prince Harry). Ok, that is a safe distance.

Coming back was a bit tricky since the wind turned a bit more northerly and there was not much ridge lift. Using thermals I managed to come back and top land. This was more of a thermal flight then soaring in the end. Smooth, strong and narrow thermals were fun.

Monday 23 December 2013

Orographic cloud flying

The same day when I had chance to try Mantra R10 an orographic cloud arrived to Stanwell and I had tasted this amazing experience. 

First I was a bit concerned about flying in the cloud, close to the ridge and with bunch of other pilots. Finally I decided to take off and try it. During the launch the take off was clear of clouds. A few minutes in the air I was not able to see the launch zone. Fortunately I had my compass and GPS so I could always find East which is away from the hill in Stanwell. Epic flying and scenery! I hope I will be able to do this again soon, very new sensations - I felt like the king :)

The wind picked up a bit and more clouds were coming but I didn't want to land on the bottom so I waited for the clear window to top land in between the clouds. A minute after I touched down when clouds closed the hole and we were in the wet fog again. 

 Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera with me... a few pictures below - thanks to John and Sean.

Monday 16 December 2013

Blue thermals

The beginning of this spring was full of good days with blue thermals and not many clouds. A nice picture of me thermaling taken by Ovy:

Monday 9 December 2013

Blue Mountains flying

One of my friends took some pictures of me flying the other day in Blue Mountains. Thanks Kacper!

Monday 2 December 2013

Flying Icepeak 6

By courtesy of Mitsi I was able to try Icepeak 6. This is one of the top comp high-end EN-D gliders these days.
Once again a day with light wind was a good opportunity to try a new wing. Mitsi gave me a couple of advices (including take off). First two take-off attempts were unsuccessful due to cravat on the left wing-tip. Third attempt was al right and I was in the air. Over 10 passes along the ridge close to the cliffs and I hoped that I can topland this thing. At the same moment some other pilot launched. There was no way to get up no being close to the wall all the time. Smooth glide to over the landing zone and ... I am way too high. Wow, this thing can glide pretty well!  Icepean 6 has very short brake travel and is very responsive. I like that. I didn't know about the 'shark nose' technology before though when I looked up at the wing during the flight I  was a little bit surprised. Hope to fly the wing again soon!

Monday 25 November 2013

Paramotor rack and new GoPro position

I was sick and tired of disassembling and assembling my paramotor after every day out. Buying and fitting towing bar was too expensive for me so I decided to buy bicycle rack which can be mounted on almost every car so it should fit my Astra Holden (Open).

Test drive proved that paramotor stays in one place and doesn't want to go anywhere. Going flying should be much easier now:

Also I put my new GoPro3 in new place - on top of the cage. Vibrations are not too bad and the images comes out pretty still and sharp.

Test image - the angle looks alright:


Friday 22 November 2013

Canungra Task 5

The sky looked great in the morning. The last day of the competition and everybody was hoping to fly short, fast task. Task committee had different idea and set up 79km headwind task. I didn't believe that I can make it. During the flight XCSoar was showing the message "Expected arrival after sunset"... pretty funny ;)
It was gusty on the launch and some pilots had problems when bringing the wings up. First few kilometers were very very slow, I didn't really want to go forward because of huge blue hole on the way to the turnpoint. Most of pilots did the same and we hanged out together at the cloudbase. Then the task did speed up and the gaggle split into 5 smaller ones. I was lucky again having 2 low saves. Amazing scenery along the dam on the way to Boonah.
The last climb which I took was over Mt. French (9km to the goal). When GPS showed that I am above the final glide I still didn't believe that. I took the last thermal all the way to the base and went on the long, 8km final glide. Sun was getting low, beautiful colors and mountains around me. Amazing final glide of glory. Very enjoyable. This was a long fight but I made it.
When I landed I was dehydrated, hungry and extremely happy. The flight was 5h30min. I learned a lot. I am hooked.

Monday 18 November 2013

Canungra Task 4

Beautiful day. We were launching from Beechmont, the task had two turnpoints, 69km calculated by my GPS.
I launched in the open window to see how it feels in the air 45 minutes before the task was started. Very nice thermals took me al the way up four times before the countdown ended.
Plenty of gliders in the air heading in the same direction at the same time. Beautiful view. I decided to play safe that day. I took every thermal to the cloudbase. Despite this I had 3 low saves during. Once I saved it from 50m AGL. Very nice scenery (I wish I had my camera with me...) on the final glider before the goal.
About half of the pilots made the goal today, I came as one of the lasts. But it did not matter. What mattered was that I made it to the goal. Amazing feeling. Goal buses were full on that day so we had to wait 3 hours for another one. There were 8 pilots left waiting with me. Adam from Adelaide bought icecreams for all of us. What a gesture!
Amazing day. Amazing people and me very happy with making it to the goal.

Friday 15 November 2013

Back to the roots...

My adventure with aviation started with models of the airplanes in 2002. Now after 11 years I decided to come back to it. On the windy and rainy weekends and during the evenings instead of watching TV, here is what I do:

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Canungra Cup task 3

Task 3 didn't look good from the beginning. We were meant to launch from Hinchies. The sky was overcasted with almost no sunny patches at all. Grey cloud cover and strong wind gusts were a bit worrying and there were a couple of moments when task committee was close to cancel the task. I took off late when I decided that there is no hope for more sun.

Surpassingly the clouds were working and we were able to climb. Unfortunately I was too focused on trying to break through the inversion and I missed the leaving gaggle. For the next 30 min I was trying to catch up with them but they were much further and higher. After the plateau behind the hinchies there was a deep valley and another ridge line. Because of the strong wind soaring this ridge was quite challenging - the whole hill was on the lee side of the plateau. Very turbulent air, couple of collapses and wing literally dancing above the head made me try even harder to get out of there.

When I was about 100m above the ridge line I decided to go downwind. In this way with gliding ratio at about 20 I avoided another lee and went for a glide to look for the thermal. I was alone. Somewhere over the flats I found thermal and managed to gain more altitude. This was the last climb of this flight and I landed safely in the Beaudesert. Interesting 16km flight.

A couple of pilots made it to the goal (41km). Respect.

Wind dummy:

Site briefing:

Ready to fly!

The gaggle:

Getting ready to launch:

Here we go:

In the air:

And waiting for the retrieve:

Friday 8 November 2013

Canungra Cup task 2

Task Committee decided to set up 66km task with two turn points. Most of the way was with side/down wind component.

We launched from Beechmont. First few kilometres I stick with  Skywalk Cayenne sharing thermals and looking for them on the glide. The beginning was across few small valleys then long flatlands, another ridge line and flats again. I decided to stay conservative, fly high and slow. After first turn point I made a mistake and I went for a glide of hope over huge shadow. I should have gone more off the course but to the sunny place.

Firstly the clouds were working and I was pretty happy with it but when I get below 1300m AGL I hit sink which put me on the ground.  The cloud bases were at 2300m ASL and the airspace was at 2590m ASL. After safe landing I didn't have to wait long for the retrieve bus. Well organised service and beautiful scenery to fly in.

I didn't make the goal but I was pretty happy after the flight.Personal best up to this day - 55km and 2h 40 min in the air.


Guys are getting ready for the task:

And one by one we are launching:

Waiting for the retrieve: