Everyone knows about Porterville our local world class summer flying site near Cape Town. Very few international pilots know about our winter flying site, Barberton, situtated near the Swaziland border in Mpumahlanga or the 'low veld'. It is as popular with the local pilots and possibly even has a longer tradition of attendance. It is certainly the family friendly comp and many SA pilots' first comp site given the gentle and safe flying conditions. Barberton is a small town tourist town nestled in a bowl of ancient hills:
Wikipedia: The mountains around Barberton are the oldest in the world dating back 3.5 Billion years, and these mountains include some of the oldest exposed rocks on the planet (only rocks from the Isua greenstone belt in Western Greenland are older). These volcanic rocks, which scientists call the Barberton Greenstone Belt, have given up direct evidence of conditions of life on the surface of the very early earth.
The first form of life on earth, a bacterial micro fossil Archaeospheroides barbertonis was discovered here and has been identified as being 3.2 billion years old.
It is no small thing to experience flying over this area. The tasks may be modest by most standards, but what they lack in grandeur they more than compensate for in technical subtlety and picturesque appeal.
With a month to go we decided to make this a team preparation event as well as a fund raiser.
In this respect we had a very well attended auction and spit braai. It is humbling to experience the broad generosity of our flying community considering how few people ever get to go to the worlds.
Day1 Task 1
It was looking like a great day, so we were given a spider web of back-and-forth racing with multiple start points and routes.
I unpacked my brand new Boom Boom and launched early taking a 5 m/s freight train straight to cloudbase @ 2,200m ASL within minutes.
The temptation to wax lyrical about my GIN B9 colour 'apple' is almost too much to resist, but I will simply refer you to an earlier post http://andre-comps.blogspot.com/2013/03/porterville-world-cup-thank-you-thank.html (The (long, skinny, sexy, awesome) Glider)
The apple carried me around the course in just over an hour without interference from any competitor until the very end where Anton snuck by while I was site-seeing on half bar. Forgive the pompous tone of this last paragraph, but sometimes, once in a rare while, you just get the lines exactly right and flying feels effortless. My family spoiled me for fathers day and my glider played along too.