Random Musings
October 30th, 2016 by Lucas

Jarek and Lucas excellent* adventure.

It was the first day of Bendigo Gliding Club’s Melbourne Cup Weekend. I had arrived the night before, late enough to setup camp and find dinner. I had managed to duck into Bendigo to pick up a few items that I had forgot to pack, back just in time for briefing. Jarek had used the time wisely, by rigging his PIK20 WQF.

Briefing told us it was going to be reasonable conditions blue day with 4kt climbs to around 4-5000ft. Tasking was a 217km Assigned Area Task. Not too big as the weather was due to soften the climbs around 1700ish.

I ended up rigging Geelong’s LS4 UKA after briefing, with a little help from Jarek and Mike Durrant.

After most people started gridded at around 1300, Jarek launched first, at 1318, and headed off into the wild blue yonder.

Once I had finished getting ready, I gridded and launched at 1348, behinds Bendigo’s Eurofox. Climb rates were around the same as the Supercub, and I released at 1800ft AGL in what I thought was decent lift. Unfortuneatly I couldn’t stay in it, due to the thermal being narrow and broken, and my reduced currency in a glider.  I had struggled to gain around 200 ft, so I decided to see if I could find something better. I did not. I did, however, find 6kts of sink. I ended up joining downwind at 1000ft AGL, and managed to turn into base at 1200ft, my best climb of the day. Bah!

Jarek had much better luck. After going east to Elmore, he pushed north to Echuca. After Echuca, Jarek went west to the Mitiamo Forrest, a reliable source of climbs.

Feeling enboldened, he decided to push up to Pyramid Hill. Unfortunealy, because the day was ended he didn’t see another good climb, and outlanded just west of the Mitiamo Forrest, on the way back from Pyramid Hill.

At around  1600, Jarek calls the club phone and asks for a retrieve.  I dutifully hook up WQF’s trailer to Jarek’s car and I head north. As it was about 40k as the glider flies, it did take some time. Jarek rang to assist with directions. He could see the rail track with a good dirt road on the same side (east) , and he could see the Mitiamo silos, and advised that I should turn off at the silos and follow the track up.

I had plugged in his coordinates into google maps, which was telling me to go to the east, though the Mitiamo Forrest. Knowing google maps has been known to lead retrieve crews on wild goose chases, I thought it was more prudent to follow the advice of a much more experienced glider pilot.

This turned out to be unwise. The track Jarek led me down only went for about 500 meters before becoming a swamp.

Jarek had decided to walk down from his outland paddock, an estimated 15 minutes. As it was about 4k, at turned out to be about 45 minutes. During Jarek’s time on the tracks, he heard a “toot toot” of a train, with two engines at either end with some empty flat beds in between. This forced him onto the service track. I waved to the drivers as they passed my location.

Normally in such geographical embarrassments, one would just turn around and backtrack. This proved rather difficult, as the track was only just wider than Jarek’s car. Reversing up the narrow track proved beyond my skills. So we disconnected the trailer and swung it around (WQFs trailer is reasonably light without the glider). Jarek then volunteered to turn the car around.

The narrowness of the tracked necessitated a 1000pt turn.

Dramatisation of Jarek's 1000pt turn

Dramatisation of Jarek’s 1000pt turn


At a point in this display, Jarek went a little too far, and managed to get the rear wheels a little over the embankment.

Whilst we were trying figure out a way of extracting Jarek’s car, we heard a now familiar “toot toot”. The train had decided it didn’t want to go south, and North was a much better option this time of year. As the car had its nose over the track, Jarek had to reverse a bit more down the embankment. We now had a beached car. No amount of rocking back and forth was going to get us out of this mess.

Jarek and I then headed into town, and found a local who had a ute to drag us out. He did tell us that it was the first time in months that a train had come by this way.

To get to the falcon, he had tow the trailer out of the way. Then he used a lifting strap to tow the Falcon out of the ditch.


We thanked the kind local, and headed on our way. Coincidently the was Google had originally advised.

We had a look at the northern approaches to this paddock, but it required traveling down beside the railway track. Deciding we had pushed our luck enough for one day, we went around to the south side of the paddock. We found a gate, unfortunately padlocked. We tried lifting it off the hinges, but it was too rusted on.

We found a wider service road (the one Jarek had found earlier, but was only one paddock long), a part of the fence was down, allowing access. It was a good, if remote, paddock to have a outlanding in.


Once we arrived at the glider, we were joined by about 10,000,000 assistants. They didn’t assist much, being mosquitoes, just lots of biting.

Between being bitten , and the failing light, it would have been one of the quickest de-rig I’ve seen. We then drove back to camp, taking a route away from the tracks, for a return at 2115hrs, to some roast dinner, and a quenching ale.

Stats for the day:

  1. Mike did 256km at 72km/h
  2. Jarek did 150km at 53km/h
  3. I did 10k at 65km/h
  4. 40k retrieve  in 5 hours
June 30th, 2015 by Lucas


As I type this, it looks like Greece will default on the IMF payment of €1.6b. It looks like the Greek people view this as the lesser of the evils facing the country. Austerity has produced a depression-level contraction of the economy, 25% smaller than the peak, 25-30% unemployment (60% youth unemployment). All the IMF and the ECB (not to mention lender economies such as Germany) could offer is years of “more of the same”.

The Greek government was elected earlier this year on an anti-austerity platform. Anyone half paying attention could see that the democratic mandate was going to have issues with the unelected troika.

One thing I will have to point out, is that “Greek bailout” is seriously incorrect. If Greece defaults, Greece will still exist. It is not like when a company defaults. Countries cannot be dissolved. There will be consequences, some bad and quite painful, but Greece will still exist. So when they talk of bailouts, they are actually talking about bailing out Greece’s creditors (by and large private banks in France and Germany – although a lot of that debt was transferred to the public debt of the IMF and the ECB).

Whatever happens over the next few weeks, it will be rough for the Greeks. Exit from the Euro currency and returning to a devalued Drachma may be the best long term strategy  (due to increased competitiveness of Greek exports), but it won’t be pretty for either Greece or the other exporting nations in the Eurozone.

June 30th, 2015 by Lucas

Zaky Mallah

The QandA controversy: was Mallah’s appearance a freedom of speech issue? Or, as the government and the Murdock press hyperventilators would suggest an attack on the good Abbit Government?

Tim “freedom boy” Wilson would suggest that it is not a freedom of speech issue. He also suggests that the ABC should not have given Mallah a platform to express himself. How is denying a platform for expression of ideas not a freedom of speech is beyond my comprehension.

Paul Kelly only sounded like a broken record saying (paraphrasing) Bad ABC, Bad ABC. Sounding only slightly less coherent than Granpa Simpson’s more lucid moments.

Mallah is the first to admit that he has done some stupid things in the past, including threatening ASIO officers (yes, those same freedom-loving busybodies). He has participated in activities that would get you arrested nowadays. He has even threatened two NewsCorp female “journalists” with gang rape (only just recently). By all accounts, Mallah is not a pleasant fellow.

There is one Thorne in the governments current narrative of denying terrorists Australian citizenship: that once a terrorist we don’t want them back here. Now, apart from the bad neighbour behaviour of dumping our problems on the rest of the world, the likes of Mallah (who had gone to Syria to fight) come home are actually anti-terrorist. For all his abhorrent faults, he has been doing good work educating young people in his community against the evil ISiS/ISIL/Daesh. 

So much for the narrative, and the urgency to prevent these people from returning to Australia. We can’t have these people returning to Australia to face the music – they may tell the inconvenient truth of what is happening over there.

May 27th, 2015 by Lucas

Private sector Autocracy 

This is a first post in a series of posts that might not be much more than thought bubbles.

In Australia, most people work for a wage or salary. If they work the standard 38 hour week, they will spend a third of their lives in what could be described as a autocratic system. Most workers do not have much (if any) say in matters of how the organisation they work for is run, or even how much they are paid.

In other words, they don’t have alot of control over the output of their labours. This is unlikely to change unless we get to close to full employment.

This combined with the concentration of brands into mega companies, at some point we have corporations that start to look like planned economies.

With the decline in governments (think about the push for “small government”, combined with the anti-democratic investor-state dispute clauses in “free trade deals”) we could be witnessing a conversion to an autocratic corporatism.

May 24th, 2015 by Lucas

Mail server outage

The Raspberry Pi that is my mail server had its sd card fail, so I’m trying to recover it with ddrescue. This may take a while (8G at 6kB/s blech).

This will mean my home email will take a while to deliver. It also means that the GCC committee list is also out of action. Messages sent should be delivered when service resumes.

In other server related news, after bjorking my juju installation, I’ve managed to recover the main website (the one you’re readng now).

Update 25May15 1631: we are now 4.2G recovered out of 8G. It may be tomorrow night before we are back on line.

Update 26May 1803: it seems to have slowed down due to errors. It may be another day or three. (7.8G out of 8G).

Update 27may. Maybe Friday?

November 26th, 2014 by Lucas

When the PM normalises lying

Reblogged from

 “It is an absolute principle of democracy that governments should not and must not say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards. Nothing could be more calculated to bring our democracy into disrepute and alienate the citizenry of Australia from their government than if governments were to establish by precedent that they could say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards.”  Tony Abbott, August 22, 2011 

Every time Abbott lies to the citizens of this country we become increasingly disaffected, and not only from our Prime Minister, but from the institution he represents. Abbott has normalised the discourse of lies. He has taken the dishonesty of politicians to a whole new level. We barely expect anything else from him, and from his fellow politicians. Under the leadership of our mendacious Prime Minister, we have increasingly abandoned hope of fairness, straightforwardness, belief and trust. Our Prime Minister doesn’t think we are worthy of the truth.

One of the many unpleasant effects of being lied to is that the liar insults and patronises me by creating a false reality that I have to inhabit, until I discover I’m the victim of deception.The liar denies me the right to know the truth, a serious offence against me, because truth is something no one has the right to deny me.

Whether it’s on a personal or a political level, lying to me signifies the liar doesn’t consider me as entitled to the truth as is he or she. This infantilises me, is disrespectful to me, and denies me the knowledge I need to make informed decisions about my life. There’s little more insulting than being lied to, kept in the dark with lies of omission, and intentionally misled because the liar doesn’t consider you capable of handling the truth, or is acting entirely in their own self-interest because you knowing the truth will in some way threaten them.

The Prime Minister of our country, Tony Abbott, has never made any secret of his ambivalent relationship with truth. There is his notorious assertion that nothing he says is “gospel” truth unless it’s written down.

There’s his prescriptive declaration that “It is better to seek forgiveness than ask permission.” While this isn’t necessarily an endorsement of lying, it is a ruthless and callous prescription for relationship with one’s fellow humans. It recommends that one do that which one desires and if it backfires apologise, but it isn’t necessary under the terms of Abbott’s prescriptive to negotiate with or communicate intention to others, prior to taking an action. This has a similar effect to lying, in that it assumes an inferiority of some kind on the part of another that doesn’t require Abbott to enter into an equal, respectful relationship in which another’s opinions and wishes count for the same as his own.

We have a liar for a leader. When the lies start at the top, there’s little hope truth will ever see the light of day. Abbott is leading us into an abyss of normalised deception that will damage every one of us, because when dedicated liars are in power, the country will inevitably lose its way. If you don’t think this country is losing its way, you’re dreaming.

November 23rd, 2014 by Lucas

Bacchus Marsh Strawberry Weekend

Dieter spruking our wares whilst a potential pilot has a go at the controls.


November 23rd, 2014 by Lucas

Jantar’s new Instrument panel

JB has been hard at work updating the instrument panel in the Jantar Std 2 VH-IUD.


VH-IUD with new instrument panel

November 23rd, 2014 by Lucas

GGC Display a the Bacchus Marsh Strawberry and Cherry weekend

Here are some photos I took yesturday just before packing up. There were a lot more people there earlier. See this facebook post from Sylvia
Bacchus Marsh Strawberry and Cherry Weekend -VH-IUD
Bacchus Marsh Strawberry and Cherry Weekend - VH-IUD
September 28th, 2014 by Lucas

My mower won’t work – Round One

My arch nemesis:



For a long time, my mower was hard to start. It would kick back, generally misbehave until you actually got it started.

It improved when I replaced the air filter, spark plug and oil, but it would still kick back.

A few weeks ago, I hit a rock/stump/something, and smoke started to be emitted out of the carburettor. Not a good sign on the best of days. Today I went shopping for a few tools (15/16″ socket, 6″ gear puller, and a few other bits and bobs), to take it apart. First, off with the cover:

Then off with the flywheel nut. Aha! there is the problem:
The flywheel key has sheared and moved around by 30ish degrees. The would have put the ignition timing out (the valve timing is fixed).
Looks like I need a new key (the two silvery bits are supposed to be one key):

There doesn’t seem to be too much damage on the crankshaft or the flywheel keyway:


I just need to find a shop that sells them.

July 6th, 2014 by Lucas

Gliding at the Marsh

Whilst I didn’t go flying, I took some pictures at the Marsh yesterday:






June 28th, 2014 by Lucas

Glider winch lanch

A few weeks ago I had a winch launch in the Duo Discus with Alf. Here is the video:

June 22nd, 2014 by Lucas

In the news

Whilst First Dog on the Moon makes lite of the situation with the school chaplaincy program, there are serious problems afoot.

For those not following the situation, the high court has ruled that the funding arrangement for the program is unconstitutional.

The government seems to have tried to get around the decision by pre-funding all of this year, and “forgiven” the debt created by the high court ruling.

This, and the issue with refugee visas, gives a picture of an arrogant government that believes that it can do anything they want, unbounded my democracy.

June 22nd, 2014 by Lucas

Flying Report

It has been a while since I’ve done a gliding report, so here is a quick update

Done lots of gliding, including gaining the C certificate. I’ve done my 50k flight for the Silver C, and all I need to do is the five hour flight. Total time is now over 135hours. I’ve even made a few videos: at porepunkah.

Powered flying has gone no where, due to a lack of funds.

May 16th, 2014 by Lucas

Porepunkah Videos

This one is a quick video of me in UKA going from the Chalet to the bowl. The camera was hand held.

This next one is with the camera mounted on the RAM mount. It is a rather long tow.

The last video is me coming into land.