Thursday, December 7th 2006
Today we are in heavy smoke from the bushfires in the hills just south of Corowa
and with a visibility of only 1 – 2km there is of course no flying. Everybody
went away which finally allows me some time on the only “guest computer” to
write a little about the conditions here, as you asked for.
As you know Australia is suffering from an extreme drought this summer and the
newspapers are filled with the corresponding (and growing) problems, like these
widespread wildfires. On the other hand these dry conditions should be good for
the production of thermals, but so far conditions have been rather variable.
Since I arrived here on Nov 17 we’ve had quite a few days with stable air and
poor or no flying at all. Also a couple of days with moderate to good blue
thermals and only three days with (some) cumulus clouds. On two of those days we
all went north and found that conditions (and the clouds) were improving when
getting past about halfway towards Narromine, which is some 500km to our north.
Two days ago I had a shot at the first 1000km for the Corowa season, but a
strong headwind made progress for the first three hours very slow and in the
afternoon approaching high (frontal) clouds denied me the last thermal and I
came 35km short. I hope to get another try before going home on Dec 17th for the
As you know I’ve been many times at Tocumwal and because of the demise of
Sportavia I’m now flying my Ventus 2cM at the ASCC in Corowa.
Francesco and Grietje run a smooth operation here with comprehensive
(weather)briefings, including all the necessary data gathered from the temp
trace they fly every morning.
Every evening Belgian chefs Jan and Chris prepare an excellent meal in the
clubhouse, usually attended by at least half the customers, except on Saturdays
when a special “family dinner” is prepared and everybody is present. Francesco’s
newborn male heir Frank is also an integral part of daily life here.
An estimated 20 – 25 customers of 10 different nationalities are here at the
moment, many with their own gliders brought from Europe in 4 sea containers, so
the hangar is quite full. Some however, like me, leave their gliders parked
outside (in their Jaxida covers) to avoid the hassle of (un)packing the hangar
every day. Waterballast hoses, tow out cars (and dust) are in ample supply.
Launching with the two Pawnee tugs is very quick and the (I believe about 6)
selflaunchers have ample room on the two long and wide runways. Apart from the
gliders there is hardly any traffic at all on this large and well maintained
aerodrome. Airspace restrictions are almost non-existent, except for Albury to
our east, and the whole area has numerous large paddocks for outlanding and
The ASCC is for experienced xc-pilots only and the centre’s DuoDiscus is used
for checkflights and for rental (crosscountry) flights, there is no “ab initio”
training done like at Sportavia. Some single seat gliders are also for rent and
a few private gliders are available for crosshire when their owners are not
flying themselves. Since most gliders are equipped with an engine (mainly
turbo’s), outlandings are quite rare.
Almost everybody puts his (or even her) flights on the OLC and there is some
(competition) pressure to fly as many kilometers as possible; Francesco is
pushing to get Corowa in #1 spot.
On a “normal” good soaring day for some reason the thermals start about half an
hour (up to one hour) earlier over here than in Tocumwal. Quite often in the
past we were still drinking coffee at Sportavia waiting for the first thermal
while we could see nice cu’s forming over Corowa in the distance. Also getting
back here in the evening is usually slightly easier due to the nearby hills and
the more favorable angle to the (prevailing) headwinds.
Corowa lies some 85km to the east of Tocumwal, also on the Murray River and
although this town is a lot bigger, there really is not much more to do or to
see (read: hardly anything, if you don’t play golf) and it lacks the nice
beaches Tocumwal is famous for. There is a huge golf course and there are many
motels with very friendly owners, but Ritz, of course these can’t compare to the
perfect accomodation I used to have in your caravan at Sportavia…
All in all, so far I’m satisfied with my stay here in Corowa and we’re just
hoping for better and more consistent flying weather to arrive in the near
Ok, for the moment I can’t think of anything more to tell you, so I’ll send the
mail and go have a beer (or two)…
I wish you all the best in cold and dreary Holland and good luck with your house
and job hunting. Get well soon…
More news from Oz, as Jo Tabart send me the next info;
The team for the next worldcomps has been approved in Australia.Paul Mander mentioned the names of ;
Tracy Tabart for open /18 m.
Bruce Taylor, Terry Cubley and Graham Parker for 15 m. st. class.
Congratulations to the new formed team.
News from Holland. The dutch Nationals will fly with 20 m. class. This is approved by the competition and selection committee. They have also started an English site. Look for www.zweefportaal.nl
They call it the MEGA comps and they are from May 18 to 27 in Stendal-Borstel Germany.7 Classes will participate ( Club,standard, 15 m ,18 m., 20 m. , twin seaters and open class) and when there are enough pilots in a class and enough days the winner can call him/herself Dutch National Champion.
I signed for my new house and worked all day. Feel sick, really have the worst cold. Time to go to bed. Enjoy reading. Ritz