zondag 22 januari 2012

The last one...

Competition day 7 turned out to be the last one. But it was a good one! Very fast speeds and I won the day!

To be honest I didn’t expect to win the day. We had a 333 km speed task which was a bit short for the day. So I waited before starting. Not for the others, as there were very much cumulus, but for the best weather period. I saw some gliders on the first leg, which I could leave behind me. Thereafter I was on my own. I felt if I was back in Uvalde. Fly fast and try to stay at altitude. That didn’t work so I had to take some 2,5 meters which I thought was not good enough. I was just hoping the others had the same problem. On the third leg life was great. I could keep my altitude and as soon is a needed thermal I saw a glider high and climbing fast. It turned out to be a 5 m/s. Just what I needed! On the way home I started to get low. I wasn’t alone. This was the critical part. I searched everything under one of the last good cumulus. That took me some time. As dolphin flying was working out great so far I decided to go on final glide anyway. Things worked out great and I was going red line again in the last part. I think my final glide comp was a bit too conservative as well…

The next and last day we had to wait on the airfield untill it was cancelled (as I know it from all championships).

And then the farewell party: It starts around 23:00 with… meat! I forgot to check the times, but the price giving started around mid night and was ready somewhere in the middle of the night. Lots of people from the village and everybody got dressed up for it: This is Argentina! I finally got the opportunity to taste some Argentinean night live too... Got back from the village early in the morning and after a hour of sleep I could drive with Enrique and Luciena to Buenos Aires. They invited me to stay at their place and I’m writing this message from their table. Thanks to both of them for staying here!

They are not the only one I have to thank for an unforgettable time and a great memory. I’m not going to bother all of you with lots of names, so I do it like this: THANKS EVERYBODY!!! Ok, one name I do have to mention: a special THANKS for the Toselli’s!!!

One more thing: As I finally have some time to waste I googled my last name in Tres Arroyos. It seems that some far family members were the founders of the Dutch community there! What a coincidence: there not a lot of Dutch with my last name.

I hope you will follow us the next year: the World Championships 2012! I’ll let you know the team website when it’s up in the air…

I’m going to enjoy Buenos Aires for some days and after that a two week kiting vacation on Barbados with my girlfriend. Life is good...

Till next year!!!

PS: Has nothing to do with gliding or this story, but I just wanted to share one of the things you can find different here:

donderdag 19 januari 2012

About the people

The last three days were cancelled. It was interesting to see the difference of opinion between the Europeans and Argentineans what can be a contest day or not. But I’ll spare you the details…

Three days cancelled

I want to take the time to tell a bit about the people.

It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s true: hospitality, family values and passion.
It’s really amazing how friendly and helpful the people are here. I got lots of examples, but let me pick one:

I had some trouble getting Pesos out of the ATM. I asked Eduardo Toselli about it. He asked Daniel -Potti- Dekker right away because he works at the bank. Before I knew it I was in the car to town with both of them. Problem solved. Maybe not very special, but what you don’t know: Eduardo is head of task setting and Potti the sub-director of the competition and president of the club “Otto Ballod”. Still not special? Then you should know how much work still had to be done to make the deadlines for the contest. But helping this one contestant was more important than getting things done in time. That’s what I call special!

When I’m talking about Eduardo I would like to introduce two of them. First of all the one I just told you about. He is the IGC delegate and task setter of the contest. He is head of the family where I feel myself a sort of adopted for the time of the competition. He is a very kind guy and a hard worker and is helping everybody with everything you can imagine.

The whole family is here and consists of:
- Christina, his wife who takes care of all very well, including me!
- Three sons: Franco, who is my retriever and personal translator and many more. He resembles his father the most and almost finished his study in chemistries. Juan, a dentist, who is very in love with Lu (the BBQ girl). Santi, a constructor, who is in the media team of the organization. He loves the good stuff of life and knows lots of details, therefore he reminds me of my own brother.
- Lucien, the only daughter and the oldest with her husband Enrique (Kike). He was a fighter pilot and flies now for Argentinas Aerolineas and makes sure everyone gets launched within 1,5 hours. They have a 1,5 years old daughter Delfine and of course she is the “niña del ojo” of the family..
Mustn’t forget: Emma & Renata, two sausage dogs who watch over the surroundings.

The Argentineans have two weeks of vacation per year (some have a bit more). Who will spend his or her ONLYvacation with the family on an airfield back in Europe? So much for family values…

The other Eduardo is called Barrera. He is head of the National Aero Club (FAFAV) and contest director. His family is here too. Both families fly at Córdoba and seems to be old and good friends. The “11” I rented is from this club.

When I talk about Eduardo Barrera I can easily switch to the third cliché I pointed out: passion. I don’t understand much of his (Spanish) briefing, but I just love to watch and listen. It’s a bit hard to explain, you should experience it for yourself. There is just a lot of emotion and I can really enjoy that. I think he would be a great politician too… ;) He is a good example, but it’s not only him. You can see and feel it everywhere. They don’t do things here, they live it. They try very hard and do that with lots of enthusiasm. I know the gliding community as a family, regardless of where and who you are, but here is the best example I have seen so far.

Barrera's in the front, Toselli's at the end and me in the middle.

There is one more thing I would like to tell about the people: their eating habits. Beside the times they eat it’s just my thing! I already told you about the meat and wine, but I discovered something else that is well beloved here: Dulche-de-Leche. Caramel and milk in a sticky creamy form. You see it everywhere and can put it in or on almost everything. I was searching for a good one that I could take home in my overfull suitcase and as if she knew I got one from Anallia Dekker when she introduced herself to me. It’s 1 kg in cardboard and from Chaves itself (you can visit the factory): perfect! Thanks Anallia!

Today will be a good day. Looks like it’s going to be a very fast task. I’m enjoying it already!!!

maandag 16 januari 2012

Competition day 6

AAT of 3 hours. The weather was blue and the thermals not so good.

We waited a lot. I saw WG going by himself and thought about going with him. But I stayed. The group was going and I went right behind them. I was on the far south end of the starting line. With a northerly flow not optimal, but it was the best place to stay. I winded up with some open class gliders who were going to the far south side of the first sector. Again not optimal, but the other choice was to go by myself in some difficult weather. There were three other standard class gliders with me and after the flight they told me they had the same thought as I had. A lesson learned: I was too conservative, the other standard class gliders would probably have followed me (or I them). The second leg was bad. Bad thermals and they were very hard to find. The open class was going to the east side of the second sector and this time I decided to go by myself. It was a good decision, because I saw them coming low near the hills. I just touched the second sector and took things slow. A bit too slow maybe, because there were still thermals of 1-2 m/s. I was just too afraid of coming below 1200m where thermals were not the best.

I think I made the best out of the wrong decision on the first leg. The winner just touched the first sector and the far end in the second sector. Apparently the weather was better there. That’s flying AAT over unknown countryside! 17th place of 54.

This night I had a very good and long sleep. I think I needed one. The rumor was that’s today was going to be a very good day. I was ready to go and up for a very fast flight, but unfortunately a cold front is coming too close. A very short task and a short usable time for flying. It takes them 1,5 hours to take up all the gliders and standard class is last (I’m even in the last line!). Let’s hope for some flying. If not: the car is ready to drive to the beach :)

zondag 15 januari 2012

Competition day 5

A racing task. 317 km. Weather is going to be blue and not so good as the day before. Tactics: wait, but not too long. I was really hoping that everybody wasn't going to wait too long. The first group departed exactly on the time I had in mind as my latest departure time. So I waited a bit more.. The second group was not in a hurry, so I departed in between. The goal: get to the first group and hope that the second group doesn't get to it. Aspecially not using me as a bridge! It worked out fine. Not perfect, but fine. On the second leg we got nice high cumulus, so we had fun flying home. I became third. I'm getting closer to the bottle of wine... ;)

So nothing really special for this day. Franco discoverd some damage on the tail caused by the tail dolly. So sanding on the airlplane has to be done this morning and he has been busy all yesterday evening repairing the dolly. Thanks Franco!

Today they expect that the subsidy inversion will have more influence. Thermals are going to be surpressed and wind will pick up again. Lets wait and see!

vrijdag 13 januari 2012

Competition day 3 & 4.

So what happened on competition day 3? 20 kilometers short before the first turning point everything with a plug attached to it turned black:

Shit! Fuse? Let me see.. Seems ok. Let’s turn everything off and one by one on again… No. Let’s try to bypass the fuse with the cereal bar package. Seems to be a sort of aluminum, so let’s give it a shot. No.. Lets shake every cable I can reach. Nothing. Can I remove the instrument panel cover? That’s goanna be a mess. Forget it. So what do we do? No map, no compass… As the weather was not so good as predicted, flying along with the others seems a bad idea. No need to land out when you are unable to collect points. Wait! I still have a copy of the map with the ships papers. I can even reach it! This is going to be a challenge…

Some river and road crossings and a very good visibility did the job and before I knew it I was on final glide to… I forgot its name, but it wasn’t Chaves! Luckily I could find another thermal and after I checked the map I could go on final glide to Chaves.

The problem was the fuse holder directly on the battery. In the morning I was explaining to Franco why I found it so important to have the battery charged: because it is the only one on board. I said that it was the only thing that was critical and without backup. Self-fulfilling prophecy?

Anyway, at least I could enjoy the surroundings at ease and without 50 gliders spoiling the view ;) Furthermore I was lucky to be at home. For some it turned out to be a long day and one even had to sleep in his glider until a tow plane was able to spot him with sunrise. I think you have to be careful about where you are going to land over here..

Competition day 4:

Because of the late retrievals a short task. 2,5 hours AAT. And this time the weather was exactly as predicted: 2500 meters, 1/8 of Cu an thermals up to 4 m/s. Just before I wanted to go I met de French in a thermal before the starting line. I flew with them the whole time and by extending the legs a bit and coming back to the same altitude I knew I only had to stay with them to win the day. Just before the third turning point they decided to go off course to some well climbing gliders. I thought: There must be something good on course too. Lets rewind: I only have to stay with them.. Damn. Of course the clouds didn’t give what I wanted and my spilt second decision did not take account for: the incoming sea breeze, flying alone (and the center of the thermals were hard to find), the wind that made it very important to turn the third point high and… that the clouds didn’t give what I wanted! Ok, that was stupid, but let’s fly home as fast as we can and there is only negligible damage. Before I knew it I found myself on a very bad path down to 600m AGL and had to climb in 0,5 – 1,5 m/s until final glide altitude. There goes another bottle of wine...

Anyway: 5th place is not something I can complain about and it was a very cool flight!

woensdag 11 januari 2012

The second contest day & more

I promised you to tell my tactics on day 2... Pretty easy: start early because of the cirrus clouds from the upcoming front. Big gaggles are less likely when you fly an AAT. Furthermore you can fly a bit bigger distance in the first circles and still use the other to help you. We even had some cumulus so there was really no reason to wait. First leg was pretty good, I was in the flow and was gaining on the others. I took the right path under some nice Cu. Guess I had a good practice in Uvalde. On the second leg the cumulus were not in line with my plan, so I had to fly a big banana. Halfway on the third leg it dried out and conditions were not so good anymore (as expected). Had to fly very carefully to cover maximum distance to find the few good thermals. In combination of 45 km/h tailwind I thought it was good to lose some water too. There were two small circles left and I could go on final glide. Don’t ask me why (because I don’t know myself), but I messed that up big time. Result: flying the last leg with 250 kph and still cross the finish line way to high! That costed me the winning of the day and a nice bottle of “Treintatres” vino :( But you don’t hear me complaining about 4th place!

So, what happened more?

The night before this day, we celebrated Franco’s birthday. It’s something what we share: always celebrating our birthday on an airfield…

After day 2 we had a big BBQ and I finally had the opportunity to taste some real good meat from the Pampas! The Toselli and the Barrera’s (I’ll tell you about them another time) invited me to join. They said it was the last (HUGE!) piece from the butcher and therefore not the best, but I loved it!

Day three: Rain, rain, rain… So I took the chance to process the wine from the day before, sort my cloths between wet and almost dry and practiced some water management. When it stopped to rain I joined the Toselli family to Tres Arroyos. The town is about 50 km away and is a mid size town. Lots of Dutch roots, but to be honest I couldn’t tell. Wikipedia: Queen Beatrix visited it in 2006! Things you do on a canceled day: the women go shopping and the guys are somewhere behind it ;) We had a very good pizza and went to bed early.

The Toselli's

Day four: We got in the grid and before I got to my plane it was already cancelled. Lots of trouble with a volcanic ash cloud! We wanted to go the beach, but the cold air is kicking in and I decided to do some stuff like writing you this story.

Day five: let’s hope for some flying weather, preferably as good on the day of arrival!

maandag 9 januari 2012

The opening & the first contest day

As I haven’t been writing about gliding much, so I start with the contest day.

Strong winds (360/40), blue, max 2000 meter., thermals between 2,5 and 4 m/s. A short taks: 183 km/h. I guess they were afraid the wind was going to mess up the thermals. But it didn’t. I have a habbit of messing up the first day. The goal was to change that. I fly alone in a plane I don’t know, in a country that I don’t know and the sky is just blue. So what will be the tactics? Start late… That’s pretty hard for me, because it not the flying that I like. I want to go, not wait. But Sweden 2006 learned me to do it and I kept strong and departed almost last. Tactics: stay high and use the others to point out the good thermals. And it worked! Because I didn’t climb out the thermals as the proceeding gliders did, I gained bit by bit. After that I could even get away a bit. I placed 5th. The fastest of the late starters, so I found one reason why the French were faster (they had the benefit of teamflaing, that gave them the option to start early), but they were much faster, so what did they do? I had a look at their files: they even got out of the thermals earlier than I did, not climbing out of 1900 meters and they got down to 1100, a bit deeper than I did. But that still doesn’t count up for the lost time: my final glide was slow. I just couldn’t find the thermal downwind and I had to fly slow to keep the path. I could just keep the path and I threw in a couple of rounds against 40 km/h of wind. That will account for the rest I think… Anyway, we reached our goal not messing up the first day. Today will be similar (it is HOT!), but now we have an AAT. That changes the tactics dramatically. But for now I’m not goanna tell you what that will be:)

Results: http://www.soaringspot.com/sgc12/results/standard/daily/day1.html

The opening. What can I say? They put in a lot of effort in it and the whole town participated. One teacher started half a year ago letting the children make paper and plastic airplanes. They even had an Olympic fire, that they walked (!) over from the town center to the airfield, which I see burning from my tent as we speak. The best way to get an impression is to watch the pictures: