19 Januar 2008

Bogong Cup task 4: 103 km over 2 turnpoints

The day looked cloudy, the forecast was for rain later in the day with possible embedded thunderstorms. We went over to Bright and up Mystic anyway, a task was set into the northwest and hopefully away from the dark skies. Once the window opened, I was ready and took off soon after Attila, Lukas and a few others.
We found lift in the unstable air and got up, but it didnt look promising towards the courseline. I thought of staying west of course and maybe getting out of the way of the rain, but it moved in too fast and I didnt want to fly across non-landable area. As soon as I saw the windspeed picking up, I landed a few kms south of Myrtleford. More pilots joined me on that field. Later I heard the day was stopped and cancelled, because also other pilots and Carol in goal experienced strong gusts ahead of the rain - Carol couldnt even fix the goal line, it was blown away.
Today of course the discussion was started, pilots who did well yesterday loudly protested and attacked Heather because they wanted the day to be scored, and maybe they succeed. Heather did her best, made a safe decision to stop it and gave a good example for the young, new pilots not to dare too much, not to fly in these iffy conditions, not to head into the darkest of clouds. Taking risks like that should not be rewarded. Guess we have both seen too much tragedy to want to see anybody at risk.
I dont loose or gain anything whether the task is scored or not, but I certainly agree with Heathers decision and I admire her for standing up for it, because normally the comp directors only want to go with the flow and put all the responsability towards the pilots. And those were always the days when we saw severe accidents at big comps.
Whatever the outcome of the day, I think people clearly see how much Heather and Carol care about safety and I hope also the new pilots feel well looked after in the Bogong Cup and will come back next time.
It keeps raining today, so we will already start at 6pm with the award ceremony at Settlers Tavern. Time for me to update some pictures and get ready for the long trip back tomorrow morning. I havent seen final results yet.

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