Well Mike and I are off tomorrow for the annual pilgrimage to country New South Wales to fly in Australia’s premier Thermal Soaring event. The long Weekend has witnessed the small town of Jerilderie (nearby Deniliquin) host this event for more than 30-years; with several pilots attending for the entirety of this period. Organised and run by the Australian League of Silent Flight, typically competitors range from 60-100 entries, and travel from all sides of Australia.
The format of the event involves gliders being towed up a winch to heights of 300+feet and soaring around the sky in what is known as a “12&10 Thermal Task” – 12-minutes of “working time” for each pilot; they must fly as close as possible to 10-minutes without landing, finishing by landing as close to a designated spot as possible to achieve maximum points. The variables that are involved include the weather and wind conditions, 13+ pilots in the sky for every heat, the event lasts for three days, and of course staying up for 10-minutes is not easy without powered assistance.
This year Mike and I will be flying planes such as the Pike Perfect (from Samba), the Tragi 801 Cluster, TUD Freestyler 3, and several of Mike’s team will fly the Aspire (from Lubos Padzerka). Also at this year’s event, the Australian F3J Team (Carl Strautins, Jim Houdalakis, David Hobby) attending the World Championships in France (August) will be tuning up and getting some much needed final competition practice before heading off. If you would like to follow their progress feel free to follow on Facebook (Australian F3J Team; http://www.facebook.com/pages/Australian-F3J-Team/134821089861829#!) or on Twitter (AustraliaF3J).
We will keep you up-to-date over the weekend on scores and results, and hopefully the weather holds off...