15 May 2011

PWC Korea

This is the video that made of the event, filmed in 720p @ 60 FPS.

People gather to witness the sun setting over Hawaii

The days after an important competition are peaceful and contemplative. The anticipation leading up to the event and the physical and mental exhaustion during the event leaves me feeling calm. Usually there is a long trip back home which offers uninterrupted time to reflect upon what happened during the competition, the amazing things I saw, the amazing people whom I shared the sky with, and how I have developed, ever so slightly, as a pilot.

I finished 14th overall and therefore was guaranteed qualification for the Superfinal in Valle de Bravo, Mexico, in January 2012.

Day 7

Low base, light rain, poor visibility.. the last day of PWC Korea has been cancelled. The competition is over.

Jack Brown (USA): Overall champion
Ayumu 'Bruce Lee' Miyata (JPN): Asian Champion
Daria Krasnova (RUS): Female Champion
Yurdaer Etike (TUR): Moustache champion

Day 6

This morning I opened my eyes slowly and could see through my hotel window that the front had arrived. There was high overcast, some low cloud, and a cool humid feeling.

We were taken to launch to wait for conditions to improve. A few pilots launched and demonstrated that the air was lightly soarable but not taskable. Light intermittent rain became light continuous rain and it was then that the day was cancelled.

As I write this in my hotel room I can hear thunder in the distance. The forecast for tomorrow is rain.

Seiko Fukuoka Naville

Day 5

Conditions on launch today were similar to yesterday but with a little more wind, more sun, and less favourable launch conditions. A task was set but only 10 min after the launch window opened it was cancelled due to reported 25 km/h winds at 600 m.

Jack Brown is leading the competition. The forecast for the last two days of the competition is not positive. If he wins, Jack will join the ranks of Josh Cohn and Scotty Marion as Americans who have won a world cup event.

Yasushi Kobayashi

Day 4

We flew a second task in less than ideal conditions and somehow 25 pilots managed to complete.

There was a strong south wind and launch faces west, there was high cloud, and the halo around the sun betrayed the approach of a front. The high cloud became thick, dimming the slopes and fields, giving the course an ominous feel. Every slope seemed to be in the lee and the air reached out to take your glider from you.

One pilot took a massive collapse in the lee and after the glider surged forward he pendulum-ed into a small tree. A witness said that without the tree, this incident could have been fatal.

There is a strong military presence in this area. The roar of jet fighters could be heard regularly.

There were seven turnpoints and each one seemed impossible to reach but somehow the glorious crescendo of my Flytec 6030 would signal the edge of yet another turnpoint cylinder. The celebration of each turnpoint achieved was short lived as I turned and looked along the next leg from an unpleasantly low height, with the sun at an increasingly low position in the sky. There were always more ridges to pass, in the lee, and it was always into the wind, somehow.

The stress of the rough air made this 3 hour flight more mentally exhausting than the 8.5 hour flight in PWC Chelan last year. Today I relearned the lesson: Never give up.

I have often wondered why I seem to need to learn the same lessons over and over again. Why can't I learn each lesson once, never repeat the same mistake, and progress to the next lesson?

After today I realize that it is not that there are many lessons and you must learn each one once, but the opposite. There are actually only a few lessons to learn but you need to learn them many times. Each time you are taught the same lesson by making the same mistake, you have not failed in any way. Each time you make the same mistake, you learn the same lesson, but more deeply.

There are only a small number of things to learn in life, but you cannot master each one simply by being introduced to it once. You need to get to know each one, like a friend, until you are familiar with the subtlety and depth involved.

Yassen 'the assassin' Savov

Day 3

Finally, we have flown. It was a 70 km cross tailwind task, with a single control turnpoint.

Launch conditions were challenging. The pilot ahead of me was dragged around launch a little, then into the air, then took a collapse and wound into the trees. I launched next and during my first turn I could see three gliders in the small trees surrounding launch.

The landscape was beautiful, but the air was often malicious. I watched a pilot throw his reserve while climbing in the first thermal after the start. The thermal was so strong that he continued to climb for a short time. There would be three reserve deployments today.

Most of the flight was in the flatlands, flying over rivers, small hills, rice padi fields, and turquoise tiled houses. We spent most of our time at 1000-2000 m.

Dean Stratton won the day with an elapsed time of 1 h 32 min.

Yassen Savov completed the speed section over 1 min faster but was unable to reach the goal line. He described approaching a 20 m tree covered hill attempting to gain the 100 m he needed to fly over the bridge, the river, and a sandy bank to goal. He found something but it was a really turbulent area with houses upwind so when he tried to climb in the scrap of lift he spun and recovered his glider just in time to flare.

There was a lot of excitement in goal. We were so happy to have flown such an fun task over such interesting terrain.

Flying Land

Day 2

I woke up at dawn, anxious for the day to begin. The air was cool as I walked to breakfast but it was still. On the way back, however, there were signs of wind.

We arrived at launch, anxious to fly. After days without flying, the immense launch area covered in green grass, with windsocks swaying gently in the breeze, felt like paradise.

A task was set and we prepared yourselves for the flight but the wind and thermal strength continued to increase. The quality of pilots' launches deteriorated rapidly until finally one pilot took a large collapse moments after launching and spiraled into the ground below launch. As I stood on launch, holding my glider in my hands, I watched as he disappeared out of sight, with his glider on the horizon.

There was collective silence as EMTs ran to his aid. He did not hit the ground but fell into a small tree. I heard he was not even injured. Amazing.

Launch was closed for a while and then about twenty minutes later, after consulting a number of pilots who were in the air near the startgate, the decision was made to cancel the task.

Philippe Broers

Day 1

Strong west winds convinced the safety committee to cancel the task. Yellow dust, arriving from the Gobi desert in China, filled the valleys with a yellow haze.

[VLOG] A Walk in the Garden II

Do we need a reason to fly?