Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Super thermals, badge flights and more!


What an absolutely amazing weekend! The weather over here in WA put on some of the best soaring conditions in years over the past week. On Friday, my mate Swain put in a huge effort and notched up a 1,000km FAI Triangle XC flight - the first ever in WA - and then capped it off with a second 1,000km on Monday! Three other pilots from other clubs in WA also completed 1,000km flights on Saturday and Sunday. It was very, very hot over here with only mild winds, and although we usually soar in the blue here we were spoiled by thermals topped with Cu's by noon every day. Thermals were very strong and were maxing out at well over 16,000ft, sometimes as high as 18,000ft.

So, what did this mean for me? A novice XC pilot with only a single solo XC flight under my belt? I went up and hammered it of course!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

A harsh lesson learned

So, after last week's XC flight I headed up to the club again today to get some more flying in.  I didn't get to make an attempt on my Silver C as I had planned otherwise I'd be here to brag... unfortunately now I'm coming back with my head hanging in shame.  Read on after the jump to find out what went wrong...

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Off the Leash

G'day all!

Exciting news from me today, and you may be able to guess what it is from the topic title.  Read on after the jump for more!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Family fun!

If you've been following along you'll know that last week I passed my exam for the FAI "C" Certificate.  One of the benefits this bestows upon a sailplane pilot is the authorisation to carry family/friend passengers.  When I was explaining this to my daughters, you can imagine what the immediate response was - "Take us gliding!!"  Read on after the jump for more...

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Exams & Endorsements...

By rights, I should have been horribly hung over today, and given that the weather forecast was much less than spectacular I didn't really have much hope of it being a productive day.  I should know better.  Last night we celebrated the club Oktoberfest - there was much drinking of German beer, followed by much drinking of Schnapps, accompanied by a hearty meal of bratwurst, pretzels and sauerkraut.  We all had a great night that continued well into the morning - I quit at 1am and climbed into my sleeping bag dreading how my head would feel in the morning.  Read on for more...

Sunday, 8 September 2013

A new ride

I had my first couple of flights in this slick little glider today. It's a Jantar Standard 2, one of two owned by the club, and is a late 70's to early 80's design from Poland. It's fibreglass and built for the Standard category, and handles a lot more responsively than the old ali Pilatus that I've been flying around in lately! This is what I'll be flying when I head out cross country and in any competition I'm silly enough to enter, for the foreseeable future (unless someone wants to donate me a sailplane? No?? Awww.) It's a slick little number and took me a bit to get used to with the severely pronate seating position (you're pretty much lying down in it) and the much improved glide ratio. The thing just wanted to stay up, and you need to be careful on the flare to make sure you don' end up floating down the runway. Lots of fun to fly, I'm looking forward to spending more time in it. Read on for more...

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Landing out...

G'day all, it's been a while since I filed an update. Over the past couple of months I've been getting time up in the club Pilatus, gaining some more experience in single seat gliders in preparation for moving into something with a little higher performance. This week though, I had an opportunity to reach another milestone on my journey to cross country flight. Read on for more...

Monday, 27 May 2013

A Pilatus amongst the Cu's

At my previous visit to the club I was given the all clear to advance into a single seater, the first step for pilots at GCWA out of a two seat trainer is our old Pilatus B4-PC11.  I was looking forward to giving this a go this weekend and starting to challenge myself with better thermalling as I prepare myself for heading out cross country after winter.  Read on for more...

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Steadily advancing; and a lesson learned

Well, after making steady progress since going solo I had to take and enforced break from flying for the past six weeks.  Due to work commitments I've been spending a lot of time shuttling back and forth between WA and QLD, and also managed to squeeze in a week's holiday in Melbourne with my lovely wife to treat her for her birthday :)  So, most of my flying for the past couple of months has been from the comfort of a window seat of an A340 heading across the country.  Despite having only returned from my latest trip over to Mackay at midnight on Friday, I was determined to get out to the club today and get some practice in.  Read more after the break...

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Some more video

G'day all,

As promised, here's some footage taken from my most recent flight.  I managed to stay up for over an hour in fairly difficult conditions, which I'm happy with.  Launch was good, but I'm not as happy with the landing, which saw me let the nosewheel down to the runway a bit too early.



Sunday, 24 March 2013

Onwards and Upwards. Well, onwards anyway...

Dragging myself out of bed this morning, getting out to Cunderdin was a 50/50 prospect at best.  After a day spent celebrating my father-in-law's birthday with maybe one too many bottles of wine and certainly way too much to eat, I was certainly feeling sluggish.  However, I wanted to play around with my action cam and get some footage, and probably won't have an opportunity to get out to the club again for a few weeks so I downed a coffee and packed my supplies, then psyched myself up for the drive.  I'm glad I did, as I had a most enjoyable day.  Read on for more...

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Flyin' Solo

This morning I headed up to the club nice and early, away from home at 6am with a 2 hour drive out to Cunderdin.  I was rostered on to fill in for another member as the day's logkeeper, a duty I really need to take on a bit more often as I've just filled the committee position of Club Logkeeper and will be responsible for making sure all of the club's logs are kept accurate and up to date for the GFA.  I also hoped that I'd be able to secure a couple of flights to extend on my last trip where I managed to finally go solo.  It turned out to be a fairly busy day, and I certainly got my opportunity.  Read on for more, including my first flying video!

Friday, 8 February 2013

New Toy, Part 2

Welcome to part two of my test and review of the AEE Magicam SD-21.  Part One can be viewed here.

As previously noted, I was quite impressed with the contents of the camera package - you get an awful lot for the SD-21's going price.  I made the comment that this was a cheap Chinese knockoff of the GoPro2 - I retract that statement.  While the heritage is obviously similar, there are sufficient differences between the cameras that it would be better to label this as an alternative rather than a copy.  Of course, the contents of the package mean little if the camera can't produce decent footage.  I'm happy to say that I was equally impressed with quality of the video produced.  Read on for my impressions and some tests.

Monday, 4 February 2013

New Toy!

Hmmm, a new toy arrived at my desk this afternoon...

A shiny new AEE Magicam SD-21, a Chinese actioncam that is a direct knockoff of the ubiquitous GoPro.  Reviews for these things have been very good but they've been hard to get hold of in Australia to date.  I got mine from Kogan, who at the time of writing have them on sale for AUD $149.00, they're basically a steal at that price.

I decided on the SD-21 after much searching and reading of reviews, much umm'ing and ahh'ing and general indecision.  Many visits to pages like Techmoan and other reviewers of cheap electronics, and many many Youtube videos.  I decided early on that while I'd love to get a GoPro Hero3 Black Edition, I just can't justify spending the approximate $475.00 that they retail for here in Oz.  I just couldn't see the bang-for-the-buck.  Actioncam purists may shudder, but from what I've already seen, this little cam is pretty much identical in performance to the last generation GoPro2 and the lesser specced GoPro3 White.  In some ways, it exceeds them.

So, what does $149.00 net you in the Chinese knockoff actioncam game.  Quite a lot, it turns out.  Read on for the details.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Wind, Important Lessons; and a Surprise...

G'day all, and I hope my fellow Aussies are having a great Australia Day weekend!  After being dragged by the kids out to Crawley to watch the annual Australia Day Skyshow over the Swan River - which was actually better than it's been in years! - and dealing with all the crowds, I was ready for some quiet time up in the air.  So, after a relatively late start for me, I got into the car with plenty of cold water and a packed lunch and headed out to Cunderdin for the day.  I arrived just in time for the 9:30am briefing, it looked a bit quiet today - not a whole lot of activity around the place.  That changed pretty quickly!  Read on after the jump for more...

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Higher and higher

Talk about missed opportunities!  I was supposed to head out to the club last Saturday, December 29th, but had my Dad come down from Karratha to stay with us for a couple of days.  I declined to head out gliding in favour of hanging out with him - I should have taken him out there with me!!  The day was shaping up very nicely in the morning and I was kicking myself that I wasn't up in the air, by lunchtime it looked like thermals would be heading upwards of 10,000'.  Oh well, I don't get to see my Dad much so I guess that's fair.  But just to rub it in, Vic called me late in the afternoon to report that I had missed a boomer of a day and that he had topped out at 12,500' in the Jantar.  Good thing that by that point I had a nice cold beer to cry into :,(

Anyway, back on track.  It's been hot here in the west.  Bloody Hot.  The past couple of weeks including Christmas and New Year has seen Perth in the grip of a heat wave, with most days going northwards of 36C, and many of them well over 40C.  Today was no different as I was driving out to Cunderdin, at 0800 it already felt well over 30.  Arriving at the airfield I was greeted by a hot and humid Nor'Easter that was ominously promising a hot day with potential thunderstorm activity.  The morning briefing met report confirmed this, with a forecast of isolated thunderstorms penetrating from the north by 1400 or so.  Good thermal activity though, with expected tops of 10 - 11,000' by the mid afternoon.  There were a lot of members at the club today, many of them still on holidays and taking every opportunity to fly.  Several of them decided on a task to fly and headed out to prepare their machines.  They're all practising for the State Championships, which the club is hosting next week.  More after the jump...