Tuesday, April 10, 2012

One week ago - flying in Austria

One week ago, we were on our way to Bassano. We drove from Belgium to Kössen. A cold front hit us at night and we woke up with a bit of snow in the valley. I expected nice post-frontal weather for a few days and was keen to fly. The cable car took us and our gliders to launch. Great service by the way! An 11 euro ticket and no surcharge for the gliders.

Launch is at 1400 m or so and it was pretty cold up there (-7). Looked like we would need some good clothing.

After I launched I had to work a little bit above the valley to climb to base at 1700m. With a dripping nose and cold hands, I flew to the south-facing slopes and hit two 3 m/s thermals on the way to the Inn valley. I planned to fly there, return and do a second out-and-return to Chiemsee. My plans were cut short however when I didn't manage to find anything on the leeward south sloped returning from the Inn valley. I was surprised to have landed after such nice thermals just a few minutes before. And being on the ground with nice clouds everywhere feels very stupid... Even more so because I slid through the mud after being surprised by a pretty strong gradient on landing and pushing out too late as a result. Luckily there was still plenty of snow to clean the harness :-)

The day was nice indeed, many people flew and the thermals lasted for a few hours. Toni Raumauf did a nice 77 km triangle to the Chiemsee, returning via the Inntal and the Wilder Kaiser.

The day after, we continued our journey and headed for Zillertal. My expectations were 3500 m ceilings on the second post-frontal day. However, as soon as we entered the valley, things looked very stable. Indeed, we launched late because we felt very little motion on launch. I had a hard time making any height, so I crossed the valley looking for lift on the west facing slopes, but I never got any higher than 1500m. Not high when the valley is at 600 m. The 2 hours in moderately turbulent thermals, mostly pretty close to the terrain were very good for my confidence in the glider though. It just handles the turbulences better than the 14.2 did. And it lands better too. Except for the landing the day before, all my landings with the 13.5 have been really nice. Long slow ground effect, slowly increasing the angle of attack until flaring gently. I'm a bit cautious about flaring too aggressively because I don't want to damage the tail. This results in 2 or 3 steps after landing, but that's no problem.

We stayed for another day in Mayrhofen and waking up the next day, the sky looked more unstable. But, we got warned that the Föhn was coming in. The launch looked nice and more active when rigging. The distant Föhn clouds which were visible earlier on had disappeared, but the local paragliding school warned us that winds were picking up in the valley. What to do? The first cumi's started to develop and they didn't look turbulent. But, as I was getting ready, more and more lenticulars appeared. No good sign, certainly not when the valley already had some gusts and the wind on launch shifted south as well. We derigged and left for Bassano.

1 comment:

  1. It was nice to meet you in Koessen... This Time with my Skis, next Time with the Combat...

    Aber ich kann glaub auch in Deutsch schreiben. Wenn nicht sogar Dialekt :-) Wenn wir uns das nächste mal treffen hab ich das richtige Sportgerät dabei...

    Greets from Koessen