at the airfield we climb under a big cumulus, who could look better. Urban
finds better climb than me and reaches the cloudbase while I struggle
in a decreasing climb. Anyway, even I reach the cloudbase before the cloud
collapses completly and can once again take a picture of the startclock
at 14.13, ten minutes after Urban, altitude 1000 meter.
new clouds has formed 10 km north of the airfield and I´m soon able
to park the LS 4 in 1 m/s climb. Now it´s only a matter of staying
in the air to be able to get on when new cumulus are forming under the
areas where the overlaying clouds are a little thinner. And how about
that, soon we see a new cumuluscloud in our way, and we can get 1100 m
in a new 1 m/s thermal.
are only 20 km out on the first leg, but now we have Hämeenlinna
l5 km ahead, and there is a big cumulus that looks really good. I reach
it on 800 m and is immediatly rewarded with a 2 m/s climb all the way
up to 1400 m. Only 25 km left to the first turningpoint, but not a shread
of cumulus on the way there and no flyable way from the turningpoint either.
Good luck! With this whish not to have to drive out and fetch me, I get
the responsibility for the LS 4 for the rest of the day. Up till now my
exellent team (Sven-Olof Nilsson and Daniel Eckerström) has fixed
everything on the plane, while I only had to concentrate on todays task,
302,8 km with three turningpoints. It´s the 5/6 1988, the third day
of the European Soaring Championships in Reyskälä, Finland.
get airborn a little after one o´clock and the weather, that initially
looked bad, gradually gets conciderably worse. The few small blue holes
that has been in the sky are filled with grey clouds and the cumulus
that was there are dissolving, one after another. If you should fly 300
km in such weather, you better not start to late, so the swedish pilot
Urban Hansson and I start at the same time at 13.43. Many other
standardclass pilots have thought the same and we all aim at two
cumulus some 20 km out on the first leg. They are the only cumulus
within reach, so the choice is simple.
the way out Urban and I glide side by side, and after passing the Russians
we can state that Jantar Standard 3 doesn´t have much of a chance
against LS 4 and Discus.
now we get a problem. Our dear cumulus, who we are all aiming at, are
beginning to dissolve. We have two alternatives. Continue straight ahead
towards a risk of an outlanding, or turn back to the airfield and try
to restart later, but that may be to late. Urban and I turn back, but
some pilots choose not to, and are later forced to land out.
The sun shines on the ground ahead of the turningpoint though, so Urban
and I glides, a kilometer apart, towards the sun. A number of other standardclass
planes are doing the same. They have started ahead of us, so we have been
faster so far. Urban and I hit a thermal at the same time. I get better
climb, so I call him in. What´s normally an effective teamwork this
time turns out to be a flop. Two hundred meters below me there is no climb,
so Urban quickly has to return to the thermal he came from. Here we loose
visual contact, and from now we can only pass information trough the radio.
reach the first turningpoint at 15.30, with an average speed of only 41
km/h. But the weather looks better now, and after returning to the same
sunspotted area and climbing under newly formed cumulus, I go for the
first 60 km on the leg are caracterized by only two cumulus 30 km apart,
but with reliable 2 m/s climbs below. After a new long glide I reach Lahti
on 500 m, and here starts a beautiful cloudstreet straight towards the
second turningpoint - unbelievable! - 2,5 m/s climb to 1400 m, then full
speed. The sky has changed color from grey to blue and now there is no
doubt we will finish the task. At 17.14 I reach the second turningpoint.
It´s only 130 km left, and I can follow the same cloudstreet back
to Lahti. Urban, who is going towards the turningpoint, reports good climb
20 km ahead of me. Full speed to there, and I can enjoy 3 m/s from 700
m to 1700 m.