Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Castelo - Day 3 - Task 3

Tuesday 29 September 2008.
General Schmidt reporting.

Today had a good looking start, puffy cu's @ 1500m ASL (ground at 100m ASL). East wind to the south into the teeth of the predicted sea breeze. A fantastic start over the huge cliffs alternatively soaring and thermalling. As I was pushing to make up from a less than perfect start, it was great to see a blue and orange Mac leading out aggressively at base. Things all came to a grinding halt at the first turn point, with the entire field 150m above the ground groveling in the stable sea air.
Nice cruising low over the green countryside and I joined up with the lead bunch at the second turn point. More on this later. While pinned with fifty other pilots between 150 - 200m ASL with towering trees and vultures for company, it was uplifting to see puppy coming in 500m above clicking the turn point and moving out. Only half a dozen managed that, the rest were left in deep piles of poo.

Andre went on to get a narrow 2nd place behind Urban Valic after five hours of slog. Total of six in goal. WELL DONE PUPPY!
In the meantime, back in the hole. Bitten. Chewed. And spat out by the rotor monster. Many times. Until after forty minutes, most of the bitter-einders elect to land. Thus clearing the way for the more foolhardy to dive deeper over the town and into the gorges. I still have stretch marks around the eyes. It didn't happen for any of us because we couldn't crack the sea breeze inversion, so happy puppy did it.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Castelo - Day 2 - task 2

Monday 29 September 2008
Major Andrew Reporting
Seems you get promoted up the ranks if you blunder into a good position.
Same task, similar conditions without the thermals of yesterday.
Take off was a bit hectic with the wind principally over the back necessitating a big pull up and a leap of faith over the 60deg slope.  Straight through the rotor, absorb a few slappings and into the cloudy valley looking for a one or even a half.  Nice flying if you managed to stay high and avoid the uglies.
It was my day today in the front and styling for most of the course.  Unfortunately I took the front route which wasn't the best today and about twenty sneaky super heroes slipped onto the back hills past me. THAT was the line for today.
Plenty grumbling back at meet center.  It seems the wind was up to 40km/hr in the veturies and plenty pilots were pinned in unpleasant places.  Some were calling the day level 3 to stop the task, whilst others were calling 1 to keep it going.  It looks like that system is falling apart.
Charles Casaux won the day just of couple of km short of goal.
Puppy says: "All in all a fun day with General Schmidt pulling one out the bag... because he can".
Results on the PWC website.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Castelo - Day 1 - Task 1

Image - Helmi E from Austria

Sunday 28 September 2008
Andre reporting.

A clear morning with little wind proved to have absolutely no bearing on the flying conditions at all. Wind and rain killed the task which was stopped after the majority of maelstrom survivors had flown 30km of the 50km task in just over two hours. It's been a while since I have had water streaming down my face while pushing full bar into a 25km/hr headwind. Not great, but they stopped it before anyone got into real trouble.

Cowering from the rain at a bovine feeding trough and eventually being retrieved (standing room only), I caught up with Helmut Eichholzer of X Alps fame, winner of the Bulgarian world cup and currently 5th on the overall world cup ranking:"'We tried hard. There will be no difference between the overall leaders. Probably the real competition starts tomorrow" (delivered in that cool 'I'll be back' Austrian accent)

The world cup rules make provision for task stoppage after 90mins and minimum validation distance as opposed to cancellation if no pilot makes goal as in the past. It remains to be seen if we made minimum validation distance.

As for the Captain and I, we are happy to report we were on the pace all the way. The Captain would like to comment: "Although puppy is somewhat gleeful at being in the front when the task was stopped, he did give me indigestion as I watched him slime over a windy col a mere 3m above the deck on full bar. Not once but twice. Fortunately altitude was my friend."

Castelo (the hard way)

Saturday 27 September 2008
Captain Crash Smith reporting.
Practice day.

Take off is a manicured tropical lawn perched atop an 800m cliff at the head of a steep and closed valley.

The one and a half hour drive up winds through steep coffee plantations, and the whole way is guarded by towering granite massifs. It is patently obvious that landing is not an option in the tight cable infested fields or natural forest.

Balmy temperature on launch and we run off to join the hundreds of turkey vultures climbing to base.

We all cruise around enjoying the ubiquitous lift taking in the awesome view in particular the huge waterfall. After an hour or so it becomes apparent that the green topography is sliding the wrong way under our feet. A real bummer when in mountainous terrain. So it's a speed bar and big ear fest to get down and into the valley. A small (or humongous in Andre's opinion) blunder sees the author making a last second power line avoidence down wind turn and testing the crash absorption properties of a coffee plantation (see attached pic). We are happy to report no real damage that can't be fixed with another cerveja (ego notwithstanding).

More is nog 'n dag.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Castelo (the long way)

Friday 26 September 2008
Andre reporting.

So, dumbo tours managed to upgrade the car and find the english settings for the GPS all before lunch. 400km in 6hrs and now I know how diamonds are born and gold spawned from our resident back seat driving geologist. Would you have guessed it rains in the tropics? Yes folks it is raining a dreary drizzle and the locals swear a ten year drought has just broken (same thing happened in 2005/6). Hooked up with the Austrians and Germans... Carpereinho are calling, words are slurring, streets are blurring, etc etc.

World Cup Final - Castelo, Brazil

Friday, 26 September 2008

Report from Andrew Smith (aka one task wonder)

So, Puppy (that's Andre) travel services has been renamed clueless-squared travel. Reason being.. without watch, itinerary or clue between us, we have blundered from OR Tambo intl to somewhere in the Brazilian hinterland in 24 hours.

Now we're considering how to upgrade our rent a wreck to a serviceable vehicle along with a GPS to make up for our total lack of map and orientation.
BUT the cloudy skies and cool conditions should be just fine (Puppies travel advisory service recommended no warm clothing ha ha). It looks like the rest of the day will be used in Cervesa-fuelled dash to Castelo where the competition starts on Sunday.

We undertake to report on this blog about most things interesting and the flying too.