Flying the Manilla XC Camp 2014 (Australia)

Flying the Manilla XC Camp 2014 (Australia)

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Next stop for the Aussie summer was Manilla for the XC Camp from 1-8 February. Sebby, our friend Meredyth and I packed up my X-Trail and drove the 1200km north from Deni to Manilla in one day. Actually I’m pretty sure Sebby was wishing he had caught the bus by the time we drove through Narrandera – if we drove for 12 hours, Meredyth and I must have gossiped, giggled and laughed for 10 of those. No doubt it was very ‘educational’ for Sebby.

We arrived in Manilla to find around 80 pilots in town for the comp. In Australia it is very rare to have so many quality pilots on launch together just going for distance and this is what makes the XC Camp one of my favorite events of the year.

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Sebby showing off on launch as usual…

Despite being all fired up and ready to fly, my first day of flying was somewhat less than successful. Manilla is an interesting place to fly – the terrain consists of rolling hills for the first 100km requiring careful route selection in places and if I’m honest our few weeks flying down-wind in Deni had made me lazy. Mer and I both paid for this on day one when our poor choice of route option transitioning into the Horton Valley put us on the deck at around the 40km mark. My landing paddock was not a very happy place as I watched Sebby and our other mates Bruce and Cam waft over my head and onwards for flights of between 80-120km.

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From there on in I pulled my socks up and managed 120, 80 and 95km over the next couple of days. The weather wasn’t outrageously epic, but still perfectly flyable weather for leisurely XC flights with your mates. Sebby was a little more focused and managed flights of 220 and 150km, with a few 60km flights in between.

Then the forecast started to improve again and with the promise of better flying, I decided to have a play around with my speed-bar to see if I could squeak a extra few kilometers of top speed out of my system. This proved very effective and I promptly barred it all the way into the ground that day at about the 30km mark, trying to keep pace with two R11s. Oopsy-daisy – another unhappy landing paddock! Slow down you idiot! Wait for the day to turn on before you stomp on it… That turned out to be the best day of the comp, with Cam flying an awesome PB of 176km on his Mentor 2. Well done Cam!

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“Please universe don’t let me make the same mistake two days in a row…”

The next day I bounced back and Bruce, Mer and I finished up the comp with a lovely flight out towards Moree, landing at about 135km.

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I think it is fair to say that this year we did not have quite the epic weather and week of flying that we enjoyed in 2013, however there was still heaps of flying to be had and most days there was between 100-200km on offer for pilots.

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So we finished up in Manilla and drove Sebby back to his second home in Deni. Sebby’s Aussie summer was nearly over and it was time for him to go home to Switzerland. For Mer and I, it was on to Corryong for the final chapter of my summer: the Corryong Open 2014…