Horacio about Chaves !Jake solo on his 15th birthday!” Corowa Classic ” in 2011??

Alphen aan den Rijn     February 7 2010    ritzdeluy@hotmail.com

The main part of this blog  will be taken by the very nice story from young pilot and member of the Argentinian junior team, Horacio Piombo . He describes the South American Gliding Competition / Argentinean Nationals, flown  last week in Chaves in an open and very enthusiastic way. As we already knew the weather  was sometimes “booming”  and  sometimes difficult in Chaves during this competition and the pilots had some exciting experiences over there ,as you will read.
Talking about young pilots; We have a new one. On the site from SportAviation I read that Jake , who is the big help at SportAviation in Tocumwal and is supported by the owners of the business ,  Eddie and Sheryl , celebrated his 15th birthday AND his first solo-flight in front of his mum, dad and 2 brothers. Great moment for this young and very enthusiastic young man/lad, who I met first sitting on the , at that time Sportavia bench from the office ,3 years old. We will hear more from him in the future and to me that looks bright!
Congratulations Jake!

A very nice email from Mari, the operational director of the airport in Rayskala in Finland reached all TC’ s from the fabulous JWGC 2009, as well as ” the honored jury members, the mighty stewards and the amazing Ritz”.
Why? We all get as a present the 2009 JWGC dvd and I am looking forward to receive that dvd ,as those comps were just special! And I know that a lot of people think the same. For each pilot one dvd  is ready to be send to the TC !!!

As a lot of pilots in Corowa  stay for a few months to fly there , Francesco  has suggested to have in 2011 a Grand Prix based competition for 20 m. class gliders called “The Corowa Classic”! Great idea! I noticed already that a few of the Dutch pilots , flying for a longer period in Corowa, set theirselves task to fly and to stick to, to have a bit of a challenge, instead of just flying the same task again and again or just to not follow clouds only…..Such a competition would be a great challenge. News about it can be found soon on their site; www.australian-soaring-corowa.com and I guess all pilots will be interested.
And as Grietje told me; ” It was a fantastic good season and the team on the ground was fabulous.” I know how important it is to have a helpful, smiling team around your guests and from what I heard they were indeed SUPER!
Being on the OLC on top of the list of airfields worldwide is a great achievement, so the staff /team must have worked hard, but they also got great changes to fly as Rene has experienced with for example  his first 1000 km flight!
Not a lot of flying over the last days in the South of Australia due to some bad weather as a result of  ” Olga “, a cyclone hitting the North in the end of January, but luckily not too bad.
I also got a report on an electric storm in the night from  Wednesday to Thursday in Tocumwal with lots of thunder and lightning which took all night and 2 inches of rain where measured. Yes the season is over now, both in Africa and Australia but the “after-season ” can be very nice , specially in Australia ,[ today over 600 km in Corowa!] but also Bloemfontein had a nice 386 km. flights in an Antares yesterday. In Horsham the well-known Horsham week is on right now, first day has been flown yesterday .In fact this is the last competition of the Australian season.

Here we go with the full story from Horacio! Enjoy it to the fullest!

Dear Ritz, 

The 2nd FAI South American Gliding Championships is now over, with a record assistance of 94 gliders from Argentina, Chile and Brasil.

As you know, this event took place in Adolfo Gonzáles Chaves, venue of the 32nd World Gliding Championships in 2013 for Club, Standard and World Classes (and who knows, maybe 20-meter too!), so the events during this competition should be of great interest for those willing to come and race in the Argentinian flatland.

The competition was organized into three classes: Combined Open (for flapped gliders with a wingspan of more than 18 meters long), Combined 15-meter (basically the ASW-20s, DG200s or Ventus without wingtip extensions) and Standard (dominated by the LS-4, Jantar Standard, and Standard Cirrus gliders). As you can see with the exception of the Open class, where you do find the latest glass, there were no modern gliders in the other two classes, so what people in the US or Europe may refer to as Sport or Club class, we still call them 15-meter and Standard. This means that for the Worlds, all of the LS-8s, Discus2 and ASW 28s will have to be brought in by ship. On the other hand there will be no problems whatsoever in renting a Club or a World Class sailplane.

Flying with so many different performing machines is only possible thanks to our handicap system, which by the way  does not consist of a fixed index, but instead it is variable and generates an specific index for each glider type on a given day, taking into account a lot of factors such as thermal strenght and radius, wind, starting altitude, task lenght, etc. by analizying the flight records. We are very satisfied about how it’s been working so far.

Back to the championship itself I flew in the 15-meter class on board an ASW-20 FLP “LQ”. I was able to travel to Chaves a week before the competition began in order to train with Damian Goldenzweig and Javier Gaude to learn some of the basics of team flying. For Damian this was his first competition on board a flapped glider (ASW-20 A “WR”), since all his previous national and international events had been on board standard class sailplanes (LS-4 in Argentina, LS-8 in Eskilstuna and Pociunai, and Discus2c in Lüsse). Javier instead has always given a lot of use to his left hand, climbing immediatly after flight school to a 20 and winning the latest nationals in a Ventus CT (we shall never forget his final winning flight during the 2008 Nationals, averaging 150 kph on a 450km course stopping for thermalling only twice!). During this training week we were always able to fly each day tasks of around 300 km, with 3 m/s thermals and cloudbases around 2000 meters.

One day after flying we went downtown for dinner with my crew and some friends, and as I entered the restaurant and looked to the left I saw a very familiar face sitting among some other people, I knew that guy, it was definitly him! Uli Schwenk was in Argentina and he was visiting us for the competition. I was so excited when I saw him that I did not realize that he was sitting with our chilean friends who had arrived to Chaves that same evening: Carlos Rocca, René Vidal and Carlos Stipicic, the first two had been flying the GP final only a week ago, with Carlos finishing second after Sebastian Kawa and René winning the Andes Cup. I was lucky to be quickly introduced to him thanks to the friends from Chile who were doing their best to break the ice, saying things like “Hey Uli, Horacio was at Räyskälä, like Alex Spath (who I believe was crewing for the germans during the Santiago GP)”. We talked about many things, specially about flying in Musbach for the 2011 Junior Worlds, he gave me some very valuable advice. The following day Alex Janssen from Chile lend Uli his Ventus2 “XS” and we had the privilege of flying a training task together, although he never spoke over the radio, which seemed awkward at the time, he later explained that the Ventus had so many buttons on the stick that he didn’t know which one was the PTT!

The competition for my class began on a very poor day, having to cancel Standard Class right from the start. Thermals went as high as 800 meters with me and another 13 pilots outlanding in a crop duster’s runway 50km away from home, we had a lot of fun together waiting for the retrieval teams. The weather was soon to improve and on the second day cloudbases where already at 1800 meters with a CB forming parallel to the first leg and blocking the way into the second area, only 6 pilots barely made it back that day, me and the guys outlanded. On the third day soaring conditions were really improving, showing what the area has to offer: we departed into a blue sky with thermals reaching 1800 meters on the way west to the Sierra de la Ventana ridge, and while heading north over the mountain range cumulus began to develop and cloudbases soon reached 3000 meters, with the winner averaging 113 kph over a 470km course. The fifth day was nothing to write home about, and although I took the day win, the weather was very poor with dry thermals climbing up to only 900 mts. From that day on we continued having magnificent soaring conditions for the rest of the competition, with cloudbases around 2000 mts. and being able to fly in 10 out of 13 days.

The final day was one I will always remember, the morning sounding forecasted dry thermals up to 1500 meters, but while the metman was giving the breafing, CU clouds were already beginning to form in the sky outside the hangar. By the time we took off the bases where at 2200 mts with a CB building up rapidly over the first area. As I was one of the first pilots to be towed into the air I was able to patiently climb over the clouds using dynamic lift, allowing me to gain 300 meters over the rest of the competitors. As the CB was growing larger we had to go as soon as the line was opened, I hear Damian and Javier leaving under the cloudbases so I had to dive from above the CU behind the start line in order to catch up and depart with them. With all my excess energy I was flying at the 20’s VNE of 250kph, just to find out that I had flown right by my teammates and I was now 8km in front of them! So I was on my own. While approaching the first area I soon connected with the storm line, which ran parellel through the first and second legs finding incredible values being able to achieve 140 kph during the first hour of the task. The team on the ground were keeping us informed about the weather developments and It really seemed that this was going to be a distance task, so many of us decided to go straight for the maximum distances. As the flight was coming to its end I once again met with Damian and Javier over the last turnpoint with only 80km separating us from home, but the situation ahead looked nasty, and although the ground crew was informing us that still no rainshowers had been spotted over the aerodrome, some were affecting the alignement point 10km away.

We took our final climb and in combination with a highly energetic route we were coming in fast at MC set to 4. At 30km from Chaves we met the rain, so we slowed down to avoid becoming a flying brick, 10km further the rain eased a little bit so we pushed on in order to arrive before the CB did, which was moving directly into the airfield.

Time was critical, it was the final day, Damian was first overall and I was third, we both knew we had taken a big sporting risk in extending the course instead of arriving back early doing minimum distance avoiding the storm, and now we were facing the consequences. We are at 10km over the alignement point rushing for the finish line, not because we want to win but because we want to arrive before the CB does. 15 gliders pass over our heads, things were going to get busy. At 3 kms away Damian announces his approach: “WR straight in runway 31”, but the frequency is overflowed with the other arrivals, we see Damian diving to make his direct entry while Javier and I remain behind a little higher in order to determine the best approach. We decide to go straight in, it is already raining heavily, but while we make the announcement we receive the order to pull up and make left downwind of runway 18, soon we find out why: runway 31 was closed, the CB was at the gates and nearly 20 gliders were already landed on that runway. With all the cars with their lights on it was like if we were about to make an instrument approach to Heathrow International in the middle of a storm. As we pulled up we could see another seven gliders also pulling up in front and below us. The contest director was giving directions to every approaching glider: “ET take it to the end and clear to the left… ZB behind ET and to the right…” As I turned into final I had this 7 gliders in front of me and landing outside the runway seemed a perfect choice at that time, but I found a gap between all the traffic and decided to go for the runway: flap position 5 and I settled down like a Harrier. As I opened the canopy the worst was yet to come as hail coming from the CB began to smash the glider. Me and my crew rushed for the canopy cover and used our bodies to protect it from the impacts. The hail storm lasted for about 10 minutes and luckily no glider was damaged and everyone was able to make it back safely. It was a job well done.

In Standard Class three times national vice-champion Santiago Berca (LS-4) finally obtained a well deserved first place, followed by Javier Sondón (Std. Cirrus) and Claudio Schmidt (Jantar Std.3) from Brazil.

In the 15-meter class the gold medal went to Damián Goldenzweig (ASW-20), with Mauricio Delfabro (ASW-20) finishing second and me in the third place.

And finally in the Open Class brazilian pilot Egon Rehn (ASW-22) took the first place, followed by Fernando and Irene Repicky (ASH-25) in second place and Joaquín Blanco (Ventus2 cxm) finishing third.

This edition of the South American Gliding Championships served us as an opportunity to improve our skills for hosting the WGC in 2013, not to mention the satisfaction of being able to share the skies with all our friends from across the southamerican continent.

I’ll be in Szeged this summer crewing for Damian, so I’m looking forward to seeing you there.



THANK YOU SO MUCH Horacio! And…about Szeged , I still do not know what’s going to happen with me. The organizers , I heard 3 days ago, are negotiating with a local reporter, which is good as well, as long as the world knows day by day what’s going on.  The 17th of February might give a solution! Take care, see you next Wednesday and….the Dutch Nationals will be defenite at the Airforce base of Twente from Mai 13 till May 23 2010.

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