I’ve noticed a strange thing. Warmer and sunnier the weather gets, more I hate being in Helsinki and more I want to be at the airfield instead. Well, I must say that it’s not that strange, as I have heard same kind of things from many of my gliding friends.
So of course I packed my bags, took my computer and camera with me and came to see Vesivehmaa Open, Finnish version of Pribina Cup, a practice competition and good start for the gliding season.
We left from Helsinki at 8:25 and arrived here 9:40
Morning started at 10:00 when Wille, Antti and Juha put up a show for us. They put few IGC files on SeeYou and compared how pilots had chosen their routes yesterday, some found good thermals when others didn’t, and it surely helps if you can fly with somebody else, as finding thermals yourself is harder than together...Also one topic of the show was safety, and that you have to look out from the cockpit. Main purpose of the show was to tell other pilots how they had chosen their routes and what happened after that. This was really good idea, since the main idea of the competition is practising.
This competition started last Saturday, and weather has been blue sky, 20 °C and no cumulus. Today also looks another great day for sun bathing. On briefing Taisto, the competition director, gave a 301 km speed task.
Towings started at 12:45, and when few planes had been towed, we noticed most of them were landing back. After that nobody wanted to start on his own turn, and so the start line opened 13:29. But at that time there weren’t anybody to start the task, as they all had landed back.
Taisto walked in the grid speaking with pilots, and I heard some suggestion of waiting for half an hour and making the task shorter. But now, the time is 14:05 and day is cancelled. Taisto said that he had heard all pilots and this is the decision. So there are only few photos of the grid, no finish line pictures from today.
The evening was great, I worked first a little and then we had beers with Ilkka, Kari and Wille at Hotel Tallukka. After that we walked to the Vääksy channel, really beautiful place to sit on terrace, have couple of beers, eat pizza and just enjoy of the sunshine and non-flying day :-)
After having a really hot night – and I mean the temperature in my room – briefing was again at 10:30. Today’s weather forecast said that there will be some cumulus on the task area and clouds shouldn’t disappear during the day, meaning pretty good flying weather. Taisto gave a speed task of 313 km, launches started at 12:45. Start line opened at 14:13 and everybody left within first 20 minutes. Less than three hours from that, pilots finished the task and nobody landed out. So the task setter had done a good job, I guess.
Success story of today was WS, Martti Sucksdorff, he had really good average speed (136 km/h), as the pilots after him had almost 20 km/h slower speeds. This was really his day. The weather was what the forecast had said, nice clouds and pretty good thermals until the end of the competition day. I have to mention that I heard some conversation on the radio before the starts and if I compare that conversation on the results, it was really good tactics from one certain pilot...But I don't know if that kind of tactics makes many friends. I know, we are all friends and this is just having fun, so let's not take it too seriously.
I got some nice finish line photos. But I had to leave in the evening – lots of work and meetings are waiting for me. When I left, it was still warm and sunny summer evening, and I saw how some pilots went jogging around the airfield and going to have sauna as well (with sausages and beers I assume, to keep the balance right :-)
Overall result of these two days: had lots of fun, didn't have time to work and I got a flu. More I have fun at the airfield, more I hate being in Helsinki.