Friday, January 2, 2015

NARROMINE CUP WEEK 2014 WOW WHAT A FEELING! - CHRIS STEPHENS



The weather was outstanding in the true traditions of Narromine and the pilots were up to the challenge. Only one day was lost and that gave all an appreciated chance to recover from the high temperatures and altitudes on the previous days. 


This year was the 15th Cup Week and one of our best. But before we talk about this year lets recap what Cup Week at Narromine is all about.

Cup Week is based upon the famous Barron Hilton Cup in Nevada, USA. The aim is to provide an event at which pilots may achieve their personal best or get that goal in a safe and enjoyable environment. 
The range of those attending is from pre Silver C to world championship standard. All are equally welcome. Pilot performance is often eroded by the sheer effort of preparation and sustainment for periods of more than a few days away from their home airfield. Often a good day or the best part of a day is missed due to a lack of readily available support. 

During Cup Week the Narromine Gliding Club provides the support needed including a morning briefing, flight line operation and launch, SAR watch and three meals a day. All a pilot needs to do is arrive with a glider or hire one from us and fly. Even a visiting pilot guide and local map is provided.

Most days start with a presentation on soaring. This year we were again fortunate to have G. Dale who gave an hour of time before each briefing to discuss in his personal illustrative and easily understood style how to get the best out of ourselves, thermals and cross country soaring. G then flew tasks with pilots in a club Duo Discus for a most reasonable cost.


 G Dale gave a XC Soaring theory presentation each morning

This year 41 pilots, not counting juniors who arrived early for the following pre Junior World Championships, in 32 gliders comprised Cup Week. Let me share with you a summary of each day:
       Day 1 Sunday, 23 November. Climbs to 14,000 ft. Temperature at 1400 over 44 degrees in the Pie Cart, so hot our European ground crew headed to the club house as a heat precaution. One pilot told of 16 knots for 8,000 ft. 10 knot plus thermals were common. Terry Belair from Bendigo flew 797 in his DG400/17. Derek Ruddock and Ian Steventon in the SCGC DG1000 completed 596 k with many flights over 400 k. 

  
       Day 2 Monday, 24 November. A weather induced and well appreciated rest day. No one in Eastern Australia flew much this day.
       Day 3 Tuesday, 25 November. Soaring in WA and Waikerie promised improving conditions at Narromine. Tom van Blaricum from VMFG in his Ventus b/15 completed a creditable 206 k task with Terry Belair launching early to fight his way around 327 k. Many other pilots flew and reported mixed results.
       Day 4 Wednesday, 26 November. Wind SE to SW. The best soaring conditions were still South of Narromine but many 300 k plus flights were completed. A glance at the BOM four day forecast promised big things to come and we were not disappointed.
       Day 5 Thursday, 27 November. Wind ESE. Instability and a convergence line developed North and South of Narromine. The big weather had arrived and remained for the next three days. Geritt Kurstjens (I mentioned world championship standard pilots) in his Quintus M flew a respectable 1035 k, Arie van Spronssen turned in 803 k flying a DG200/17, Hans-Georg Raschke in a club Discus b flew 659 k to mention just a few flights. 500 k plus was the norm this day.

 Convergence Line over Narromine 

        Day 6 Friday, 28 November. It got better. Wind now from the NE. 300 k, 500 k and 600 k flights were completed by club pilots in good but not ‘super-ship’ gliders. Phil Eldridge from RAAF Richmond in his ASW20 did 392 k, Mark Bairnfield from SCGC in a SZD55 flew 514 k and William Stalenburg with Evelien Nijland completed 635 k in a club Duo Discus

       Day 7 Saturday, 29 November the last day. The outstanding cross country conditions continued. Wind was now a hot Northerly with 32 degrees forecast. It was hotter on the ground. Many pilots found strong lift with the threat of thunderstorms they took the safe decision to return to Narromine early and fly another day. A few connected with the trough line running East of Narromine and raced along it for hundreds of kilometres. Hans-Georg Raschke once again in the club Discus b flew 569 k to ‘win’ the day. The good weather had now departed but not before the last 2014 Cup Day.

We mentioned a ‘day win’. The whole purpose of Cup Week is to support pilots achieving their personal best and goals. However, there is a fun competition. A secret committee, secret so they are protected from graft and corruption, score each pilot each day. This is not the OLC score. Points are awarded and fines applied. 

This year, for the fourth time, Terry Belair won the Narromine Cup. His success story; launch first and come back last. Use the whole day.


 Terry Belair picks up his Fourth Narromine Cup win!

Arnie Hartley won the Rooster Award, awarded for the pilot, tug pilot in this case, who either goes from hero to zero or zero to hero in the most spectacular fashion. Yesterday I was cock of the walk now I’m a feather duster. Best you ask Arnie his story when next in Narromine. 

Speaking of Narromine and Cup Week, next year we won’t run one. 

The reason is Narromine will be hosting the Junior World Championships in November 2015 and there just isn’t room in the calendar. So set those new goals and we look forward to seeing you in the last full week of November 2016.
Finally we would like to thank NSWGA for their generous and continued financial support of Narromine Cup Week. Costs are kept to a minimum with no entry fee and a once only administration fee of $40 which goes to provide accommodation and some food for the workers and tuggies. NSWGA has been (and we hope will continue to be) most generous.