Archive for January, 2005

Bogong Cup

Tuesday, January 25th, 2005

Bogong Cup 2005 is currently arranged at Mount Beauty (somewhere in Oz). Norwegian Team pilot Jon Gjerde (the mad man from Voss) is doing very wellm and here are his results so far (GAP score Jon – GAP score winner):
Task 1: No. 13 (799-900)
Task 2: No. 23 (669-1000)
Task 3: No. 11 (742-999)
Task 4: No. 11 (565-1000)
Overall so far: No. 12 of 51.

As a lot of the Worlds pilot also attend this competition this is very good flying, probably the best results in some time by a Norwegian.

Jon himself:
Jon Gjerde
Photo: Robin Strid

Report from Sunday

Tuesday, January 25th, 2005

As the students did not fly on Saturday, Øyvind and I as instructors went for an early start on Sunday as the forecast predicted stronger winds during the day. This, however, did not happen, but the early start gave the students a lot of flight. Today Petter got his 1oth altitude flight and got his SP 2 license. Further, Pål got his first 3 flights, while Lars H. has just one more flight to go before getting SP 2 as well. Lars also contributed with today’s drama as he missed the landing at the frozen lake and had to land at an adjacent field. Still, no damage neither to man nor glider.

At about 1330 or so the wind picked up a little, and I made an attempt to get some soaring today as well. But it only lifted in front of the launch, and this was soon packed with pg’s, so it was not great flight. Still, 30 minutes in the air feels good.

Sundvollen from her best side

Saturday, January 22nd, 2005

Usually Sundvollen is a real bitch, providing nothing but sled rides or too strong winds. But today we finally saw Sundvollen from her best side. I brought with me Lars H. and Petter from the hg-course, hoping that they would have their first rigde soaring flight. Still, the wind was too strong for such unexperienced hg-students, so they ended up as spectators (or “ridge standing”). For more experienced pilots, however, conditions were perfect. Strong enough wind to provide stable and safe ridge soaring, and most of the time too strong for paragliders. I flew for about 1 hour 40 minutes, and really enjoyed life. At Sundvollen we land on the frozen lake, which today was covered by a thin layer of snow. As I flew over the landing I saw “Heia Bjørn!” (eng. Go Bjørn) written in the snow with 5 meter letters. It seemed like Lars and Petter were pretty boared waiting for me to land :-).

Oleg Bondarchuk World HG Champion

Thursday, January 20th, 2005

Final results from the Worlds:

1 BONDARCHUK Oleg, Aeros Combat L (UKR) 6455
2 REISINGER Robert, Icaro Zero 7 (AUT) 6281
3 HEINRICHS Gerolf, Moyes Litespeed S4 (AUT) 6100
4 COOMBER Kraig, Moyes Litespeed S4 (AUS) 6060
5 ALONZI Mario, Aeros Combat L (FRA) 6057
6 BERTOK Attila, Moyes Litespeed S4.5 (HUN) 5997
7 PLONER Alessandro, Icaro Laminar 2000 (ITA) 5934
8 HAZLETT Brett, Moyes Litespeed S4 (CAN) 5928
9 GEHRMANN Guido, Aeros Combat 13L (DEU) 5920
10 DURAND Jon Jnr, Moyes Litespeed S4 (AUS) 5912

Oleg finally won the Worlds. It is interesting to see that in the top 10 there are 3 Aeros, 2 Icaro, and 5 Moyes. So altough Moyes totally dominated the Worlds in numbers, all three majors produsers were fairly well represented at the top. Maybe not that surprising since all producers have world class pilots.

Robin Strid’s memorial ceremony.

Thursday, January 20th, 2005

I am just back from Robin’s memorial ceremony in Asker, 25 km west of Oslo. It was a very moving ceremony, and lots of tears were shed. Although sad, it was a nice ceremony, and a worthy goodbye to a fellow pilot and friend. The church was packed with family, friends, and fellow pilots. Most hang glider clubs in Norway had sent flowers and it must have been over 50 hang glider pilots present, some had travelled a long way to participate. Werner Johannessen, the grand “old” man of hang gliding in Norway and Robin’s main xc-competitor, took part in the ceremony and sang two songs.
After the ceremony, most of the hang glider pilots went to a nearby cafe to talk and commemorate Robin.

First flight of the year, Worlds news – or not

Sunday, January 16th, 2005

First flight of the year.
Saturday Lars H., one of this year’s hg-students, and I decided to got flying after a long break without being airborne. The forecast predicted SW, but most online weather stations reported SE so I chose Ringerud as launch (it works with any wind with an Eastern component). With a 300 metre or so dive after take off and a powerline at the LZ it is not ideal for hg-students but Lars is pretty skillfull already so I did not consider this a risk. At the take off the wind was about 5 m/s from S-SE and almost too strong from Lars. Still, at the LZ it was almost 0-wind from the North(!), so I sent him out in a calm period. Lars flow perfectly, but the landing could have been better – nothing broken though. After this flight we were joined by Erik Vermaas and his girlfriend (also called driver). So I used this opportunity to fly myself. Erik started first, then I sent out Lars for his second flight. By then the wind had changed even more to the South, and I had to wait some minutes before launching. In the air I experienced a steady 3 m/s lift, but as it was getting dark in 30 minutes or so and with large wave clouds above and around, it was not that tempting to try out the lift, so I pulled out (actually with some problems) and flew down to land.

World news – or not.
Even with the Norwegian team out of the Worlds after Robin’s tragic accident, I try to follow the development of the comp. Still, it is not that easy. The official web sites (or are they?) can best be described as a mess. The Worlds site at the Australian Hang Gliding Federation is just an empty shell without news or comp information, and the Dymanic Flight site is at best confusing and modest in terms of news. In my oppinion it is pretty close to a scandal that most of the news and information from the Worlds comes from private bloggs and web sites. Still, at least this shows the effectiveness of the Internet. But as always with the Internet, it is difficult to assess whether this information is unbiased or not.

Frode “Leg-Breaker” Halse, Nordic Walking

Thursday, January 13th, 2005

It seems like national pg free distance record holder Frode Halse will have slow start this year. Apparently he broke his femur or femoral neck while out exercising, probably Nordic Walking (although I do not know that for sure).

Frode Halse, photo Frode Halse
Frode Halse, self portrait.

Frode is a keen Nordic Walker, and even has persuaded me to buy a set of poles. Actually it is very good exercise, and almost 50 % more effective than walking or jogging. The reason is that the upper body also is activated while walking, thus providing relevant exercise to upper body mucles used while flying hg/pg. Further, if travelling with loads of hg equipment, the poles are much easier to bring along than for instance a cycle. In addition, it is possible to exercise the entire body.

Preliminary explanations for Robin’s accident

Wednesday, January 12th, 2005

No official report from Robin’s accident and why it occured has been published. Still, there are already several publication indication reasons and causes.
I would mainly rely on Øyvind Ellefsen’s report as he was both an eyewitness and present at the information meeting in Hay. Read about Øyvind’s evaluation HERE.
Also the evaluations done by Avian owner Steve Elkins in the British team diary seem to be objective and similar to those made by Øyvind. Read the British team diary HERE.
Note that these accounts only are informal and tentative conclusions.

Video from Robin’s memorial in Hay

Wednesday, January 12th, 2005

Stein Edgar Strandli filmed the memorial for Robin in Hay, and has published a short video on his web site. Download or view the video HERE.

Robin Strid

Monday, January 10th, 2005

It was Robin Strid (38) that died in the accident in Hay, Australia.

Robin the way I will remember him:
Robin Strid, self portrait
Robin Strid, self portrait.

The death of Robin is tragic, terrible, and almost unbelievable. Robin totally devoted his life to flying, and the entire hg community in Norway will sorely miss him.

Condolances to the family and all his friends.