Category ArchiveFlying stuff
Flying stuff 16 May 2007 11:43 am
Sydneysiders are growing weary of hearing about the disruptions that will happen when APEC hits town at the end of August. It seems that the massive security precautions that will be in place for the event will touch every part of our lives.
According to today’s Daily Telegraph, mobile phone service will be blacked out in the immediate vicinity of George W Bush. That may not be a HUGE issue, because businesses in the city are being asked to close down for the duration, and a special public holiday has been gazetted!
UPDATE: it’s just been announced that three city railway stations will be closed for twelve days. Just why are we hosting this thing?
Proof positive that the security arrangements have gone crazy is the ban on aviation announced yesterday. In essence, most light aviation in the Sydney basin will be grounded for ten days at the time of the Summit. Full details can be downloaded here.
Flying stuff 13 Apr 2007 12:55 pm
(It’s not like this in Australia, folks…)
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Flying stuff 06 Feb 2007 11:31 am
I wrote recently about my attempted 500km glider flight. The proposed route was: Cootamundra – Grenfell – Peak Hill – Condobolin – Cootamundra.
I didn’t make it.
Due to inclement weather, I landed in a paddock about 35km south-west of Forbes. Here’s a quick snapshot of the flight:
You can view the flight in detail by downloading this file (right click on the file and save it to your PC) and opening it in Google Earth.
You can zoom in on various stages of the flight (see, for example, how I struggled at first to gain height and ‘get away’ from Cootamundra). It’s particularly interesting to ’tilt’ the earth back until you are looking almost horizontally at the track. You can then see the glider climbing in thermals and gradually descending in straight-line flight.
Feel free to ask questions.
Flying stuff 05 Feb 2007 12:02 pm
I’ve been back for a few weeks now, and have finally had time to add some more information about Gliding Camp to this site. Here are some photos:
This photo shows the disused terminal at Cootamundra Airport. The local Council allowed us to use this building as a base for operations during Gliding Camp. (Like many country towns, Cootamundra no longer enjoys scheduled passenger air services.)
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When I drove into Camden Airport to drop off a glider after Gliding Camp, I noticed that a new windsock had been installed. Here are a few interesting photos…
This picture shows a general view of the Holdenberg.
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My gliding exploits last week brought home to me very clearly the desperate situation facing farming families during the current drought.
From 8,000′ in the air, you can see a long way (especially from the excellent vantage point of a glider cockpit – much less restricted vision compared to a passenger window in a normal aircraft). And by far the dominant colour on the ground is brown. Aside from a few irrigated paddocks (and I really do mean a few) and the occasional river course, there’s nothing green on the ground at all.
Pray for the farmers and their families as they contend with the financial hardship that the drought has brought. Pray for them as they face the relentless dust that blows off the vegetation-deprived paddocks. Pray for the people in the towns who are also suffering as the goods and services they offer are not needed by (or can’t be afforded by) the farmers.
An example that we came across at Cootamundra airfield: even the agricultural pilots are suffering as there are no crops to spray – expensive aircraft sit idle in hangars with nothing to do. The only bright spot for these small-time aviators is the bitter-sweetness of aerial fire fighting work…
Pray for rain.
Flying stuff 22 Jan 2007 01:13 pm
In this post I described my failed attempt to fly a glider 500km around central western NSW. Due to inclement weather, I ended up landing in the ‘front paddock’ at Bergen Park, a property 35km to the south west of Forbes.
I didn’t have a camera with me, but I did take a couple of (sadly) low quality pictures on my SonyEricsson T630 phone. Here they are:
I actually landed about 75m away from where I took the photo (towards the middle of the paddock). I pushed the glider over near the fence so that the retrieve crew would have less mud to deal with in the event that one of the storms rumbling in the area had chosen to drop rain on the paddock. You can’t see it in the photo, but I have tied down the glider by driving stakes into the ground and securing ropes to the wingtips and around the tail boom.
Flying stuff 18 Jan 2007 09:13 pm
Today’s weather forecast suggested pretty good flying – we expected (and got) thermals marked by clouds in the area, and storms developing in the afternoon.
We (club member Bill in one aircraft, me in the other) laid in plans for a 500km flight: Coota – Tichbourne Silo – Wallendbeen – West Wyalong – Coota. We took off just after 12.00 – I was first away in the Jantar and Bill in the DG-303.
By the time Bill was away, I had set off on task and was about 20km along the track. Clouds marking thermals were already appearing and I was going pretty well until I came across a large storm directly on track – just over Black Springs Mountain. After my experience on Tuesday, I was pretty wary of the storm. I thought the sky was overdeveloping to the east of the storm, so I didn’t want to go that way, and every time I tried to go to the west of the storm I got very low.
Bill has more exerience than me and was able to find a way north around the east of the storm. I could have followed, but instead decided to play safe and turn the day into a bit of an explore of the region. I flew back to Temora, then on to Coota and Wallendbeen before landing at Coota about 3.5 hours after taking off. I covered just over 200km.
In the meantime, Bill made it to Tichbourne (2 hours) and back (1 hour). He headed out towards West Wyalong but was thwarted by overdevelopment and dying lift. But he did get back to Coota, completing a 400km flight.
Tomorrow, the weather is supposed to be a bit hotter. Should be pretty good. We’ll probably have one last go at the 500s.
(Interesting sidelight: every day until now the airwaves have been filled with chatter: English, Japanese and German. Today we heard no-one. I saw one other glider over near Temora – I think it was a Libelle – but it was a lot lower than me. I’d have expected the ‘big boys’ to be on long tasks today. I wonder what kept them all at home…)
Flying stuff 17 Jan 2007 05:16 pm
(Edited and re-posted from the SCGC camp blog…)
Today’s flying proved that looking out the window can sometimes provide a better forecast than looking at reams of charts and diagrams.
The forecasts didn’t look too good – suggesting a blue (cloudless) day of around 6,000′ thermals. A quick look out the window at 1200 showed cumulus clouds (which mark thermals) forming to the north — the forecasts were apparently wide of the mark.
We boarded our aircraft (Bryan in the Sydney Gliding Astir, Bill in the Jantar, Richard [me] in the DG303) and launched around 1230, aiming to complete 500km: Cootamundra – Eugowra – Peak Hill – Condoblin – Cootamundra.
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Flying stuff 16 Jan 2007 08:34 am
A tough day in the air – hot, hard work.
I set a course for a 500km flight and took off just before 1300.
Two hours later I had travelled less than 100km, and it was obvious that 500km wasn’t going to happen. I picked up a nice line of clouds (at last, some shade and decent lift), climbed to just under 10,000 feet and headed for home. Total flight time was just under 3.5 hours.
Flying stuff 14 Jan 2007 10:25 pm
I’ve arrived in Cootamundra for a few days’ flying.
Fortunately, the potential explosion in the town’s silo has been averted, so the locals have moved out of the motels – leaving a room free for me!
Initial reviews of the weather forecasts suggests that the next three days could be pretty good. I’ll post each day with a brief report and (if they are good) flight maps. No photos at this stage – I left the camera cable at home.
Flying stuff 09 Jan 2007 09:26 pm
Southern Cross Gliding Club‘s annual Christmas Camp is currently taking place at Cootamundra, NSW. I’ll be there next week.
The club has set up a blog to report on happenings at camp. So far, I seem to be just about the only person posting on it – and I’m not even there! Feel free to visit the blog for a summary of camp activity. I hope to post more extensively here on my own experience of camp.
Not much happening on flyingnerd.com lately. Sorry. Been busy. And distracted.
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Flying stuff 15 Aug 2006 11:03 pm
A few weeks ago, one of the marketing reps for Ulead Systems, a maker of video editing software, was in Australia to launch a new version of one of their apps. Tobie (the marketing guy) participates in a video editing discussion list that I read, and I met him on that list. As a former power plane pilot, he expressed an interest in taking a glider flight while in Sydney.
I picked up Tobie from his hotel in Sydney, and took him to Southern Cross Gliding Club at Camden on what turned out, despite expectations, to be quite a nice day (but with no lift to speak of). We put him in the front seat of the club’s fabulous DG-1000 two-seat glider (with one of the instructors in the back!), and he took his Sony high definition camcorder along for the ride. Here’s the result:
(For the tech heads: the camera used was a Sony HDRHC1, and the video was edited with the Ulead’s low-end editing product VideoStudio 10 Plus. I have a few comments about VideoStudio 10 Plus here.
Flying stuff 06 Apr 2006 10:51 am
Here are a couple of quite frightening flying videos from the Flying Nerd’s eclectic collection of video snippets.
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Flying stuff 20 Mar 2006 09:18 pm