Pribina Cup 2011

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    Finally in Nitra

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    1st Competition Day

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    2nd Competition Day

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    3rd Competition Day

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    4th Competition Day

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    5th Competition Day

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    6th Competition Day

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    7th Competition Day

Daily Schedule

7:30 Breakfast
8:00-9:30 Leaving from LUX to the Airfield (time depends on the weather and team)
10:00 Briefing and glider preparations
11:30 Lunch (soup)
12:00-14:00 Launches and starts
Lunch break/snack time for the crew (and time for a beer :-)
16:00-17:00 Finishes, washing and parking the planes
17:00-18:30 Team de-briefing and beers at the bar
19:00 Dinner (if not mentioned, then in U Krba)
and some Metaxa... 

Saturday – Sunday 1st May

We left with Mia and Antti from Nitra with the trailer on Saturday evening right after the prize giving ceremony, about half past nine, some 1200 km to drive. First break was after 1 at night, and I had a nap with Mia on the back of the car while Antti was driving. We arrived safely to Travemünde on Sunday afternoon at 15:00, parked the car and trailer and went to Lübeck for lunch with Mia. Antti continued to Hamburg and Finland. We got on the ship at midnight (finally!) and went straight to sauna. While sitting in jacuzzi, we had a feeling that it had been one long day, which had started on Saturday morning and ended on Sunday evening.

Half of the team flew back home from Vienna on Sunday and the other three gliders followed us on Wednesday from Travemünde, with the rest of the team.

My feelings are now: why this ended and can we go back?

Saturday 30th April - Hyvää vappua!

Last day

My last day here. Launches were supposed to start at 11:00, but after all those started 12:45. I got some nice photos of Cumulonimbus which developed close to the airfield. Clouds changed really quickly, and it was a surprise that task wasn't cancelled. Task was originally 2,5 h AAT, but it was changed in to 2 hour AAT. We all thought that if this would have been normal day, we would have done something else but went flying. But as this is competition, you have to do what organization says.

We waited more than three hours, and after all GN landed out, DD used engine, 777 just managed to land back but luckily GF came through the task. Several planes landed out.

Despite of all things this competition was a success, as Antti and Mia won their class and Ilkka and Ipe were on fourth place. Harri and Kari were 13th and Wille with “learners” Kari S. and Ilpo were after all on 14th place, managing to get up 2 places on the last day.

In the evening it was again the hardest part of the trip, saying good bye, so it was time for several hugs and kisses and time to leave.

Thank you Team Finland and Pribina Cup, again trip to Nitra was unforgettable.

Friday 29th April - Team work

6th Day

This was a flying day, and pretty good one. Even there was a front lurking just south from the airfield, Vladimir gave a speed task to all classes. Towings started at 12:00 and Finns left almost immediately when start line opened. Task area was again on the nearby area, so we could hear them talking on the radio. This was real team work, and on the difficult places they all helped each other. From results you can see that it was a good choice, since we got places 3, 4 and 5. More of this and we are the winners!

Thursday 28th April - Results improving

5th Day

This day was a repetition of Wednesday: cirrus on the sky, briefing at 10 and A and B tasks for each class, racing and AAT versions of the same task. Weather started to improve before towings and launches started at 12.00. Today pilots flew normal racing task just above 250 km. On some parts of the task area weather was really good and on some parts it was raining or there weren’t any thermals. Unfortunately GN landed out and DD used engine. But GF and 777 came home and got positions 2 and 3 on daily results, great job!

Today’s pictures are team photos and I tried to have good photos of the Cmelak’s, as some of those are taxiing really close to the gliders during the launches. It looks great but I think they come a bit too close to the nose, and that’s unnecessary as closer the tow plane comes, more those boys have to run to get the other end of the rope…

In the evening we had dinner with German pilots of V8, Christof Geissler and Uli Gmelin. I will meet them again in August at JWGC2011 in Musbach.

Wednesday 27th April - 2 hour AAT

4th Day

The weather forecast didn’t look that promising for today, and reality looked the same: there was overcast above us in the morning. That was because there was a low pressure at this area (what a surprise :o)

Despite of the sad looking sky we had briefing at 10 in the morning as usual. And like the day before, there were A tasks, a Racing tasks for all classes, and task B which were exactly the same but 2 hour AAT version of those. Launches were postponed only once (till 12:15 – if I remember it right) and start line for multi seat class opened 13:36. Our pilots started almost immediately and so we went to the café as usual. Kari wanted pizza, but as they don’t have pizza oven here, he had to have sausages instead. That story isn’t about local menu, but to remind Kari of his escapade that he had last night ;-) He had quite happy face in the morning even he hadn’t slept too many hours.

GF landed just couple of minutes before the 2 hour task time ended, and DD only 1,5 minutes over the task time. I had a feeling that Antti was a bit disappointed as he could have had some kilometers more and come bit later to the airfield instead of coming too early. DD (Wille and Ilpo) sounded pretty happy, because they came back only minute or so after the task time. Harri and Kari (on GN) and Ilkka ja Ipe (on 777) said at dinner that their strategy didn’t work, but tactics were fine :-) Or was it other way around…hehe.

Today I made a hard decision, I had to admit that this holiday is coming to its end. I decided to leave on Saturday evening with Mia and Antti to Travemünde and travel by boat to Finland. That is more than 1000 km of driving and then 28 hours on the ship. That also means that there isn’t time for the farewell party.

Thursday’s weather is what it is, there is another low pressure above Mediterranean and its affecting on our weather here as well. But even today morning looked quite bad, still it was “another great gliding day”.

Tuesday 26th April - Rainy resting day

It started to rain during the night and the sky was gray in the morning. We were happy that organization made a decision of non-flying day immediately, instead of waiting for some hours. We heard about yesterday's saftey issues, as there has been some hazardous flying. I think (and some of us as well thinks) that on safety there is a big role of putting 150 gliders flying on weather when cloudbase is only 750 m QNH. I understood that would be 600 m above the airfield. Remember that there are some mountains around us, not high, but high enough so that there isn't much space between the tops and the cloudbase.

It started pouring rain during the briefing and so a group of Finns left to the factory tour to Prievidza and we could put our plan in to action with Mia. Right after briefing we went to Centro Nitra and then walked to Mlyny – both are shopping centers’ – and we found nice things that we were looking for. And we also tried some ice tea, my lesson was that don’t have green ice tea without sugar.

At 14:00 we had a date with the rest of the team and had a nice lunch in Hofferka, close to the Mlyny and Tesco. Then it was a time for a nap, which I really needed after yesterdays drinks and the pasta I had as a lunch.

At 19:00 it was again time to eat, we had dinner with Francois Jeremiasse (he is form Netherlands). We ate at the pizzeria we had seen during our walk in Nitra earlier. That was really nice Italian restaurant called Pizzeria Boccaccio, they all spoke English and were friendly, service was also efficient and decoration pretty nice.

Monday 25th April - Short flights

3rd Day

Weather again looked the same in the morning, but this day was different as the day was warm but the wind was cold. I had three layers of clothes on. On briefing Vladimir gave immediately two tasks for each class, one normal racing task and other same task but AAT version of it with 2 hour task time. Our young “met man” promised some rain showers on the task area.

We had a grid on RWY 33. When we looked to the North, we saw pretty good cumulus and when we looked to the opposite direction, we saw only dark rainy front.  If I am honest, I thought that the day would end in the middle of towings, Vladimir cancelling the task and we would go early to the hotel and even perhaps have a nap. Launches were postponed few times, and after all both sides of the sky looked flyable. That was the situation on the ground.

It was totally different on the sky, all pilots in two-seater class were flying task B – the AAT version – and they all flew only 20-50 km. So this was almost the same as yesterday. Starts were fairly late and all landed back after they had flown one hour or so. Before that three of our tow planes (Cmelaks) decided to do fly by, that was great to watch.

This day wasn’t a valid competition day, as they all flew so short distances. We noticed that yesterday was cancelled as well. It says on the rules that “more than 25%” should fly over 100 km. Yesterday exactly 25% of two-seater class flew that distance, but since the term is “more than”, the day was cancelled.

For the dinner we tried something different and went to Penzion Zoborska, where is Pizzeria Toscana, and after that we had few drinks at U Krba.

Sunday 24th April

2nd Competition day

The Easter. This morning looked like all the mornings before, sun is shining and sky is quite clear. So it will be “another great gliding day”.

Even the weather looked the same, it didn’t feel the same as days before. It was colder and windy, so something is happening. In briefing Vladimir thanked everybody for safe flying and gave a 2,5 hour AAT task. He said that if the weather isn’t developing as they think it will, they will shorten the task time.  Launches were about to start at 12:30 but were postponed until 13:00. They had said it has to be 24 deg. for the thermals to start, and surely the weather didn’t feel that warm when launches started. Task time was shortened in 2 hours, as we were expecting.

We heard our Finns talking on the radio when they were flying, because they stayed so close to the airfield. They said that the weather isn’t that good. Even they got pretty good altitude for starting the task, weather wasn’t that good on the route. So after 1,5 flying they started landing back with not so good distances. Harri on GN managed to fly to the first turnpoint (area) but they got very low on the other area and had to land out. He said same thing of the weather, that it wasn’t good enough for so long task.

When we sat on the terrace, we heard that there is coming a thunderstorm from North. And so we decided to put all gliders in trailers. That was good decision I think, as when we started, we could see first lightings. When we were having dinner, it was pouring rain.

We saw weather radars and Monday is 50-50, flying or not. I have a feeling that everybody would appreciate resting day, but let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Saturday 23rd April

1st Competition day

The morning was almost the same as yesterday, up after 6, a walk at 7, shower and breakfast. Teams left to the airfield at 8, hour earlier than yesterday. I left after 9, used the bus no. 19 which leaves close to the hotel and goes to the airfield. Bus was on time, ticket 60 cents(!) and travel time 10 minutes. Easy. I walked straight to the briefing, which started at 9:30 already. We heard safety things again and then they gave a new task…except it didn’t look that new, as the distance was almost same as yesterday, only few hundred meters longer.

Towings started before 12, and suddenly all the first gliders started to land back. We thought that if Wolfgang Janowitsch is landing back (as he was), there must be something wrong on the weather. Vladimir (contest director) soon decided to stop launches for awhile, and then we hung around the gliders, as you can imagine. Task was changed in to task B, but not much difference in the distance, as it was just over 500 km.

Our Finns started the task around 14:00, which meant that flying 500 km had to be done fast as possible, and we would see late landings.

Meantime the pilots were struggling in the air, we - the crew - had our own “first day lunch”, some bread, parma ham, salami, olives, cheeses, salad and of course sparkling and red wine. But when the day would come to its end, we would need all the strength. In the afternoon trailers started to leave the airfield. Even the weather over the airfield looked pretty good, obviously it wasn’t that good on the route. And wind started to blow, it felt like the weather is changing.

Both our Duo Discuses which have engines, used those, and landed back at the airfield but the other two landed out. Again we had the same question on our minds, why do they set so long tasks even they could start with a shorter one instead, which most would be able to finish, and so all would get nice beginning for the competition. But I’ve heard that these guys here are quite skilled on task setting and they really can read the weather and set a task which would be possible to fly through, but there isn’t any time for hesitation.

Friday 22nd April - Practice day

Day started with a 30 min walk (trying to have a healthy lifestyle ;-) at 9 we left from the hotel to the airfield. Rumor was that briefing would be at 10, but after sitting in the hangar for awhile and nothing happened, they came to tell us that briefing is at 10:30 after all. This wasn’t the first official briefing, but still we heard all important things about safety etc. All the pilots haven’t arrived yet, so on Saturday we will see a re-run of this show.

It was a surprise to everybody that the task was so long, 563 km. And that towings started early, so leaving to the task happened in a bit hurry feelings. Some who are here for the first time were overwhelmed of Cmelaks’ towing show: all of you who know what a big radial engine sounds like, you can imagine having three-four huge yellow planes in front of the grid, all having radial engines making their powerful sound. When one Cmelak takes off, other one is ready to take off and two Cmelaks are waiting for their turn. And there are only few quiet moments, so efficient are these charismatic planes.

During the task we girls went to do some shopping, the weather is so warm that we “had” to buy some summer clothes. Pilots managed to finish the task, but not on very high speeds, and it was again a good lesson how to fly in this area.

I guess (know) that competition organization had some (normal) first day problems, as there aren’t any results yet. Actually situation is funny, since on Soaring Spot the results are updating just fine, but not on competition page. Reason is a network problem.

At the dinner we all were asking the same thing: why did organization put themselves and pilots under unnecessary stress by starting towings early and setting so long task. After all, this was only a practice day.

Thursday 21st April - Practicing

Finally in Nitra

We arrived yesterday safely and surprisingly fast to Nitra, via normal route Vienna-Bratislava-Nitra. I can't really tell much about the trip, except that I got one of the best meals in the aircraft that I've ever had. But there are some reasons for that which I will tell you in person :-)

Today was unofficial training day, meaning that only few of the crews have arrived, I suppose most of them will be here tomorrow. Anyway, there were lots of trailers, so even if crews are here already, they might have done the same what we did today, bought some necessities such as wine, potato chips, summer clothes and of course some water. After Finland's +5 degrees this sunny, +24 deg. weather is quite nice.

Meantime our pilots (in four Duo Discus) had about 4 hours flights. I did some photos today, but since there are only few of them, I will publish those later. Now it is time to go to bed, tomorrow registration and other official things will start, and we want to be early at the airfield. Staying in the Penzion LUX is pretty convenient, as it's only 10 minutes drive to the airfield.

Wednesday 20th April - Travelling

Haa, it's been a long long winter, and after all that huge amount of snow, Easter and Pribina Cup are finally here. I get to pack my bags and I'm travelling again. This year I am waiting for to meet many new friends from DSMJ2010 (Pre JWGC in Musbach). Hopefully I will recognize all the faces from August ;-)

Now it's Wednesday 20th April and I have been waiting for this day to come for a long time. Soon it's time to go to the airport and I hope I will find myself in the evening from the LUX, and that I will see many gliding friends. See you soon!