Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mexico - First days

Glider transport is always a bit tricky and I'm happy to report that my glider has arrived well and without major issues in Mexico. I feared the worst when they instructed me to go back to the departure hall after I had already been waiting for half an hour at the gate. But in the end, all went well. In Frankfurt, I met Johnny Nilssen and Genna Markhov, and we saw 7 gliders being loaded into the plane. This is how it looked at baggage claim for us:

Sunday started with carefully inspecting and unpacking the gliders, followed by a nice evening flight. It's a different world, here in Valle de Bravo. To start with, we're at 2000 m. There's also a non-stop procession of cars through the village, almost at walking pace, because of the uneven cobblestones. It makes me a bit short of breath. But, the city is very relaxed. There are food shops/stands everywhere you look and the central plaza really was alive on Sunday.

Back to flying. The altitude plays a role there as well. We launch at 2500 m. So we need more speed to take off. A good breeze or a good run is required. But we also land at 2000+ m. And that's more tricky. The extra speed requires a nice flare.

I tested my drogue chute on both landings and twice, it didn't open, which never happened to me before. On the first landing, I held my chute in my left hand for quite a while before releasing it. Because I flew with it for 2 minutes, the lines got entangled and created a number of knots. Of course, it didn't open anymore. But the flare was a beauty and I didn't have to walk the glider far ;-)

So yesterday, I wasn't going to make the same mistake and pulled the drogue way later. But I didn't pull it all the way out of the pocket before releasing it... So that didn't do anything either. The field was a bit downslope and it all ended in an unstable high flare, followed by a hard landing, just as Laurent did a few minutes earlier. Me and the glider are ok, but it's not the way I want to continue landing here.

Yesterday's flight was the first bit of XC flying here. Flying at 3000 m is low and I exited thermals at 3800 m, about 200 m below cloudbase, because I'm not adapted to the height yet. Let's see how it feels today! Competition starts on March 1st, so we still got a few practice days here.