Relatório Finlandes 1:
SabinaGlide 2007 Rieti, standard class.1. Competition day
Weatherman promised no clouds. Blue thermals and wind from the north-east. Airmass was quite stable.
Task: Rieti-Villevallelunga-Gualdo-Rieti 339 km.
Starts at 12:30. They had 8 tow planes for 70 gliders. Plan was to get all up within an hour. In practice it took one and a half.
Weather was very bad in Rieti valley, all had difficulties to get up or even stay up. I was so low I had to empty ballasts in Poggio Bustone.
We struggled over an hour in a chaotic situation. 70 planes in a very small area trying to get up. Even some very brave paragliders decided to join us. Most lucky ones (ok, most skilled) could get up and on the task at 14:30.
The other finnish pilot, Jouko, (in ASW-24) did not answer any radio calls (afterwards we noticed he was on the wrong frequency). After a long fight I managed to get over the top of Terminillo and in the first decent thermal up to 2400 m. I hurried to the start gate, it was already 15:00. I was sure it was going to be an outlanding as the weather felt bad and it wouldn't last long after 18:00.
Luckily it looked better on the route, even some small cumulus. First glide to the southern end of the Salto -lake. There was 2 ms thermal. One Cirrus entered the same thermal 100 m below. He tried badly to beat me but could not manage, that felt good thinking of next years competition when I had to compete mainly against Cirrus (now we were in different classes).
Next glide over the big crack north of Velino -mountain. Small group tried to get up there below the tree line. I was some 100 m higher and could get over a small clifftop. Thermal was much better there, 3-4 ms, the others were left behind rapidly. Hm, this is going well, pity there was not many gliders from my own class.
Velino ridge worked quite well, I could continue straight and glide over the Celino plains. On the southern side of the plains there was a "monster" waiting for me. On the nothern winds all the warm air from Celano plain will drift to the south and form a monstreus lift there when hitting the cliffs. Variometer needles had a hard time, they hitted the limiter several minutes. Quickly to the turnpoint and back to the monster.
From there 20 km glide to the north of the Celano over a small cliff top and good thermal. Small cumulus line continued to the north. They worked well but did not last very long.
Now I had to decide either to continue towards Terminillo (western route) or to the east to the big rocks. One Discus ahead of me took the western route. I decided for the east as there were some small cumulus and even something that looked like a convergence line.
A Discus2 with compid FUN joined me to the east. He still had ballast so I could not hang with him in glides. On every thermal I reached or even passed him as the core was very small and he could not turn inside it.
In Gransasso a pleasent surprise was waiting, very strong thermals and a convergence line. Now it looked good, I could reach 2 tp before 17:30 Next mountain range worked also very well but then the party was over. We had a long glide to 2 tp. At that speed I could keep up with FUN.
Route back went along quite low hills. FUN disappeared somewhere. I glided very cautiously along the ridges and found some 2 ms here and there. It was 17:55 and still 500 m was lacking from the final glide. I could not find any decent thermals anymore and had to settle with 0,5 ms. It took too much time and spoiled the flight that otherwise had went so well. Some planes below me were still on they way to the 2 tp, it comforted a lot.
On final glide I saw a plane much below me, hehehe, could it be FUN (yes, it was). Ridges north of Rieti worked some and I could fly comfortably home. Speed was 97 kph when the winner had 108.
Jouko did not do well, he was low several times. He also chosed the western route which was much slower.
Those that could start 14:30 did very well, they didn't have to fly in dying conditions after 18:00. Of course it was also in our plans but there was not much to do when we could not start in decent time. Br Junnu
Relatório Finlandês 2
SabinaGlide 2007 Rieti, standard class.3. Competition day
At least there would be clouds today, maybe little too much. According to forecast it would dry from the west but Alex predicted even some showers on the mountains. It was easy to believe as Terminillo was already covered by big clouds. Nothern winds made even the ridges unusable.
Task was 430 km, Rieti-Rivisondoli-Scheggia-Rieti. First 120 km to the south,then 200 km to the north and back to Rieti.
Luckily the tows started quite early, at 12:00. After release I could get up easily as the towpilot signalled for release first at 900 m while he should have done it at 700m. Hum, it was a bit unfair, should I complain.
Start gate was at Poggio Bustone where we met with Jouko. We took the start together immediately after the gate opened. Dark clouds in front of us rained already, it didn't look very promising. First glide was not very successfull, wings got wet and we found only sink. At Nuria we climbed a bit so we could continue to the south and better looking weather. North of Velino we found the first decent thermal, 4-5 ms.
Jouko was somewhat lower on the glide and was left more on the thermal for it was much better higher up. Our paths departed again already in the beginning. Next glide took me over the Velino to Celano where I found a small "monster".
A well working, 20 km cloud street started from there, now it began to feel better. Some other planes came in sight too, they appeared to be in a hurry. Rest of the way to the 1.tp I flew with two Discus2. Glides were close to 200 km/h and my old lady started to show her age. Anyway, something did not work for them as I could catch them after the tp 200 m above.
Second leg needed some considerations. There was a good cloud street heading along the western route. On the east side of the eastern range there was massive cloud formation some 1000 m below, there must be some kind of convergence line. I decided to try that, at least I would be wiser next time.
Glide on the side of the cloud formation, nothing happened, I was already sure it was a big mistake. I took closer and closer and then it started to happen. At first only 0,5 ms then 1 and even 2 ms. I glided in the convergence line for 40 km and climbed 500 m, hilarious.
Convergence line turned better and better when approaching Gransasso massive. Near the peaks it was over 5 ms, awesome. During the glide FLARM has showed that somebody was lurking behind me. When I turned there was a big group of gliders. Beautifull sight against the white cloud masses. They must have thought I was somekind of a mountain expert.
After the climbs got better, Discus2s and LS-8s started to go whistling by. I tried to follow them but got lower and lower. There was no change to catch them in the thermals as there was no need to circle in them.
North of Gransasso weather calmed down although it was still very good along the Gorzano mountain. Average speed this far was 120 km/h.
Then began the difficulties I could not foresee after the parties so far. Thinking it afterwards, all the signs were there. A small shower front developed south of Vettore. I tried to avoid it but not far enough. Wings got wet and the sink began, 4 ms. At the same time the ground was getting much higher, altitude decreased rapidly.
Glide to the Vettore ridges, maybe it will work. On the high plateau there was already 2 planes down, it looked very bad. 200 m above some planes were struggling on the ridge. I found some very tiny climbs but my ridge skills were not good enough. Ground was gettting very close and I was trapped in the plateau. At least the outlanding fields looked good. After some phathetic struggle I had to land on the same field as the other two planes.
Field was nice, no difficulties on landing. Altimeter showed 1300 m when the plane stopped. It was very cold outside, rain had moistened the valley and killed the thermals. I should have quessed that. Landscape was very beautifull but I could have admired it from above.
After a while it got warmer and weather looked better. There was still one plane very low, maybe some 150 m. I was sure it would land besides us but what a heck, that grazy pilot continued towards a small crater. Well, he was no grazy but a very skilled pilot. He started to turn inside the crater, the plane could hardly fit in there but he got up, unbeleivable. Some got still much to learn about this mountain flying.
Two other outlanders were italians so they took care of the communications with the friendly villagers. I went to find a car way to the field. Jari and Joonas arrived after some hours and some adventerous car drive.
When trying to dismount the elevator we noticed it was stuck. No means or swears could get it out. Maybe the hammering of the uneven Rieti airfield had got it stuck.
It was a nightmare, weather was turning cold and sun was going down. Decisions had to be made, best alternative was to leave the fuselage there and return to Rieti with just wings. Plan was to return next day with open trailer. Next competition day was spoiled but nothing we could do about that. Junnu's IGC from flight Junnu