Hang Gliding Worlds: Final Day

Derek writes

Thank you Brasilia for such an amazing Worlds. This was my first Worlds, and making goal at Esplanade today made my day.

Well I got my first ever penalty at the Worlds. I will accept this penalty, however I was very aware of my ability to land safely, I had eyed up alternatives, At no stage did I feel unsafe. Well this was great to accomplish on my final day, The low altitude arrival to goal was so damn worth it, it will be interesting to watch the footage. To land 1 klm from goal on the final day would have been tough. My penalty took me from 75th to 84th position and I was really happy with this.

I landed at Esplanada twice, practice day and final day, both days had great punchy thermals with cloud.
The trackers we used were fantastic, We did not have to hand in our varios at all which made it all so simple.
One day these trackers will have a front and rear camera editing individual gliders to make an amazing spectators experience. Then bring on the sponsors to this amazing sport.
Well done John and Jonas on some amazing flying, Hagen for all the pick ups and support, Aylish for supporting the NZ Team.
We all had an amazing time, Thank you all for the contributions through Givealittle, we really needed your help and managed to pay for everything as well as handing in our damaged rental without any further cost.
Thankyou Jewels for looking after home base, Katie, Rupert, Myro, for all your help and support through give a little. To the Canterbury Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club for helping with Competition entry fees. To the NZHGPA for your contribution to the NZ funds, Mark Alton and Kris Erickson for the many emails and support back and fourth, Dan and Max, Rod for teaching me how to fly. For all the comments of support we recieved from out friends out there, that meant a lot.
John and I have just arrived at Sao Paulo, awaiting a flight to Chile, then off to Auckland and Christchurch. Hagen, Jonas and Aylish have split off now, see you soon dear friends.
To all our friends in the sky, see you again soon.
Thank you Brasilia and everyone involved whom made this amazing event possible.
"What a trip it's been"

Hang Gliding Worlds: Task 8

The flying just doesn't seem to be getting any easier here. We were hoping for clouds today and tomorrow but that doesn't look like it's going to happen which is really uncommon for Brasilia we are told. Conditions are definitely no where near as racey as how I remember it when I was here in 2012.

Scratchy and blue conditions aside, it was flyable, so the task committee set a 120km zig-zag course back to Esplanada in Brasilia. We went into gaggle battle again at the start today unable to get above 6000ft with weak and broken climbs. Most of the field took second start and several landed on the first glide out of the cylinder landing on the plateau behind launch. Derek was one of them.

John was going hard out the front again for most of the day frustrated with the thermal traffic he was generally one of the first to leave and would find the next climb.

The inversion seemed to break near the first turnpoint where we eventually got up to 9000ft in a 4-500fpm climb. At this point the task looked totally do-able so we all pulled on VG and raced off to the second TP. However just when we thought the day was starting to improve 40 minutes later on during the third leg we were scratching around in 2-300fpm climbs. Bugger!

We all dribbled our way to the third TP getting high one last time just before tagging the cylinder and then most of the field glided to the ground many landing just short of the 4th. I flew super conservative sensing that the day was coming to an end and stayed in weak 50-100fpm climb watching the sun getting lower and lower. I managed to get an extra 500ft on most of the others which gave me enough altitude to glide a few km's further before landing placing 4th for the day. John landed a couple k's behind me. No one made goal.

Day results

1. Primoz Gricar (Germany)
2. Josh Woods (Oz)
3. Jonny Durand (Oz)

NZ Team

4. Jonas
37. John
101. Derek


Tomorrow is the last day of the comp and with only 17 points separating the top three it's anyone game! Make sure you don't miss tomorrows live tracking. It's gonna be intense!


Hang Gliding Worlds: Task 7


The forecast showed the lightest and most stable conditions of the whole competition today and we certainly experienced that. The start gate was mega intense. 100 gliders all at the same height unable to get above 6000ft (2000ft above the ridge) in punchy 2-300fpm bubbles battling each other for the top of the stack. A 100km task was set with a dogleg back to the main Esplanada goal.
John and myself were in a bad positions for the first start (low as) so we waited for the second. This ended up working in our favour as we found a climb right on the edge of the start cylinder and climbed to 7000ft right before the start clicked over.
We caught the main lead gaggle from this first start part way through the second leg. So far so good!
The inversion broke slightly further down course line and we managed to get as high as 8000ft although climbs remained weak due to high cirrus shading most of the region.
I got low (500ft AGL) at the last turnpoint with Mario Alonzi the comp leader and Jonny Durand. Mario went left searching for lift and bombed out, Jonny and I went right to some birds and found weak lift that eventually kicked. We watched about thirty gliders including John cruise over the top of us and find a climb further towards goal that they took for final but I didnt have the altitude to get to it so had to wait in lift that was drifting me towards airspace. Eventually I was right on the edge of the CTR and had to leave the climb so not to get penalized. The day was getting late and the lift dying I had a 15:1 to goal but turned back for a safe landing half way over the lake because I didn't think I was going to make it. John Smith was about 600ft higher and sailed into goal placing 14th for day! Legendary.

Mario who I had nearly landed with lost his lead and has dropped back to 5th place. Alex Ploner will take the top spot again. But two days left so still early days, will be exciting to watch it unfold!

Task 7 Results

1. Chrisitan Ciech (Italy)
2. Rudy Gotes (Mexico)
3. Alex Ploner (Italy)

NZ Team

14. John Smith
41. Jonas Lobitz
96. Derek Mckee

Hang Gliding Worlds: Day 6/7

Jonas writes:
We battled a major inversion yesterday with light and punchy climbs we struggled to get above 7000ft (4000ft AGL). I took the first start with the majority of the field but was about 500ft lower than everyone so decided after about 5km to fly back to the cylinder for the second start. Bad move. I ended up in a worse position than I was in 15 minutes previously and was forced to fly well left of course line to get to lower ground to prevent landing on the plateau like many others in struggleville.
Climbs were really weak and the wind picked up to 20kmh blowing us straight west of course line. I scratched out of a brown paddock about 400ft above the ground and ended up linking up with a few other stragglers. By the time we finally topped out at 7500ft again we were 12km off course line and well behind the lead guys.
The day didn't get any easier for me from here as I edged my way towards the first turnpoint in the cross-head wind and I landed shortly after the TP1 not far from Derek.
Fortunately for me conditions were shutting down everywhere and many others went down soon after.
One Japanese legend, who no one had ever heard of before, Tanaka Genki, was the only person to make goal. It turned out he capitalized on the much stronger than forecast easterly winds and ridge soared the main ridge we launch from up and down the course-line. Total genius! The rest of us had followed the forecasts predictions which showed the best lift being on the main plateau and all fell into the same trap.

Day Results:

1. Tanaka Genki (Japan)
3. Mario Alonzi (France)

NZ Team

31. John Smith
61. Jonas Lobitz
62. Derek McKee

We had a mandatory rest day today after six consecutive days of flying so we spent that day relaxing, swimming and eating. The forecast looks stable again for the next two days with conditions potentially improving for the last day on Friday.

Derek writes:
Had a great flight today, everything was working well until Instantly the day shut down. Did some great catching up and noticed many gliders on the deck, I flew through a strong thermal to catch up to a gaggle that looked like a good thermal but just got there too low and was forced to the deck. John and Jonas and many more landed a few klms down the road.
Only one in goal yesterday. John 30th, Jonas 61st, Derek 62nd, Had my best result 61st for a day task so far.
One glider tumbled and pulled a chute, and may have suffered a broken leg or ankle but is fine otherwise. Another glider crashed on launch, we understand that this pilot is fine and well, Great to hear.
We are having rest day Tuesday then back into it for the final 3 days.