Saturday, August 16, 2008

Landing in the forest

Well I got the hardest part done as I made the first 2 turnpoints,
unfortunately I got too low over the forest just as a thermal was
starting to form. The guys 200mts above me got it but I had to land in
rough air, actually it was a crash landing in the wild grass, I let go
of the bar and got no damage to the glider or me.

That's the 8th and last flight of the week, I´m trashed. Tomorrow we get back to real life!

The track log for this flight is at:

Friday, August 15, 2008

4th Esplanada!!!

This is really way beyond my wildest expectations!! Me and Marcello reached the Esplanada for the 4th time!! We met Dan Engelhart who was flying over the border of the lake and glided into town altogether!

The feeling of ecstasy as you land after cross-countrying for hours has no equal! We've been
fully rewarded for this trip!

As I was helping Dan carry his glider towards the paddock, he was still under full-emotion mode and solemnly declared "This is better than being an austronaut!"

For those of us who have dreamed about being an astronaut, to hear this coming from a guy who has done dozens of Esplanadas, competition goals and serious cross-countrying and feels as enthused as ever, this has got to mean something!

It means we were having some serious fun here, my friends!

The track log for this flight can be found at:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

High under the wisps of cirrus clouds

Today I decided to skip the competition task, cause we were supposed to be flying over hostile territory, so we took the choice to try and reach Brasilia again.

As the competition gaggle went to the left, a handful of free-flyers got the direct Brasilia route all for themselves. As I crossed the gap I again found myself low and had to
perform a low save just when things were starting to get very warm,
it was such a pleasure to regain the altitude and the chilly wind!

From Brasilinha I was joined by my teammate Marcello and we did the
remainder of the flight working as a team! It was an undescribable
pleasure to reach the Esplanada for the 3rd time, it's much more
than I expected. Tomorrow I shall follow the task lest it is chosen
over indian country again.

This track log is at:

And the video that Marcello produced is here, he´s got some amazing images:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Another day, another lonely field

Well I guess I wasn´t feeling like flying so much today. I felt tired at launch, I felt tired in the air. As my team mate Marcello felt about the same way, as soon as I decided to land, after not putting up much of a fight, I heard him calling on the radio and telling us that he, too, was going to land.

Anyway it was better for the morale than just staying at the hotel in Brasilia resting. At least we went to the ramp, faced the scaring winds and had perfect launches. This is good for flying again tomorrow without much anxiety.

This track log is at:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The whole team makes it!

Me and Marcello both reached rhe Esplanada today. Marcello made the start but gave up the task after the Start. I too made the start, a 27km enter cylinder around
Formosa airport, but I kept trying to push towards the airport itself which was the
next turnpoint. Halfway into this next turnpoint I gave up the task as
well and aimed towards the Esplanada, arriving 3:15hrs after takeoff.
Me and Marcello have two Esplanadas each now! We are sooooo tired
already and there's 4 flights to go yet!!

I was lucky enough to take 2 shots of me flying over Brasilia. The camera was in my pocket and as I arrived a little low over the city, I had to hurry and take the pictures as I planned my approach opened my harness and got ready for landing in a couple minutes! This is one of the pics:

My track log for this flight is at:

Our everyday goal

The amazing take-off over the Paranã Valley. An inverted logic, as you take off at the same altitude you are going to be landing at - hopefully, that is - then you fly over the depths of the turbulent valley, where a retrieve would take a good 3 hours. Then you try to get high enough to cross the difficult start plateau.

If you don´t leave the valley high enough you could land on the plateau in a few minutes, your only option then would be to get out of the plateau and over the valley again. But if you take too long to make the decision to go back to the valley, the wind has already blown you too deep over the plateau and you might not make it out of the plateau and the flight would be over.

Very interesting strategy game there!

The Esplanada yesterday as the first gliders were still to arrive from
the 118km task, which was launched in a solid 20kts wind. About 20
pilots made it.

It was a very tricky start with most pilots, like
myself, losing it still close to launch. Again, if you could only make
it to Brasilinha, conditions would generally improve as well as your
chances of making, if not the task, at least the Esplanada.

By the way you can also follow the official competition blog for news and results

Monday, August 11, 2008

And the price of landing early is...

...having your shoes, pants, socks, shirt, harness, glider cover and
etc. covered by these small thorn-balls that grow in the pastures,
whatever they are called! It took me a lot of pain trying to get out
of the harness, moving my glider, as the thorns were digging into my
ankles, legs and everywhere they touched. I was really at a loss as I
could only make smooth movements and the tight lycra wouldn't let me
take off the pants. I was saved because our excellent retrieval driver
was able to drive right to the glider and after seating down I could
finally dedicate a lot of time into taking my shoes off and
eventually cutting my pants with a knife in order to get out!

All the more reason not to land short.

Now I'm even more intent on making a great flght tomorrow.

The good news is that my team member Marcello reached the Esplanada
too, after abandoning the task and seizing a good opportunity to
escape the very difficult conditions near launch.

Landing way too early...

in the middle of an empty pasture

This was a bad flight, I took the obvioous wrong decisions and was counting on sheer luck to be able to find a saving thermal. We all know it doesn´t quite work like that.

The track log for this flight is at:

Sunday, August 10, 2008

First task, a lesson learned

It was a good flight for me as I flew my longest competition task at 85Km, I was caught short of the last turnpoint in a very strong patch of descending air that put me on the ground far earlier than I could expect, judging from what I had been finding so far.

The track log for this flight is at:

First Task of the Brazilian Nationals

So we're at the launch at the Parana Valley, the task has already been chosen. Since it's the first day of competition they called an "easy" task.. Yeah, right, like 109Km is your normal flight... Anyway we are taking off to an exit circle of 10Km radius centeres n a turnpoint to the left of the ramp. Then comes a long leg to the left of the city of Planaltina, a 12 Km leg to Sobradinho and a straight glide to goal at the Esplanada. I will get in line early and be one of the first pilots to take off. It will put me in a more comfortable position before the gaggle gets too crowded. On the other hand I'll be flying almost 1 hour longer than effectively needed. Good for toning my flying muscles!

Saturday, August 09, 2008


It's hard to describe the meaning of setting a goal for yourself and
then suddenly achieving it. The fact is that it is a process far from
sudden. It involves inescapable dedication and some serious effort.
Then it demands time, for you can rush all you want to but still you
will need to wait for the experiences to mature inside your mind and
finally materialize in the future. Well for me today was such a
future, as I reached the Esplanada, and crowned an effort that for me
started in 2003, when I watched the HG worlds in Brasilia and wondered
if I ever would be able to acomplish this feat. Well today I did it
as I brought my faithful glider to the capital, and I can tell you it
felt great! Cheers to that, believe me, dreams do come true!

Primeira Esplanada!

Ok, this is me fresh from my first 73Km flight from the Paranã ramp to the LZ in the middle of the Esplanada.

I stayed a good 15 minutes completely ecstatic over this flight. I wasn´t prepared for such an early success. I was amazed at the heigth, the speed, the views, the possibilities, the size of it all.

The track log for this flight is at:

Pronto para uma semana de voo

Rampa cheia no free- fly de Sabado