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Introduction

Every year I try to take a gliding vacation and in 2005 I visited South Africa for the first time and just fell in love with flying here. This is my 7th trip and, like earlier years, I will try to send on daily “reports” to friends back home.  These daily reports really began as…

Flying Day 1, Tuesday 11/22

OK – so much for “I won’t fly until Wednesday”.  Today turned out to be a really pretty good day.  A new young German pilot did his first 300km (so he bought all the beer tonight) and one of the more experienced fellows did a bit over 400km.  My Nimbus got done with the tail…

Flying Day 2, Wednesday 11/23

Today looked promising for thermal strength but with a real risk that high winds would blow the thermals apart. I launched second in line and got off at 1.4 AGL into  a great 7.7 kt thermal that took me to 10.5 K altitude. I set out on course –  and that was the last good…

Flying Day 3, Thursday 11/24 (Thanksgiving)

The weather here changes so fast. Last night it was really windy and the morning was cold and blowing. But, by the 10 am pilots meeting it had died down and was looking like a pretty good day. We set a 410 km chevron shaped task with the first turn at Westpoint (where we clear…

Flying Day 4, My Birthday

Today was my 60th birthday and they presented me with a big chocolate cake at the pilot’s meeting. It went with fish & chips for supper at the end of the day. I can’t imagine a better birthday than being here with friends flying gliders in November.  The day was completely blue and we declared…

Flying Day 5, November 26

We have been watching the weather all week looking at this weekend being really good. Today was an excellent gliding day – although it was completely blue – not a cloud in the sky.  The official task was a 513 km flight out to Westpoint, down to an airport / dam called PK Le Roux,…

Flying Day 6, November 27

We thought that today would be a great day so we had our pilot’s meeting an hour early with most of the gliders on the grid by 9:00 am. I declared an FAI type 750 km triangle (no leg less than 28%) with turnpoints at Klerksdorp and Reivelo. Each leg was about 255km. I launched…

Flying Day 7, November 28

After yesterday’s surprise storms none of us were very confident about the weather forecast and so the task today was designed to keep us reasonably close into the airport if storms developed again. I selected a 500km task from New Tempe up to Christiana, and then down to the diamond mine at Koffiefontein. At the…

Flying Day 8, November 29

I can’t recall a day where there was as much confusion and disagreement among the different weather forecasts. SA Weather Service and NOAA were saying completely different things. Commercial broadcasts had a third opinion.   Everybody predicted storms somewhere – but nobody agreed where they would be. I finally gave up and decided on a simple…

Flying Day 9, November 30

The confusion continued about the weather and so we decided on a 316 km triangle racing task that would keep us all reasonably close to the airport. However, several of us saw that conditions were better looking toward the second turnpoint so 4 of us decided to do the task in reverse order. It was…