Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Final 8th WSGP Vitacura, Chile

Still difficult to put these final words to type. As Tomas Reich had become a new friend. On my first trip down to Vitacura before Christmas, he would offer his daily views and help if/when I needed them. This would be true of all I met while there. Thier focus on safety is second to none. On his passing, we need to wait to see what or if did happen to cause this loss. I do wish Godspeed to his family during this time and my condolences.

I received several emails on the wing loading imposed by the SGP. The wing loading limit was done for safety.  As you can see in the pictures when we got to the end of the runway, theirs really no place to go except into the large rock covered river bed to the left. In a few more seconds, you can make a polo field, but that might not turn out pretty either. Another few seconds and a paved parking lot becomes available, but again, it wouldn't be pretty. After that, a 180 turn back might be available to the runway.

The picture above now shows we have only one place to go, and that would be the river bed which has large boulders. All agreed it wouldn't be pretty. Yes, we were grided as far back as possible.

On the first day, I came back to the airfield as we lost all trackers and flarm. The antenna's were changed just before take-off and later, back at the "laboratory" area climbing with several other's I was receiving no traffic information. The next morning the problem was solved and now everything was working better than everyone else's!
Where I was parked at, several folks spoke about how the flying was. Several were running the low route and other locals felt it better to stay high.  It was already apparent that I came with zero and would be leaving with zero, so I was focused on taking the slower, high routes. Last 2 days I choose not to fly. Came down with flu-like symptoms and felt that would be the best for me.
Several have described the thermals and also how they are sheared. Flying extremely close to the vertical ridges are required and several times it did become dangerous (meaning you had to stay extremely alert and always have an "out route" planned).  I did watch more than one getting extremely low before finding something and climbing out. I stayed high and flew slow. You need to know where the "jumps" are before proceeding with these low routes, as some jumps do have major sink after passing thru them. The upper Andes are closer to the Jet than we are used to, so winds of 20-30 +kts are common when trying to fly the higher routes.

Without the offer of the ASH 26 I would not of gone, so was just happy to enjoy the area. Fees per container were $15,000 each for 6 glider's one way. 3 containers. Late March before they get back for unloading in Germany.
On entry fee's, I was charged 300 euros contest fee's plus tows, the total was $820 USD.

I'll still be doing contest's, so if any wish to talk more about Vitacura and flying in the Andes, please just ask me at the airport. I have some great maps and can explain easier on how the weather seems to work.

Best. Tom #711.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

WSGP 2nd race day notes and pics

Click to make big. Before start found a wave, made the climb to 4700 Meters. After start tried to run with all the snakes. Then after a short while just kicked back and enjoyed the day. Here are some pictures. The clearest day we have had. Lunch was great, The General has left, been adopted by all the line and launch folks. I was last back and they were so glad to see me land, they pushed me into my parking space then I got out. If the pic has snow, your looking east. Best. Tom #711.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Closing 2018 Andes. Opening 8th WSGP Vitacura, Chile

Been having a minor connection problem, but now have some pictures taken with my cell camera. It is late tonight in Vitacura, Chile. The 2018 Andes Open has ended and tomorrow, Jan, 11th, 2018 is the first practice day for 8Th World Sailplane Grand Prix. The first pic is of all the World's National flags which are represented by the competing pilots. Following pictures are of today's closing for the Andes Open. Will add names, a storyline on my blog, over the next few days, but here finally are some pictures. Best Tom #711.

Thomas Kelley 1st day of 8th WSGP Vitacura, Chile. We awoke then drove to the airport. Many were wearing coats and sweaters. Yes, it was cold for most folks. It's done a little different here, so a brief trip of time. The extremely large group of your ground and launch crew comes by, hooks your glider up, goes to weight station which is on way to the grid. Then after weighting, they grid your glider for you. Remove your tail dolly, get you all lined up and ready to go. See, here's in the "southern' Americas they have learned long ago when it's left up to the pilots as in the "northern" Americas that these pilots will simply screw it all up when left to themselves.

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Thomas Kelley Our meeting's are short. Start's @ 12 noon. It's weather, then they hand out the day's task. It's over. We then have a buffet lunch with great deserts! The first launch is 1:30pm, task opens 3 pm with an airborne countdown. On landing, we roll off the runway and are pushed to our hanger spot. It's easier to stay in and be seated during this time.

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Thomas Kelley Ok, you got all that "stuff"? Well, yep, weather gods have won the first day and we are still all tied for first place. No launch as mountains in the local area had low clouds and where we fly up to climb, was in the low clouds. Maybe tomorrow, but been told, it really doesn't get much worse than this. Monday looking better. All gliders back in their area, most folks have wandered off, maybe go to the beach as it's a short drive. Best. Tom #711. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡²πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡²πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡²Thomas Kelley Today, 1/15/18 pilot's meeting shorter. Great lunch, then we waited as we were already gridded, then waited, @1430 launched 4(combination of modern 18 Meters, no need for speculation), under a high overcast sky, which of course, then got thicker. Climbs were seen on the main ridge, not really strong.... maybe .2 kt or so. but in a short time, one was landing, day canceled. 

Heck with you folks, beautiful young French woman wants me for an interview.......dang glad we are on the ground..... bunkie! πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡²πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡²

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Vitacura, Chile pre practice for 8th WSGP Jan. 11-20, 2018.

Arrived Vitacura morning of Dec. 5th, 2017 (Tuesday). Just a quick lead into today. I received my invitation to the 8th WSGP final mid-Sept 2017.  The Chile organizers did their best to step forward and try to help me out. What transpired in a few days was the arrangement of an 18 Meter being shipped from Europe to Chile. Also, several new friends from Europe stepped in big time.
I can never express my gratitude for all the folks that have come forward to help me get to today. The list is long and today, the owner of an Acrus who has been flying here for over 30 years shared his knowledge and time with me. Needless to say, I now have even more studying to do yet feel comfortable better than yesterday.
As many of you know I have been flying gliders for some time and today, well all them mountains I had been flying over have just been actually "hills" compared to what we saw and did today.  But yesterday was spent getting briefed by the owner on his glider which I will be using. Philip Sturley is the owner, he's  a retired General from the Royal Air Force.  Between him and Andres Errazuriz Beeche (owner of the Arcus), it has been continuous entertainment with them passing on years of knowledge in this area to me.  Also, several hours of mentoring, doing paperwork and heading back to find where I am staying took longer than thought. My rental car didn't have navigation and I did end up  "getting" talked to which finally was understood that it was better for all to let me go so they would better enjoy their day!
Santiago has a very "large" population in a small space. A lot of what we did call "smog" is here and climbing up thru the morning inversion takes patience.
Today's thermal were "normal". Normal being extremely small cores and tightly steeped banks. Flew with several large groups of "Condors", now that was an amazing site for sure! Where we did go is called a "beautiful mountain" rather than try to rack up miles for the OLC. Flew for just over 4 hrs.
It's late now, about 12:30 am Chile time, 9:30 New Mexico time.

Here are some pictures. Just click to make them big. Best. Tom #711.

 Above is our working in deeper. One of the mountain ridges we ran looking for "thermal climbs"

 We finally ran North to a TP called IB77. Turned their and Andres told me if I stopped to thermal one more time he was going to put on the airbrakes. So, I had to fly the "ridges" back without turning...what a treat!
 Andres Errazuriz Beeche above and Philip below. What makes our sport are many folks, like yourselves, who step forward and do so much without ever asking for any recognition. Oh, Philip also has been many time Britains Team Captain. Ya, I am grateful to many for giving us so much towards what our sport does offer.

 Lunch above and today's dinner below. Excellent "Ceviche" made special by the chef!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Region 9 Super region first day Hobbs 2017

Region 9 First day TAT of 3 hrs. Start B Tatum-5 miles, Littlefield-25 miles, Seagraves-20 miles, Lovington-1 mile Hobbs finish. Good weather major chance thunderstorms tonight, worst than we got around 11 pm last night. 

Thursday 06/22 0% / 0 in
Sunny. Near record high temperatures. High 104F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.

 DrJack ( miniBLIPSPOT
        Lat,Lon= 33.27,-102.73 (288,147)
 Jun 22 - NAM
 VALID.TIME     18z    21z  VALID.TIME 
 ForecastPd      6h     9h  ForecastPd 
         W*     494    656  W*         
Sfc.Heating     409    345  Sfc.Heating
      Hcrit    6482  12127  Hcrit      
   BL Depth    4020  11154  BL Depth   
     BL Top    7684  14818  BL Top     
Hgt.Variab.    1996   5026  Hgt.Variab.
  B/S Ratio       9     27  B/S Ratio  
    BL Wind      10      4  BL Wind    
  Direction     255    303  Direction  
 Wind Shear      13     19  Wind Shear 
Max.Converg       1      2  Max.Converg
      CUpot   -3652   1508  CUpot      
     CUbase   11337  13311  CUbase     
      ODpot   -6343  -1972  ODpot      
     ODbase   14027  16790  ODbase     
      maxRH      46     58  maxRH      
       CAPE     329    919  CAPE       
    Temp@2m    92.9  100.6  Temp@2m    

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

1st Contest Day USA Club Class Nationals 2017

A lot of talk at task committee meeting but Plan A called is AT of 226 miles. Start B, Crossroads, Andrews, Lovington,  Hobbs finish. Plan B knick off Lovington. Weather brief was 12,000 msl ish cloud bases, real good soaring Hobbs area within 50 or so ish miles Hobbs.  I didn't do pilots meeting.

Grid 12 noon, first launch 12:15. Day should last till 7 pm but weaker after 5:30 or so.

Tuesday 06/20 0% / 0 in
Some clouds this morning will give way to generally sunny skies for the afternoon. High 97F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph.

DrJack ( miniBLIPSPOT
        Lat,Lon= 33.01,-102.94 (286,144)
 Jun 20 - NAM
 VALID.TIME     18z    21z  VALID.TIME 
 ForecastPd      6h     9h  ForecastPd 
         W*     608    631  W*         
Sfc.Heating     405    369  Sfc.Heating
      Hcrit    9308  10669  Hcrit      
   BL Depth    7580   9322  BL Depth   
     BL Top   11238  12980  BL Top     
Hgt.Variab.    1682   3719  Hgt.Variab.
  B/S Ratio      20     23  B/S Ratio  
    BL Wind       5      5  BL Wind    
  Direction     157    117  Direction  
 Wind Shear       6     18  Wind Shear 
Max.Converg      -2      3  Max.Converg
      CUpot    2258   1594  CUpot      
     CUbase    8981  11386  CUbase     
      ODpot   -2122  -1374  ODpot      
     ODbase   13360  14354  ODbase     
      maxRH      81     72  maxRH      
       CAPE    2253   1645  CAPE       
    Temp@2m    90.3     96  Temp@2m 

Best #711.

Monday, June 19, 2017

2017 USA Club Class 2nd practice day 6/19/17

 Task committee met at 9 am with a phone brief by the weatherman. Task called is on the SSA website thru remote scorer. 10 am pilots meeting with a slideshow which CD put together(stayed up till 4 am doing this) went well. 12-noon pilot meeting called when task sheets will be passed out.

Monday 06/19 0% / 0 in
Cloudy skies early, followed by partial clearing. High 89F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph.

Center of task area.
DrJack ( miniBLIPSPOT
        Lat,Lon= 33.53,-102.98 (286,149)
 Jun 19 - NAM
 VALID.TIME     18z    21z  VALID.TIME 
 ForecastPd      6h     9h  ForecastPd 
         W*     311    532  W*         
Sfc.Heating     187    401  Sfc.Heating
      Hcrit    5067   7593  Hcrit      
   BL Depth    2200   5147  BL Depth   
     BL Top    6095   9043  BL Top     
Hgt.Variab.    1840    981  Hgt.Variab.
  B/S Ratio       6      9  B/S Ratio  
    BL Wind       9     10  BL Wind    
  Direction     084    099  Direction  
 Wind Shear       3      5  Wind Shear 
Max.Converg       3     -5  Max.Converg
      CUpot     598   2240  CUpot      
     CUbase    5497   6803  CUbase     
      ODpot   -1311     -8  ODpot      
     ODbase    7406   9051  ODbase     
      maxRH      98     88  maxRH      
       CAPE    1775   3428  CAPE       
    Temp@2m    76.5   84.7  Temp@2m    

Below are random pics from the morning meeting with the last several added weather from our briefing. 

 John Seaborn A8 and below added pics before launch. HA reported 6.5 kt climb right after release and CD started the launch at 13:15. Task opened 14:15 ish. Still a 3 hr. TAT. The task on SSA website or SSA tracker/Glideport.Aero.

Maybe more pics from the grid and day later toward evening. Enjoy.

Best. #711.