Not often do I find penning a blog a break from a hectic period but today is one of those times. It has been full-on here at Hosin since we arrived last Saturday and now everything is ready for the racing to start, after a relaxing day for the opening ceremony.
The glider options for the team members flying on a different continent are to ship your glider or to rent/borrow one. I’ve done both and there are pros and cons to each one. If you ship your glider you trade months of paperwork and the loss of your ship for practicing prior to the contest for the later comfort of a familiar steed. If you rent/borrow you spent the practice week getting familiar with your new ship and its computer system, C of G, etc.
Both options require a trip through scrutineering where the paperwork, equipment and weights are all examined. Hosin was particularly efficient they had lots of the document uploaded via a web portal and the physical examination and weighing was therefore straight forward. They sped-up the system significantly by taking pictures of all the necessary instruments on the relevant pages: Flarm ID, instrument configuration not to allow cloud flying, etc.
My rental glider flies well, and I now have its instruments configured in a familiar fashion. It was not so easy to style the LX-9000 to match my ClearNav’s simplicity but after a couple of evenings of tuning with the fun LXStyler windows application we are there. All the tasking is in the metric system: no knots or miles or ft to be seen anywhere near here. The only familiar aviation metric is flight level for some of the airspace. I must admit to adding lines on the km/hour ASI to indicate 60/80/100/120 kts to stop me flying too slow when confronted with a 200+kph number!
The flying so far has been great I’ve flown two 600km and a 500km task. The weather has been slightly unstable with showers developing during the afternoon, but they are the northern European version which wash out a relatively limited area for an hour or so. Overall, if you like cycling weather this is the place for you. There are lines of hills which appear to work well early in the day but if they shower they tend to be soft for the rest of the afternoon with the action moving to the adjacent valleys. The thermal strengths are variable often 2-3kts early building to 6-8kts during the peak afternoon and back to 3-5 kts after shower activity. Large soft areas are also common so gear changing will become a well-practiced skill.
I just heard from my glider’s owner that he is selling his ASG-29E after the contest. If you’re interested, please let me know – it’s in great shape and has some splendid automatic bug wipers that offer in-flight entertainment as they remover the copious European bugs. Bob
Here are some photos from the scrutineeering process taken by my crew, Andrew Watson: