By Elif Herdsman and Andrew King
2022 WAGA State Champions were held in Cunderdin, hosted by the Gliding Club of Western Australia between 8 and 14 January 2022, plus the 6th and 7th as practice days.
With 23 aircraft and 27 pilots registered, it was a well attended event. The weather was favourable as well, no major incidents occurred and we were able to send all who attended home, safe and sound.
Nevertheless, on day 5, we had 6 outlandings. Despite the tricky conditions and a total fire ban, everyone put their hands together to help collect the pilots from paddocks from as far away as 70 or 80km. It was a great experience to see everyone come together in aid of fellow pilots. The following day was a rest day, which allowed some to retrieve their gliders and we all had a good rest.
Norm Bloch of Beverley Soaring Society took home the first place with Arnold Geerlings of Narrogin Gliding Club in second place and Lumpy Paterson of Gliding Club of WA in third place.
The Competiton team worked extremely well together. The feedback we received from the attendees was all very positive. They all had fun, enjoyed the tasks, were well fed and well looked after.
We look forward to the next comps that we will have the opportunity to host in Cunderdin in 3 years’ time.
Elif Herdsman (GCWA), Comps Director
Andrew King's glider after outlanding.
We all hear people say that outlanding is just a part of gliding. Everyone has heard many times about pre-mobile phone, pre-GPS outlandings with funny stories about farmers, lost (and then found) hats and long waits in the local pub. Here is another story that the old crew will appreciate, and the new guys can hopefully learn from.
State Comps 2022 should have been a rest day. SkySight made grand promises of 12,000ft with cus, a bit low at the start, but it should be booming… There was a little issue with a 25kt westerly -- but hey, 12,000ft is 12,000ft. What could possibly go wrong?
Launch time was hard work. The thermals were stripped apart by the strong winds and climbing down low, fully ballasted, was hard work. I got off early. As I heard someone else get off at 1500, I felt a good surge and the vario sang its sweet song… nothing. Maybe I missed it…. Turning, turning… hmm. An hour later I made it back to launch height.
Finally climbing to start height, I followed a few off to the east, lower and lower, further and lower we went until, at 2,000ft AGL, I thought I was in a bit of trouble, I’d have taken anything for a bit of a safety margin. After scrapping around in 1.5 to 2 knots, I decided to head back to Cunderdin. I heard a few gliders still overhead the airfield and thought I’d restart. I was 50km out and pretty much surfed rock to rock into the Westerly at about 1,000ft AGL. I was going from paddock to paddock until abeam Tammin, when the paddocks ran out and landing was inevitable.
My paddock was long, yellow and stubbled. It was down hill a bit but didn’t seem excessive. A fairly good landing with zero flap to avoid the stubble on the flaps, My first impression when I stopped was “Wow, it is HOT.” In fact, it was so hot that by the time I unstrapped and got out, I couldn’t turn the S100 off because the button was too hot to hold down for the 10 seconds required.
It was at this point that I started to realize I wasn’t as well prepared as I had thought… The wind was strong and extremely dry. I hadn’t packed my canopy cover as, at this stage I didn’t have one of those fancy silver ones. I used my seat cushion to try and cover the panel and decided to walk the 450m or so back to the road to check for trailer retrieve options. My glider was a little bogged in the soft paddock, not too bad but deep enough so that I couldn’t move it alone.
So, in my flying shoes – not designed for walking really, especially in boggy, rough, stubbled paddocks – my umbrella over my head and my wine cooler with my 3L water on my arm, I walked the 450m to the road. I spoke to the farmer who owned the paddock. He offered me help and a lift. I made phone calls to the comp director and then walked back to the glider -- 900m walking, so far.
I then walked 500 paces in front of the glider, checking the ground for aero retrieve, then 500 paces back to the glider and the 450m to the road. If you add that all up it is over 2kms of walking in the heat, in a soft paddock in the wrong shoes. I checked my water. I had drunk 2.5l of my 3L and had been on the ground less than an hour, it was only 2:30pm.
I sat alongside the road in as much shade as I could find, using my umbrella as a wind break, and waited for Peter, Caroline and young Chris to come rescue me. We decided to leave the glider until the movement ban was lifted. Peter Busher assessed the paddock for aerotow and suggested it would be fine if the glider were towed up the hill to harder ground.
Lucky for me, I was only 35 minutes away by car and I could get picked up to enjoy cold drinks and ice-cream while we waited for 7pm when the ban was lifted. We worked out if we drove onto the paddock at 7pm and towed it back up the hill, the tug could land at about 7.10 and tow me home. Last light was 7.47 for Cunderdin, which should be plenty of time….
The paddock take off was easier since Steve was there to run my wing and take my car back. The dust, sheep and takeoff into the sun and over the trees added some variety to the event. A slight detour to find Karsten who had also outlanded, but on the last leg home. He had almost made it. I saw him on the FLARM about 20kms out and vectored the tug over him where I released and at last glided back to Cunderdin.
Andrew King, Contestant
Lumpy Paterson receiving his 3rd place award from Kevin Saunders
WAGA State Championships
6 - 15 January 2022
1 Norm Bloch JS 3 6,638
2 Arnold Geerlings ASH 25E 6410
3 Lumpy Paterson JS 3 5,672
Full results at Soaringspot. com bit.ly/3fSvZ2p