Archive for August, 2008

Jumping out of a Blanik

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

No flying this weekend for me. I considered driving to Hallingdal for last weekend of flying, but the weather forecast did not look too promising so I stayed home instead. This week we will start preparing for our hang glider course, and we will have introduction days (evenings) Tuesday and Thursday, and possibly next weekend.

Video of the day: A passenger that did not enjoy the sailplane flight, or a sailplane student that could not take the Blanik handling any more?

Video from Trontreff

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Tomas Söderqvist filmed this video from Trontreff.

Landing approach. I am landing just before Tomas.

Trontreff 2008

Monday, August 25th, 2008

The annual and dreaded closing of the summer flying season was arranged this weekend at Tronfjell. Trontreff is an informal gathering with flying, BBQ, and a dead serious competition. The event usually turns out to be a test of what your body can take in one weekend experience; visits to the emergency room has not been unusual.

The weather forecast for the weekend was very good and this resulted in almost 50 pilots from all over southern Norway, and even 3 Swedes, turning up. Not bad considering it is only about 300 hang glider pilots with a valid licence in Norway.

Most drove to Tynset (Tronfjell) Friday evening, with a few also arriving Saturday. Already Friday evening at the camping we saw 30 gliders on cars roofs, and eventually we were about 50 pilots flying Saturday. Conditions Saturday were almost as good as predicted, but the wind could have been stronger. The conditions were also very on and off, so you had to have some luck with the cycles when launching. I was unlucky twice and only got two short flights. Others hit a good cycle and their only problem was to get down when they wanted to land. The competition (4 events this year) also started with the flying, and this year we had 25 contestants. The “task” for the flying part of the competition was as usual points for launching, then points for spotting the colour of two pylons, one near the launch and one near the landing. After the flying we went back to the camping for BBQ and the rest of the tasks. The remaining tasks included crowbar javelin throw, milk pail throw, and tennis ball precision throw. All, except the flying, after consuming relative generous amounts of beer and wine at the BBQ. It seemed like everyone had a very good time. After the competition some went out to the local pub/disco while others preferred staying at the camping and finish off their remaining beer and wine. I chose the latter. Sunday the wind had picked up and it was no problem staying up. Some pilots were a little reduced today, but years of experience made most of them able to fly even today. I had a nice one hour flight, falling through after an expedition away from the ridge and the safe ridge soaring. All in all, maybe my best Trontreff so far.

Photo: The peak of Tronfjell (Tron Mountain) in the background about at the same height 1666 masl. Low cloud base.

More pictures from the weekend HERE (some pictures have a sub-text).

Logged flights at Tronfjell HERE.

Miscellaneous rumours and short facts from the weekend:
– One pilot put the pedal to the metal driving home and was reward by the highway police with a huge fine and 6 months without a drivers licence.
– One pilot forgot to hook in after a top landing and launched unhooked. Luckilly he realised what was happening let the hang glider go and managed to stop. With a steep launch like here this could have been a huge disaster. Only minor damages on the glider.
– One glider ground looped at launch in the strong wind (12 m/s) and was pretty close to being totaled.
– No one to the emergency room after the competitions this year!

Creative sailplane landing

Monday, August 18th, 2008

A sailplane landed on a lake near Notodden on Sunday after hitting a huge sink area after taking a turn point, while trying to get back to the airstrip (goal?). Apparently some help was needed to get the glider out of the water. Well, we are starting a hang glider course in two weeks! Hang gliders are more easy to carry out from landings like this 😉

Bad day at the office.

Ringerud Saturday

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Delayed report from flying Saturday at Ringerud. The forecast looked somewhat promising so Alf and I decided to give Ringerud a try. One more pilot, who will remain ananomys, should have joined us, but chickened out with a hangover.

Nothing much to report from the flying though. It looked not that bad when we arrived with some sun and thermal activity. But as we rigged the gliders it overdeveloped and conditions calmed down. We launched as soon as possible as we thought conditions would just get worse, and were rewarded with 14-20 minutes flights in weak thermals. As we rigged down it cleared and a pg-pilots soared for more than an hour. Well, at least we got a flight.

The view towards S-SE from the main launch at Ringerud.

Alf Oppøyen, the Norwegain Wills Wing pusher, is rigging his brand new Wills Wing Falcon 3 195 before it’s first flight.

Evening instruction again

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Tuesday evening after work I was back in the training hill at Årvoll with Frode and Olaf for more launch training. The weather forcasts predicted almost any kind of weather imaginable, but as risk takers we gave it a try and was rewarded with launchable conditions. Frode and Olaf got a few good flights before we got tail wind.

Fellow instructor Steinar Sverd came with the club’s Wills Wing Condor 330 so that we could check it out before we start a new hang glider course. So we checked and rigged the glider and off course could not resist trying it in the training hill. Actually we have only used the Condor for scooter towing and this was the first time we tried it in the training hill. Steinar was first out and it looked just totally strange – it flew so slow. Then I had to try it. I started in a very flat part of the training hill in 0-wind, walked a couple steps to get the big glider started and then tried to start running. But before I even could start to run the glider took off at such a slow speed that I was sure I was going to crash. Still, the glider just flew and started to glide, and actually pretty good as well, and VERY slow. Fun! This is the perfect course glider.

The Norwegian Wills Wing dealer Alf Oppøyen also came by to hand over a brand new WW Sport 2 to Steinar. I tried to lift and balance the glider and it was just so light and easy to ground handle. Maybe I can get a test flight as we start scooter towing 😉

Rob Kells passed away yesterday

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Rob Kells of Wills Wing passed away from prostate cancer yesterday. This was very sad news! My sympathies and condolences to his family, Wills Wing, and his friends.

Read more about Rob the Wills Wing web page HERE.

I would also urge everyone to support Robs Fly Strong initiative by buying a t-shirt og wristband. Fly Strong is one of the selected organisations I support.

Evening instruction

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Today after job I went up to our local training hill at Årvoll to meet up with the Fun guys in our hang gliding club – Fun = Airborne Fun. Luckily more and more hang glider students and fresh hang glider pilots choose to buy and fly modern floaters after the course instead of old and worn out intermediate or comp glider. Frode and Olaf are two of those students.

Conditions were not that good this evening with rain to begin with and a little turbulent air. Still, Olaf got a couple of launches from the top of the hill, and Frode got 11-12 very good launches from lower in the hill.

Olaf and Frode setting up and making ready for some training hill flights.

Frode launching #1.

Frode launching #2. Good agressiv launch run!

Medical stuff

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Today I had a MRI scan of my bad left knee. Next thing on the agenda a consultation with a rheumatologist in two weeks. Hopefully I get some answers, and even more important solutions, to what has cause me problemes with elbows, knee and more the last years. If I was a race horse I would have been put down and turned into sausages a long time ago, so I am lucky to be human and living in Norway with practically free heath care (and that is without health insurance).

Report from Norwegain Nationals – Vaagaa Open

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

Last week I was in Vågå to fly the Nationals. The report is long overdue, mostly because it is not that much to report from my side. The competition started on Monday and I had hoped to go up Thursday or Friday before the comp to get some flights before the comp, but the weather was bad and I did not go up until Sunday afternoon.

As I have not flown a topless glider in a year and very little hang glider flying overall this year I started the comp flying a Falcon 2 195 just to get into flying again. The national championship had 28 participants and with two Swedes in addition for the Open competition. Taking into consideration that there are only about 300 hang glider pilots in Norway this is not a bad turn up for the national championship.

Some pictures from the comp HERE.
Pictures from Stein Edgar Strandli HERE.

Day 1: The first day of the comp we went to Bøverdalen/Juvass but conditions were not good with rain and lots of crosswind at the launch so I never set up. This launch has late conditions and finally a tast was set with start about 1800. Most of the comp pilots got out but a few as stuck in crosswind at the launch.

Day 2 Tuesday: Rain.

Day 3 Wednesday: A high pressure area was moving in and the weather improved but late conditions at Vole, the launch of the day. I launched at about 1600 with the Falcon and got a nice 1 hour 19 minutes flight. I flew straight into a good thermal and soared to 1700 masl (the launch is at 1070) but after that I never got high again. Still, good practice and nice to be in the air again.

Day 4 Thursday: Also today we started from Vole. High air pressure and unusually hot. Today I decided to fly the T2 for first time since last summer. The launch conditions were good and I was not to nervous before the launch. I had a good launch and flew straight into a thermal (again) that took me up to 1650 masl. But from then on I never found more lift and the last part of the flight was just a long sled ride. I finished the flight with a pretty good landing i 0-wind.

Day 5 Friday: More SE winds today so we went to Salknappen, a launch further up from Vole at 1470 masl. Again it was very hot and stabile and late conditions. Today noone had any problems getting up. It lifted all over the place and I had to escape a couple of clouds that lifted more than I appreciated. I am not used to fly the T2 so I soon became tired and after 1 1/2 hour I decided to land, but ut was just impossible. I really had to struggle to get down and landed in turbulent conditions at the main LZ.

Day 6 Saturday and final day: Basically the same as yesterday. Nice conditions. In the evening it was a price giving ceremony for the competition. National champion was Nils Åge Henden, no 2 Bjørn Joakimsen, and no 3 Jon Gjerde. Complete results HERE. I did not even try to fly the tasks was I was more concerned about getting some time in the air, just to fly and get a good feeling for flying hang gliders again.

Sunday: More stabile and hot weather and late conditions, but I got an 1 hour flight from Vole. I could have flown a lot longer but chose to go down and land because I had to drive home and because my elbows hurt to bad to stay up any longer. As I was packing up my equipment a pilot crash landed witout any apparent reason and the pilot stayed down. We ran over to him and found out that he had had a bad launch at Salknappen with his feets hitting a number of rocks as he flew out. After this he had to loose more than 1000 metres before reaching the landing with what appared to be multiple fractures in his feets and lover legs. I just can not imagine how painfull this must have been.

So all in all a good flying week in Vågå. Still, the flying was cut a little short for me as I had multiple injuries. My left knee, right achilles and both elbows cause me some problems this week. It is not that fun flying when you need to take pain killers before flying and massive amounts of anti-inflamatory medication every day to be able to fly.