Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A day of it

This morning didn't look promising, but by about 1:00 things had cleared out enough to try a task. There was a big gaggle cluster immediately after the window opened and I wasn't into it, so I waited until it cleared out a bit. I had vivid memories of the gaggles from the last task and just wanted no part of it, too much random chaos. While waiting for things to mellow out I watched one solid mid-air that resulted in a stellar bit of piloting to solve a bad cluster of lines on one glider and a reserve ride for the other pilot. I continued to sit and chill out in the shade then got right onto launch and off when things settled down a bit. It was all going well, with a nice if weak climb about launch level when two gliders about 50M below me flew straight at and then into each other with a really bad sound. One pilot was a meter below the leading edge of the other glider so she was pretty wrapped in the lines of the lower glider. Both pilots weren't all that high, and both seemed to be looking up at their wings (good idea) and not the ground (bad idea) so I started yelling, "RESERVE! SECURITY!," two common terms for reserve parachutes in English and French. I doubt either pilot heard me, but I had to try. Neither wing was flying and the ground was coming up fast. Eventually both pilots got their reserves out and went into the trees together. I was still thermalling directly overhead, and unfortunately could hear the yells of pain from one pilot. They were directly off the road to launch and there was an ambulance five minutes or less away on top that was already in motion down the hill so I didn't try to land (no safe place to land anyhow).

After that the rest of the task seemed somehow less relevant; I just flew and thought about flying, ended up landing a K from goal. I'm not sure what I could have done better, there's a whole lot of luck and skill in these very light conditions.

I am thankful for not having a mid-air in this comp, it's been nuts. The individual/start gates are supposed to cut down on the gaggles, but as usual they don't--everyone rushes off the hill together, and then thermals around waiting to go on course... A larger start circle would be better to spread pilots out, and then a race start. The more I see of individual starts/gates the less I believe in them, they just don't do what they are supposed to. Great idea, but in paragliding comps they seem to lead to far more problems than they are supposed to solve.

Tom and Kari both made goal today, Bill, Keith and Nicole went down around 30K. Petra must have had a really bad day as she didn't get many points, bummer for her. The forecast for tomorrow isn't good, but who knows, it's paragliding.

A big thanks to JJ and the Oz Team for having us all over for dinner tonight, good fun.

I hope the injured pilot is OK.


Bernard said...

Wow, mid airs are shitty. Don't know why PG comps insist on learning the hard way. Race starts or interval starts of 15-20 minutes are the way to go. Involves strategy that allows you to win the day by a large margin, not seconds. You would think that they could learn from HG. Big start circles are also the ticket... why shove so many pilots in such a small area when you have the whole sky available?

Anonymous said...


if you keep improving your scores each day at this rate you would be winning the task after a few more days!!!. 148, 298, 536, 637, ???, ???

Dawson said...

Vegemite is not so much an aquired taste, as it is a learned procedure.

It's probably too late for you guys now, but I've found that to get someone who wasn't brought up on the stuff to enjoy Vegemite, you need to have an Aussie make their first vegemite-on-toast meal for them.

You've got to butter (not margarine) the toast whilst it's hot, and use lots of butter so that the buttered side of the toast is wet with melted butter. Not so much so that the butter melts right through the toast and soaks it on both sides, just the top.
Then, get a tiny knob of Vegemite on the tip of the knife and spread it incredibly thinly over the buttered area. The effect should be one where you just darken the toast a bit. It's not Marmalade, don't spread it thick.
If you haven't already done so, find a friendly Ausie, and get them to make your toast for you, so you can see how it's done. The problem there is that most of us will get a big kick out of making it too thick and watching you squirm.
Good luck, and thanks for the blogging, it's great reading.

Anonymous said...

See comment to Nichole's blog....the Big 4-0?? Happy Birthday!!? Welcome to the Dark Side!!

Smint said...

HAAAPPY biiirtDAY DEear WILLiaaam
haaaPY BIRTHdaaay TOOO youuuu !!

All the health you want, and then some :))

Now.. I feel sorry for Petra.. being woman's day and all :)

GrrrreeetingS !

Mark Dowsett said...

are the using exit or entry cylinders for starts?? Large entry cylinders around the first turn-point would help a great deal...and then if there are start intervals, it would help even more....seems like a simple solution.

Will Gadd said...

40 has come and gone, it was a good one, thanks for the good words.

Every day that I relax and just fly I do better, although the conditions are hard for an ADD/HDD/ASS such as myself, grin...

Agreed on the larger entry/exit starts Mark, they are just using small (3K) exit starts here.