Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Orange Week Day 3 – Winners’ Recollections

Winner of Juicing Class – Andrew Horton, Mosquito

The arrangement Colin and I came up with when we got the Mozzie is that each one of us would crew for the other, whatever comp we went to.  We’ve just come back from the Junior’s at Kingaroy (which was a saga in itself) so it was my turn to fly it, somewhere locally.  The SA comp had already started by the time we returned, so that was out… which left Orange Week at Waikerie.  I hadn’t been to an Orange Week comp here before, and I was told it was a fun event, with everyone competing for something other than sheep stations (just oranges, as it turned out).  It would follow on from Coaching Week, which itself was a success.

Day 1 was a stinker of a day, or alternatively a ripper, depending on how you look at it.  Basically a free-for-all, to cover as much distance as one could, in whatever time was available, and hopefully to make the track look like a triangle, which would maximise points.  Not used to this concept, I decided to make a mess of the day, and did out-&-returns in various directions from Waikerie, but such as to make fitting any sort of triangle to the result nearly impossible, with the result that I came last.

Day 2 didn’t happen.  Canned due to lousy weather.

Day 3.  Forecast to be slightly better, so a task was set.  I duly got the Mozzie out, then towed it to the launch point.  Or rather, tried to.  An undercarriage failure on tow-out put me out of the day, and would require all of the day to repair.  Not too many tried the task that day anyway.

Day 4.  This was THE day.  Good conditions, so Meribah (with a 20k circle) – Maggea (20k) – Taldra (30k) was set, to be completed in 3 hours or more.  For some reason, as it subsequently transpired, I came first!  So, how did I go from a predictable last on one day to first a little time later on?

Couldn’t have been the weather – we all flew through the same weather.  Couldn’t have been the terrain either – we all flew over the same kind of ground.  I know – it must’ve been the successful repairs to the wheel hub the previous day!   So, if you want to win a day, just fix the undercarriage.  Simple.

OK, for those who don’t believe that ridiculous excuse, I’ll have to try a different tack.  All I did, really, was to stick as far as possible to a track over red paddocks (which everyone tells me are better than other parts of the countryside for generating lift), or scrub (just as good), or edges of scrub, or even edges of scrub which are adjacent to red paddocks.  Most of these worked.  Perhaps not worrying about getting low helped too – after all, I had a crew, and the trailer was ready for retrievals; all I needed to do was to phone my GPS co-ordinates to the crew, and they’d do the rest.  Google Maps and an iPhone GPS-based navigation app would help greatly.  So, no worries there, leaving me free to fly the glider.

There was an inversion to start with, at 5000ft, and by the end of the day this had gone up to 7000ft.  This meant that there’d be lots of thermals, so the chances of running in to another thermal before getting low were good.  So, no worries there either.

The rest is history, and I managed to get back nicely, subsequently registering a good speed around the task.  But I’ve noticed that the Mozzie also seems to like weaker conditions too.  Oh, and going dry helped a lot too.

Actually, I’d like to stick with the broken-hub theory – it sounds nicely absurd.

Winner of Fresh Class – Craig Vinall, AS G29E

Today, Grant, Allen and I entered into Fresh class, which gives the task setters the right to add some twists to the daily task. In our case, we flew the AAT set for Juicing class, but the last turn point was a 500m radius circle instead of the 30km that the others had, and there was an exclusion zone of 20 km radius around Cobdogla, which is between Kingston and Barmera (not on turn-point list).

The day was a little better than the previous day with climbs to around 5000ft. The task was to Meribah, then to Maggea and finally Taldra.

The subtlety of the exclusion zone soon became apparent in that it had to be avoided on each of the legs. And given the strong southerly, this made it more difficult as I planned to fly just to the south of it on each occasion. Most inconvenient when needing a climb on the southern edge of the zone; I kept being blown into it!

There were good climbs towards Meribah, but like yesterday, they weakened the further east I went. The run back to Maggea was good, but then the task took me over the river north of Loxton. It was totally quiet over the river and irrigation, and I did not get a good climb until well east of the river. The only problem was that had to be my return track and the same thing happened again.

So as I reached my target to avoid the exclusion zone (10km north of Wunkar) I needed a climb but was hindered by the possibility of drifting into the zone. I pushed on and then took a climb when I was sure that I was clear of the exclusion zone and then head back to Waikerie.

An interesting twist to the task.

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