Random Musings

Archive for the ‘Gliding’ Category

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
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
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

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.

May 5th, 2013 by Lucas

GGC Website update planning

I’ve come up with a plan to update the Geelong Gliding Club website, which is running on an ancient version of Joomla.

First, using the (which is really hard to find) to update to Joomla 1.5.

Then using the J2XML import/export tool to update to Joomla 3.1.

After that it should be much easier to update to future versions.


  1. Replacement extensions.  Lots of the extensions used in the current version no longer exist at all, or no longer exist for 1.5. JoomGallery looks like a good replacement Image Gallery tool.
  2. Getting the files into Lunar pages. this could be problematic.
December 29th, 2012 by Lucas

Gliding Report

Did nearly four and a half hours in the DuoDiscus with John Buchanan. JB saved me a few times, and I have a few things to learn/practice. Unfortunately we didn’t get back – outlanded at Lethbridge.  Nice people there, but no come-and-get-it trophy.

The flight:

Totals: 96h29 (51h10 PIC) over 207 flights

December 9th, 2012 by Lucas

Gliding Report

Did nearly four and a half hours in the Janus with John Buchanan on my very first cross country. JB saved me a few times, and I have a few things to learn/practice. On to the Duo Discus tomorrow!

The flight:

Totals: 92h11 (51h10 PIC) over 206 flights

November 18th, 2012 by Lucas

Gliding Report

Today started early with and excellent egg, bacon and tomato breakfast put on bu David Fynmore. There was a bit of a discussion about the days weather, and JB and Alf decided to head off to Raywood to claim the “Come and Get it Trophy” from the NSWGA.

For a day that started out raining, and a predicted top of 19 degrees, it was a more info

surprisingly good day. I managed a quick annual check, and then a conversion flight in the Std Jantar for just over an hour.  I’ve also started to upload flights to SkyLines.

One thing I didn’t achieve today was my DI certificate. The instructor was too keen to go flying.  Oh well, maybe next week.

UPDATE: Alf and JB’s flight back is on OLC

November 4th, 2012 by Lucas

Gliding Status Report

Just one flight today in the Junior. Patchy conditions with reasonable thermals (up to 5 kts in places), and unreasonable sink in places (6-7 kts).

Totals: 85h55 (49h34 PIC)

On a related note, it is good to see Beaufort GC and VMFG join us in the Destination Bacchus Marsh OLC comp (Geelong is still number one!).

October 20th, 2012 by Lucas

Gliding Status Report

Yesterday I had two flights (only because I launched too early and needed a relight):

Flight 1

Flight 2

Both in the Junior. As you can see, the second flight was much better at 2h55.  In a slightly related note, the Destination Comp on OLC, Geelong Gliding Club is winning (at this point, because the other two clubs have not turned up 🙂

Totals: 84h23 (48h2 PIC)

September 9th, 2012 by Lucas

Gliding Status Report

I know I haven’t done one of these in a while.

I’ve been solo on the winch a while back, but I’m still having trouble with release with a load still on.

Today’s winch launch wasn’t that bad in that respect, but it was still back released under load.

Not entirely sure what is going on.

January 29th, 2012 by Lucas

Gliding airspace data

I’ve started a new project to maintain the airspace and turnpoint data for various gliding programs.

The link to the project site is at It isn’t much at the moment, but I should be able to work on it in the coming months.

Plans for this project:

Maintain the airspace and turnpoint data.
Create a web-based tool for data extraction.