One Flight - 3 World Records on 08/12/2010
Pilot Report Klaus Ohlmann
FAI World Records - type of record (Class D-Glider)
Distance over a triangle course - 1600,2 km
Free triangle distance - 1608,2 km
Speed over triangle course of 1.500 km - 122,77 km/h (former record Steve Fosset)
Once again a serie of wave days straight ahead. As always it’s not obvious at all, which day could be the best one. Will there be a chance to go down to El Calafate to try again the 2500 km straight ahead Kuettner prize. I really would appreciate to receive this trophy once again from my friend Joachim. But the closer the frontal system is coming, the more I realise, it’s not for this time. But how about an another exciting task. There is still the speed record of a 1.500 km triangle to do. I worked hard the last four years to adapt such a big triangle to what is not really ideal for wave-flights. Careful studies of satellite-photos, always compared with the real life in flight, the whole amount of wave-datas, collected in the databases of our Mountain-Wave-Project (MWP), are the key for the decision process, where to go.
The day before the record we are going to the airfield under steady rain. Rain in San Martin were often great wavedays. But on the airfield of Chapelco is the same steady rain and the Foehn gaps are very small and unstable. So, after a while we went back to sleep.
In the evening I realise that my task to the south needs a modification. The first TP will be in the rain in the morning, but it could be reached in the afternoon. I decide to change the sense of my triangle. That will say as well that I cannot really count on thermals, if the wave doesn’t work so far from the cordillera.
Start at 5:50 local. My copilot Christian Holler is on the backseat with all the stuff you need for such a long flight, water, sandwiches , peabags, not to forget several camcorders and cameras. He is a filmproducer and enthousiastic wave-fan.
Nimbus 4DM - Volcano Lanin
The northern part of Chapelco spends a good lift and ten minutes after takeoff the noisy motor disappears in his box. At 6:12 local time in 3300 m I cross the startline, back to the lift and in 4500m we are on the run. The first TP is only 54 km NW, today no problem. Once again the wave of Cerro Chapelco and we are surfing slowly down to south. The very rare rotors are more or less decoration in the sky. Just northeast of Bariloche airport, I find a little 2 m/s near the base of the rotorcloud. Not really encouraging, but nothing else in sight and here I have to climb in order to cross the large breach in the Cordillere due to the mighty lake of Nahuel Huapi. Luckily my lift grows, but in 4400 I loose patience, the south looks much better. South of Sierra Ventana I’m once again on the rotorbase. Lift is gusty, because the wind is around 55 kt in 3000 m, quite a lot for a triangle. Fifty km more to the south the day looks much more promising. A lot of resonance-waves are well marked in the Pampa. North of Esquel I turn to the east with a long tailwindflight into the very wild landscape of the Chubut. Wavelength is round about 17 km. Even with a strong tailwind I need 1 hour 15 for the 220 km to my second TP,. Believe me, when you have 120 IAS and a groundspeed of 280 km/h this is a long time to think about how it will work against the wind. Especially, if you look down on a landscape which seems to be more Mars than earth.
We are just on the limit of dry air. But south of my TP are very long bands of good looking rotors. At the beginning I have the illusion, these wonderful cloudstreets will lead me nearly to my last TP. A huge Lenti in the south looks greatful, and indeed, after a long surf along the border of the rotor system, there are up to 6 m/s. It’s as well highest time to return to the west, more to the south are less resonance-systems, and of course it would much more difficult to go back to the primary wave line. In the prolongation of the mountains north of Lago Fontana, I observed often huge resonance systems very far to the east. Today it seems a little bit less organised than usual. Anyway, after numerous jumps over more or less developed rotors I meet finally just under the rotor base a huge lift just north of the airfield of Alto Rio Senguer. Laminar flow, and in no time we are back at 5500 m. The outlook to the west and south of Lago Fontana looks as so often much different to the Esquel area.
Here the clouds are orientated parallel to the wind, making long sausages towards the Pampa due to the east west orientated valleys. It’s easy to loose a lot of altitude in no time, but difficult to get it back. I’m flying carefully to the south west. In the east of Balmaceda airport appear more regular wave patterns. Good luck, in the blue sky there is some smooth lift and I do not loose too much altitude. Balmaceda control allows us to cross the approach sector east of the airfield. The starting 737 goes to the west. On the ground, a kind of dry lake has a long dust tail, sign of very strong wind. Balmaceda confirms, 46 kt, gusts up to 55 kt. North of the colourful lake of Buenos Aires, nothing to do with the capital of Argentina, I see the enormous rotor of Cerro Castillo, the best wave of this area.
No doubt, there will be a good lift. 6 m/s is no surprise and soon I’m on my way to the last TP. It is very close to big stratoclouds with evidence of a huge downdraft, snow is blowing out from the mountains below.
I’m really happy hearing the beep of my logger, confirming TP is done, just above the closed stratos chaos below me. 2 km more to the west would not have been possible. Back to C. Castillo, upwards, and Balmaceda authorise us to cross nearly vertical of the airfield.. A long glide leads us to the well known wave northeast of Lago Fontana. The fast moving fractocumuli tell me to pay attention, and in fact, the lift is a little bit rotten, certainly due to very strong wind in lower layers.
I use the modest lift to get enough altitude in order to cross le large bassin of Rio Pico.
In the northwest is a gorgeous rotor wall in sight, crowned by a little lennie.
And…wowhh, with nearly 10 m/s we are catapulted once again to FL 195. Now it’s going fast, groundspeed up to 350 km/h. In no time we are in contact with Esquel and the controller must be astonished, how fast we cross his terminal. Perfect wave alignements to El Maiten, contact with Bariloche Control.
But now it starts to be more complicated. No clearance to higher levels due to traffic. Go to the west of radial 185 is the order, far from good lifts. I decide to anticipate and change immediately more to the west to avoid any interference with the commercial traffic. Bariloche Control is very busy now, a lot of traffic inbound and outbound. 15 miles southwest of the airport I wait impatiently the authorisation to cross the runway.
Once crossed,a last climb in the Manzano mountains and 30 minutes later we cross the finish point of our large triangle. There are still nearly two hours more to make at least a 1700 km free triangle.
But next day was a good forecast and I want to prepare the glider, change oxygen etc.
So, a last concentration for landing in the gusty conditions. We made it. The three new world records, where I’ve worked so hard on, are mine.
Experimental Wave Forecast 16/12/2010 12 UTC Forecast 16/12/2010 18 UTC Forecast 24/12/2010 18 UTC
Flight Track + Wave Climbs (1999-2009)
Last world records: