This year’s State Championships were held immediately following Coaching Week with one day of overlap. The practice day on Sunday 31 December gave coaching participants the opportunity to have a small taste of the competition scene by attending the first briefing and flying the practice day task with the competitors. There were 11 competitors who flew in aircraft ranging from 18 meter ships such as an ASG 29, AS33 and JS1 to a Libelle and LS4. This was a good turnout considering that a very disappointing total of 14 competed at the Open, 18,15 and Standard Nationals at Benalla.
Bill Mudge was contest director, Craig Vinall was the weather man and along with Pete Temple did the task setting. Lloyd Baum was the tugmaster and Mark Morgan the safety officer. John Ridge looked after ground operations and scrutineering. Adam Howell looked after scoring and Jason Goldup looked after catering.
The aim of the competition was to have a single class and to have handicaps that allowed competitors to choose if they flew either ballasted or unballasted. This would allow the State Champion to be decided from one competition field while still providing a choice as to using water or not. This was first trialled at Orange Week with some success and while there are still some wrinkles to be ironed out regarding appropriate handicaps, the even proved to be fun for all those who participated.
All tasks were assigned area style tasks using the “Beecroft wedge” with all other turns either a turnpoint or areas modest in size, meaning contestants fly somewhat similar tracks with the higher performance aircraft having to extend out along the same line as others and return along a broadly similar track to the others.
Here is an example from day 1 with one turnpoint a wedge and one small AAT area.:
The advantage of the ‘Beecroft Wedge’ is that the modest assigned area circles can allow some flexibility for pilots to exercise individuality whilst flying a similar task and then extending along the wedge as necessary to meet the AAT timing, depending on glider performance. In practice the task becomes a quasi fixed task so that all pilots experience the same sort of conditions and challenges with the AAT advantage of no risk to pilots of lower performance gliders struggling home in deteriorating conditions.
This style of tasking has proven very popular in WA resulting in excellent participation numbers. We are hopeful that this becomes the SAGA experience.
We had two tugs, which was fortunate since the club’s Pawnee VH-WGC threw a fetlock (alternator belt pulley mount failure) with Stienfield’s Pawnee being the sole tug on the last day.
The tasking and result details can be found on Soaring Spot at :
For some additional detail:
Day 1 2:30 AAT . The track as shown in the previous picture was selected to avoid the Renmark, Kingston, Loxton irrigation triangle. The weather proved better than expected and the maximum AAT distance was flown by a number of pilots resulting in the task time for scoring purposes adjusted to that pilots were not penalised by coming in under time. Winning speed was 132kph.
3:0 AAT to the west, to Sutherlands then northwards with apex of the wedge apex at Craddock, just short of Hawker. Craddock was chosen slightly tongue in cheek, being where Grant Hudson had landed many years ago out of Gawler and he had dared the task setters to use it as a turnpoint during the contest!! As it turned out Craddock was perfectly located to to take advantage of a forecast convergence zone running up along the ranges. The trip across river was difficult for most but the track north towards the very distant Craddock (!!) was perfectly aligned with the convergence line marked by cumulus as far north as approaching Peterborough. Whilst the convergence was not a particularly ‘good’ one and good climbs were elusive it still allowed for some pretty good speeds with Peter Temple winning at 127 kph. Peter had correctly ascertained that the trip across the Murray would be critical and he patiently climbed prior to start managing to make a straight glide from Waikerie to the convergence zone with many of the rest of us being caught up in the slow lowish struggle between the river and Sutherlands all the time being very mindful of the lack of landing opportunities in the area.
Day 3 was cancelled with heavy showers in the area.
Task was cancelled at brief due to uncertainty of weather and difficulty in determining a suitable task area. Notwithstanding, many pilots flew in quite good conditions, particularly to the north of the river, but conditions in the potential tasked area to the south didn’t look pretty and all agreed the call.
2:30 AAT. Task to south and then a long wedge east in the direction of Mildura and home via Wunkar. Before start cumulus dutifully began to form along track and it turned out to be an excellent day with cumulus base around 7-8 kft. The 18m gliders had to almost max out the distance to avoid coming in under time. Winning speed was 137kph.
Day 6 was cancelled due forecast rain. Congratulations to Peter Temple for winning the competition with Adam Stott placing second and Grant Hudson placing third.
Thanks again to all those who volunteered for official roles and to our caterers Jason and Sandy Goldup for providing fantastic meals. Thanks also to the tug pilots, Lloyd Baum, Andrew White, David Conway, John Stobie and Peter Siddell. And thanks to Keith Willis for his thermal ‘sniffing’ every day and Mandy Temple who looked after the timekeeping. So great to have so much support.
Come on next year!