...and I'm off for a few weeks in Austria. The schedules for meeting people are firming up already :-)
This weekend was a pretty good one: Saturday morning started sunny but with a lot of wind - too much for us fly with our jellyfish. I decided to get some other stuff done, and worked pretty much all day on servers and software; made the websites I host for the club and the two local comps a bit more cooperation-friendly etc. In the evening I revamped my main server box to use RAID and LVM on its two disks, and that went off without any major hitches. SPARCs (and Linux) just rock!
Sunday things looked a lot better from a flyer's perspective, so we all went to Tambo. Fresh wind, some were doing a bit of gale-hanging. I launched at a nice time, got up and went 6km towards Canungra. It was quite rough occasionally, I had one 50% collapse but no real trouble. Eventually I landed at the Ferrari paddock (with my pickup already waiting - thanks Ben and Mel!). Went back up top and we all sat around a bit longer, watching the gusts go down in strength.
Watching Paraglider or hangie pilots on launch must be fun for a psychologist: we're like lemmings. As long as nobody is flying, everybody is waiting and only the most determined/clueless/nice people launch as wind dummies. As soon as somebody straps on the gear, everybody straps on theirs. If anybody launches and actually goes up instead of just down, everybody scrambles like mad.
Mix this with the different wind requirements for hangies and punters and you get a lot of fun at launch.
By late arvo the wind had dropped off to nice levels, and after one or two more dummies Martin went off and didn't sink out immediately. So I quickly launched, got some lift to turn in and hey presto there came the others: at least three gliders launched in quick succession (Jessica, Brandon, then Ben if I remember correctly). Jessica, Brandon and I stayed with that thermal, all turning in one nice circle at the same altitude - that was oh so beautiful!
Brandon decided to hunt for more lift in another spot, Jessica and I stayed where we were and got to about 1300m ASL, and went off to Canungra. I was too busy enjoying myself to take pictures, except one: this is Jessica somewhere near/over Canungra.
It was smooth and nice up there and we flew together a fair while (except for me overtaking her as her XS glider is a bit slower on glide). We then tried to go on to Hinchcliffe's, another couple of km to the South but I lost the lift a km SE of Canungra and decided to head back (one area in that valley is restricted airspace and I didn't want to stupidly end up landing there). Jessica was sufficiently higher than me and made it. I had a nice landing at the Canungra showground, with a cold beer close-by and my car coming down the hill without me having to lift a finger. Ah, how I love this sport and the goodness of my friends and fellow pilots!
Of course, to balance the brilliant weekend I now have a bit of a cold complete with runny nose and stuffy head.