Sunday, August 11, 2013

Last day of the Nardt worlds

Start of flying was scheduled at 8h30. A light drizzle was not going to stop the organisers of starting round 8. First up was distance, followed by duration and then speed as the final task. A constant westerly wind had the CD close the eastern winch lines, making way for the landing spots.
Our distance tasks were all flown well, with the calling becoming better as we went along. Yes, this was an area that we did not really pay to much attention to in practice.
During the duration the Americans had a midair with Japan quite far from the field. We never saw the damage, but gauging at what we saw both planes must have been a write off.
The speed was similarly uneventful, with us struggling with the launches. Craig tried kiting to get some more spring into the line, but that did not give him any advantage. So, another somewhat disappointing run for Craig. Michelle I thought had a good run, but lost time on the second base B turn. Nigel also struggled withcthe launching, but also had a good smooth run. In effect, what it all boils down to, is launch height! An area that the germans seem to have figured out and using this as their secret weapon, apart from their close to perfect flying.
After the last speed run, the light drizzle, became a more constant heavier drizzle, just in time!
What I thought was a nice touch from Martin Weberschock, he requested all the teams to make a passage at the winch line to give thanks and celebrate the effort of all the Official helpers. So each one was called up by name and then sent through the applause channel. As there were no Mexicans, team South Africa decided to do a mini mexican wave. I wonder if this was captured on the livestream?
Anyway, then the frenzy of packing up began, with the rain dropping down a little harder. At 16h00 we were done and ready to clean up at the hotel.
At 18h00 the Flower Ceremony began, followed by lots of beer and good food. This was also the time to say good bye to old and new friends, in the hope that one would see them again in the near future.
Personally, I found this a well run event and a real eye opener, how the top pilots fly this F1 of gliders. We all had tremendous fun, and I truely hope to be able one day to experience this again.

Unfortunately the team will split up on the Saturday, due to other commitments and time constraints. Only Nigel and his wife Linda will be attending the tour to Dresden. Afterwards they will represent the team at the banquette.

With this I will leave you, hopefully to have stirred some interest, that we will see more F3B pilots here in South Africa in the future.

Friday, August 9, 2013

4th day of Nardt worlds

Groundhog day!

Today was a mostly uneventful day. Two slots were marred with lots of line breaks and the timing board stopped working for a half an hour.  I suppose the light conditions early on, had a mindset going of using thin line, which was kept when the wind picked up slightly. Our team did well, but the competition as said before is really good.
Yet, we are still having fun, even with all the aches and pains. It has been a well run competition, and it will be remembered with fond memories.
A total of 7 rounds have been completed, with the 8th and final round to be held tomorrow.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Position after 5 Rounds

Craig 32nd
Michelle 47th
Nigel 52nd

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

3rd day at the Nardt worlds

Today we started off with fog again. So with a delay we carried on where we left the previous day. The livestream centre seemed to have been battered by last nights rain, leaving them no option other than setting everything up in a van. Only later in the morning could Martin Weberschock begin with the commentary. At one stage he required a list of the line up for speed, and waiting in the ready box I handed him my copy. Big mistake!! He used the opportunity to question me and have me greet everybody in my three languages. Hope you all had a laugh when you heard it.
Anyway things seemed to improve slightly for us, but yet again Craig was robbed of good air in his speed run! His duration was great, except he fluffed his landing, but his distance made up for it. Michelle likewise did well in here distance. Even Nigel gave a good showing.

Today we stopped at 19h00, to make provision for an outing to a nearby powerstation and some dinner and entertainment. Needless to say, we did not opt to go to the powerstation, as we were not permitted to fly our planes off the tall building :-) . Instead we had dinner and a couple of Pilsners.

Now, before I fall asleep on the job, I'll sign out and get back to you all tomorrow.

2nd day of the worlds in Nardt

Well, a scorcher it was! But from a competative view it was a lot better than yesterday. Although we had such bad luck, with some tasks, in terms of helpers not buzzing the bases properly. Our re-flights still gave us the upper hand though. Craig especially had a huge impact on the team today, coming second for round 3. Well done to him. The rest of the team, definitely improved on "jellying" with each other to improve communication on the field. Having said that, there still is the aspect of having been married so long, that one tends to, not listen!!
Fun we had, that is for sure, and this experience will always be carried forward.
It was also a day, where for the first time we could all take a breather and didn't feel like, we've been run over by a train, that is except for the heat. An afternoon coffee, the real German type, seems to have given usalasere of life. Or should I have not said it due to the anti doping requirements?
The tuck shop must have made a killing thus far, in ice cream sales, due to these high temperatures.

Back at the on field action, the distance turned out to be the highlight, when three planes ploughed into the aligning forest. One had to be retrieved by an extended ladder, with only minor damage to the leading edge.
Talking of damage, our neigbours, the Swiss, seem to have bought along a master repairer. I think they knew what they were in for, but this guy realy can repair glider damages on site.The rest of the day was uneventfull, except that I fell asleep again, before finishing this blog.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

First day of F3B worlds in Nardt Germany

The day started with severe mist or fog, what ever you want to call it, which gave us a bit of a breather in terms of getting ready to fly. For round1, speed was flown first, followed by distance and then duration.
It seemed like a total lottery out there today, as conditions changed very quickly, leaving us, the south african team, reeling to get some form of hold. The luck was not with us in the slots, reflecting badly in our scores.
For the results, please see the web site on the F3B world cup in Nardt.
Unfortunately we are not doing to well, but then again the top pilots are reeeaaly good. We shall see how tomorrow goes!
The short nights and long days are catching up to me. While writing the above, I fell asleep, so that is why you only received the blog this morning. I'm glad to see that some of you are watching the live streaming, amazing what technology has given us.
Well, the sun is shining, seems to be another scorcher today. But now it is time for breakfast and coffee.

For those of you streaming your data away, enjoy!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Results of the Nardt Open

Craig 10th
Michelle 42nd
Nigel 84th
Jochen 91st

See full results here
Click on the British flag in the top right corner and select Nardt Open

Final day of Nardt Open

The day started with some faint thunder and a couple of dropplets. After breakfast and packing the cars, it really started to rain. Only thing to do, was to reverse the combi half way into the tent and off load our stuff.
In the background the Australiens had a mini table tennis competition going on, using tables a third of a standard width table. No wonder we call them mad hatters! But at least they all entertained us for a while. Craig used the opportunity to do some repair work, which he couldn't complete as the rain stopped and we were called out to set up our equipment.

We were still busy with distance of round 2, which I completed with a fairly low cloud base. Next up was speed for round 3, with Nigel up first. His run was smoothly flown. After that, it was my turn and I just wanted a clean run, aiming for a sub 20. Well, I got the height, got to base B and turning into base A towards me, I over rolled and planted the Ceres Lift into the ground at high speed. After the thud there was dead silence in the winch area. It had to be me, the first time at a worlds, making headline! It was actually gratefying to see that every pilot there in the winch area felt my pain. But, these things unfortunately happen, and we just need to move on.
Michelle also had a good speed run, but Craig again faired best of our team.
The last task of the day and the Open was duration. Here we all did quite well, with Craig still outperforming us. Thanks to Craig, I was able to complete round 2 with one of his other Ceres.
Having completed the flying, it was back to bringing in all the lines and packing the winches close to our designated launch area for the worlds. At 17h00 the opening cermony was started, with the usual speeches and the flag parade. At one point it started raining quite heavily, leaving some individuals to source some umbrellas. Needless to say, some chaos was caused with some people migrating to other nations for protection.
A parachute display was arranged where the official flags were attached to the skydivers.
Unfortunately the rain stopped the rest of the planned displays, prompting us all to go back to the hotel for dinner.
At 20h00 I had to attend to the managers meeting, where a couple of things were discussed. The one that took the most time, concerned the German team, who requested 2 extra winches and batteries for their team. Reason being, that they had a full team of 3 seniors, 1 junior and a word champ to cater for. They argued, that they would use more battery power and more winchline, leaving the rest of the team disadvantaged. Apparently they had 2 extra winches and batteries at the last worlds in China, and subsequently requested the same. The majority ruled against that preposition. But in the end they got one winch and 2 batteries. Think about this and you will see what a discussion it can create.
Anyway, lets's see what tomorrow will hold for us, other than starting at 8h00.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

First day of Nardt Open

The day started at 6h30 with loading the car, with all the charged batteries, followed by breakfast, so that we could still set up the winches and assemble the planes before the pilots briefing at 8h45. Needless to say, we should've arrived earlier, but good team work, made it possible to get Craig up into the air without a hick up.

Compared to yesterday, the day was a lot more managable, as we could take longer breaks in the shade. Yes, it was another scorcher of a day at 36 degrees.

Anyway, the competion ran like clockwork, as can be expected from the Germans. A total of 110 pilots entered this competion and one and a half rounds could be flown today. I guess the reason being that we flew until 20h00. I kid you not!

Since we didn't have a great deal of practice at this altitude, and with nerves running amok, Nigel and myself struggled somewhat in the first round. But then again we are flying against the best! Craig showed his class, by setting the pace early on in the speed run. Unfortunately condition changed to suit the other pilots after him. Michelle got to grips with her C model and also showed her class with good flying.
I'm glad to see an improved in the second round by Nigel, although we still have to complete that round tomorrow.

Let's see what tomorrow holds for us. The weatherman predicts rain and thunderstorms. May he be wrong, so that we can complete our 2nd and 3rd rounds.

To get the latest score updates, please see the F3B WM web page. Select Nardt Open, change to english and follow the selection presented.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Practice day

Today, was most probably the hardest day.

It started with a great german breakfast, which basically lasted the whole day. Yes we made lunch packs, just because we could as it is a cheap option.
At the field the hard work of setting up the winches started. It was followed by assembling the planes and then testing if the winches were to competition spec. This was all done in the open at 36 Degrees!! Soon we had to get crates of water to prevent any dehydration. Drinking 4,5 litres of water was not a problem today! When the model prosessing had to be done at 14h00, it was a welcomed shady experience. All the planes were passed, but we were still busy trying to test and set the winches.
By 17h00, when everybody started to leave, we started to get a couple of practice flights in. Craig took part in some planned distance practices.

At 20h00, this is when the sun is still shining here, we were PASTE and decided to call it a day. 12Volt batteries for the winches had to be carried back to the car, winches had to be secured from the elements and the planes had to be taken appart and packed into the car. Sweaty and most probably smelly, we decided to have dinner first and then unpack the car, charge the batteries and only then go to bed.

As I said, a loong and tough day!

Tomorrow the pre-comp will start, where 3 rounds will be attempted to be flown over 2 days. But I'll keep that for tomorrow, if I have not keeled over by then.

Travelling to Nardt

Well, the big day came and went. We all arranged to leave home at 15h00 on Wednesday the 31st of July for OR Tambo airport. I was the first to arrive, thanks to my lovely wife and children. To my surprise, our F3K team manager, Juanita arrived after me, with Nigel, Linda and Michelle and kids in close pursuit. Bob Skinner and family also made the effort of seeing us off. Many thanks for all the support, it is greatly appreciated.
The check-in went smooth, thanks to some very helpful Lufthansa staff. Especially those who made it possible to give us a waver on our oversized glider boxes.
The flight was long and tedious, although some slept the time away. It crossed my mind to wake them to find out how they can possibly sleep. Well I didn't. Arriving round about 5h30 in Frankfurt, we quickly arranged trolleys and moved towards the train station. Here we changed currency and had a bite to eat after the typically poor airplane food. Further we picked up some sim and data cards, which left us then with little time to get to the train to Dresden.
The ICE train did not disappoint and got us to Dresden main station on time. There we found a smiling and very happy Craig, who obviously missed his family and some familiar faces.

Heading to Nardt, we stopped over at Macdonalds for some lunch. Once again an eye opener, as here you see, that they have put in a great effort of going healthy.The self service on the drinks is also something, that we'll never see in RSA.
Nigel was fortunate, of being thrown in the deep end, by having to drive on the right hand of the road. As you can imagine, the wipers went and the door was nearly opened when he changed gears. I think Linda in the back was more nervous.
The landscape here in Germany is spectacular. Everything is very green with manicured farmlands and aligning forests. We decided to go to the the field, where we received our winches from a contact of Wolfgang's. With the rented batteries we went to the hotel. Upon our arrival we unpacked and soon our rooms were transformed into what looked like workshops.
For dinner we had a great meal, consisiting mainly of pork and beer. After that, it was lights out.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

F3B WC just around the corner

Well, the preparations for the up and coming WC in Nardt are over, and only the last packing has to be done, before leaving for the airport on 31 July 2013.
As a first time team manager, I have to look back at the preparation to this event, only to realise that it could not have happened without the assistance of the old and experienced guard. Thank you to all of you, that have come to help at the practises, arranged all the certification, stickers, documentation and gave me a guiding hand. Yes, Craig was instrumental in twisting my rubberarm, for me to take on this daunting task, as some have referred to it. Well, I'm still awaiting the "daunting",  and that is besides the financial one!

Truth is, that we all share the same passion, and this is the one thing that keeps us all together. So, there should be nothing to worry about. I know we will all try our best and this will give us the enjoyment that we all crave.

My intension is to have a daily update on this blog during the World Championship, so keep a watch out!