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topic: tow (38 articles)

Surfing the leading edge

Mon, Jan 10 2022, 3:36:01 pm MST

Looking for the sunshine below

Bobby Bailey|Jim Prahl|John Simon|Mick Howard|Robin Hamilton|Wilotree Park|XContest.org

Updated soaring forecast for Saturday January 8th, 2022 at Wilotree Park

NWS, Sunday:

Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph.
Hourly forecast: southeast wind 11 decreasing to 8 mph, cloud cover 28% increasing to 40%, no chance of rain.

RAP, 1 PM:

Surface wind: southeast 8 mph
Updraft velocity: 560 fpm
TOL: 3,900'
Cu: 0' (There are always cu's when the wind is southeast)
B/S: 4.6

RAP, 3 PM:

Surface wind: southeast 6 mph
Updraft velocity: 580 fpm
TOL: 5,100'
Cu: 0' (There are always cu's when the wind is southeast)
B/S: 9.4
56°F at CB

Skew T chart shows thin cu's at 4,400' at 1 PM

Sunrise: 7:19 AM
Sunset: 5:46 PM

Task:

Quest 3 km
LIVOAK 1 km
BAYLK 1km
Quest 400 m

34 km

It looked like it would be a pretty good flying day with a light to moderated southeast wind, but in the morning the winds were stronger than forecasted and out of the east southeast. Pilots reported that the conditions were rough. Given these conditions we wait to see if things will lighten up and agree to launch about 2 PM. The sky is full of cu's which keep getting thicker.

I setup to launch first with Mick Howard, Robin Hamilton, and John Simon not quite ready to go. As I setup in the cart the sky is completely covered unlike the hour previously when there were plenty of gaps between the cu's. The ground is fully shaded at least ten miles in every direction.

Jon Prahl hauls me up into a dark sky over to the little smoky fire where I pin off at 2,100'. I can stay level for about five minutes, but it is just not sustainable and I land after 17 minutes.

John Simon gets ready to launch and I'm right behind him with Mick and Robin holding back. Bobby Bailey comes over to pull up John and I get behind Jim Prahl again. I can see blue sky about five kilometers to the south. I motion to Jim as we go up to not turn to the east like I just saw Bobby do, but keep heading south. I figured John Simon is screwed with Bobby keeping him under the clouds.

I can see that there is a big area of sunlit ground further south and above the ground that is being heated up what are some obviously very active clouds. I'm heading for their upwind edge where I'm sure I'll get up. I stay on tow until about 3,700' figuring that I get a bit of compensation from the previous tow.

I'm off under good looking clouds and head east toward even better looking clouds. The wind is seven mph out of the south southeast. The clouds are lined up to the east with their noses pointing to the south. It's all sunlit from west to east. The turnpoint at Live Oak is to the south southeast.

I start climbing at an average of 100 fpm under an active cloud a couple of kilometers to the east and then a bit further east find 200 fpm to 3,900' and cloud base. Despite the fact that the turnpoint is to the south I keep heading east because frankly that's where the active clouds are on the north edge of the sunlit area and that's where the lift is. It is obvious just looking at the clouds.

On the west side of Lake Louisa I again climb back to cloud base, but now to the south of me toward the turnpoint the ground is shaded for miles and there are no good looking cu's to the south. I hear from Robin that he is about four kilometers north of me. John and Mick are back at Wilotree Park having landed after short flights.

A little over seven kilometers north of the turnpoint I head out south to check it out away from the source of lift. No, there really is nothing out there, it would be a lot like my first flight today. I turn around and head back to Wilotree park with a nice tail wind and 3,400' of altitude. I'll find lift on the way back, although it is not needed, under yet again the good looking clouds on the north side of the sunlit area.

Robin will attempt to get closer to the turnpoint a bit later but down to 2,000' and five kilometers to the north he will turn around, but be too low to make it back to Wilotree.

All and all an interesting day with a sky that had a lot to say.

https://www.xcontest.org/world/en/flights/detail:davisstraub/9.1.2022/19:53

https://www.paraglidingforum.com/leonardo/flight/2988482

https://www.xcontest.org/world/en/ranking-hg-national:US

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Holding On To Christmas

Tue, Dec 28 2021, 6:13:22 pm MST

Reindeer Tow

Christmas|comic|tow

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Against the wind

Tue, Dec 28 2021, 6:09:14 pm MST

Where's the glory in going down wind?

John Simon|Mick Howard|Wilotree Park|XContest.org

Going upwind can be quite difficult especially on days with weak lift and a low cloudbase. Given the soaring forecast (see below) it looked to me that I had better call a shorter task if we were going to come back to Wilotree Park.

Preliminary soaring forecast for Tuesday December 28th, 2021 at Wilotree Park

NWS, Tuesday:

Areas of fog before 9am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 80°F. Light south southeast wind becoming south 5 to 10 mph in the morning.

Hourly forecast: south southwest wind 8 mph after noon, cloud cover 33% going down to 10%, no chance of rain.

HRRR, 1 PM:

Surface wind: south southwest 3 mph
Updraft velocity: 360 fpm (RAP 500 fpm)
TOL: 3,800'
Cu: 3,100'
B/S: 5.5

RAP, 3 PM:

Surface wind: south southwest 8 mph
Updraft velocity: 560 fpm
TOL: 4,300'
Cu: 3,400'
B/S: 8.2

Task:

Quest - 3 km
T47433 - 5 km
Quest - 400 m

25 km.

As has been the case so far this December beginning of the new season we waited for the cu's to get to us from the south before launching. There was a tiny bit of west in the predominantly south wind and it was blowing over 5 mph, for sure.

Bobby pulled me up and before we reached the end of the field at 200' AGL we were turning sharply to stay in the thermal that was right over the field. I expect this from Bobby, so I was ready to bank it over and stay with him, not inside the circle and not outside it either. We hit over 1000 fpm on my on 20 second averager and I pinned off at 1,500' which was way more than I needed to stay up.

The lift wasn't nearly as great as it would have appeared to be while on tow (600 fpm) but I averaged 360 fpm and then drifting back found a weaker thermal at 200 fpm. The wind was 8 mph out of the south southwest.

It took a while to climb to 3,100' as I drifted north of highway 50. Drifting down wind increased the upwind task leg to sixteen km, when it would have been ten from the southern edge of the start cylinder.

There were plenty of cu's to the south so I pushed ahead, but was soon down to 1,300' AGL 2 km east of Wilotree Park. I did not want to land out because there were good days coming and I didn't want to have to break down my glider. Just as I was about to turn and head for the flight park I heard the varios beep and I started turning and drifting further away. It was only 135 fpm on average.

Back to 3,100' again and needing to push up upwind again to find better lift I finally found 260 fpm southeast of Wilotree and climbed to 3,900'. Mick Howard was just above me and there was a little fire down below.

Pushing to the west of Mick over Pine Island I found weak lift (100 fpm or less) that did little good other than to keep me in the air, but going no where in the 13 mph south wind. I headed south at 3,300' for the next set of clouds which were a bit too far to the south, but I needed to give that a try.

The sink was bad at over 500 fpm and when was down to 1,900' AGL I turned around and headed back down wind toward the flight park. Mick was a little higher and was more patient and continued south slowly.

About 3 km south of Wilotree and down to 1,200' I found 100 fpm and after climbing up worked my way south again toward the turnpoint, which was a 5 km cylinder around the intersection of highway 474 and 33, I found 250 fpm to 2,800'.

Given how easy it was to go downwind to get back to the flight park I pushed up wind again to get under a nice looking cu, even further south than before, and down to 1,500' AGL. The lift averaged -5 fpm and I drifted back toward Wilotree. Mick was still moving slowly south. John Simon, after his second launch (or maybe a late launch) was scraping on the deck below me in the previous thermal. Everyone else had landed back at the park.

I headed back and found 44 fpm on the way back which made it even easier to get back and land at home.

Mick was able to make the turnpoint at get back to the park. John Simon landed out, not needing to keep his glider set up as he had to go to work the next day.

https://www.xcontest.org/world/en/flights/detail:davisstraub/28.12.2021/18:36

https://www.paraglidingforum.com/leonardo/flight/2982080

https://www.xcontest.org/world/en/ranking-hg-national:US

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Forbes Flatlands 2022 »

Wed, Dec 22 2021, 7:13:41 am MST

The field is mowed and ready to go

competition|Forbes Flatlands 2022|Vicki Cain

Vicki writes:

Forbes is happening this year and Bill and Molly will be joining us!

While we were not anticipating any international participation, we are pleased that Forbes will continue in 2022, albeit a smaller competition than we are use to!

It’s been wet at Forbes the past months though the paddock is mowed and ready to tow and we are hoping for some super weather and flights!

We look forward to seeing our friends and hosting a great competition!

Practice flying Tuesday 28th January 2021
1st Competition day Wednesday 29th January 2021
Last Competition day Wednesday 5th January 2021
Headquarters this year will be at the Forbes Aeroclub.
Full details and registration at our website: http://www.forbesflatlands.com/

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2022 Green Swamp Klassic »

Sun, Dec 12 2021, 8:39:33 am MST

Registration is open

Airtribune|competition|Green Swamp Klassic 2022|Ken Millard|Richard "Ric" Caylor|Sport Class|Tavo Gutierrez

"Ken Millard" «kengineer09» writes:

The Green Swamp Sport Klassic is now live on Airtribune at https://airtribune.com/2022-green-swamp-sport-klassic/info/details.

The Green Swamp, or GSSK, is a non-sanctioned hang gliding competition designed to give intermediate pilots their first experience in competition in a supportive, coached environment. Seen another way, it is a clinic for pilots wanting to expand from local flying into cross country flying, structured to use a competition format with daily declared tasks. The event is mentored, grouping pilots into small teams and assigning each team a senior pilot “mentor” to coach and guide them.

Either way you look at it, it is a tremendously influential event in the hang gliding community. It connects senior pilots with the next generation of developing pilots, draws pilots into networking nationally and internationally outside of their local clubs, builds skills and confidence, and indoctrinates and normalizes safety practices.

To give you a sense of the impact Green Swamp has, look at this year’s meet director. Ric Caylor first attended the Green Swamp in 2018. Ric had been flying recreationally for years but had only logged two cross country flights. Green Swamp added five more cross country flights to his logbook. With the GSSK as his springboard, Ric went on to compete in Texas, Arizona, Mexico, and again in Florida. Ric is now a highly ranked Sport Class pilot and is the organizer for the 2022 event. The GSSK doesn’t just teach cross country skills; it catalyzes leadership.

I can’t think of a single event which is more influential in promoting and supporting hang gliding in the USA.

GSSK is usually scheduled just before the two-week Hang Gliding Nationals series. This makes world-class pilots available to serve as mentors. The event will represent a slice of the hang gliding community with intermediate, advanced-intermediate, and world-class pilots all flying together and gathering in the clubhouse for billiards and beer.

Rather than going easy on himself as a first-time organizer, Ric is trying to raise the bar for next year’s event. In true camp counselor style, we’re going to make 2022 the best Green Swamp ever! At past events, senior pilots created ad-hoc seminars to fill the time on rain days. Rather than wait for rain days, we are creating YouTube content to coach developing pilots on the basics of gear management, flight line operations, and cross country performance and strategy. We have established a scholarship fund to offset tow fees for pilots on a tight budget. This is noted on the “Details” tab of the Airtribune page. The “Preparation Blog” tab on the Blog page contains a collection of personal testimonials from Green Swamp alumni. It’s great reading for anyone who wants to get a feel for the event. Questions may be directed to Ric at «rmcaylor» or Ken Millard at «kengineer09».

Para consultas en español, contacte Tavo Gutierrez «tavo.gutierrez».

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2021 Florida Nationals Series Comps

Wed, Nov 17 2021, 11:37:57 pm MST

airspace|Airtribune|Florida|food|sport|Sport Class|Stephan Mentler|tow|weather|Wilotree Park

Trying to get them published on Airtribune

Stephan Mentler ‹team@Icaro2000usa.com›> writes:

While we are working to get things going on the registration side, here are some details for both comps.

The entry fee is $375 (includes Wilotree Park Fee, $475 after March 10th). NOTE that entry fees do not include tow fees. Aerotowing fee is $375 - this includes a tow on check-in day. Some of the things that we will have:

• Daily Prizes
• Event T-shirt
• Food and beverages the night of check-in (I plan to get he same ice-cream truck for us)
• Prizes for the first three places in the Open and Sport Class
• Awards ceremony dinner
• On-line Turn point Coordinates
• On-line airspace files
• Weather Briefing on Pilots’ Phones via WhatsApp
• Task Sent to Pilots’ Phones via WhatsApp
• Wilotree Park (includes free WIFI, access to clubhouse and amenities [swimming pool, kitchen, pool table, etc.

Our cancellation policy is as follows - receive full refund minus $12 (USD) for withdrawal up to March 1st 2022. Receive 50% refund for withdrawal after March 2nd till April 1st. Refunds for withdrawals after April 1st are at the discretion of the Organizer and Wilotree Park, but not likely as we will have secured aircraft, the grounds, and other tangibles.

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Barraba Big Toe Hang Gliding Competition

Tue, Nov 16 2021, 10:32:01 am MST

14th November to 20th November 2021

Barraba Big Toe 2021

https://wow.asn.au/comps/web/bbt2021

The Barraba Big Toe is a Trike Aero Tow Category 2, AA rated competition held at Barraba (near Manilla NSW).

This region offers big air thermals and is ideal for getting in some big flights early in the season. As it is early season, the thermals should be a bit softer round the edge while still pumping in the middle. New Comp 2020, tasks averaged around 100km with 1000ups achieved (and it was a wet season).

Barraba in late Spring is a perfect location for inland flying. Great lift, not quite as rowdy as peak summer. The area offers wide open landing fields and plenty of options for tasks.

Camping is $10 per night for pilots and support staff at Aerodrome, toilets, and power for radio gear available.

http://www.williamolive.com/comps/barraba/2021/gap_task_result_2021-11-16.html

# Name Glider Time Total
1 Scott Barrett Wills Wing Sport 2 155 02:11:34 1000.0
2 Steve Docherty Moyes RX 3.5 Pro 02:33:33 859.6
3 Mikhail Karmazin Moyes RX 3.5 02:51:27 769.3
4 Rick Martin Moyes RX 3.5 Pro 03:32:04 585.9

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Constant tension electric winch

Tue, Nov 2 2021, 11:42:49 pm MDT

The Vortex SmartWinch

electric|Instinct Windsports|Mark Dowsett|Nick Jones|Ryan Wood|safety|scooter tow|stationary winch|tandem|tow|Vortex SmartWinch

https://instinct.pro/collections/vortex

We are ready to announce this exciting project we have been working on all this season - we are manufacturing the first commercially-available all-electric hang gliding stationary winch!

We feel it could be quite revolutionary in the industry. The power is there to even tow tandem hang gliders. The intelligence is there to automate the winch operator's job to make it easy for new winch operators to increase your flying communities number of flights.

AND, the foundation is there for us to implement remote-control winch operating - imagine being able to tow yourself up where you want, when you want… all with no need for crew to assist you!

The key feature is the torque-regulated abilities… you just dial in the desired max tow tension and the winch moderates the speed the drum turns to automatically adjust to give the pilot a constant tow pressure, regardless of hitting a wind gust, thermals or sink while on tow.

It is also incredibly portable! There are three components - the motor/drum, the controller box and the battery. All are light enough that they can be taken in and out of an SUV trunk and mounted on your trailer hitch as desired. No storing an entire trailer somewhere - take your winch home and go out to fly where the conditions are prime - rather than relying on a dedicated club site.

We will be taking pre-orders right away with hopes of spring 2022 delivery. We have flight tested the prototype to our satisfaction but are making some alterations for the final configuration. Prices aren't finalized yet but are working on some accurate ball-park figures. As we add features and improve some components, the prices will only go up from what we have listed.

https://instinct.pro/collections/vortex/products/the-vortex-smartwinch

The Vortex is a tension-controlled winch. This is opposed to a speed-controlled (or throttle-controlled) winch.

A speed-controlled winch puts a great amount of responsibility on the winch operator. If they only have speed control, they have some work to do to manage the tension on the tow line throughout the tow.

Some hydraulic winches are smoother but hydro-static winches still require the winch operator to visibly monitor a pressure gauge and adjust their hydraulic flow to attain and maintain a desired tow tension. And the tension can and will change throughout the tow due to glider speed changes, lift/sink, wind gusts and thermals. With a tension-controlled winch, the intelligence of the winch takes care of all that… resulting in a much smoother tow and way more efficient with increased safety.

Scooter winches are notorious for rough tows. All you have is a gas throttle to adjust and most scooter-winches don't have a pressure gauge to monitor. This requires an even more skilled winch operator and often a very rough ride. For this reason, scooter winches are usually only used in low, smooth winds for rather low-tension training tows.

There are also winches based on the LSD (Limited Slip Differential) transmission of a car. These are strictly gas throttle controlled as well and have the same problems as a scooter. They do have the added feature of setting a max tension that the transmission will slip if that max tension is attained to limit the tow from going over the max tension. This adjustment is very hard to set and calibrate as you have to test manually with a gauge and is often set way too high.

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Gregg Ludwig⁣'s Towing Trike

Tue, Aug 17 2021, 9:27:54 am MDT

Working this week at Cowboy Up for Go Long in Texas

Gregg "Kim" Ludwig|tow|trike

Gregg Ludwig⁣'s Towing Trike

«Gregg Ludwig» writes:

I just finished upgrading to a larger radiator for the big (high) tows.

The cost of getting you in the air

Mon, Apr 8 2019, 7:46:39 am EDT

At the 2019 Green Swamp Sport Klassic

Green Swamp Sport Klassic 2019|Jim Prahl|tow

Jim Prahl «Jim Prahl

Total income. $7,677.00

Tow fees expenses. There were some fees/ accounting with Square so the numbers are slightly off on the total income. Off by $27.00

Plane Fuel $693.54
Tug Pilots(4) $2,800.00 $(700.00 each for the meet)
Tow planes (4). $4,000.00 (Tow planes usually cost $2,000.00 - $2,500.00 per meet)

For this meet tow plane owners get $1,000.00 each for the meet) Normally for up to 20 paying pilots we would have used two planes and tow to 2,000.00-2,500 feet.

So the tug owners received significantly less than what they would normally expect for a meet with actually 18 paying pilots and 11 non paying mentors. It was originally assumed that we would use three tugs and three pilots, but we turned out to need to use four even though pilots were supposed to be restricted to one tow to 4,000' only so as to not have to do continual relights for sport class pilots.

Pilot tow fee was $425.

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Death at Dunnellon

Wed, Feb 3 2016, 1:53:56 pm EST

Not exactly north Florida

fatality|Tomas Banevicius|altitude|crash|death|news|power|tow

Tomas Banevicius

http://nypost.com/2016/02/03/fatal-hang-gliding-crash-in-florida/

The officials say Tomas Banevicius of New York was killed during his third flight of the day. Reports didn’t list his hometown but said he was about 35 feet in the air when the craft fell to the ground nose-first.

http://www.ushanggliding.com/

http://www.news4jax.com/news/hang-glider-dies-during-training-session

Preliminary information indicates Banevicius was flying a hang glider that was assisted by a power tow line system to build altitude.

During take-off, witnesses said his hang glider rotated right and turned down, causing it to crash.

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You can tow hang gliders for money

Tue, Jun 5 2012, 7:40:49 am EDT

A clarification asked for by the Soaring Society

FAA|Highland Aerosports Flight Park|Jim Rooney|tow|Zac Majors

The relevant FAA document here response to a request in March 2009.

The FAA is revising §61. 113(g) to allow a private pilot to act as pilot in command while towing an unpowered ultralight vehicle for compensation or hire."

Accordingly, § 61.113(g) permits a private pilot to act as PIC for compensation or hire of an aircraft towing a glider or unpowered ultralight vehicle.

Thanks to Zack and Jim Rooney.

Forbes, day five

Wed, Jan 7 2009, 1:35:07 pm AEDT

Too windy, isolated thunderstorms, we call the day.

Forbes 2009|tow

The results.

We call the day early at the pilot briefing at 10 AM. We have been calling the task early (9 AM) instead of waiting to go out into the field. The forecasts are good enough for an early call. We also had reports from the tow paddock that it was hailing there and the tugs had been placed in the hangar as it was too windy to have them tied down outside.

How not to do hang gliding instruction/towing

November 30, 2007, 8:28:10 GMT+1100

Instruction

Getting the student way too high

instruction|tow

http://ozreport.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10194

More on Dragon fly pilots towing over the weekend

Thu, Sep 14 2006, 5:40:30 pm MDT

Towing

Thanks to Zak and Jim Rooney

Jim Rooney|Zac Majors|Dragonfly|tow

We'll have more news about the new world of towing soon.

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Hold my beer, watch this!

Tue, Feb 7 2006, 9:06:52 pm PST

Beer

"Sailsailing" behind a tractor.

parasail|tow|James Greene

http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/13811770.htm

An Austin man was killed in a parasailing accident when gusty winds snapped the towrope of his parasail and he was thrown into a tree.

James Greene, 24, was parasailing behind a tractor driven by his father…

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Boat Towing »

Fri, Nov 18 2005, 11:00:04 am GMT

Unlimited roads in all directions for payout winch towing.

Gregg "Kim" Ludwig|students|tandem|tow

Boat Towing

Gregg Ludwigg «Skycruiser3» writes:

For the last two years we have been towing (I like to say) an "old way a new way" with the MalibuLaunchSystem (MLS) on a large inland lake north of Houston, Texas. Our standard tandem tow is to 2,000' but usually ends up being 2,500-'3,000'.

This lake area is ideal because it is very hot during a long summer with little wind. We have had some students walk up and solo after three days and get their h-2/PL as follows:

- day one….3 tandems

- day two…..2 tandems

- day three..1 tandem check ride/ 3 solos

Some students will need additional tandems.

Having a boat and winch is much more expensive than just a winch but our "tow road" becomes unlimited with circle tows and we always are able to launch into the wind. We are also able to take or pick up tandems where the people are.

Learning to hang gliding

November 12, 2005

Towing at Mission Soaring

instruction|tow

https://ozreport.com/9.224#0

Last week I mentioned a Wall Street Journal article on learning to hang glide (see URL above). You can find the article here: https://ozreport.com/docs/wsjournal.htm.

 Discuss hang gliding at the Oz Report forum

Mike Haas's accident at Hang Glide Chicago

Tue, Sep 13 2005, 6:00:06 pm GMT

The USHGA official hang glider Accident Review Chairman.

Mike Haas

accident|aerobatics|aerotow|Hang Glide Chicago|job|Joe Gregor|Mike Haas|site|tow|USHGA|weather|XC

Joe Gregor «air_medal» writes:

After Angelo's post in the Oz Report I decided to review my information concerning the reporting on Mike's accident. In his e-mails to me, Angelo's concern seemed centered on a lack of acknowledgement for his contribution, and the long timeframe required for the report to hit the magazine.

Angelo did indeed send me a detailed report via US Mail, which all have now seen, and which I used in drafting the Executive Summary for the column in HG Magazine. Other sources include statements from at least four other witnesses and numerous e-mail messages of discussions concerning the accident from a digest maintained by the local club.

At the time of Mike's accident I had been the HG Accident Review Chairman for only a few months. There was no one on the committee but myself. In the previous three months, we had experienced seven fatalities or near-fatalities:

3/3 on an XC from LMFP,
4/22 on a launch from Sugarloaf Peak, CA,
5/17 a structural failure experienced during aerobatics in NC (Bo's accident),
5/28 another structural failure at Dry Canyon, NM,
6/19 a h-2 outlanding at Hull Mountain, CA,
6/24 a severe weather related event at King Mountain, ID,
and 2 days later, on 6/26, Mike Hass' accident.

There is no way that one man (even if he didn't have two jobs and a family) could simultaneously perform a creditable investigation of seven geographically separated accidents and maintain situational awareness with the constant flow of minor accident reports flowing in day-by-day. The only solution was to create a process which relied on local volunteers to conduct the data collection and at least some of the analysis for each major accident.

I tried to outline a vision for this process in one of my early columns. The USHGA SOPs call on the Regional Directors to serve in this role, and they are the first people I look to, but we are all volunteers (the accident review committee has limited resources and no budget) so I would appoint as Principle Investigator whomever seemed willing, motivated, and in the best position to accomplish the task. I would draft an Executive Summary for the column based on their input, be it a larger report (my ultimate desire) or just a collection of facts and analysis they were able to put together and/or send my way. I would share the Summary with the Principle Investigator for their comment and changes before submitting it to the magazine. Is it a prefect process? No, the resources don't exist for perfect, but it was at least functional.

In the case of Mike's accident several names were offered up to me as a potential Lead for the investigation. Angelo's was not one of them, presumably because he was not on-site at the time of the accident. Everyone should be thankful to Gary for stepping up to the plate when no one else was willing. Had it not been for him, it seemed to me at the time, no creditable investigation of Mike's accident could have been accomplished. Angelo's report was received by USHGA on 27 September - three months after the accident - and sometime later forwarded to me. I included it with all of the other information coming to me on Mike's accident, but I continued to look to Gary to lead this particular investigation, as I looked to others to lead the remaining six accidents. When Angelo e-mailed me 6-7 months later wanting to know why nothing had been done, I believe I told him that Gary was on it and that he should send his information Gary's way so it could be included in Gary's report. I agree, it would be desirable for the committee chair to acknowledge every letter, report, and e-mail as they come in. There is simply not enough time in the day.

I also acknowledge the long time it took for Mike's accident to make it into the magazine. I do not know what can or should be done to accelerate the process in this regard. Even running the extremely long columns I was writing, at two accidents per column, and one column every other month, and a two month set-up time for the magazine, it would take over nine months to achieve print on the fatal/near-fatal accidents we had lying in wait. In addition, I felt it would be unfair to unduly rush those who volunteered to give up their time and energy to do the difficult job of investigating these accidents.

In my mind the major point of the magazine column is to relate lessons learned. These lessons will not spoil due to a few months delay. They may spoil if the investigation is rushed, however. Since the magazine column format is ill suited to play the role of instant messaging anyway, I felt that any attempts to rush an investigation would prove counter-productive. If you want immediate dissemination, the Oz Report is the appropriate vehicle, not the magazine.

As for the Conclusions and Recommendations, I probably deserve to take a small hit there. The Probable Cause is the part that relates to what made the accident happen. But the Recommendations, those are there to help others find a way to avoid suffering the same fate. The Probable (and I mean probable) Cause in Mike's accident was, quite literally, a failure to maintain aircraft control. Nothing more definitive than that can be said. But telling pilots that the lesson learned here is to maintain control of your glider, that is less than illuminating. So when I write a Recommendation, it is not intended to outline should have been done in this accident; it is intended to highlight things that could be done to mitigate or prevent a similar future accident.

In the info I received on Mike's accident, there was no objective logbook review. Instead, in addition to Angelo's report, I received things like: "This pilot was very experienced at coastal ridge soaring, and less experienced (although he had recent experience at a FL aeropark) with aerotow." There was no consensus that Mike had ever towed the higher performance wing he was flying the day of the accident, and Angelo himself one e-mail stated that "It's very possible that this was his first tow on the Lightsport." One reporter indicated that Mike had recently taken a few years off to build a house "but still managed a few dune flights each year." His last reported aerotow was in October of 2003. Altogether in my mind, this became an experienced foot-launch pilot who had relatively little aerotow experience, and none of it current. I admit that this may have been a poor characterization, but that is what I came away with from the information presented to me of a pilot whom I unfortunately never knew.

With 20/20 hindsight, in the case of Mike's accident, I should have written "flying a new class of wing" or "after a long break in activity, indicated reduced proficiency" or something similar; rather than using the all-encompassing "new launch method" phrase. Water under the bridge. I have done the best I know how given the limited resources at my disposal. My Reserve commander once said that you know you are in the zone when your employer, your family, and the Reserves are all equally pissed-off at you. By that criterion I have achieved 'balance.' I strongly encourage anyone interested in the position of HG Accident Review Committee Chair to contact USHGA and let them know. I see no need to carry out a task that could be better performed by another willing volunteer. Your application will have my full support.

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Arlan

Fri, Sep 2 2005, 3:00:00 pm GMT

Two very unnecessary deaths.

Arlan Birkett

accident|altitude|Angelo Mantas|Arlan Birkett|Cloud 9|competition|crash|fatality|Gary Solomon|Guy Denney|Hang Glide Chicago|HG & PG Magazine|Joe Gregor|John Licata|Krzysztof "Krys/Kris" Grzyb|Mike Haas|Nathan Martin|news|Peter Birren|PG|power|sport|tandem|tow|tug|weaklink

Peter Birren «peterb» writes:

It is with a sad and heavy heart that I report Arlan Birkett and a student died Saturday evening, September 3, during a tandem flight at Hang Glide Chicago. Arlan's family in Madison, Wisconsin has been contacted with the news and arrangements will be forthcoming.

From the south end of the NS grass runway, John Licata saw the take off. Arlan was towed to the north, across low power lines and a highway, then appeared to have a major problem with the glider. At a height of about 250 feet, the glider turned 180º and, John says, fluttered to the ground like a wounded bird, tumbling and spinning as opposed to a so-called lawn dart. The impact was in a corn field north of the airport. The student's girl friend was present and was interviewed by the police.

A few possible scenarios and situations can be imagined but they are only speculative. The description, however, seems to point to some sort of a structural failure. More information and suppositions will be available tomorrow when the wreckage is thoroughly inspected.

Arlan and Hang Glide Chicago were just this month featured with a nice 2-page article in Hang Gliding & Paragliding Magazine. Arlan had been an instructor for about 10 years (longer?) And contributed greatly to a sport he loved so much.

Angelo Mantas «Angelomant» writes:

I'm stunned. I'm having a real hard time processing this on a personal level. Last year Mike, then another good friend and former HG pilot was killed last month in a motorcycle accident. Now this.

I have very little info on this. Apparently the glider got off line, then the weak link broke at the tug. This happened around 250', according to the tug pilot, Gary Solomon. Despite the altitude, it sounds like they impacted at a fairly steep angle, although this information is third hand. John Licata witnessed this, but didn't want to talk about it anymore, which is understandable since he also witnessed Mike Haas' crash.

Given the time of day, conditions should have been smooth. There are some thoughts pilots have shared with me, but they are pure speculation so I won't mention them at this time. John and Kris Grzyb are supposed to look over the glider tomorrow.

Arlan was a great guy. He was involved with banking, but walked away from that to start a HG business because that's what he wanted to do. When I got recertified as an instructor last year, instead of seeing me as competition, he thought it would be good to have someone around to do hill training, and gave me an old but airworthy trainer. His efforts gave lots of pilots a great place to fly or just hang out. His quiet demeanor and droll wit will be sorely missed.

Nathan Martin «natdogg1» writes:

Easily the best man I've ever met died today and his student barely older than I (20s). Arlan Birkett and Jeremia died on impact today around roughly 6-6:30 PM. Apparently what can only be described as a freak accident occurred. The glider got out of whack and wasn't corrected soon enough, this progressed into a lockout. At this point no-one is yet sure why, but it is known that the weaklink failed to break (250lb) and as far as we understand the tow rope broke (400+lb test) they were at a high angle of roll and had no time to recover. This all occurred immediately after takeoff and they couldn't of been higher than a few hundred feet.

I had known this man nearly six years of my life and had never witnessed anything less than great respect and kindness to all he knew. Jeremiah was in his 20s I believe and was thought to be a slick pilot by other instructors and was expected to solo. Both will be missed greatly and the holes in our hearts will take some time to mend.

(editor's note: These are very preliminary observations. Guy Denney «guydenney» will be writing up a report and sending it to Joe Gregor and hopefully to the Oz Report. Recent reports indicate that there was apparently no problem with the tandem glider in advance of the lockout. I have asked Guy the following questions:

How heavy was the student? How heavy was Arlan?
How many flights did this student have before this flight?
How long was the tow rope? Was it longer than the regular rope used for towing regular pilots? Was it 300 feet long?
Could the tandem have hit the prop wash? Was the tandem below the tug?
Did Arlan have extra handles on the down tubes to allow him to have extra control (like they do here at Cloud 9)?
What was the strength on the tandem side of the weaklink? Was it stronger than the tug side weaklink?

Arlan used an over/under style harness and the student pilot was on the bottom.


Here is the tandem over/under harness setup at Cloud9.)

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Fatality Report

Learning from an aerotowing accident from last year

Mike Haas

Tue, Aug 30 2005, 2:00:00 pm GMT

accident|aerotow|Angelo Mantas|bridle|cart|Dave Whedon|Dragonfly|equipment|fatality|foot launch|HG & PG Magazine|Matt Taber|Mike Haas|Moyes Litesport|Moyes Xtralite|safety|tail|tow|tug|ultralite|winch

Angelo Mantas «Angelomant» writes:

Analysis - Mike Haas Fatality

Scenario - Mike’s accident happened during midday thermal conditions. He was flying a Moyes 147 Litesport, aerotowing it off of a launch dolly. Several witnesses saw the accident, but I give Dave Whedon’s account the most weight, because a) He saw the entire event, from start to finish, and b) He was watching several tows intently to see what conditions were like, since he hadn’t towed in a while.

The tug was given the “go” signal. Dave said that almost as soon as Mike launched off the cart, he appeared to be having difficulty with both pitch and roll control. Then, at around 50' - 60’, the glider pitched up radically and started arcing to the left. Somewhere around this time the weak link broke, or the pilot released. The glider continued rotating left and dove into the ground, first hitting the left wing tip, then nose. The glider’s pitch was near vertical on impact, confirmed by the fact that the control bar, except for a bend in one downtube, was basically intact, whereas the keel and one leading edge snapped just behind the nose plate junction. This all happened fairly quickly. Based on witness and tug pilot accounts, the glider was never over 100’.

Despite help reaching him almost instantly, attempts to revive him proved futile. Mike suffered a broken spinal cord and was probably killed instantly.

Causes - In examining the circumstances surrounding the accident, it seems to me that several factors, which by themselves might not cause major problems, combined to lead to Mike's losing control of the glider.

1) New, high performance glider.

2) Larger size glider than what he was used to.

3) A fast flying tug (Kolb)

4) Flying through a thermal just after launching.

5) A rearward keel attachment point on the “V” bridle.

Mike had only one previous flight on his new Litesport, in laminar coastal ridge soaring conditions. Although he flew over two hours, he probably never flew the glider at the speeds encountered when aerotowing. Mike had many aerotows on a Moyes Xtralite, but according to Matt Taber, the Litesport doesn’t track as well at high speed. The Litesport was also bigger than his Xtralite, which would make it less responsive and harder to control.

The tug used was a Kolb ultralight. Although this tug had an increased wing span than normal Kolbs, it still tows at a higher speed than a Dragonfly. I can tell you from my own experience that it is harder to tow behind a faster tug.

Soon after launching, the glider and tug flew through a strong thermal. This is confirmed by witnesses watching the tug, and the tug pilot’s reporting a strong spike in climb rate.

Here is where some controversy might come in: on examining the wreckage, Arlan (tug pilot) saw where the upper “V” bridle was attached, and immediately felt that that was a possible cause of the accident. It was attached at the hang point, and in his opinion, was too far back for a stable tow. Since then, there has been debate on whether or not that was a safe attachment point. That positioning on the keel was recommended to him by the seller, and apparently many other pilots have towed a Litesport from the same position. Shortly after the accident, some pilots in Wisconsin did an aerotow of a Litesport from slightly behind the hang point, and reported it towed fine.

I agree with Arlan that the upper bridle attachment point contributed to the accident. The test done in Wisconsin was done early in the morning in stable conditions, and the pilot weighed 50 more pounds than Mike. Just because others have managed to tow with this upper bridle position, doesn’t mean it’s safe, especially for pilots on the light end of the weight range.

To sum up, Mike was flying a glider that was bigger than what he was used to, with less stability at the higher speeds needed to stay behind the Kolb. Even with Mike’s hang gliding experience, these factors would tax his abilities. These difficulties would be magnified by the de-stabilizing effect of the rearward keel bridle attachment and the faster speed of the Kolb tug. Already struggling (as witnesses state), when Mike hit the thermal, a difficult situation became impossible. Mike lost control, and either locked out or stalled, leading to his dive into the ground.

How can we prevent this from happening in the future?

A proper keel attachment would have made the glider fly faster without a lot of bar pressure. It also would have made the glider more stable in yaw, because the tow force would be farther in front of the CG. My own experience has been that since moving my keel attachment further forward, tows are much more stable.

Using a tail fin - Tail fins definitely help stabilize gliders on aerotow, especially high performance gliders that may be less stable in yaw. A too rearward keel bridle attachment can be overcome with a fin. Many aerotow parks use tail fins on their demo gliders. The downside to fins is that they can make thermaling difficult on many gliders, but they can still be a valuable tool to make your glider safer while you figure out where your keel bridle attachment should be.

First tows of new gliders in smooth conditions. It is much easier to aerotow a new glider when the air is smooth. Learn how the glider tows in calm air, make any equipment adjustments necessary, then later tow in midday, thermal air.

Practice flying your glider fast before aerotowing it. If you foot launch or static tow your glider, you can literally fly for years without ever flying at the speeds involved with aerotowing. Even platform/payout winch towing doesn't involve those speeds. Practice pulling in the bar and keep it there. Easy? Now try to make a small heading correction and keep it. Good chance you’ll be PIOing all over. This kind of practice definitely pays off.

Wind streamers along runway. It’s agreed that Mike hit a strong thermal shortly after launching. Placing streamers on both sides of the runway, at regular intervals, would help detect if a thermal is coming through the takeoff area. If all the streamers are pointing the same way, it’s safe to launch. If some of the streamers start moving other directions or reversing, it’s obvious some kind of turbulence is coming through. This is not a new idea, it’s not expensive (wood stakes and surveyor's tape) yet I’ve never seen anyone do this. Maybe it’s time we start.

Mike was a Hang IV pilot with over twenty years experience. He was not a “hot dog” and was very safety conscious. No one who knew Mike could believe that this happened to him. Although I feel I have a better understanding now of what happened, I can’t help feeling that if this could happen to him, none of us are safe.

(editor's noticed: There was an earlier, and different accident report published in June in HG/PG Magazine.)

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Bridle killed the hang glider pilot

Fri, Feb 11 2005, 1:00:02 pm GMT

Spinnaker shackles

Robin Strid

bridle|Dave Broyles|fatality|HPAC|release|Robin Strid|Rohan Holtkamp|safety|tow|USHGA|weaklink|Worlds 2005

"Special Pro Tow" https://OzReport.com/8.190#5

Other releases: http://www.hanglide.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=LME&Category_Code=AE and http://www.birrendesign.com/LKAero.html

Scare «Gerry» writes:

There are several different types of bridles described, diagrammed, or pictured here: http://hpac.ca/tow/HPAC_Tow_Manual.asp#3.3. We would like to have more pictures too, and would also appreciate any comments or advice you might have. How is it done where you are?

Robin Strid died because the weaklink wrapped around one leg of his spinnaker shackle. The weaklink was too strong to break. The weaklink was made of multiple loops. At least, that's the story that I heard Rohan Holtkamp, who investigated the accident, present to the team leaders at the Worlds.

The ends of the legs of the shackle were thicker than the middle. The weaklink caught up on the thicker ends of the legs after the shackle was opened by the release cable. Look at the first article linked to above to see the fat legs.

One of the legs rotates when the release is opened and the weaklink has to slide over the thicker leg. I'm communicating with Rohan to get better answers to what happened to Robin and how to avoid this in the future.

Another release system: http://www.flycyprus.com/release.html

Dave Broyles (USHGA Safety and Training Committee Chairman) comments on the spinnaker shackle here.

I'll have much more on releases soon. Send me your thoughts on bridles and releases and any pictures of bridles.

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Flytec Championship - it hurts to be popular »

Mon, Mar 1 2004, 9:00:01 pm GMT

The Flytec Championship is way over subscribed this year, many are on the waiting list and many have been turned away altogether.

competition

calendar|competition|Competition Committee|Florida Ridge|Flytec Championships 2004|Flytec Championships 2005|Oz Report|South Florida Championships 2004|Steve Kroop|Tennessee Tree Toppers Team Challenge 2004|tow|USHGA

USHGA sanctioned meets are required to have an opening date and time for the beginning of registration. This is a requirement to ensure that pilots can register for the meet and be accepted on a first come first serve only basis. The USHGA feels that the system that is most fair to all the pilots is one with a stated registration date and time and first come first serve.

Also the USHGA requires that 66% of the available slots for a meet be set aside for US pilots, until there are no more US pilots on the waiting list.

The 2004 Flytec Championships registration date and time was 9 AM EST on December 15th. Within two hours the thirty one foreign pilot slots were filled up. The ever organized French team had taken twelve of those precious spots.

Within two days the fifty nine US pilot slots were full. Currently that are nine US pilots on the waiting list and twenty nine foreign pilots. There are twenty five class five rigid wing pilots in the meet.

According to Steve Kroop this is the greatest demand by foreign pilots for any of the Flytec Championships. Perhaps the good word about how much fun it is to fly here in Florida has gotten around. This level of enthusiasm has been sustained even though originally when these guys signed up there was no talk about a second meet in Florida, now there is the South Florida Championships at the Florida Ridge.

Steve had originally thought that foreign pilots would re reluctant to come to Florida for only one meet, but it seems not to be the case. Competition turns out to continue to be very popular.

So with a long waiting list it appears as though some pilots will be disappointed this year. Perhaps they can get into the South Florida Championships. As USHGA BOD Competition Committee Chairman I am working hard to get other US competitions USHGA sanctioned so that we can provide more high level competition opportunities.

Check out the ads here in the Oz Report for the Team Challenge and the South Florida Championship. Also check out the Oz Report calendar at https://OzReport.com/calendar.php.

Steve hopes to have additional towing resources at the upcoming meets so that he can allow for more competitors, but it is not clear that he will be able to do so. Perhaps tow pilots can piggy back on the South Florida Championships if enough people enter, so as to afford to come down to Florida.

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The 15th Annual Pre-Worlds 2004 - day seven, task four

Wed, Jan 21 2004, 5:00:00 pm GMT

Aeros|Aeros Combat|aerotow|Airborne Climax|Dave Seib|Jon "Jonny" Durand jnr|Jon Durand snr|Kevin Carter|Kraig Coomber|Moyes Litespeed|Moyes Litespeed S|Oliver "Olli" Barthelmes|Pre-Worlds 2004|Rohan Holtkamp|safety|Steve Moyes|Tove Heaney|tow|weaklink

Results (thanks to Dave Seib) at:

http://www.moyes.com.au/preworlds2004/

Like I reported yesterday the day was forecast to be windy and with thunderstorms, and it is blowing 40 kph when we get to the paddock. But, unlike yesterday, the safety committee now is committed to waiting to see if it calms down, even if we have to wait until 3 PM. The lift is predicted to stop at 4,000'.

There are some cu's forming in the distant east which look like the precursors of a little over development. It doesn't look nearly as bad as it did the day that we canceled the task in mid flight, but it could be a bother.

The task committee has set a task 137 kilometers to the east down the Sturt highway. We will stick to that task the whole day in spite of arguments for the different directions (not possible given the 40 kph winds), the coming change (slowly coming), and the line of towering cu's (fly under them) in our way.

The safety committee is unfortunately split between two car towing guys and Martin at the aerotowing place. This is a bad idea. In the Hay Open we had all the safety committee at the car towing end, so that they don't get scared by the wind noise in the trees at the aerotowing spot. Also you need to have the safety committee all in one place to make a decision. The task committee doesn't even hear from the two other safety committee members until way late.

No one is setting up their gliders as we wait out the strong surface winds with the thought that it looks like they should calm down. Attila gives us the same report on the upper winds as the day before, with 35-40 kph strengths and bumpy.

Finally, at 2 PM the surface winds die down to reasonable strengths. I don't know if the safety committee at the car towing area is set up all ready or not, but the aerotow folks get their gliders off the cars and begin to setup. We call a three o'clock launch window and a four o'clock start clock.

The launch gets delayed at 3 PM when the surface winds come up again for a few minutes. The clouds are building quite nicely to the east and that is freaking out some people. Paul, Martin, Jonny and I are flaying about trying to get the task going, when I finally realize that we haven't heard from the other two safety committee guys. Paul calls them up and sure enough they are keen to go (Dave Seib, one safety committee member, relies on the other, Phil Schroeder, to make the call). Well, that's a majority, so I say, let's go, it's decided.

The launch reopens at 3:30 and the start time starts at 4 PM. I insist on starting a half hour after the launch window opens because: Everyone was ready for 3 PM, there is no need to wait and we want to encourage pilots to start launching right away and not wait because they thin that they will be blown out of the 20 km start circle before the first start time, in fact, there is no way anyone is going to get to the start circle circumference by 4 PM because it is 20 km away, so I want the start time opened so that pilots can start whenever they get to the edge of the start circle, and finally we set 10 minute start intervals given all the winds.

Bo is off first in our line and I'm right behind him. Unfortunately at 600' the tow rope breaks (I've got a stronger weaklink) under only minimal pressure. This puts me to the back of the line. Not good.

No gaggles form over the paddock as most pilots are blown down wind in light lift. Bo gets to 7,000' over the tow paddock and Jon Durand, Sr. gets to over 7,500'. They are the exceptions.

I don't launch until 4:30 and there are still five or six guys yet to tow. I drift out of the paddock at 2,500' with the wind west at 40 kph.

I'm down to 900' AGL before I find some good lift that gets me to 5,000' at the edge of the start circle at 5 PM. This is a late day, and for the most part the lift is quite weak although on the first two thermals both inside the start circle it averages 300 fpm. It will average 150 fpm after that.

Even with the strong winds and gentle lift I'm really liking flying the Moyes Litespeed S 4.5. It seems very responsive in this air and I'm pushed out circling up in the lift when I find it. I'm relaxed, the glider feels stable, and I'm zooming fast over the ground. My average L/D will be 25:1, so you know the wind is blowing.

About forty kilometers out from the tow paddock I'll come in under three pilots including Steve Moyes. Tove will come and join me low and we'll work from 1,200' to 3,000' AGL in 200 fpm. The guys above us will just continue to stick in the thermal even when it gets very very light.

We'll go on glide from low without the other higher pilots and look for lift along the Sturt highway trying to stay away from the large rice operations with their wet fields. I zig zag about and finally find lift at 900' AGL again while Tove misses it to the right and lands. Steve Moyes is right near me and watches as I dig out from this hole. He and I are going up.

The cu nimbs have formed in a line off to our northeast. It looks like it is possible to make it to goal without getting in under the over development. I can see lightening under the area where it is raining, and a wall of dust stretching about 30 kilometers. The wind has switched with west northwest to southwest as we approach the storm. It feels like the cloud of dust is far enough away and stationary so that it won't bother us. The wind is so strong out here away from the storm that it is hard to imagine the storm doing anything but calming the winds.

I'll circle while drifting almost twelve kilometers getting to 3,400' AGL. Then it is an eighteen kilometer glide toward the wall of dust without a low save at the end, even though I find zero sink at 800' for about five kilometers.

I'll end up 48 kilometers out at sixteenth for the day. Steve Moyes who was just above me will get to within 41 kilometers. Kevin Carter will make goal (among the few) and Bo will go down 89 kilometers out from goal. Bo doesn't find any lift after getting high at the tow paddock. The same will happen to Diego Bussinger.

Some of the pilots who make goal well get nearer the storm cell and ride the air above the wall of dust. The winds die down in this area, but the air gets bumpy. Rohan Holtkamp will fly until 7:45 and get to within 25 kilometers of goal. Kraig Coomber will land 53 kilometers out.

Results from task four:

1

Hazlett Brett

Moyes Litespeed S4

Can

1:36:05

892

2

Pritchard Phil

Moyes Litespeed S4

Aus

1:51:47

846

3

Bares Radek

Aeros Combat

Cze

1:43:14

834

4

Bondarchuk Oleg

Aeros Combat 2 13

Ukr

1:52:15

825

5

Durand Jon Jnr.

Moyes Litespeed S4

Aus

1:52:20

820

6

Durand Jon Snr

Moyes Litespeed S4.5

Aus

1:49:06

808

7

Carter Kevin

Aeros Combat 2 13

Usa

2:08:36

761

Overall Results:

1

Hazlett Brett

Moyes Litespeed S4

Can

3602

2

Bondarchuk Oleg

Aeros Combat 2 13

Ukr

3474

3

Durand Jon Jnr.

Moyes Litespeed S4

Aus

3423

4

Holtkamp Rohan

Airborne Climax 13

Aus

3120

5

Bares Radek

Aeros Combat

Cze

3089

6

Durand Jon Snr

Moyes Litespeed S4.5

Aus

3087

7

Coomber Kraig

Moyes Litespeed S

Aus

3039

8

Moyes Steve

Moyes Litespeed S5

Aus

3018

9

Barthelmes Oliver

Moyes Litespeed S4

Deu

2875

10

Pritchard Phil

Moyes Litespeed S4

Aus

2847

Oliver Barthelmes «oliverbarthelmes» sends this picture of Belinda and I (that I think Carol took) in from of the Airborne Climax:

The 15th Annual Pre-Worlds 2004 - day six

Tue, Jan 20 2004, 5:00:00 pm GMT

aerotow|battens|Brett Hazlett|competition|Dave Seib|Dragonfly|Jon "Jonny" Durand jnr|Ken Brown|Moyes Litespeed|Moyes Litespeed S|Oliver "Olli" Barthelmes|photo|Pre-Worlds 2004|record|safety|tail|tow|variable geometry|weather

Results (thanks to Dave Seib) at:

http://www.moyes.com.au/preworlds2004/

Five days ago the forecast was for 30-35 kph northwest winds on this day, and slightly lighter winds tomorrow with the possibility of showers. I've been impressed with the weather modeling services provided to Len Baron who is handling the weather here, much as I do at the US meets.

I'm also impressed with Len's improved ability to forecast the weather. Having the fast internet connection and the fact that we get a local temperature trace and wind speed and direction at altitude when they send a Dragonfly up at 8 AM definitely helps. Len also has a whirling psychromiter to give us the wet and dry bulb temperatures in the tow paddock.

Today Len's thermometer recorded thirty six degrees dry bulb and nineteen wet bulb. The clouds to the east likewise told the news that cloudbase was 11,000'.

The winds were indeed quite strong, 20 to 30 kph out of the northwest in the tow paddock and, given the instability, dust devils would come through every so often and really stir everything up. My Moyes Litespeed S 4.5 was tied to a tree, tensioned and the wings horizontal, so it was easy to set up while the winds blew hard. There were plenty of lulls that provided for very launchable conditions.

Kraig and Jonny worked on my Litespeed S 4.5 last night and got the pulley back in shape. I also got Kraig to show we how to roll up the sail. I just need to start near the front and not at the tip, and that worked great.

A pilot writes:

Re your VG line jumping off the pulley. It has happened to me twice. First time your shaking method allowed marginal movement. Then I set it back on the pulley for next flight. Last summer though, it got totally squeezed inside of one of the pulleys that are deep in the upright.

Ken Brown sent me diagrams of the mechanism right away. I had to take the whole assembly out of the upright but freed it up. Now, when loosening VG I always remember to let it out slowly not with a mindless snap.

The pulley that got out of whack for me was the one on top of the keel by the pilot's hang point. I was conveniently located to allow Kraig to smash it back together. Everything seems to be working fine now.

Very few pilots were setting up and this is always a bad sign. Dave Seib was on the safety committee and all setup and ready to fly. But the other two safety committee members were not set up.

The task committee looked at the strong tail winds and decided to call a 301 kilometer task, to try to break the record set the day before of 242 kilometers (150 miles) as the longest task set and made in a major hang gliding competition. We could fly to Brown Bothers Winery, or to the Mt. Beauty airport, but to get 301 kilometers we needed to throw in a turnpoint and go to Holbrook, the town with the submarine.

The task was called, but the safety committee voted to call the day given the statement from Attila in the Dragonfly that the winds were 35 to 40 kph and the gusts up above were very strong. Attila and Dave will be among a number of pilots who later take off and try to fly 300 kilometers from Hay. I remember when Conrad flew from Hay to the Mt. Beauty airport (225 miles). He was up in the mountains but didn't feel good about flying over them.

Paul Rundell, the meet director, feels that the day was wasted by a bad call by the safety committee to not fly. He says, "This isn't Disneyland." I think he means Disneyworld, in Florida.

You'll notice that Brett Hazlett is in the lead with Oleg, now that he is feeling better, just behind him. On Tuesday, Brett was following Oleg as closely as he could to make sure that Oleg didn't gain more than a second on him. You've got to be good to follow Oleg, and Brett was being smart to follow the guy who has best chance of beating you.

Wednesday is the last day. The forecast is for thunderstorms.

The people and businesses in Hay have been great to us this year with many vouchers for dinners and other services. We are taking the car in for new shocks and an oil change thanks to the local Toyota dealer.

Oliver Barthelmes «oliverbarthelmes» sends this photo of the setup area in Hay for the aerotow guys. Notice that many pilots have staked their gliders into the ground and set them up into the wind. This works very well with gliders that can be tensioned and then the battens inserted:

The 15th Annual Pre-Worlds 2004 - day five, task three

Mon, Jan 19 2004, 5:00:00 pm GMT

Aeros Combat|Airborne Climax|Bo Hagewood|cart|cloud|cost|Dave Seib|gaggle|Jon "Jonny" Durand jnr|Kevin Carter|Moyes Litespeed|Oliver "Olli" Barthelmes|Pre-Worlds 2004|radio|tail|tow|variable geometry

Results (thanks to Dave Seib) at:

http://www.moyes.com.au/preworlds2004/

Attila says forget about getting dinner if he is on the task committee. With the winds 10-15 kph out of the north northeast, we call a 150 mile (242 kilometer) task south southwest to Victoria and the Bendigo gliding club. Everyone seems up for a long straight out task, so why not.

The last time we had a task like this and we made it to goal was at the previous preworlds when Mad Dog was the meet director and he wanted to average 100 mile tasks. The lift got me to 11,000' on that day under a beautiful cloud street, but today we are forecast to get to 7,000' and it will be blue.

Being on the task committee interferes with getting into the launch line but I weasel my way in and am off third. I'm thinking that maybe the earlier start clock is the go at 1:30 (first start clock) or 1:45. I'm rushing everything to get ready and actually input the task coordinates while I'm on the cart.

Grant pulls me into 900 fpm, but the other pilots around me in the start circle seem to have poor lift and nothing is really gelling yet. I launched at 1:15 and see a couple of pilots out by the start circle circumference at 1:30, but that seems like a thin crew to go with. With poor lift in the start circle after my first climb the pilots are bobbling up and down waiting for the next start time. A few more take the 1:45.

A group of pilots heads for the edge of the circle just before the 2 PM start time and they find a thermal that drift us outside the start circle, but not far enough that we can't get back and take the 2 PM start time. Another group of pilots including the fast guys will wait and go back for the 2:15.

I'm a bit low at the start, and with a radio that will not allow me to transmit, so I head south southeast to get near the highway to Denniliquin, which parallels the course line. There are ten or fifteen pilots in our group so it looks like I might have company. Jonny Durand has gone off my himself further upwind to the east of the highway.

With pilots out in front from the earlier start times and those who were higher at the start gate there are good markers heading down the highway. We're getting to 5,500' AGL and moving along at a good clip leaving the lift whenever it gets a bit weaker.

I'm noticing that I can't easily adjust the Litespeed VG. It has been hard before, but now I have to shake the glider to get the VG off. I also have to pull the cord across my body with my left arm to get the VG to go to a little past half way. I'm wondering what the problem is as I decide to keep the VG on at about half way and try not to mess with it.

At 80 km from the start the highway does a bit of a jog to the south east and I head out on my own over the dirt roads to the southwest paralleling the course. Yesterday I left my buddies to my great regret. On that day I already had 15 minutes on them, and if I had just stayed with Lenny I would have either won the day or come in second. The difference is that on that day I was acting on pride thinking that these guys were too slow for the likes of me. Today, it just seems like the lift is good and I'm moving in the right direction.

I'm crossing the creek six kilometers west of Waganella, and just getting light lift as I glide south southwest. It's not enough to turn in, but it's great just to be in lift while gliding. Makes me feel good about my decision to go off on my own. Jonny Durand is to my east also on his own. No fast guys to go with him.

As I glide in the lift I hit a strong core and climb to 7,000' in the best thermal of the day so far. After that invigorating climb I'll go on a 20 kilometer glide and start searching seriously for lift at 3,000' AGL. The Edwards River is up ahead and that means trees along the river. I know that I have to find lift before I cross the trees not because I won't be able to make it over the trees, but because I won't be able to concentrate on finding lift if I also have to think about crossing the trees low.

I am searching and searching finding small bits at 1,500' and heading toward some paddocks that extend further south before the tree line hoping to extend my search before coming to the trees. I circle low in broken loft always searching when I'm finally in the last paddock before the trees and I find lift at 700'. Without a working radio, I've got to make it to goal.

I saw some pilots behind me when I first climbed out to 7,000'. Now after my low save I see three of them to my west more on the course line. I come in under them and the lift is decent to almost 7,000'. I've been on the course for over two hours now and am averaging about 55 kph.

Up ahead I can see the trees that mark the Murray River and that is the line that we cross to get from New South Wales into Victoria. The trees are to our right, west, and in some place they must be 5 kilometers across or more. Further south they appear to be thinner, and that's where I'm heading.

I can hear Bo Hagewood and Kevin Carter on the radio 15 to 20 kilometers behind me. Kevin also started at 2, but Bo took the 2:15. Bo is near the fast guys who took the 2:15 clock. It looks like in spite of my low save I'm progressing along well enough.

As I approach the trees from the east, I can see a few other pilots who are also heading south near the tree line heading for the thin spot to get over them. I come in over a red plowed field and climb out to 7,000' again. Nick, from Switzerland, and another pilot will come in a few thousand feet under me and I get high a few kilometers before the trees.

There is a small gaggle a few thousand feet below me as I head out over the trees. It looks like the fast guys are about 10 kilometers behind and I'm high and on my own. I find a good thermal in the brown fields just on the other side of the river so at 75 kilometers out from goal at 5:15 and right on the course line it looks good for getting there.

A couple of pilots come in under me but too far below me as I climb in this thermal to 6,000', so I'm on my own again going to goal. It will remain that way.

I head off to the west a bit to get over some red plowed fields as I get low and have to search again at 1,500'. I see a few little wisps of dust devils over the field, which is a good reason to go to such a field that can display the lift, drive upwind to them and climb out.

I'll have to repeat that little maneuver one more time to stay up. Meanwhile to my east the fast guys will be finding better lift and catching me as I grovel low in search more over the red fields. Bo and Kevin will be flying together and with the fast guys.

It's a slow climb out 24 kilometers from goal to 5,000', but then it looks like I can go on final glide. It's after six o'clock and I'm looking at a 15 kph tail wind, with buoyant late day air over open fields. There is some sink heading for goal, but at 15:1 L/D required to make it, I can float along until I get close and then dive in.

The last two slow climbs cost me the chance to get in early. Jonny Durand flew the whole flight on his own and won the day. Gerolf landed early.

My average L/D over the flight was 17:1, so you know that the tail wind was a big help.

On landing at goal, I had Jonny look at the glider to see what was wrong with the VG. There was a rope that had jumped out of the pulley and was jammed between the pulley and the clamp holding the pulley.

When I was setting up net to Jonny in the morning at the tow paddock. I had mentioned to him how the Climax VG was much more user friendly, easier to pull, less rope. He stated that that was fine, but he had heard that Rohan had had a problem with the rope jumping from the pulley, so there were problems with the Climax VG, implying that there weren't with the Litespeed VG.

I guess God heard him and punished me by having my rope jump off the VG and then having Jonny find it. I spoke with Rohan at goal and he said that it did happen to him once on the Climax in Brazil and that it was on a prototype setup. Kraig and Jonny were very helpful and took that glider to be fixed. Again, I found something that no one had found before. I'm wonder now if this has been my problem with the VG being hard to pull (part of it being user unfriendly) all along.

Task 3:

1

Durand Jon Jnr.

Moyes Litespeed S4

Aus

14:00:00

18:00:48

4:00:48

977

2

Bondarchuk Oleg

Aeros Combat 2 13

Ukr

14:15:00

18:15:07

4:00:07

961

3

Hazlett Brett

Moyes Litespeed S4

Can

14:15:00

18:15:08

4:00:08

955

4

Coomber Kraig

Moyes Litespeed S

Aus

14:15:00

18:15:24

4:00:24

945

5

Bader Lucas

Moyes Litespeed S

Deu

14:15:00

18:15:32

4:00:32

939

5

Hagewood Bo

Aeros Combat Ii 150

Usa

14:15:00

18:15:32

4:00:32

939

7

Barthelmes Oliver

Moyes Litespeed S4

Deu

14:15:00

18:15:39

4:00:39

930

8

Bosman Mart

Moyes Litespeed

Nld

14:15:00

18:15:40

4:00:40

927

9

Hideaki Nagamitsu

Moyes Litespeed 4

Jpn

14:15:00

18:15:56

4:00:56

918

10

Bares Radek

Aeros Combat

Cze

14:15:00

18:16:03

4:01:03

912

Totals after three days:

1

Hazlett Brett

Moyes Litespeed S4

Can

2804

2

Bondarchuk Oleg

Aeros Combat 2 13

Ukr

2745

3

Durand Jon Jnr.

Moyes Litespeed S4

Aus

2696

4

Coomber Kraig

Moyes Litespeed S

Aus

2665

5

Holtkamp Rohan

Airborne Climax 13

Aus

2609

6

Moyes Steve

Moyes Litespeed S5

Aus

2535

7

Barthelmes Oliver

Moyes Litespeed S4

Deu

2428

8

Bares Radek

Aeros Combat

Cze

2332

9

Durand Jon Snr

Moyes Litespeed S4.5

Aus

2328

10

Orgler Andreas

Moyes Litespeed S

Aut

2238

Oliver Barthelmes «oliverbarthelmes» sends in this shot of a tow in the dust at Hay:

The 15th Annual Pre-Worlds 2004 - day four, task two

Sun, Jan 18 2004, 5:00:00 pm GMT

Aeros Combat|Airborne Climax|Dave Seib|gaggle|Len Paton|Moyes Litespeed|Oliver "Olli" Barthelmes|Pre-Worlds 2004|tow|Worlds 2023

Results (thanks to Dave Seib) at:

http://www.moyes.com.au/preworlds2004/

The winds die down to 20 kph out of the south with gusts to 30 kph. The winds higher up are lighter so there is a chance that the winds will die down further. We call a 182 kilometer task to the north to the airport an Ivanhoe, a favorite spot with a turnpoint at Booligal.

The lift is forecast to be good, but stop at 6,000' for a blue day. Given the long task, I'm up for leaving at the third clock at 2 PM hoping to get to Ivanhoe at 5 PM (assuming a 60 kph average). I'm able to get in line a little early and get pulled up third. Bo is at the back of the line, and Kevin gets up at the same time I do in the Moyes line. The fast guys are waiting for a later start.

There is good lift in the tow paddock, but the launches are slow and with the wind there are few gaggles. The early guys gaggle up and head for the the start circle circumference 15 k away. Some of us head back to wait out the fast guys on the ground.

Not much is happening over the tow paddock and I begin to wonder if the fast guys are ever going to tow or gaggle up. I drift out to the start circle and get the 2 PM clock following the early guys by fifteen minutes hoping to use them as markers.

It's a slow go at first in the no man's territory going to Booligal, the first turnpoint. Everyone is happy to be together to get up to 4,000'. I'm thinking that we've got to get going as fast as possible. The fast guys have got to be up over the tow paddock by now.

Ten kilometers out from Booligal I catch Len Paton and Ilan Sallm and the lift is improving as we head into the turnpoint. Now I've got a bad attitude. I just want to fly as fast as possible and I'm thinking that these guys are going to slow me down.

I just can't see them as my friends and after taking the turnpoint I head out on my own in front away from the road and toward the goal. I've been right here before and I'm happy to go over this territory to hook up with the road later.

As I climb up Lenny comes in under me but when we again get back up to 4,000' AGL, he heads back a bit to get over some of the other pilots climbing up below us and I head on toward goal.

It's 120 kilometers from Booligal to Ivanhoe, and we are moving along at 100 kph when we are on glide. It's dangerous out here alone in front, but I'm feeling that the lift has turned on.

I'm down to 1,800' 90 kilometers from goal and climbing good when Len and Ilan come in over me and I climb up to them at over 5,000' AGL.

We head out with Len in the lead. We've left all the other early pilots behind, and it's a question of just how fast we can go. We keep hitting lift and staying high spread out and searching.

Len stops for 200 fpm, but I press on in front for better and fly all the way to the ground. Len and Ilan stay up and soon pass over my head 60 kilometers out.

Ilan will land 3 kilometers from goal and Len will find just enough to make it in. A pilot that we left behind will find better lift and get into goal first.

The fast guys will come in over my head in one gaggle of twelve pilots about a half hour after I land. They'll make goal as will a good bunch of folks.

Results:

Task two:

1

Heinrichs Gerolf

Moyes Litespeed S4

Aut

14:30:00

17:29:36

2:59:36

911

2

Orgler Andreas

Moyes Litespeed S

Aut

13:45:00

17:03:25

3:18:25

867

3

Bondarchuk Oleg

Aeros Combat 2 13

Ukr

14:30:00

17:32:50

3:02:50

858

4

Keijzer Koos De

Icaro Laminar Mr 14

Nld

13:45:00

17:04:59

3:19:59

855

5

Hazlett Brett

Moyes Litespeed S4

Can

14:30:00

17:33:31

3:03:31

849

6

Barthelmes Oliver

Moyes Litespeed S4

Deu

14:30:00

17:34:57

3:04:57

832

7

Durand Jon Jnr.

Moyes Litespeed S4

Aus

14:30:00

17:35:53

3:05:53

823

8

Moyes Steve

Moyes Litespeed S5

Aus

14:30:00

17:36:39

3:06:39

815

9

Seib David

Moyes Litespeed S5

Aus

14:30:00

17:37:20

3:07:20

808

10

Paton Len

Moyes Litespeed S4

Aus

13:45:00

17:15:16

3:30:16

807

1

Hazlett Brett

Moyes Litespeed S4

Can

1850

2

Bondarchuk Oleg

Aeros Combat 2 13

Ukr

1786

3

Durand Jon Jnr.

Moyes Litespeed S4

Aus

1722

4

Coomber Kraig

Moyes Litespeed S

Aus

1722

5

Moyes Steve

Moyes Litespeed S5

Aus

1703

6

Holtkamp Rohan

Airborne Climax 13

Aus

1702

7

Bussinger Diego

Moyes Litespeed S

Che

1528

8

Keijzer Koos De

Icaro Laminar Mr 14

Nld

1510

9

Barthelmes Oliver

Moyes Litespeed S4

Deu

1504

10

Durand Jon Snr

Aus

1491


Oliver Barthelmes «oliverbarthelmes» sends this collage of shots from Hay:

Chad Elchin »

Fri, Apr 11 2003, 12:00:04 pm EDT

accident|aerotow|Chad Elchin|Dragonfly|fatality|flight park|Highland Aerosports Flight Park|instruction|record|school|sport|tandem|tow|towing|ultralite|USHGA|world record

https://OzReport.com/Ozv5n135.htm

G W Meadows «gw» writes:

I would like to take a moment to introduce you to a great person who died today. Chad Elchin started hang gliding at Kitty Hawk Kites about 12 years ago. He was originally from Pennsylvania. During his time at Kitty Hawk Kites, Chad became quite the hang glider pilot. He could often be seen out soaring the dunes or towing up from the flight park. During his tenure there, Chad achieved his instructor rating as well as his tandem instructor rating and managed the flight park for a year.

It was at KHK, that Chad met Sunny, another tandem instructor and fellow Pennsylvanian. The two of them together, decided to start a flight park. After much searching for the right location, they settled outside of Baltimore - on the 'eastern shore' of Maryland. Ridgely Maryland became the home for "Highland Aerosports". This was about 5 years ago.

Since starting the business and living on a 'shoestring' due to the nature of hang gliding schools in general, the guys grew the business until they had two Draggonfly's and had just purchased a FlightStar for 'side by side' ultralight instruction. These guys tried very hard to reinvest into the hang gliding community every way they could. They produced dozens of hang glider pilots and supplied not only product but friendship to the pilots in the area.

At this moment, Sunny must truly be wondering how he can go on without his partner. I can tell you that running a hang gliding business is a 'high wire act' of cash flow management.

It is for this reason, that I have opened a 'Chad Elchin Fund' for the hang gliding community to donate to this much needed flight park. Today, a great guy passed. Chad was a fellow who you could always depend on to be there for you. No questions asked - you needed him - he was there for you. During his accident, a $40,000 tow plane - specifically purchased for towing up tandem instructional flights was destroyed, so now not only has a major partner in the business died, but also one of the most important tools of the trade has also been rendered unusable.

We have way too few people teaching hang gliding as it is in the U.S. I am asking that we rally around Highland Aerosports and Sunny, Adam (Chad's brother) as well as the other people who have dedicated their recent lives to show the masses the beauty of our sport.

Sunny does not know that I have decided to do this and he is not asking for money. I am just intimately familiar with this (and other) hang gliding schools and I know that catastrophes like this can put them under. We need this hang gliding school to survive.

Please donate what you can to:

The Chad Elchin Fund

This paypal account: «chadfund» or

By Mail: Chad Elchin Fund attn: June Livesay BB&T (Branch Bank and Trust) North Croatan Highway Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina 27948

100% of the money raised here will go to paying the bills directly associated with this flight park. Please donate what you can.

We have lost a truly great person today.

Chad Elchin has been teaching for 10 years. He holds USHGA Advanced Pilot, Advanced Instructor & Tandem Instructor ratings along with the United States Ultralight Association Basic Flight Instructor rating. Chad is also a Tandem Administrator and Aerotow administrator for the USHGA. He has taught over 3,000 tandem lessons and towed more than 5,000 gliders in the Dragonfly. Chad is the world record holder for consecutive loops in a hang glider - 95 loops from 16,000 feet!

(editor's note: By passing the hat we raised $2,400 here at the meet.)

Discuss "Chad Elchin" at the Oz Report forum   link»  

It is so beautiful

Fri, Dec 27 2002, 4:00:01 pm GMT

cloud|gear|helmet|Tascha "Tish the Flying Fish" McLellan|tow|trike|tug

After a day of organizing gear and helping folks put their new tails on their gliders, etc. We get out to the Conargo tow paddock at a quarter to six in the evening. There are the remains of cummies at 10,000’ over the field but we are just at the edge of the cumulus development that predominates to the east. It is blue from Deniliquin to the west side of the paddock.

Daveo from Airborne is trike towing and Conrad and Tish are truck towing next to us. Pilots had been getting off and up starting at about 3 PM in air that was a bit rough down low, but smoothed up to cloud base starting a bit higher than 2,000’ AGL.

After setting up our ATOSes we get off at around 6:30 PM. I had forgotten how much easier it is to tow a rigid wing behind a trike compared to a high performance flex wing. No longer do I have to stuff the bar. I just relax and follow the tug up.

I pin off at 1,500’ in light lift and start circling in the sweetest air that there is. I’m only using a Brauninger IQ/Sonic, audible only vario, that is attached to my helmet. I rarely fly with other instruments unless competing. So I don’t know the rate of climb, but Johann will tell me later that I decide to leave the lift at 6,000’ AGL as we have to get down in time to go to the pilot’s meeting.

The air is so nice and the lift is so much fun that it just makes me feel great about hang gliding. I love these late flights in the flat lands when the air turns so smooth and the lift is so friendly.

I’m back where I want to be in Australia. In the interior. In the flats, away from the coast. In an evening with the sun getting low and the quiet surrounding me.

We saw a family of Emu’s in the tow paddock as we came in and they were still there when we left to go back to Deniliquin as the sun was about to set.

Tomorrow the Australian Open begins.

Discuss "It is so beautiful" at the Oz Report forum   link»  

Flytec Championship – I think we are having fun yet »

Wed, Apr 24 2002, 9:00:00 pm GMT

A.I.R. ATOS|Aeros Combat|Aeros Combat 2|Aeros Ltd|Andy Hollidge|Chris Arai|Christian Ciech|cloud|comic|competition|Curt Warren|Dave Glover|Dragonfly|Flytec Championships 2002|Flytec Championships 2005|gaggle|Moyes Delta Gliders|Moyes Litespeed|Nene Rotor|Quest Air|Robert Reisinger|tow|tug|weaklink|weather|Wills Wing Talon

Many pilots were excited about the short task yesterday and getting to goal for the first time. This really upped the mood of the competitors and brought everyone one into the fold. The new guys wanted to be included also.

I wrote a while back about Tove’s meet in Deniliquin and how she organized it so that it encouraged new pilots to join in competition. No one has taken her example and run with it yet, but maybe we’ll see more of that. We on the task committee have to set tasks for the major racers, so it would be nice to have a meet where we could see tasks for the great middle of the field.

Did I say that we were having fun yet? Seems like the competitors are really liking the tasks and enjoying the facilities here at Quest Air. Good weather helps, of course, and Floridais doing its best to makes us all happy.

There is a lot going on at Quest in addition to the meet. A new turbine Dragonfly flew tonight, so that’s bringing a lot of excitement to all the motor heads. With so many Dragonflies and trikes here, not only do we get in the air in a real big hurry, but all the tug pilots get to talk to one another and encourage each other.

With an east northeast wind prediction and difficulty forecasting the lift, we call a straight run, 68 miles, out to the WillistonAirportto the north, northwest. We want folks to see a little bit of Florida, if they happen to look down at all. A little cross country flying wouldn’t hurt either.

There is a strong east wind on the ground, and in the air (I’ll measure 60° at 14 mph throughout the flight), so launches prove to be a bit tricky. I’ll break two weak links, which will start me off in a fine mood, nervous as possible.

With the high pressure and shearing winds, the lift above Quest is quite a handful. I’m getting tossed around something fierce and frankly I’m totally terrified. I’m thinking of landing, but the competition spirit keeps me in the air.

We’re waiting for the 2:15 PMstart time, and even with my late start because of the multiple weaklink breaks due to the action at tree top level, I’ve plenty of time to get to cloud base. Russell takes me up on the third tow and it is as smooth as can be. He deposits me under a small cloud that is working at 200 fpm, and I much appreciate it.

All the rigids were out near the start circle circumference, but they come back to join me as we wait until the last start time. I assume that they are thinking like me that we want the full heating of the day to fly our reasonably short task in.

I’m at cloud base at a little over 5,000’ and given that we are all back a mile and a half from the start circle circumference I decide to leave in time to make it there as the start time starts. Seems like some other pilots want to keep working to stay out of the clouds close to Quest.

There are lots of high clouds, and thin cu’s with cloud base at 5,000’ out in front of us. There is very little development today in the clouds, but they are numerous. They are mostly just wisps.

I go on an eight mile glide to 2,300’ and find some lift with a few other pilots under very marginal clouds. It’s 400 fpm back to 4,700’ so I’m happy to be high. I guess I only need to say this once more here. I’ll be terrified for about 75% of the flight. I experience it has very turbulent, and I can’t help thinking that the glider to going to go over at any minute. Other pilots will mention how turbulent it was.

There are flex wings who’ve taken the 2 PM start gate out in front of us, along with a couple of rigid wing pilots who also took the earlier start time. I’m falling behind as I keep leaving uncomfortable lift, and hoping to find lighter, but more comfortable climbs.

At around Wildwood I start chasing the lead gaggle – a gaggle of mixed rigids and flex wings. They are moving very fast, racing from thermal to thermal, but I’ve got the advantage that I’m following and can see where they find lift.

There is a tough stretch right around Wildwood as we head toward I-75, then things start to improve and folks get more and more into the racing mode. I’m still way behind many of the other rigids, and the top flex wings are spread all around. We’ve probably got 20 to 30 pilots in the front of this race, within two miles of each other.

Southwest of Ocalawe get under a cloud street that lasts for maybe 3 or 4 miles, and I’m somehow able to catch up with the top few pilots. We al decide to go on glide from over 5,000’ and this will turn into a ten mile glide down to 1,700 until a flex wing pilot way to my right is the first to find the lift. For the first time during the flight I’m happy to be in a thermal because it is completely smooth and takes us back to over 5,000’.

At 15 miles out my IQ/Comp is telling me to go on final. I’ve got it at 15/1. I head out, but find a small gaggle to my left that is climbing well, and make the mistake to go join them. I really didn’t need the lift and this would have been my opportunity to pass Christian and just go into goal.

The last twelve miles in are full race mode. I can see Andy Hollidge in his Top Secret way in front of me and higher, but I’m pulling in much more than he and catching him. There is little chance to go down before goal, so the only reason to slow down is to absorb the bumps from all the lift we are flying through. Andy can’t pull in any more, so he’s at a big disadvantage.

Christian Ciech is just in front of me, and there is no catching him. I’m surrounded by (but soon they are below and a little bit in front of me) Nene Rotor and Chris Arai (who took the 2 PM start time) and Robert Reisinger and Joseph Zweckmayr who took that last start clock. The first four flexies get in just a few seconds before I cross the goal, second for the day. Curt Warren started much early and came in between Manfred and Brian.

Class 2:

1 Ciech, Christian, 47 Icaro Stratos Ita 14:15:00 16:16:23 02:01:23 906
2 Straub, Davis, 50 Air Atos C Usa 14:15:00 16:17:16 02:02:16 875
3 Barmakian, Bruce, 17 Air Atos Usa 14:15:00 16:19:12 02:04:12 841
4 Posch, Johann, 112 Air Atos Aut 14:15:00 16:19:56 02:04:56 826
5 Biesel, Heiner, 101 Air Atos Usa 14:00:00 16:12:01 02:12:01 822

Class 1:

1 Reisinger, Robert, 72 Wills Wing Talon Aut 14:15:00 16:17:06 02:02:06 909
2 Zweckmayr, Josef, 18 Icaro Laminar Aut 14:15:00 16:17:07 02:02:07 903
3 Rossignol, Jerz, 6 Aeros Combat 2 Usa 14:15:00 16:19:05 02:04:05 856
4 Williams, Paris , 1 Icaro MR700WRE Usa 14:15:00 16:19:33 02:04:33 841
5 Bondarchuk, Oleg, 107 Aeros Combat 2 13 Ukr 14:15:00 16:20:12 02:05:12 830
6 Warren, Curt, 73 Moyes Litespeed Usa 13:45:00 16:04:17 02:19:17 821
7 Hamilton, Robin, 30 Icaro Laminar Gbr 14:15:00 16:23:07 02:08:07 800
8 Rotor, Nene, 77 Wills Wing Talon Col 14:00:00 16:16:57 02:16:57 799
9 Arai, Chris, 57 Wills Wing Talon Usa 14:00:00 16:16:58 02:16:58 795
10 Wolf, Andre, 117 Moyes Litespeed Bra 14:00:00 16:17:16 02:17:16 782

Manfred made the task in an hour and a half. Brian in an hour and fifty minutes. Manfred leads overall.

Christian Ciech has to fall down for anyone to catch him in Class 5.

Cumulative in Class 1:

1 Bondarchuk, Oleg, 107 Aeros Combat 2 13 Ukr 3498
2 Williams, Paris , 1 Icaro MR700WRE Usa 3443
3 Hamilton, Robin, 30 Icaro Laminar Gbr 3333
4 Hazlett, Brett, 90 Moyes Litespeed Can 3250
5 Wolf, Andre, 117 Moyes Litespeed Bra 3244
6 Warren, Curt, 73 Moyes Litespeed Usa 3238
7 Reisinger, Robert, 72 Wills Wing Talon Aut 3223
8 Wirdnam, Gary , 39 Aeros Combat 2 Gbr 3195
9 Olsson, Andreas, 27 Moyes Litespeed Swe 3179
10 Zweckmayr, Josef, 18 Icaro Laminar Aut 3062

Preliminary results are up on the www.flytec.com web site. Dave Glover had them up by about 10:30 PM. This is the fastest I can recall the results going up on the web in a major competition.

213 miles in a flex wing

Mon, May 22 2000, 9:30:00 am GMT

airspace|Arlan Birkett|Bright Star Millennium|cloud|competition|dust devil|Greg Dinauer|Hang Glide Chicago|Jim Lamb|Larry Bunner|Pete Lehmann|record|tow|tug|XC

Larry Bunner, «LBunner», writes:

I really enjoy reading about the long flights in Florida, but I’ve got to tell you that a part of me was in turmoil when Mark P. and then Davis reset the East Coast Distance record this spring. Way back in 1988, I was fortunate to fly my Sensor B model in epic XC conditions 176 miles in 5 ½ hours. This record stood for 10 years before Pete Lehmann broke it in 1998 with a 182-mile flight.

At the beginning of each year since ‘88, I have set my goal to be the first to fly over 200 miles east of the Mississippi River. Little did I think it would take someone over a decade to accomplish this and you can understand my disappointment when it wasn’t me.

Complicating matters this year, a new position with my company has significantly reduced the opportunities to fly. I have now become a weekend pilot and have to choose which of the two days looks best, as family commitments are a priority also. As a result, my airtime is way down (~12 hours) and with the Midwest XC Championships scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, I elected to take vacation the week before to prepare for the competition.

I do most of my flying now at the Hang Glide Chicago aero park in Leland, Illinois. Arlan Birkett has one Kolb tug and another under construction. The site is located about 50 miles southwest of Chicago and is situated ideally for XC flying in the Midwest.

The only obstructions to long distances to the south and east are the controlled air space over Champaign, IL, Lafayette and Indianapolis, IN. There are no mountains to cross nor forests to fly over just flat ground as far as the eye can see. Many flights over 100 miles have started in this area and it was only 20 miles from here that my XC flight began so long ago.

On Wednesday May 24th, I went through my preflight ritual; checked the grass for dew on the way to get the paper, got on the Internet to check the soaring forecast and called Flight Service for the Chicago area soaring forecast. All indicators looked good, the grass was dry and the forecasts predicted excellent lift and strong winds. Winds at the top of the lift were predicted to be ~40 mph (how’s that for push!).

Editor's note: Jim Lamb reports:

"Winds were WSW from 20 on the ground to 38 Knots at 8,000 (not much rotation at upper levels) and increasing during the day. Height of the -3 was above 9,000' in many areas."

In my logbook last year I had noted several times to get to the park earlier. Often the cu’s would be forming well before noon and I would still be on the road. The night before, my better half sensed a flying day was on the horizon and put together a list of things to do around the house. Being short sighted, I finished them that night not realizing that after I went to bed she developed a new list. When I got up in the morning, I still had work to do! Enough excuses, I didn’t get to Leland until after 10:30 and wasn’t on the flight line ready to tow until 11:50. Needless to say those cu’s were forming again around 11:00 (Davis could teach me a few things on maximizing the front end of the day).

The winds at launch were blowing from the NW at 10-20 mph as we took off. The tug did not climb very well as we were almost 2 miles upwind before releasing at 1400’. I flew upwind in my Stealth 151 KPL to get some more maneuvering room before I had to decide to leave the park area. A ratty thermal took me to 2500’ and quickly back to the airport. I left this in favor of a developing cu to the southwest of the field and was soon in scramble mode down to 600’ under the cloud shadow. I was going to find this thermal or go down trying.

Luckily enough (and very lucky it was as you will soon find out) I caught a smooth core at 300 fpm that turned into 600 fpm by the time I topped out over 6000’ almost 20 miles away near Morris, IL.

Back at launch, Greg Dinauer towed his Millennium to 2000’ and released in good lift to head on his way. Unfortunately, on the ground Warren Seipman was last to tow and by the time the tug landed, the winds had picked up considerably, gusting over 30 mph. Arlan could not get the tug to taxi downwind without lifting a wing and Warren was having trouble in the dolly. Arlan called it a day. Man, am I glad I went for the cloud.

Greg and I were using business band channel 2 however I could not transmit. I heard him fine for about an hour and then my batteries went dead. I changed to both spares and they were dead too. I guess that after 6 years they had exceeded their lifetime. I fly best when alone anyway so it was no big loss for me; actually one less distraction to worry about.

Small cumuli were forming in streets to the north and east. I was in a good line but there were no clouds to the south. The next few thermals took me to 7500’ still well below cloudbase but the lift seemed to peter out so I headed downwind crossing interstate 55 and then 57. I set up my Tangent ‘next climb’ to 650 fpm and tailwind at 24 mph and began using the speed to fly in earnest.

The next two thermals took me to ~8500’ (later we estimated cloudbase to be well over 9000’) in the strongest lift (>1400 fpm) I have encountered in the Midwest. The subsequent glides took me into Indiana over highway 41 and interstate 65. The going had been fairly easy to this point, I stayed above 5000’ with no trouble.

I wanted to check my distance so far and was very surprised to see that I was at the 100-mile mark and it was only 2:30! If I could just stay in the air, there was enough push that the site record of 144 miles and Region 7 and state record of 177 miles would soon fall.

As often happens though the conditions began to deteriorate. High cirrus from some distant storm to the west was moving in my direction faster than I was able to fly. I could see the shadows coming from a long way off and I had to pick a line to keep me in the sunshine. The lift was still good (~600 fpm), however the cu’s began to dissipate and soon the glides between lift sources became much more extended.

I was now getting down to 4000’ before finding lift but was still getting over 7000’. My philosophy has always been that he who stays in the air the longest usually goes the farthest so at this point I changed gears a bit and set my ‘next climb’ back to 350 fpm and tailwind at 18 mph to be a little more conservative.

At 4:00, I reluctantly grabbed my cell phone with a death grip and dialed Hang Glide Chicago to report my status as I was beginning to worry about the long retrieve. I couldn’t hear anyone on the other end because of the wind noise but reported that I was over 6000’ at the 164 mile mark. Arlan heard me; he and Warren headed out to Indiana.

Greg meanwhile had hit the same high cloud cover and glided into a big blue hole landing near Fort Wayne, Indiana for a 177 mile flight breaking the long standing Region 7 record. I entered the same blue hole and descended below 4000’ for the first time.

Long in the distance I could see a good line of cu’s and thought if I could only get to them, Ohio would certainly be within reach. I had several good climbs back above 6000’ and was still gliding well. I had visions of entering Ohio and breaking off a really long flight, when I found myself below 3000’ and then 2000’. The cu’s were just ahead of me as I scratched and clawed to stay airborne.

From 1500’ I latched onto a small patch of lift that pushed me eastward and slowly upward to 2200’. Searching and gliding, I bubbled along for a ½ hour before finally succumbing to the forces of gravity and landed north of Bryant, Indiana just 8 miles short of the Ohio border. Total distance was 213 miles in a little under 5 ½ hours. Whooeee!!! I am back in the saddle again!

As I walked the glider out of the field, a small cu formed above my head. A line of three nicely shaped cu’s pointed the way into Ohio. You do the math and figure what could have been.

I’ve had two days to critique the flight and although I flew fairly well, I did make several errors, which cost me miles. The most glaring was the start time. I kick myself again for not getting in the air by 11:00. I should have set the tailwind in the Tangent to 35 mph for the better part of the day.

In one thermal, I left good lift at 7500’ to fly upwind to a better looking cloud (what a waste of time. Duh!) only to get about what I left. The next was leaving 400 fpm at 7000’ to fly south to a dust devil ripping across the field. I lost 1000’ and never did hit lift. In retrospect I was probably in the lift from the dust devil as it snaked up to where I had been climbing.

All in all it was one awesome day. It certainly shows the incredible potential we have here in the flatlands. I only hope that I don’t have to wait another 12 years to better it again.

Ceara XC

Sat, Jan 29 2000, 11:00:01 pm GMT

Aaron Swepston|aerobatics|Betinho Schmitz|certification|Chico Santos|CIVL|CIVL Ranking|competition|equipment|Gianni Hotz|glide ratio|Icaro 2000|internet|Joel Rebbechi|Josef "Zwecki" Zweckmayr|landing|Oz Report|PG|picture|record|safety|sport|spot landing|tow|trike|weather|XC

s Rumors

Gianni Hotz at Icaro 2000, «staff», asked me to publish this issue of Manfred's Rumors in the Oz Report. If you looks at Manfred's comments below about the world pilot ranking system, I think you'll understand why.

Competitions Summary

High Level

It was held in Rio de Janeiro at the São Conrado beach, there were 48 pilots in total, some foreign pilots (approx. 6) and 4 women. The competition consists of man-to-man flights and then landing on the beach. There are two possibilities, depending on the weather conditions; every task is worth 1,000 points.

The idea is that two pilots, starting together, fly around a small course with some (3-4) turnpoints; the fastest pilot gets 900 points. The remaining 100 points are awarded for landing precision (spot landing) and manner (no crashes allowed, not even small ones!). If during the task the weather conditions are not good enough for you to complete the course whoever flies the furthest down the course or whoever is able to stay up for, exactly, 40 minutes gets the 900 points. If both pilots are very close, either in the racing or duration flight, it will be the 100 points available for landing which will allow you to win.

A set of rules have been specifically written for this competition, that makes it possible for the pilots to decide after take off, the best strategy to use. Of course this also means there is the risk of making the wrong decision and blow up your chances of winning. For instance, if you reach the second turnpoint in 30 minutes and there are still 2 more to go and the conditions are not good and getting worse, you may decide to fly back to the landing area and land in time to complete the 40 minutes.

Well, it can be the right choice if your contender does not fly past the second turnpoint and flies longer, or less, than 40 minutes…but if you land and he reaches the third turnpoint or finishes the course, well, then not even the 100 points for landing will help you much!

It is quite complicated and it took us a while to understand, I hope you got the picture. Unfortunately, the weather was not great and often we flew half-way down the course and then decided to make it a duration flight; only on the last day, for the final and semi-final rounds, we had good weather and were able to complete the set courses.

I came in first, second was Beto Schmitz and third Tomas Suchaneck after flying against one another on the final round. Tomas said this would be his last competition with a hang glider, I was sorry to hear this because he is a great sportsman plus can still be a very strong rival in competition, with the right equipment and motivation. I hope to still have several occasions to fly, against or with him, somewhere.

Aaron Swepston was in Rio to attempt breaking last year’s record of 76 consecutive loops by an American known as “Mad Mitch”; unluckily the organization was not able to engage an experienced pilot with a powerful trike who could tow Aaron up to the required height. He did fly some aerobatics, though. There were a lot of spectators on the beach and there was a lot of media coverage, it was a good competition to get sponsors interested in the sport. I really enjoy this competition a lot and hope to go back for it later on this year!

It started 2 days after the end of the High Level comp. We took a plane to Ceara (a region approx. 3,000 km N from Rio and about 3 driving hours from Fortaleza, a very dry area).

There were 50 pilots, half of these were paragliders, 2 rigid wings and the rest were ‘good old’ hang gliders. The paragliders flew open distance every day and we had race-to-goal, without turnpoints, tasks between 70 and 215 km long.

It was mostly flatland flying with some hills and small mountains. Conditions were great with SE winds and good thermals (between 3-7 m/s). I heard, though, that conditions should be even better during September/October; but the wind would be too strong for the paragliders to take off, during the competition a couple of days were on the limit for them.

This is an excellent area for hang gliding, we had excellent flying., I am sure that on two out of the 5 days, if we would have been allowed to fly an open distance with an early take off time, a +/- 400 km flight could have been possible!

During the competition take off was between 12:00 and 13:00, hang gliders starting after the paragliders (open distance), and start time was the same for every hang glider pilot (first pilot in goal was automatically the winner). I found this a very good setting because it avoided the ‘hanging around’ strategy of waiting on or over take off, even by good flying conditions; but this was only possible because there were not too many competitors.

There were 2 tasks of 180 km, one of 215, another one of 120 and, on the last day, one of 70 km. On the long tasks the average speed of the winner was always over 60 km/h and the fastest one overall of 75 km/h. There was a 100$ price per task for the winner and 50$ for the second place; I earned (ha!) 450$ and Joel Rebbechi 350$ he won one task, came in second in 3 tasks and third on the last one.

I was impressed by the fact that, sometimes, we would take off and fly together on the very beginning; but then we would each take our own direction ending up flying the whole course on our own and only meeting again in goal. On the 215 km task, each of the 3 pilots in goal, Zweckmayr, Joel and me, flew a different route and did not see the others for 4 hours; but still the time difference between the first and last one was not greater than 7 minutes! Often it was just us three in goal with Stellbauer, a German rigid wing pilot.

HG Results: Manfred (1st), Joel (2nd), Zweckmayr (3rd). Chico Santos plans to have this competition again this year, with separate dates for PG and HG, and improvement of the retrieval system. It often took a lot longer to get retrieved, due to the poor road infrastructure of the area, than getting to goal.

This was my last XC competition in 1999 and I am very happy with my results last year, not only because of the World Champion title, but because I was able to win every XC competition I registered to. I hope I will continue to fly this way!

In the last couple of months I have read several articles and reviews where my glider has been portrayed as a potentially dangerous wing. I am absolutely not comfortable with the idea, spreading everywhere, that I risk a lot to win and making it seem as if there must be something definitely wrong and insecure about my glider in order to achieve my results.

I love flying, I know what I am doing, I have a lot of experience and I am not so dumb as to risk my life just to win a competition! I have learned to lose throughout my flying career and if I have won a lot of competitions in the last couple of years, it is due to factors other than flying ‘unsafe’ gliders.

A lot of pilots and some manufacturer's state that I don’t fly with enough pitch stability, they even say my glider has negative pitch. Not mentioning the myth of only me being able to ‘tame this beast’! In the last years I have concentrated on the development of the Laminar ST, aiming to improve its performance without reducing its safety; on the contrary, we changed our dive stick and washout systems and modified the profile, in order to enhance it.

Icaro 2000 and I have decided, to offer the possibility of buying a glider very similar to mine, which is called the “MR edition”. We reached this decision because we are sure this is much better than having a lot of pilots, with not enough knowledge in tuning gliders, playing around with their wings trying to ‘tune’ them and actually making them unsafe, for real.

The MR 2000 glider is our latest edition and compared with a series Laminar ST it has:

· Mylar oversurface with extra radial reinforcements close to the keel pocket.
· The undersurface has one extra flat batten and two extra cloth ribs which, enable it to maintain its shape in flight better.
· Longer VG range that allows you to reach higher speeds.
· Lower SPU setting, corresponding to the longer VG range.
· Slightly modified batten profile.

The handling of the MR 2000 is just as good as a regular ST; but it offers a better glide ratio and it is much easier to reach higher speeds with. Of course, you must be an experienced pilot, with enough flying hours and who flies constantly.

I would not recommend it for a pilot who is not interested in competition. I work on my glider to get the best out of it in competition, if you fly XC for fun, even if you do it often, there are other ST versions which may suit you better.

I don’t know how many of you have noticed the absurd ranking list that replaced the PIRS (Pilot International Ranking System). I may understand some mistakes at the beginning due to the difficulties of starting a new system; but it has been over two years that pilots have been forced to cope with such an unfair ranking system.

The best way to explain the situation is to take my case as an example, which is the case that I know best. As I mentioned above, in the last two years I have won almost every competition and, have either won or arrived in the first three places, in the most important events world wide.

Where have I been in the CIVL ranking list in these two years? Only twice in the first place and not for long! Obviously, not only for me, this system just does not work.

It is not possible that ONLY if you pay the CIVL a certain fee your competition will be included, this means the organization must BUY your points! There have been some competitions where the top pilots of the world fly against each other but it does not count because the organization did not pay the tribute.

On the other hand, there are some competitions in which almost no top pilots take part but they do get a lot of points, and climb up the list. Ever since the beginning I noticed this list was a bit weird because of the lack of fair conditions. Does the CIVL really work on this list, do they really give their best?

Let's think of the consequences an unfair, not precise enough ranking list may bring. For instance, what sort of impression would I give if I started looking for a sponsor and would present myself with a flying resume where I state having won almost every competition (except two); but as soon as they would want to know my position in the World Ranking List, and I would show them and ‘official’ print out from the internet where I am almost NEVER in the top?

Should the CIVL not work more on having a fair ranking list than trying to set rules for hang gliders where, again, not every one will be checked but those of the best pilots? Are they trying to help or to hinder? Do they really know how much a glider manufacturer must pay for a certification test? As I read about those making these rules (German-Austrian working group on hang gliding safety standards for CIVL) I see no really current experienced competition pilot, nor pilots involved in high performance glider development. Shouldn’t we be asked to suggest things from the very beginning?

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Weaklinks

Mon, Dec 20 1999, 6:00:02 pm EST

aerotow|battery|crash|dolly|job|movie|NASA|nylon|power|powered|record|sailplane|tandem|tow|towing|transport|tug|TV|Wallaby Ranch|weaklink|winch

Mark Stucky, «stucky_mark», writes:

Many months ago I wrote to you with the idea of trying to do some hang glider aerotow testing, the intent of which was to define the actual loads encountered under differing conditions of tugs (low and high power), gliders (beginner, intermediate, and advanced), and pilot weights (single and tandem). Due to the magic of your Straub Report, instant interest was gathered and Malcolm at Wallaby Ranch was quick to call, leaving a message that he would be glad to sponsor the testing.

The brains behind the effort was Jim Murray, a NASA engineer who specializes in flight dynamics and is a true-life "Maguiver" with a reputation of being able to instrument a gnat's knee. Early in the Eclipse (aerotowed F-106) program, in which I was the test pilot, the computer simulation revealed the existence of an oscillatory tension mode in the towrope. The computer predicted something like a 12,000-pound steady-state tension value but overlaid on top of it was a continuous cycling value of several thousand pounds. In some cases this "bungee" mode would grow unstable and eventually exceeding the 24,000-pound weaklink. The level of bungee present was dependent upon the two aircraft, the stability characteristics of the tethered pair, the towrope attachment points, and the towrope itself.

Like the Spectra line used in many hang glider tow operations, the exceptionally strong Vectran towrope we were planning on using had low stretch characteristics. This meant low shock absorption and increased chances of encountering the bungee mode. At the other extreme a nylon towrope would have been too springy and it too could result in dramatic (traumatic?) bungee oscillations. The computer predicted a certain level of stretch would give the best tow characteristics. For our initial flights we planned on adding a 50 foot section of nylon strapping in the middle of the 1000 foot length of the ¾" diameter Vectran rope.

There was some skepticism about the mere existence of this bungee mode. The Germans had towed unconventional aircraft during the war years -- large troop-carrying transport aircraft, even multiple aircraft were towed. They also towed the swept wing Me-103 Komet, the first rocket-powered fighter. Pilots hated towing the Komet and a USAF test pilot who got the lucky straw to tow a captured Komet described the tow as the scariest experience of his life. Even NASA's predecessor, NACA had towed a propeller-less P-51 Mustang in an aborted attempt to compare it's real world L/D to what had been obtained through wind tunnel testing. The steel tow cable broke wrapping around the aircraft, interfering with control, and resulting in a crash.

In all these tests there was never any mention of any bungee mode - did it really exist or was it some computer artifact? The answer was to run the simulation using conventional glider and tow aircraft numbers. The simulation indicated the bungee mode existed in normal everyday towing of sailplanes. Some of the old-time sailplane pilots expressed doubt over the simulation because over their years of towing experience they hadn't noticed any bungee mode. One said, "I've never felt no stinking bungee" (or words to that effect).

So Murray made up a couple of battery powered instrumentation packages, each about the size of a lunch box. We put one in a rented Pawnee tug plane and one in a rented Grob sailplane. The one at the front of the towrope read tow tension (using a solid state metal link at the attach point). The package in the Grob read longitudinal acceleration.

We launched in early morning conditions and the tug looked for level flight in smooth air. We flew at a couple different speeds and tow positions but most of the data was gathered at 55 mph, which was published L/D max for the Grob.

The data showed the bungee mode was very evident and I swear I could feel it. It was always present to a minor extent but was easily excited by turbulence or maneuvering, in which case it took several cycles and perhaps twenty to thirty seconds to reduce it back down to it's normal small oscillations. Probably the greatest excitation of the bungee occurred during the takeoff roll, most likely due to bumps in the dirt runway.

So what about the issue of the bungee mode and its effect on the Eclipse program? We found that as predicted, there was a stable region on low tow where the bungee was minimized and where the F-106 was extremely easy to fly on tow. Outside of that stable region the bungee became more of a factor and the F-106 became more and more of a handful to fly. In fact, in a conventional high tow position it was quite unstable and if I wasn't extremely careful the weak link would fail within several seconds.

Without doing any dedicated tests with hang gliders I can only guess but I think it is reasonable to expect the bungee mode is present in hang glider towing. In fact, I think we've all felt it while platform towing, the surging of tension that occurs when the drum is slowly unwinding at the end of the tow. I attributed the pulsing in tension to the difference in the static and dynamic friction coefficients of the disk brake. While this may partly be true, the cycle itself could be caused by the bungee mode of the towrope.

So what does this mean to hang glider towing and weak links? It means that a weak link that is the perfect value on a spectra towline would be the wrong value on a polypropylene rope. It means a weak link that is perfect on a 150 foot towline could be less-than-perfect on a 200 foot length. It means that a weak link that is perfect on a large-diameter wheeled dolly on a concrete runway could be too weak on a rough runway or a less absorbing dolly. It means a weak link that works with a lightweight tug won't be right for a high-power, high mass tug. It means the towrope attachment point can be critical and the effect may be exacerbated if not in the proper tow position or if flying tandem.

It means that towing may be easier and weak links less prone to breaking if a small amount of shock absorption was added to low-stretch towlines. Perhaps a few feet of nylon rope on the end next to the pilot would be sufficient. I remember the smoothest tow I ever had was on a stationary hydraulic winch in Canada. I attributed the smoothness to the hydraulics but perhaps a contributing factor was the twenty feet of ½" nylon rope that was added to the end of the towline so it would hang down below the inside wingtip during turns on a step tow.

One last point to make is the breaking strength of rope is very dependent on the radius of any knot or bend in it. A weak link that is looped around a metal ring will fail at a higher value than one looped around a narrow loop of nylon.

Obviously, the correct weak link depends on many variables and identifying what works best would take a bit flight research (perhaps just a single day worth of smooth air flights). This did not occur because several things happened since I first wrote to you. First, Jim Murray was shipped off to the east coast to work a temporary assignment on the "Mars Flyer" -- a remote aircraft designed to fly in the atmosphere of Mars on the centennial anniversary of the Wright brothers first flight. Secondly, I decided to leave what on the top surface was my dream job as a NASA research pilot to pursue a job with the airlines. There were many reasons for this decision, not the least of which was NASA's continuing aeronautical budget cuts, emphasis on unpiloted aircraft, and their seemingly inability to get things done.

The NASA administrator's "Faster, Better, Cheaper" mantra has become a joke in the industry, reminding me of Jack Nicholson's presidential proclamation in the movie "Mars Attacks" when, in the midst of mass destruction, he gets on national TV and says something along the lines of, "I know I promised you these three things but hey, two out of three ain't bad." Unfortunately, with NASA's current record the quote would be more along the lines of "hey, none out of three ain't bad."

Until we ever do a real hang glider aerotow research project we can only make semi-educated guesses on the bungee mode and its effect on the towing of hang gliders. The intent of this writing was to point out some of the issues and to apologize for my failure to follow through with the research that I hinted at so long ago. A number of pilots sent emails to me at NASA asking me about the status of the project and encouraging me to pursue it. Unfortunately, when I went to retrieve all of those archived messages in my last week at NASA I found I had already been locked me out of the email system so I can't answer those emails individually.

Someday I may be able to get together with Murray and do the research. In the meantime, if you are ever flying the "friendly skies of United" look for me in the right seat of a Boeing 737 (especially if you are flying any of the west coast "Shuttle" routes).

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Upcoming US competitions

Tue, Oct 26 1999, 6:00:07 pm EDT

book|calendar|certification|Chris Arai|CIVL|competition|Competition Committee|Dave Broyles|death|Dennis Pagen|foot launch|G.W. Meadows|GAP|Gene Matthews|GPS|Gregg "Kim" Ludwig|Jamie Shelden|Jim Lee|Jim Zeiset|job|John Borton|Ken Brown|Kendrick "Ken/Kenny" Brown|Koji Daimon|landing|Lawrence "Pete" Lehmann|magazine|Malcolm Jones|Michael Williams|NTSS|Olav Olsen|Oz Report|Paul Klemond|Quest Air|R/C Dave|Ray Leonard|record|Rob Kells|Russell "Russ" Brown|Russ Locke|safety|scoring|Scot Huber|site|software|speed gliding|Swift|tow|USHGA|US National Team|Wallaby Ranch|weather|wheels|Worlds

At the USHGA BOD meeting last weekend, the competition committee decided (sort of) on the class A competition schedule for the next year. I've included the Chairman's (Russ Locke's) report below, with my comments. Undoubtedly I will make a few mistakes and there will be a need for a few updates to this preliminary report. As I write this I'm a passenger in my truck heading south on Interstate 5 in southern Oregon, and I can't get any further clarifications at this time.

Worldwide Competition Committee Report Fall Bod Meeting, October 21-23, 1999

Attendees: (in alphabetical order by last name) Mark Ferguson, Rob Kells, Paul Klemond, Ray Leonard, Dennis Pagen, Liz Sharp, Jim Zeiset, Jim Lee, Pete Lehmann, Dave Broyles, Gene Matthews, John Borton, John Greynauld, Jamie Sheldon

Voting Requirements: Long Term Committee members (per 10/18/99 Russ Locke Memo). Ken Brown (Ken sent voting proxy to Committee Chair), Mark Ferguson, Rob Kells, Paul Klemmond, Ray Leonard, Dennis Pagen, Liz Sharp, Jamie Sheldon, Jim Zeiset Pete Lehmann (Added John Greynauld at this meeting)

Minutes of Meeting: Old Business:

Speed Gliding WTSS System (Dennis & GW) - Done (see following)

Pagen 6/3/99 memo: First I believe, as does GW that the Canadian meet should count toward team selection because we have so few speed gliding meets. I also think the Preworld meet in Greece should count. Before you worry about it, note that the selection system I'm going to suggest will devaluate the Greek meet because it will have so many pilots that the US competitor will have less chance to gain points.

The system I suggest we use simply consists of using the WHGA round score system (it awards points of a different amount for each place on each round). Pilots who have three or more scoring flights are allowed to drop their lowest. Their total score is the average of their remaining scores. Pilots with less than three rounds will also receive their average score, but will not take precedence over pilots with 3 or more rounds until he has more than twice the 3 round pilot's score.

Because we haven't established a hierarchy and we always will have fewer speed gliding meets than X-C (I think), I don't believe we need as complex a system as for the X-C team. The WHGS scoring system drops off rapidly below first place which is why I use the half score value. Hopefully this system will induce pilots to compete in as many rounds as possible. On the other hand, it behooves you met directors to try to get at least 3 rounds so that a pilot can qualify (at least this year) at one meet. This is an abnormal situation. In future years, pilots will have more meets to choose from (and two years to do it). We may wish to change the number of scored rounds considered in the future.

Posting results on the USHGA Web Page (Russ) - On hold until validity #s decided.

New Business:

CIVL Stuff International Meet Schedule (see Attached)

Glider standards for Class Draft from CIVL (including Dennis' amendment) was discussed (see attached). Rob Kells formed subcommittee including GW Meadows, Jim Lee Pete Lehmann and Dennis Pagen. The subcommittee met to review the proposed glider standards for competition. Several changes, deletions and additions were proposed. These amendments were given to the CIVL Delegate (Dennis) to present to the CIVL Bureau and the technical committee in charge of this matter on behalf of the United States.

Editor's note: You can find Dennis' original proposal on the CIVL discussion board (http://board.fai.org/). Dennis was responding to an initiative from Austria made at the CIVL meeting earlier this year that would try to keep competition flex-wing glider closer to certification standards.

Class 2 vs. Class 4 The Competition Committee instructs our CIVL Delegate to inform the CIVL that we believe all definitions should remain tied to foot launch ability and land ability.

Editor's note: While it's not quite clear what this means (at least to me), it appears to be part of discussion about whether some Class II gliders (Swift and Utopia, for example) are pushing the envelope of foot launch ability as demonstrated at the World Championships this year in Italy. Do these gliders really fit into the CIVL definition of hang glider (for competition class and record purposes)?

This discussion also seems to sidestep the issue of farings and their use in competitions, although it may address them in an indirect fashion as a component of a limit on glider weights. Hopefully someone who actually attended the meeting will be able to give your over burdened editor further clarification on just what instructions the USHGA gave to Dennis on this issue.

Request to spend $1,100 to have the GAP 4.0 system altered to included miles (and other English measurements). No funds are available for this activity at this time.

Editor's note. I've passed along the request from the Race 4.0 author (Achim Muelller) for support from theUSHGA for the software which is used to score hang gliding competitions using the GAP system. The USHGA has not provided any support for the development of this program while numerous other countries have.

Now, as you'll see below, the USHGA will mandate use of the GAP scoring system, which for all practical purposes mandates our use of the Race 3.2 or 4.0 program. What if the author of the program asks that we not use his program without supporting it?

Hang Gliding World Championship's Report (verbal by Jim Lee and Jim Zeiset). Problems with team participation - recommendation to follow the rulebook in this case. Lack of strong Team Leader appointed prior to the Meet allowed other problems to surface between the Team pilots.

Editor's note: As I was on the US World (or is it National?) team this year, you'd think I'd have some idea about what the real problems were. I personally thought things went pretty well. The rigid wing component acted as a team (flew on the same frequencies, had our drivers picked each other up, worked out strategies). We had sufficient resources, and got good support.

The whole team could have used another retrieval driver (none of the five flex-wing pilots arranged for a driver and rejected arrangements we made to help them), and perhaps the whole team could have flown on the same frequency, but with nine members no one proposed that. I wonder what following the rule book means in this case. Perhaps I'll find out.

I felt that Chris Arai did an outstanding job for the team arranging for our lodging at the Villa Dama during the Worlds.

World Paragliding Championships. US Team withdrew because of safety reasons and the fact, not perception, that common sense and reasonable operational procedures were being circumvented. The Competition Committee directs our CIVL representative to strongly protest the events surrounding this meet. Team Leader to supply the CIVL rep with all pertinent data.

Editor's note: The disaster that was the World Paragliding Championships has been previously reported here in the Oz Report. You'll find Paul Klemond's story at http://www.kurious.org/usteam99/Fiasco.htm.

GAP vs. 1000 point systemDecision by the committee to apply the existing rulebook validity to 99 meets recognizing that there are rescoring impossibilities within the GAP system.

Editor's note: G.W. Meadows used the GAP scoring system for the pre-Pan American meet in Dinosaur, which devalued the meet a bit. GAP gives fewer points that the 1000 point system, so this may devalue future meets.

Speed Gliding WTSS Publish current standings. After discussion, it was decided that the current cutoff for the 2000 Team will be June 19th, 2000. The current scoring system will be in place through the 2000 Team. Between now and the cutoff date the system for deciding that a particular meet will count towards the Speed Gliding World Team will be:

1) That the meet is published in hang gliding magazine at least 30 days in advance (counting from the first of the month of the particular issue). 2) The meet must be approved by the Speed Gliding subcommittee consisting of GW Meadows, Rob Kells and Ray Leonard.

Class A Sanctioned requests (Hang Gliding):

Sandia Nationals, Late June - approved by committee.

Editor's note: This meet (formerly the Sandia Classic and not held last year after Brad Koji's death the year before) is now scheduled for late June, after years of bad weather in early June in Albuquerque. There was considerable earlier dissention regarding making this meet being turned into a Nationals (Sandia is no place to start your competition career), but looking at the other competitions, you've got to wonder which one could really be a "Nationals."

The front of the mountain at Sandia sucks big time in strong conditions or with a north wind. The proposal has been to add the launch at the towers, which can only make things worse. I can only hope that by moving the meet till later in the year, that conditions will mellow out, like they did this year at Dinosaur.

I hope that we can get an honest assessment of the likely conditions from the meet organizers, and an early description of their plans. Hopefully I will be able to get a copy of their proposal to the USHGA. As a long time supporter of the Sandia Classic, I would like to see this come off as a successful event, but I also want to report on the real situation.

Lone Star Championships - After discussion with committee, dates were changed to 8/13 - 8/20 and Jim Zeiset was added as Meet Steward - approved by committee.

Editor's note: No further word yet on this one. It is a tow meet, obviously, but just where? Russ Locke will send me a copy of the proposal by fax soon.

Notice that there isn't any word here about a meet at Quest Air (more on this later), and what about the Pan American meet at Dinosaur? I am following up on this as .I write this.

Contact info: Michael Williams, «michaelj.williams», 281-457-7878

No Sanctioned requests were received for Paragliding Meets.

Editor's note: I wonder why there aren't any requests for Paraglider meets.

Rulebook Changes

Editor's note: You are going to have to follow along with your USHGA 1999 Competition Rulebook to see what the following minor changes mean.

1) 1.4 Eliminate: "Any and all changes . at least 30 days prior to the board meeting. (process not followed) 2) 6.2B change "Observation" to "Obstruction." (typo) 3) 6.3E Eliminate all reference to "pins" and substitute "reported landing location" 4) 6.4B Change "recorded to the nearest 1/10th" to recorded to the nearest 1/10th of a mile or less". (GPS clarification) 5) 6.5 Change "Australian 1000 point per round formula described below." To "GAP system." Also change to read, "Each pilot's daily score will be computed according to the most current version of GAP available, but at least as current as that used in the previous year." Eliminate all 1000 point scoring references. Change "After examination of turnpoint photos.. " To read, "turnpoint verification. "Eliminate sentence "To provide uniformity." (new scoring system) 6) 6.6 Change to read, "Round Validity will be determined by GAP." (new scoring system) 7) 6.8A Change to read, ".valid task board photograph on film if used,." (gap upgrade) 8) 6.8C Change "pin placement" to read "landing verification" (gap upgrade) 9) 10.5B & C Eliminate in entirety. (reflects current processes) 10) 11.5B & C Eliminate in entirety. (reflects current processes) 11) 12.2B.1 Change to ".ranking used shall be the ranking as of 45 days prior to the start of the competition. (upgrade pilot selection system) 12) 12.2B2 Eliminate "as of the date. start of competition," and add the underlined in "procedures as outlined in section 12.5 and 12.B1., but substituting." (new selection points system) 13) 12.5B After ".throughout the year." Add, "except when ranked 45 days prior to a World Meet." (new pilot selection system) 14) 12.5D2b Change ".any placing." to read "..first place.." Change "..except that." to ".and.." (new selection system) 15) 12.5D3 Eliminate all starting with "The tenth place pilot would earn." and ending with ".24 WTSS points earned."" Replace with "All other pilots earn points based on the following formula: (Pilot's total score/Winners total score) X ( Winners points - 10% bonus). (new pilot selection system) 16) 12.E1 After ".pilot's ranking." Add "according to the most current PIRS ranking." Eliminate "The equivalent. ranking year, with" Add capital "T" to "the." (new pilot selection system) 17) 12.5F1 Change "USHGA 1000 point" to "GAP" Eliminate all numbers under "Full points." (new scoring system) 18) 12.5F2b Change "Divide the winner's points by 4,680 to obtain the validity factor." (new validity system) 19) 12.5F2c Eliminate.(replaced by 12.5F2b) 20) 12.5F2. Eliminate the example and the exception and replace with another example. (replaced by 12.5F2b 21) ?? Make sure there is a requirement for the World Team to have a Team Leader appointed prior to the meet. 22) Change all references of "World Team" to "National Team" and all references to "WTSS" to "NTSS."

Editor's note: This is the result of a proposal from Paul Klemond. He just felt it was kind of strange to call the US Team the US World Team instead of the US National Team. I'll have to make a few changes on the ranking spread sheets about this.

23) 12.2B Replace "Competition administration subcommittee chairman" with Executive Director or Team Leader." 24) 12.5B Change "At least two such meets must be from the most recent year" to "No more than two meet results may be considered from the prior year (Ranking will still be calculated on an calendar year basis, but the World Team selection window will be extended to 45 days prior to the Meet) (clarification) 25) 12.4A Replace "World Team Sub Committee" with "Team Leader." (current practices)

Committee would like to thank Jim Lee, Chris Arai and Paul Klemond for all their work on the needed changes to the competition rulebook.

Changes considered, but not approved:

1) Request to require wheels in competitions. After short discussion, request was voted down unanimously.

Editor's note: Notice how Russ had to emphasize the unanimous part. Well, I'm used to holding unpopular positions. You have to start some where. I figure with zero votes, I can only get more the next time (maybe at the CIVL meeting).

2) Requests to establish a Class 2 Speed Gliding Structure. Nothing prevents a Meet Organizer from doing this anyway. No action necessary.

3) Mark Ferguson and Paul Klemond requesting Meet Steward status be approved for the following pilots: Paul Ferguson, Dan Olsen, Scot MacClowary, Ken Hjorgensdon???? All four approved by Committee

Action Item(s):

1) Chair to make sure the current rankings are published in the Magazines. By 12/31/99

2) Chair to send approved Class A competitions to Editor. By 10/31/99

3) Office and Chairman to create Speed Gliding World Team Account

4) Chair, with email help from Committee members, to draft a purpose statement to be placed in the beginning of the rulebook. Chair to email to committee members and to be done by end of year to be included in the new rulebook. By 12/31/99

5) Get Speed Gliding Ranking on USHGA web site. Chair & Office By 12/31/99

6) Write up statement that covers situations with dual nationality of pilots. Dennis Pagen By 12/31/99

List Of Enclosure(S): (indicate responsible person, followed by a complete description of action, followed by action completion date)

Editor's note: These are paper documents, so I'll report on them as I receive them.

1) CIVL Competition Dates 2) Proposed Hang Gliding Safety Standards 3) Sandia Meet Proposal 4) Lone Star Meet Proposal 5) Quest Air Meet Proposal 6) Wallaby Meet Proposal

Reconvened meeting to discuss Wallaby and Quest Air meets.

In attendance (* = voting members): *Liz Sharp, *Mark Ferguson, *Russ Locke, *Pete Lehmann, *GW Meadows, Gregg Lawless, *Dennis Pagen, Russ Brown, *John Greynauld, Gene Matthews, *Jamie Sheldon, Jim Lee, John Borton, *Rob Kells, *Jim Zeiset, *Ray Leonard

Discussed several alternatives.

Motion by Pete Lehmann to vote to accept the Quest Meet OR the Wallaby - not both. Seconded by John Greynauld. After Discussion, Roll Call Vote Q=Quest, W=Wallaby, A=Abstain

Editor's note: Both G.W. Meadows (meet to take place at Quest Air) and Malcolm Jones (Wallaby Ranch) submitted proposals for meets to occur at the same time, the week after Sun 'n Fun in late April. Because both individuals wanted their meet to be the one with these dates, a vote was needed to decide which meet got the dates. At least that is how I read this.

Pete Lehmann = Q, Dennis Pagen = W, GW Meadows = Q, Jamie Sheldon = Q, John Greynauld = W, Liz Sharp = A, Mark Ferguson = Q, Rob Kells = W, Ray Leonard = W.

Wallaby bid is approved, 5-4 (1-A)

Editor's note: Wow, close vote! One thing, which you'll notice is the obvious conflict of interest that G.W. Meadows had in voting for his proposal to be accepted by the committee. This is clearly unacceptable. He should have recused himself.

Only two of the people voting in this committee on these meets actually attended at last one of them – Jamie was at the Quest Air meet only last year. Dennis was at both meets. The overwhelming consensus last year among the competition pilots that attended both meets was strongly in favor of the Wallaby Ranch meet.

G.W. Meadows reproposed his Quest Air bid with "to be announced dates" - not to interfer with other approved Class A sanctioned meets. Proposal approved 9-0 with 1-A.

Editor's note: It looks like G.W. will propose to have his Atlantic Coast Championships at Quest Air right after the Wallaby Open with one day in between. I'm very pleased if this is the case.

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New Graphics Comp 99

Tue, Jan 26 1999, 6:00:03 pm EST

altitude|Florida|tow

Ball Varios has updated their Graphic Comp vario for 1999. They've added a new screen - the thermal profiler. Height on the vertical scale and instantaneous lift on the horizontal. Little bars at each altitude for the maximum lift at that altitude. You can reset (clear) it at any time (which is good to do after you get off tow).

I've used it a couple of times, and it works fine. Ball is just checking it out to see if pilots like it. The height scale is too high -- 17,960', so all my Florida flying takes place in the lower third of the screen. I'm thinking that a dynamic maximum altitude would be cool, or at least let the pilot set the value for the day.

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Traveling to Wallaby Ranch

Sun, Jan 3 1999, 6:00:05 pm EST

book|David Glover|fire|landing|tow|trike|Wallaby Ranch|weather

I've edited a bit of what my wife, and co-author, wrote about our trip out to Wallaby Ranch.

After a speedy trip down the coast to Palm Springs, we made it to the desert outpost of Lordsburg, NM the next night -- my first visit to the birthplace of my grandmother Olive Hayden Boulter. Had a fun detour into the Mesilla old town at Las Cruces, saw the courthouse where Billy The Kid was tried and jailed, and bought a couple of Mexican blankets for the trailer.

That night we slept in at the town of Junction in a pretty pecan-growing valley in the Texas hill country. We slowed down enough the next day to stop in San Antonio for a visit to the Alamo, lunch in an outdoor cafe and a stroll along the riverwalk -- the balmy weather didn't hurt, either. We took the southern route to avoid any bad weather through Utah or New Mexico, and were rewarded with temperatures in the upper 60's and seventies.

Highway 10 is a lot less crowded then highway 40. One tenth the number of trucks. The road's surface gets weird in Louisiana, but it was great until then.

From San Antonio we made it to Lafayette, LA, and a campground in the woods on Bayou Vermillion. We happened to park next to Dave Rodriguez, who use to run Wasatch Wings in Salt Lake. He had tried to get Utah pilots to tow behind his Cosmos trike back in the olden days. Didn't work out then. He was full timing it, and heading slowly toward Wallaby. As tempting as it was to stay, we pressed on to the wooded Suwanee River area of northern Florida, and from there to Wallaby Ranch.

We finally arrived here on Wednesday afternoon, a week after we left Seattle. Davis immediately set up his glider and flew for 90 minutes, landing just at dusk. It almost feels as if we had never left! Our original plan was to stop here just long enough to catch up on our e-mail and then head for the Keys -- but the weather has been so unusually good that now we figure we'll just stay here and fly until it gets bad.

Yesterday I had two relaxing flights in lovely, light thermals before driving up to Ocala to retrieve Davis. He landed near the Silver Springs theme park on the edge of the Ocala National Forest. Today was windy and looked like the day to fly to Georgia (the big challenge, which no one has yet done), but there wasn't much lift -- only Davis and Carlos flew, and they only went 25 miles or so. It's been warm but not very humid -- kind of like mid-July in Seattle -- and there are hardly any bugs if you don't count the fire ants I walked into while we were setting up the trailer (ouch!).

The Ranch is looking great, though it's different to see the grass it's winter brown and the deciduous cypress trees without their needles. There's a fresh coat of paint on the bath house, a new septic system, and some new landscaping. The biggest new addition is Jeremy the chef, who provides breakfast and a late lunch every day, plus occasional dinners. This is really for the benefit of the ranch hands, and is a huge improvement over hauling a van full of people to Bob Evans every morning after the tandems. And the guests find it really adds to the congeniality of the place, as if that were possible.

The current project (there's always a project) is a wonderful treehouse that Malcolm (the owner) is building for his daughter's 5th birthday (tomorrow). He designed it from some Dr. Suess books, so it's all curvy with a shake roof and lots of gingerbread, and looks like it belongs in Whoville. It's high in a big old mossy oak tree near the pole barn. There's been a huge push to get it ready for the big birthday party, which will feature live ponies and I don't know what all. Of course they're forecasting thunderstorms.

The thunderstorms held off till the party was over.

We're still working on the new Windows 98 Secrets book (doesn't have a name yet). It's in author edits, but we keep adding new material. We will head out to the keys in a few days, after David Glover and Jane show up here at Wallaby.

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Australian Meets

Sun, Jan 3 1999, 6:00:02 pm EST

Australia|Forbes Flatlands|lightning|tow

The results of the 1999 Bogong Cup can be found at http:/www.ozemail.com.au/~zupy/bog99/bogong.html.

Oleg Bondarchuck won (he previously won the 1999 Forbes Flatlands) by a big margin. This is another big win for Aeros and the Stealth. It was nice to see that Tove beat her husband.

1	Bondarchuk Oleg		UKR	4614 
2	Bertok Attila		AUS	4187 
3	Coomber Kraig		AUS	3979 
4	Heinrichs Gerolf	AUT	3747 
5	Rebbechi Joel		AUS	3740 
6	Holtkamp Rohan		AUS	3387 
7	Barthelmes Oliver	GER	3139 
8	Moyes Steve		AUS	3103 
9	Heaney Tove		AUS	2900 
10	Heaney Grant		AUS	2514

The 1999 Australian Nationals in western Australia have started, but the first three days have been blown out. You can find the results at http:/www.ozemail.com.au/~zupy/nats/nats.html.

Here are the results so far:

22/1/99 After much confusion about the tow direction, day 1 was canceled due to numerous thunderstorms in the area. There was lightning near the turnpoint, and pilots in the air at the TP reported a gust front approaching. More thunderstorms were active near goal, so with no chance of a safe task, the day was canceled.

23/1/99 We are under the influence of a low pressure and trough system. There were severe thunderstorms in the area at 6:00 am, and more storms were building as the day went on. Lightning strikes were seen around the paddock mid morning, and the day was again canceled.

24/1/99 strong winds saw the day cancelled again. Later in the afternoon, the winds died down and some pilots free flew.

25/1/99 Still more strong wind. The window was opened at 3:30 in the afternoon in fairly marginal conditions, but soon after, the wind picked up and the day was canceled. The wind continued to strengthen and the area was shrouded in raised dust.

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Day Four

Fri, Jan 30 1998, 6:00:01 pm EST

aerotow|Christian Ciech|cost|dolly|Exxtacy|Gerolf Heinrichs|Guido Gehrmann|landing|Manfred Ruhmer|Mark "Gibbo" Gibson|Mark Gibson|Oleg Bondarchuck|Ryan Glover|space|Tomas Suchanek|tow|tug|Wallaby Ranch|wheels|Worlds 1998

At the aerotow paddock almost everyone gets up on the first tow. I only recall one or two pilots in the whole paddock coming back for a relaunch. There are patches of high cirrus, but we are able to get up right away, but only to 5600'.

Most of the pilots in my lane stay on the dolly way too long. I remember David and Ryan Glover at the Wallaby Ranch emphasizing getting off the dolly quickly. Here, they hold onto the rope below their base tube, and pull the dolly into the air a couple of feet. As the lane is a bit rough, the dolly wheels are trashing about just as they lift off.

There is no need for spending more than a few seconds on the dolly. My experience is that the dolly immediately heads for the edge of the lane and into the chaff, so I've got even a better reason to push out a little and come off the dolly right away.

The Exxtacy comes off very smoothly and I can stay a foot or so off the ground while the tug rises up.

The task is to the northeast with a turnpoint at Manildra and goal at Bodangara. 100 miles, but this time at least there is not a head wind. While the winds are light in the tow paddock, they mostly come from the west and south.

The course is quite slow. Unlike the previous days, you can't get up to 7200'. I fly to the north to get off the course line, but land after 30 kilometers. Gaggles are handy on a day like today, but I had to avoid other pilots.

Six pilots make goal, Tomas Suchanek, Oleg Bondarchuck, Guido Gehrmann, Manfred Ruhmer, Josef Zweckmayer, and Christian Ciech. Tomas wins the day. Gerolf and Rohan land 2 kilometers short.

Guido is in the lead overall with Oleg 115 points out of 3670 behind. His seventy point penalty for landing under the controlled air space cost him dearly. Gerolf and Manfred are also very close. Tomas is back in 11th.

The Austrians lead the meet by almost 1000 points. Mark Gibson leads the Americans, which are in eighth as a team. The Brazils have slipped down to seventh. The Italians are doing well in third. Guido is leading the Germans into second place.

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