Alphen aan den Rijn Friday June 19 Rayskala Sunday June 21
Still at home and preparing for Finland. Very pleased with the results of the flying days in Rayskala where the young pilots flew up to 677 km yesterday.The 6 German pilots have showed the others what they are worth and the Dutch team did also a great job . The Slovak pilots and of course the Finnish pilots showed as well that they are ready for a “HOT” competition.
Tonight they celebrate the MIDSUMMERNIGHT, so I will miss out on that. No worries!!!!But …the weather has changed again so no flying today!
I saw they have my “Ritz Corner ” ready to go, so on Sunday I will write more on the Finnish site www.jwgc2009.fi
Today I read in the paper that a 61 year old pilot/captain died in the harnass, forcing his 2 co-pilots to bring the Boeing 777 safely back home. The pilot worked 21 years for Continental Airlines and this flight from Brussel to New York , with 247 passengers, was his last one. As far as I know this does not happen a lot, as pilots really are checked VERY well and often. Of course co-pilots should be able to fly the plane as well, but in this special case they got permission from the tower to land first at Newark [New York] airfield.
Back in Rayskala. After an easy going flight with KLM I arrived safely in Helsinki where the head of the scoring waited for Marina [she is the steward] and me at the airport with a nice good readable sign ;guests for the JWGC Rayskala. With arrival at the glider field, I noticed puddles of water , people with raincoats , thick pullovers and boots and I remember the same situation in 2005, when I arrived. Would history repeat itself and will we have the same great competition here as in 2005, when on day 1 a 1000 km task was set for open class and flown by most!!!!
The welcome was warm and so friendly. Marina and I were welcomed by Silva the competition director and by his deputy Mari, who is also “the boss” of this airfield. A real nice lady. I do work together with Katja another great lady and the web guru, from Rayskala.
Our welcome [Patrick one of the jury members here and Visa-Matti the IGC member for Finland] was at 8 with a traditional meal; thick sausages with either garlic or spicy taste or traditional , with mustard and/or tomato ketchup. Patrick one of the jury members was with us as well. This you eat with beer normally, but for this special occasion we had red wine or whisky. If you drink enough whisky or similar strong drinks the mosquito’s will leave you alone. Atleast that’s what the Finnish friends say.
Great ” rabarberi cake ” was the desert with tea or coffee.
This morning started with sunny conditions and for the first un -official practise day I would like to ask you to read the story at www.jwgc2009.fi Thank you. You can find the stories in the Ritz Corner.
To finish this blog I invite you to read the story from MM. I am very pleased to tell you that he is back with some interesting views on gliding and what’s more of interest for you readers, so here you are;
The jets are coming.By MM
There are probably very few people who have a greater dislike of engines in gliders than I. When engines first appeared in high performance gliders many years ago it felt like cheating. Motor gliders, the ones with the fold away engines, could just venture out on a cross country without worrying about out landings and retrieves, or so it seemed. Unfortunately it turned out that these engines were so unreliable at times that failed engine starts were a regular occurrence. At low altitude and over difficult terrain a failure to start could soon develop into a screaming emergency and quite often an accident. The drag of the extended engine turned the high performance glider into flying brick giving the pilot limited room to extricate himself out of his predicament. Apart from the dangers associated with light-hearted reliance on the engine during cross country flying the costs of the installation were not insignificant. With a lot of development the engines became more reliable over time, but this improvement came at some expense; a much higher purchase cost of the engine.
The cost of the installation was reduced by reducing the power requirement from self-launch to sustainer. Now the only thing the extendable motor had to do was start and run to keep the glider airborne. It started because the propeller was driven by the airspeed once the engine was extended, so it only needed fuel. Electricity was only needed to extend and retract the motor. The construction of these sustainers was much simpler and therefore the reliability improved; less things to go wrong! But still the drag was very high when the engine decided not to work at the crucial moment. But with less technical complexity that didn’t happen very often. Another advantage was that sustainers, or turbo’s as they are commonly called, are a lot cheaper to buy and maintain than the engines used in self-launchers. But you just had to find someone to give you a launch to start your flight.
Over the years we operated several self-launching high performance two seaters as well as some fitted with turbo’s. After some hair raising narrow escapes we used them as pure gliders. In the self launchers we taped up the engine bays and removed the fuel tank and the turbo’s were simply removed all together. When we were doing this the turbo of one of the Nimbuses, which had just been removed from the glider, was lying on top of a big waste bin. A well known 4-time world champion happened to pass the scene and, looking at the engine on the bin, said “that’s a very good place for these motors. They should all be thrown in the bin!”. He obviously wasn’t a great lover of engines either.
The idea of making yourself independent of out landing possibilities was of course very sound. Places like Bitterwasser and Gariep Dam, just to mention a few, wouldn’t have blossomed without this evolution. The contra’s of the current systems available remain however complexity, acquisition cost, aerodynamic drag when extended and the fact that the installation is not suited for the retrofit market. On the pro side are low direct operating costs and good propulsion efficiency with propellers optimised for the speed range gliders operate in.
It was always clear that if only jets could be made small enough that many of the problems associated with engines in gliders would melt away, and it seems that the “jet age” has arrived for gliders. The main beauty of a jet engine is that it is compact and very reliable because there are very few moving parts. The situation is no different than the transition from the extremely complex turbo compound engines of the Lockheed Constellation, using very high octane fuel, to the relatively simple but powerful jets of the Boeing 707 and DC8. The reliability of the jets was several orders of magnitude better than the big radials it replaced, but boy …. did they guzzle some kerosene!!
In Tocumwal there has been a jet glider, a Caproni Calif, operating for some years now. The modification, fitting a Microturbo, has been carried out by Mike Burns. The engine is permanently fixed inside the fuselage and is powerful enough to self launch the glider. The glider itself is a rather average contraption but the installation of the jet is beautiful. Very user friendly, quiet, almost fool proof. As expected the fuel consumption is shocking, mainly because it is an older design engine. At 100 kg thrust it can do the job easily. Because the engine stays inside the fuselage there is no aerodynamic drag problem should the engine fail to start at an inconvenient time. So, if the price of the installation is reasonable, there could be a market. Retrofitting this installation into another glider is a big thing so it is not really a jet kit for everyone.
The thing is that you only really need about 20 kg thrust to keep a modern glider comfortably airborne, so why toy around with an engine providing 100 kg thrust? Self launching maybe…., 60 kg thrust will do that quite easily provided you can get rolling; the initial acceleration will be very marginal and thus for quite some time during the takeoff roll the glider will suffer control problems leading to wingtips dragging or ground loops.
It is the aero modellers that have provided us with the needed technical progress. Because they wanted to build and fly models of jet aircraft, a market appeared for the supply of model jet engines. For decades these engines didn’t have enough thrust for us glider pilots, but as the modellers started to fly bigger jets and the professional market started to fly smaller aerial vehicles for all sorts of, usually military, purposes, the technology became available for real high tech, extremely small but quite powerful jet engines. AMT Turbines is now producing small turbines that are powerful enough to act as jet sustainer engines for gliders (www.amtjets.com ). Because they are so small they can be readily retrofitted in existing gliders.Almost all the drawbacks form the earlier turbo and self launch engines seem to have disappeared. The extended engine has no more drag than an extended landing gear, the weight of the whole installation is less than 10 kg excluding the fuel, and it takes so little space that you can put it in any glider. PSR Jet Systems is already very close to offering a “jet kit” to the market at prices that make economic sense. See http://www.psr-jet-system.com for more details on a possible kit.High fuel consumption is still a characteristic of these engines but at 50-80 liters per hour, depending on which engine you choose, it is acceptable, especially because the engine only runs for short periods of time at high power. Another advantage of these engines is that they can be started on the ground so only a minimal winch launch or auto tow is required to get going. The “rest” of the required altitude before departure on a cross country flight can be achieved under its own jet power.
It has taken a while but the jets are “on the way” and gliding will be better because of them.
See you on Wednesday with more insite info about the JWGC and what’s interesting in the rest of the world.