RU Open 2012 Final Task : Here is my little hole
An awesome task was set, just over 60kms, crossing over between Sarangkot, Greenwall and Korchone several times. It would have been great to have been able to report from the goal line but I’m happy to be reporting at all without injury to myself. I don’t know about damage to the glider and rescue but I will have plenty of time today to look through it all as there is a Bhanda (strike).
The day for me began as usual, pre flight checks of all my gear, briefing and the standard 3 pee’s before launch. After looking at the points the night before I knew that I only needed to stay at around the top 15 to have a good position and decided that I wouldn’t be pushing too hard as it was a longer race and I knew that there were places that I could catch others on glide.
As every one raced to the Start cylinder I held back a bit as I knew that if I would see the leaders racing I would start pushing harder. Jamie, Debu and the rest of the gagle were on the way back form TP1 as I was entering the start. All heading fast over to Greenwall I hung back to get a nice climb to avoid having to stop at Dicky Danda and the first ridge of Greenwall. This one glide allowed me to catch about half the gliders that were ahead of me till this point.
Flying straight for the end of the first GW ridge I found a nice 5m climb that once again allowed me to catch the M4’s on glide to N14. Heading back to GW we hear over the radio Jamie announcing Level 2 at Korchone, and already some rain coming at GW. I paused for a while waiting to see if they will announce Level 3. This didn’t happen so I got the height that I needed to cross over and headed straight for N09 again this line allowed me to catch a lot of the field that headed further north in search of lift to allow them to get to the TP.
Just after tagging the waypoint I hit a turbulent narrow thermal and didn’t like it so I pushed a bit further to find something better.
Here is where it all got Funky. Big bullet thermal catching about 1/4-1/3 of my right wing causing a 60-65% collapse on the left, ending in a knotted cravat of what I can only guess was a little over 1/4 of my wing hanging very low down the lines. There was no way to get it out while trying to keep the glider going straight as the wing was starting to go nice and fluffy flying just above stall point, much too low to full stall and even big ears on the right side wouldn’t have helped as by this time my glide path to the valley was cut off by trees. so the decision fell, go with the spin to get a little momentum and throw my rescue.
It all went quite painlessly, as soon as the rescue hit the end of its line it popped open almost immediately coming through the glider lines pretty well. As the rescue took my weight and I went for the B lines to collapse the glider I was already in the Bushes. my guess is that I was on the reserve a max of 3 secs but will know for sure once I look at the tracklog, memory seams to distort time in moments like these.
Here is my little hole and photos of the six kids that only wanted 50npr for getting my glider and rescue down, I told them that I would pay them when they get me to the footpath that goes down to the town. Along the way they also became my protectors as 3 mid twenty year old guys started to harass me, this is the first time in 5 months that I have felt anything close to threatened in Nepal. The small kids stepped in between the older boys and myself sporting their local hook knives and telling me to start walking.
Along the path down the hill they were trying to teach me Nepali words for rock, tree, eyes etc honestly I don’t remember any of it.
As we arrived in town they asked for money, I took out 2000 rupee and watched as they examined the notes to see if they were real. Even though it all happened as it did I’m glad that I’m ok and only my ego slightly bruised. Over all I’m happy that it happened to me rather than someone with less experience as they might have reacted differently to the situation.
The hill that caught me o so softly
small technical problems with the jeep on the route back not to mention someone lobbing a baseball sized rock at the left passenger window from the road side luckily the window held. Thanks for the Retrieve guys it would have been a long walk out of there.
After finally making it back to town I downloaded my track and headed off for a very long hot shower, arriving at the closing ceremony right on time for the Prize Giving to congratulate all the pilots that had kept me company over the last week in the skies.
After a week of racing with the Russians I’m looking forward to seeing them all again hopefully sooner rather than later. Maybe a jump over to Moscow for some summer flying?
To top off this great week of racing with awesome people and an amazing atmosphere with magical views of the Annapurna mountain range, Claudio Mota presented me with one of his 3 medals. Always a pleasure to fly with you Claudio and an extremely kind gesture from a true Flying buddy. If any of you have the chance to fly with him you will learn a great deal from him.