Happy new OLC-Year 2015… Good Bye to a great 2014 Season

2014 was a great year, there's more to come!

2014 was a great year, there’s more to come!

Another historic OLC year has ended, historic as although this year has been a week shorter, the numbers have been rising again. More than 115,000 flights uploaded, over 32 million kilometers flown by almost 15,000 pilots. Ten days ago Howard Banks who flies with Moriarty’s League winning club told us that their US OLC-club contest was now neck and neck with Houston: “You can bet that there is intense effort underway getting members to fly even a mini-flight by normal standards. The outcome is going to be entirely dependent on what happens with the couple of cold fronts now hitting both places, and what will happen thereafter.” A possible explanation for the rising numbers?

For those of us who live in the Northern hemisphere it is obvious, the leaves start turning their colors and the thermal season of 2014 is coming to its end. But there are still some interesting flights and comments in the OLC scores: Almost secretly Jim Payne and Dennis Tito have switched to a new model. Dennis bought “a new toy” and Jim is currently testing the Arcus M: “It will be interesting to see how much faster we can go in the wave with negative flaps and a couple pounds more wing loading.” Sure after their big 2014 season it’ll probably be exciting to see what comes next?

As you can see in the first 2015 OLC-scores, glider pilots in the Southern Hemisphere have started into a new season, right with the beginning of the new OLC-Year 2015 last Monday. While reviewing my club’s achievements of the past summer, I had a quick look at the latest lists: On the first places there are now several Australian clubs and pilots. Also the fastest flights have been accomplished in Down Under.

Out of ~100 flights, as of today, the best one was accomplished at Bahia Gliding in central Brazil. Of course the scores will quickly change, but I remember in my American club we had this competition going on, who would be the first to log a flight in the new OLC season. No matter how big of fast it was…

Back to some past events in Europe we noticed of course that Tilo Holighaus won the qualification Grand Prix in La Cerdanya, Spain. More information can be found here and on the Grand Prix website.

In the fall season Germany’s young blood competes in several regional contests to find out about the best trained young glider pilot. They fly patterns, do spot landings and have fun together. The German “Jugendvergleichsfliegen” will take place on the next weekend, and one of my club’s former students qualified to participate. Quite an exciting event!

Another big youth event has of course been the Junior Championships where the boys and girls under age 25 do cross countries. A nice video from the latest competition can be watched here. Unfortunately this contest saw two gliders landing in a lake. The pilots were on their final glide, their instruments’ numbers were okay, but then the headwind became stronger and gliding over a city there were not many options for a safe landout. Pictures of the retrieve can be seen here.

Fortunately, in the end nobody was harmed. Just some weeks later a second water landing in Lake Como, Italy was reported in European media. An ASK 21 was flying low over an unlandable area of the Italian Alps. Again, the pilot reached the shore and helped to pull the glider out. An Italian channel offers a short youtube video of this mishap.