30 June 2014

Spanish Championships Piedrahita

Day 1
A great starter task of a little under 70km after a front had cleared during the night. We had 2 turnpoints before the start which meant that the field formed into to different groups. Having turnpoints before the start can fool some instuments. No problem on Flytec and Flymaster but LK8000 did not appear to support that option. Any ideas?
Once I had re-tuned to my IP7pro, having been flying the Sigma 9 for the Cross Country Magazine review for the last 2 weeks, I started to really enjoy the task. I found myself in the leading group as we negotiated the pass. The NW wind meant we were over some higher terrain but it proved hard to find a strong climb. We had to watch 2 groups over take in orbit as we got the necessary height to glide over the poor area to the east of the pass. Our group fragmented and we lost all momentum. Frustrating. Thankfully the conditions were good from then on, but all hope of a high finish had gone. I left for final glide needing 14:1 and arrived at goal at over 700m!
Steve Ham has blogged on his excellent Fly Piedrahita  website that today looks set for a big task. Pee tubes at the ready!

07 June 2014

Overcoming Disappointments

For most of us, even after a succession of good flights, there is always the chance of a disappointment just around the corner. Or in my case, two disappointments in one week. The first came on a mediocre day, but there was definitely more to be had. The second was a largely blue south-westerly day from Eyam edge in Derbyshire. I was in the air first but with the low level wind WSW the ridge was barely soarable. I had to land back at take off a couple of times and then got caught out too far from launch and landed at the bottom. Two gaggles got away in quick succession whilst I packed and got back to launch. I got away reasonably quickly but after two frustrating climbs, never getting above 3300’ I was back on the ground a few km downwind and kicking the heather. The lead gaggle got to the coast…
I stewed for a few days about that one. Was it bad flying or bad luck? Was my state of mind right at the start of the day and was it good enough as the day started to go wrong? What could I have done differently?
A bit of analysis is good; dwelling on mistakes isn’t. It is worth emerging with a plan after a disappointment; it helps to you look forward at what to do next time rather than back at the errors. Thinking back to different flights that had a better outcome gets one in a better frame of mind. Compare and contast: “I am rubbish; those other pilots are so much better than me etc. etc.” to “Actually I had a bad day but I am a decent pilot; the next good day won’t be far away.” From there you move on to “I understand the mistakes I made, the part that bad luck played and how I can do it better next time”
A week has passed with no other opportunities to fly so what is my analysis?
·         Site choice could have been better in a SW wind.
·         I was a bit overconfident/complacent and did not take enough account of the risk of going down.
·         I spent too much time searching away from launch. There is a good place to wait near launch and this is what the lead gaggle did.
·         Once away from the hill sometimes you have to roll the dice to get up. Sometimes it works and sometimes it didn’t. Faced with the same again I would have been tempted to park over an area that has often worked in the past, even if it meant wasting the 1000+ft AGL I had in hand.
·         Underlying factor: dislike of crowds in the club environment hence the rather chancy searching away from launch.
I am absolutely itching to get going and view the panorama from cloud base again. I also want to push my glider harder in tight turns and higher speeds in turbulence. Right where’s my kit?