Monday 23rd June – Fire truck drive, spaghetti etc.

Competition office sends every morning an SMS message, the message tells if grid is open and what runway is in use and when the briefing will be. This morning we got first “briefing postponed” message, saying that there isn’t grid yet, and briefing will be at 11.

Jarkko told that weather front is over Räyskälä and is moving very slowly away and that it is too moist for competition flying. Safety team is here with fire truck and ambulance, and they had “open doors” after briefing. All children and childlike were welcome to get to know the cars from inside and also have a drive with the fire truck. Of course I went as well! We even used the siren for a while, hopefully the neighbours don’t think that something bad has happened as the sound of the sirens at the airfield usually isn’t very good news.

After the drive we went shopping with my friend Kimmo. I wanted a new support leg for my bike, usb port extension and some specific deodorant. That meant that we had to go to Riihimäki where all the necessary shops are close together. We even saw one pink/white Tunturi-bike behind of one superstore. You see, I’m not only one who lost a bike on Midsummer Eve. Also Howard Jones from Great Britain lost his bike, there was nothing else left than a basket which was back of the bike. So this bike at Riihimäki looked like Howards’ but then we realized with Kimmo that the colours are correct, but painted opposite. So this wasn’t Howard’s lost bike. The shopping tour took longer than we thought, and we had a small snack at Citymarket café.

On our drive back to Räyskälä, we were looking the sky and said almost at the same time: if Heikki sees this sky, he might be quite upset. Weather looked perfectly flyable, with big cumulus clouds and some sunshine. But perhaps flying would have not still been possible, as all good weather seemed to be on Helsinki TMA area, south of Räyskälä. And north of Räyskälä wasn’t looking good.

I met Norwegian pilot Kato Kvitne in the small class room when I was doing the dishes and borrowing one pot for my cooking. Kato told me that they had been flying with his wife and that it had been pretty good. Weather had been good and they don’t have that many chances to fly together. I can’t anymore remember did he comment if there would have been a possibility for cross country flying, anyway they had flown 2 hours or so with ASK-21. So not bad for “no task”-day.

In the evening I made spaghetti Bolognese and Kimmo repaired my bike. This is good “symbiosis”, Kimmo fixes things which I can’t do myself and I prepare a dinner in return for him.

Tuesday 24th June – almost flying day

Tuesday would slowly start the “flying day routine”, which means: waking up, breakfast, shower etc. checking that everything is ok on the website and social media, updating WGC14 facebook, reading and answering on feedback of the website, briefing at 10, updating WGC14 facebook, putting the links to tasks on the website, a bit of free time to get a camera and prepare myself for the launches, updating WGC14 facebook, taking photos, waiting for the towings to start, updating Finnish gliding team facebook page if I remember, taking photos, updating WGC14 facebook the start line times etc., after towings some comment of the weather on WGC14 facebook, soup lunch together with other organization members, perhaps helping the competition office with some technical stuff, then “developing” the pictures and publishing them, being surprised every time how soon the competitors are back from the task, setting up the results show at café, photographing the finishes, then a little bit of free time (perhaps a beer-time even), then dinner, then “developing” the last pictures and publishing them, and updating the daily winners on the website, reading and answering the emails and feedback on facebook. When you do this four days in a row, the caravan looks like after bombing and you forget which day it is.

Except that on Tuesday we got only to the grid. Weather forecast looked like we would have a weather window for 2,5 hour AAT task, but first towings were repeatedly postponed, and then rain showers were developing too fast and so the day had to be cancelled at 13:45.

At this point I anyway started feeling that because of the rain and preparations, I haven’t seen people as much as I hoped. I hope this situation will change before the competition.

Wednesday 25th June – finally some action!

Finally we got a day when we can do what we came to do here, to have a gliding competition. Weather was good enough, we got a grid on runway 30 again, which is quite great as there you can walk between grids. We have two parallel grids, and on runway 30 the towplanes are landing to other runway (RWY 08) and not between the grids like when the grid is on runway 26 or 08.

At briefing our "met-man" Jarkko told us about the tricky weather. It seems that weather was good east from Räyskälä but unstable and easily overdeveloping, and at Räyskälä area clouds are quite thick and thermals would be weaker here. Because the weather was more stable at Räyskälä area, tasks were set north and south from Räyskälä. It was 2,5 AAT task, and that meant quite short gap between the last launch and first finishers.

Cloud base was about 950 m and sniffer reported weak thermals. When British guys heard this, they commented with happy faces: “so the weather is like home, let’s go”. And some others (Australian) were “oh sh*t, that’s bad”. Weather was clearly a bit tricky, as quite many landed out, especially in Club class.

Anyway it became valid competition day easily, we had Live Wednesday (=music, food and drinks) at the Hangar I, but I felt a bit tired and had a barbecue with friends.

Thursday 26th June – good weather seems that I forgot that being in the organization at your home field is totally different thing than being somewhere else as a “guest webmaster”. Because here people know me for who I am and what I can do and what I know, my time has gone taking care of so many things that my time has gone doing some other things as well than only updating the website, taking photos and writing my blog. My blog has suffered the most, which I think is a real shame. I just don’t know where I could steal the time, since I have to sleep and eat as well.

The weather on Thursday looked better than on Wednesday, meteorologist and Heikki were concerned that clouds would overdevelop and that there would be too much rain showers at task area. We didn't get that much rain as we expected, so tasks were almost too easy for today. But it is great to have a nice competition day to (almost) all, it's good to continue from here.

We got outlanding map set for us today, but there wasn’t much use for it as there was only two outlandings. System is really good, and busy competition office girls were happy to use it since it’s so simple. From webmaster’s point of view the system is also really good, there are several possibilities to implement the info of outlandings on the website. So thank you Wojtek for that!

Now I remember that I promised to help translating the system in Finnish. That will be easier now as I’ve used it in action.

Friday 27th June – third flying day

Third flying day and I almost forgot which day it was, as routines are the same on flying days, only times vary. Today was quite good day, few outlandings and early finishes.

Aa, I almost forgot to tell: we have sniffer flying before the towings, as usual in gliding competitions. Last Friday (Midsummer Eve) we had a bit “bigger” sniffer, as my friend Hannu – who is working as captain at Blue1 – flew Boeing 717 over Räyskälä at high altitude and reported on Räyskälä frequency what kind of clouds he can see around us.

Saturday 28th June – beautiful day, valid competition

The weather was really nice already in the morning, I would say that it was traditional gliding weather. It looked like that anyway.

Matthew Gage (flying ES), had some problems with his gear when he landed back right after towing, even the gear was out and locked, somehow it collapsed back inside, and so there was a long white stripe on the runway and it was clear that he wouldn’t fly anymore today and there would be some repairing to do.

We had quite a lot of spectators here, about 200-300 people, which was perfect as we had nice weather and some action. Also reporter from Häme newspaper was here and I took her to meet Antti Lehto and Nikke Luukkanen as they were second on total results at that point, also she met the Jones brothers who were leading the 20 m Multi-seat class by winning the day three times in a row. This Saturday would be the fourth, but we didn’t know that at that point. Both Antti ja Jones were quite happy of today’s flight, but Janne Nord, Swedish pilot who was leading the Standard class results told that this day wasn’t good for him and he knows it already.

Well, we have now four flying days, that means that the championships is valid!

In the evening was time to have one of the gliding competition traditions; the international evening. Before the competition some of the members of the organization, who never had been in international competitions, asked what the international evening is all about. I told them this: teams would go to the briefing hangar, take the tables, arrange them as they please, put up the food and drinks, then people would walk around and eat this and that and drink several different colored hard liquor and they would go behind the hangar and feel sick.

This is exactly what happened, except that due to the alcohol license laws in Finland we had to take the tables outside from the hangar, since the hangar is under Cafe26 licenses. But being outside didn’t actually matter at all, just the opposite. The evening was most beautiful summer evening what you could hope for after having this terrible weather for so long.

The food again was familiar specialties, herring from Sweden, sandwich (smörgås) from Denmark, Parma ham and parmigiano from Italy, Australian red wine, potato pancakes from Czhech rep., maultaschen, sausages and beer from Germany, hot dogs made by USA, weird looking cake from Lithuania (Šakotis), lard with rye bread and pelmeni with sour cream from Russia, pastis, wines and pate from France, vodka’s from Slovakia, Romania and Poland, cucumber sandwiches and Pimm’s from UK, honey biscuits and orange liquor form Netherlands, caipirinha from Brazil, red wine drink from Argentina. Sorry that I can’t remember everything, as some of the vodka erased my memory.

Or perhaps it wasn’t vodka, but the red wine instead :-)

In the evening we heard hits from 2014 to year 1976 (the year we had World Gliding Championships here last time). Hits were played by DJ Repe, the master of costumes and styles. We all were hoping that we would be able to take it easy (on the alcohol), but when it was clear that it didn’t happen, we were hoping secretly that tomorrow wouldn’t be flying day. Of course you shouldn’t hope for that when the weather has been so bad.

Sunday 29th June – rainy resting day

To be honest with you, my head this morning felt as I assumed it would feel. Had too many Borovicka, Slivovica, and other vodka’s mixed with some excellent Australian, Chilean and French (hmm..should I reveal this all…) and some Argentinian red wine drink, not to forget the Dutch orange stuff, I think I got what I had ordered last night, the condition of my head I mean.

DC 3 came before the briefing and I had a talk with Petteri Tarma, the chairman of FAA. We had a planning meeting about the communications here, since it looks like all of the media has concentrated mostly in World Football Championships, not gliding. But I am glad that we have few names to help Visa and me, and today was the time to use those names.

The weather was really bad, so there wasn’t even task for today, and it was declared as official resting day. The weather got even worse during the day, and DC 3 took off towards Helsinki in rainy, chilly and grey weather.

In the evening we had Finnish pancakes which were made at the barbecue (open fire). Some whipped cream and strawberry jam, it was perfect evening dessert.