Thursday, July 22, 2010

2010 Europeans, task 7, lots of broken pieces

Task 7 was a tricky one. We headed northeast against a 20 km/h wind. The thermals were rough and I clearly lacked experience fighting against the wind in the mountains. After 45 km, I got into the lee of a mountain and it felt like being inside a washing machine. And one that's going down fast!
I had a nice green landing field in sight and could just make it there. There was already one glider standing there. The field had 3 terasses and the landed glider was on the smallest upper terasse. I chose to land on the biggest one, the middle one. I turned to downwind and saw the field from the side for the first time. ****! There are 2m high sprinklers all over the field! They were 20 m apart, but covered the whole field and there was no other option than to land in that field. Turbulent, windy conditions and having to land the glider in a 20 m crosswind lane. Not ideal to say the least! I managed to stay in the lane during my groundeffect glide, but got out of course and headed for a sprinkler short before I normally would have to land. I flared early and high to avoid piercing the sail on the sprinkler. The landing was pretty hard and I broke an upright. 2 Years without damage are finished...
5 minutes later a Hungarian pilot arrived low. I tried to convince him to land on another field, but he saw 2 gliders in a perfectly green field, so he came to land too. He slightly clipped one of the sprinklers with his left wing, causing some damage to the carbon winglet but landed fine. For him, it also was a big scare when he noticed the sprinklers (really late).
Another 5 minutes passed before Julia arrived on the scene. She was still quite high and probably could have made it to another landing field, but hey, our field was so green and already had 3 gliders on it. She didn't interprete our frantic movements to make her to land as an indication of trouble ahead. She came in nicely for her landing, but slow because she probably didn't want to have a long glide in between the sprinklers. And then, very quickly, a turbulence sent her nose down, crashing her into the field from about 5 to 7m. The impact was very hard and she was motionless when we arrived there. A few seconds later she regained consciousness and she could move all fingers and toes. But she obviously had a slight concussion and didn't remember the crash. The glider had a broken keel.
Another 5 minutes later, Natalia arrived. Congrats to her for a nice landing on that field. None of the pilots saw the sprinklers until the very last moment. The farmer came to have a look at us, confirming us that the sprinklers were 'veery dangeroos'.
I'll watch out for suspiciously green fields in the future!
Many more pilots had bad landings that day. The continuous flying was taking it's toll in terms of fatigue. Since the weather predictions weren't super for the next day, the organizers decided to have a rest day. Many pilots were repairing their glider during that day (in most cases just replacing an upright).

1 comment:

  1. Thank U for sharing
    Iput a link to your blog in our local Israeli site.
    Very intresting to read your comments!