Monday, July 31, 2006

The long Journey to Russia

Dateline Serpukhov, Russia - July 31, 2006
After one long day of driving and one long night of repacking suitcases, and another day of flying we are at Drakino airfield south of Moscow. I will add longer notes and photos later, but here is the scoop: Tomorrow is the first day of this all-Jantar Grand Prix competition. The facilities at this arifield are wonderful. We are staying a short walk from the flightline in a great suite(!) yes, a suite, not a tent, I know, it is not our usual style!

There are 15 pilots, and 14 are Russian. The other is Tim. It is interesting to see the grand prix concept in action, because we were part of the first Worlds in GP last September. It is an evolving thing, rules-wise. Last night we saw a lively discussion in Russian about the rules. Interesting to see that the same topics come up now as in St. Auban last year: how to keep pilots from diving toward the start line, how to contorl speed at the finish, what about bonus points for a pre-determined turn point, etc. It is this mindset of collaboration that makes this kind of comp interesting for me, anyway.

Today it is raining and cool (I am happy not to be sweating for the first time in a month!), but earlier we got to meet our Jantar - contest ID 66 (registered as CCCP-1666 - I know - CCCP!) and take a look at the cockpit, which is huge compared with the Libelle. I will approach cleaning the plane either later or early tomorrow. It does need a good bath and maybe some polishing and taping.

The culture shock is immense. You feel like a 5 year old having to ask what every word means. Thank goodness for Iakov Shrage and his daughter Anna who speak excellent English and are looking after us very well. We went to get russian cell phone numbers, to the bank, to the grocery store, etc. this afternoon. Now we are provisioned and set for tomorrow...just hope the weather clears.

FYI, the time in Russia is 2 hours ahead of central europe, so 9 hours ahead of Central US time. Just thought you would like to know...

Friday, July 28, 2006

July 28 called due to rain - This WGC is complete

Hey all,
We knew that rain storms were coming today, just not when. Everyone went ahead and gridded, although you could see the bad weather coming our way. By 12:00, the day had been cancelled, and everyone hurried to de-rig and put away everything before the storms came It really rained hard ( although not as hard as the day of "Mudfest") and it was definitely the right call!

Results from 7/29 and overall

Club Class
Tim McAllister 36th on the day, 23rd overall
Tim Welles 29th on the day, 31st overall
David Stevenson 25th on the day, 34th overall
*A note: Tim McA had a really tough flight and was ucky to get home at all. As his crew person, I thank him for a landout-free contest!

World Class
Pat Tuckey 6th on the day, 11th overall
Francois Pin 8th on the day, 5th overall

These pilots are to be commended for their quick study of the flying in this region. It is a very steep learning curve, and all did very well at it. This was also a very strong field, containing many of the best pilots from Europe and around the world. No slouches here! So you should be proud of our boys as I am.

The incredible heat and number of hours flown made this a real endurance test, both physically and mentally. I enjoyed my time in France, although it kind of reminded me of time in Uvalde or Hobbs. The food was pretty good (even Flunch) and of course the camraderie was great. So, tonight is the final party, with the closing ceremony tomorrow morning. Then Tim and I wil be off like a shot heading back to Schwabia and on a plane to Russia Sunday morning.

The adventure continues...stay tuned!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

July 27 - Day 11 underway

Hey y'all-
It is day 11...Regis, our competition director can be smug now...he promised us 10 flying days, and lo and behold, we have achieved 10 days.

Another hot one! The tasks for today are:

Club Class an assigned area task of 3 hours with a min distance of 311.3 km.
124 Start - pont de manosque, 053 Luc en Diois (30 km) , 064 Moustiers (20km), 017 Briancon (30 km)

Tim McAllister has a vpos tracker - if it works is another question.

World Class also has an assigned area task of 2:45 hours and a min distance of 213.4 km.
123 Start Greoux, 043 Jausiers (30 km), 027 Chatillon (30 km)

Yesterday's results
Club Class
Dave S. - 16th 88.8 kph
Tim McA 17th - 89.3 kph
Tim W 30th - landed out near our hotel La Pigette, safe and sound, but just lacking the altitude to make it home to Vinon.

World Class
Francois and Pat both landed out. Unfortunately, Francois had problems with his outlanding and the glider couldn't be repaired in time for this morning. After discussions with the comp director, it was decided that he could fly the glider that Paul of NZ had originally been flying. Lucky! So there was a purpose, although not readily apparent, for Paul's injured acchilles tendon after all.

With the forecast looking less than promising for tomorrow, this could be our last racing day. I will keep you suitably informed.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Competition Day 10 underway - July 26

Hello All,
This is supposed to be the hottest day of the summer, but I find that hard to believe. It has been an inferno for weeks! The pilots are on task, supposedly rested after yesterday's "day o' rest" and we are back into the contest routine.

The Tasks for today...

Club Class
123 Greoux, 069 Orpierre, 118 Puimichel, 075 La Roche Ram, and home. A racing task of 328.3 km.

World Class
107 Vinon Aero, 075 LaRoche Ram, 087 Serres - a racing task of 278.9 km.

Based on the weather briefing this morning, strong thunderstorms should build over the mountains this afternoon. So far there are large builds of clouds both northeast and northwest. We will see.

It's hard to believe that there are only 3 more possible days...Friday is our lqst day, with the closing ceremony on Saturday a.m. After that, Tim and I are off to Germany to return the glider, then on a plane to Russia to fly the Grand Prix there. So there is much more racing to be done.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Hello All.
Rest day, rest day, how I love my rest day!
Here is a quick report and then we are off to swim.

The weather was once again not as forecast, with rain showers headed into and out of the first turn for Club class (Luc en Diois). It was a pretty straight racing task from there. I was happy because all of our pilots got home in time for our joint party with Germany and Austria. Lots of German beer flowed freely, the chili we served was eaten all up, and I never even saw the Austrian chocolates because they were scarfed up quite rapidly!

Club Class results from yesterday...
Tim Welles 26th speed: 99.8
Dave Stevenson 28th speed: 97.3
Tim McAllister 31st speed: 96.1

In World Class, Pat tied for 4th on the day with a speed of 97.5 kph and Francois was 8th with 96.0 kph. They were pleased with their team flying today.

So I am out of here and will talk to you manana!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Day 9 - July 24

Ooh La la! It is even hotter today than the previous days, when the temps have reached 40 deg centigrade and higher! That's more than 100, and I stop counting over 100.

Today's initial task was set but was changed on the grid due to storms over one of the turnpoints. So we ended up with the following:
Club Class - a 315.1 km racing task
Start, 124¨Pont de Manosque, 027 Chatillon, 026 Chateau Neuf, 086 Serreponcon.

World Class - a 274.0 km racing task
Start 123 Greoux, 084 Savines, 035 Digne, 087 Serres

Club Class has the trackers today, and Tim Mc has one, so if the system is working, you should be able to watch at

Yesterday was very exciting and challenging. The great forecast was a teeny bit off, or perhaps a great bit off, because big storms in the Durance Valley sucked up all of the energy in the area, leaving pilots in both classes to struggle at, or below, ridge height for long periods of time. Unfortunately, Dave landed out on his way to the third turn, Valensole, which is nw of here on the plateau. Tim and Tim both finished the task, although both struggled mightily to do so. On Tim W's way in, he called me on the radio once he figured he would indeed be making it home, saying simply "Order pizza now!"

Francois allso scraped his way home, reporting how far under glide scope he was during his final glide, but somehow making it and ending up in 4th on the day. Thank you to Nancy Snead for those worry beads you gavedottiee Pin a while back...she really used them yesterday. Pat almost squeaked it home, but landed out 1.7 km from the airport. His family was here to help out with this very manageable retrieve.

The 500 km task took longer than expected for most competitors, so we were seeing finishers anywhere from 7:30 to 9:00. Very late night!

Tomorrow has been cancelled for a safety break. A certain French pilot was complaining vigorously about this, as was another Team Captain, but it has been declared and looks like we can sleep intomorroww!!! Boy, do we need it.

Tonight is our US team party, which we're doing with the Germans and Austrians. The Germans brought 180 litres of beer, we are doing chili, and the Austrians have brought Mozartkugels, chocolate confections which look like trailer hitch covers. Should be fun, and I expect that the beer will be consumed with some vigor, since tomorrow is a rest day.

Quote of the day " Some of those pre-start gaggles resemble a demolition derby!" Pat Tuckey

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Day 8 underway

So it is Competition Day 8/Day 9 of the contest. Possibly a mistral day. That means a northwest wing and much trickier conditions for those unfamiliar with the area. It is hot, the sky looks good, so we shall see how they do.

The tasks...
Club Class a 498.8 km racing task shaped like, well, a couple of triangles.
036 Embrun, 080 Saillans, 114 Valensole, 029 Col de Cabre

World Class is a 364.2 km racing task, bow tie shaped.
027 Chatillon, 116 Brunet, 105 Veynes

And yesterday, well it was a good day for some and a bad day for some. They aren't kidding when they say this is a game of skill AND chance.

Tim McA put a good flight together with 111 kph and 14th on the day. Unfortunately, Tim W. and David landed out, but fortunately, they were together. It was a long retrieve, and they didn't get home until after midnight.

Francois made it back as well, with a speed of 82.9 kph in 5th place on the day.
And Pat, there's a story there. He landed out near Sisteron, which should be a 45 min drive, right? Well, Bogie left yesterday, so Pat has a new crew - his nephew Jake. Jake is 18 and has never crewed before, but he had the directions and a map, and all of the phone numbers, and he seemed so confident...but he IS an 18 year old boy. So hours passed and no Jake. Then he arrived in Sisteron, but still couldn't find Pat. Eventually, about 9:30, they connected, and all was well. So a late night, but happy endings for all.



At camp, our typical pre launch gathering.

Sylvie, Meredith, David and Meghan.

Marina Galetto, one of the Stewards.

Dottie tries to keep Jan cool.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Day 7 Underway - July 22

Hi Everyone,
I wonder if some of you remember that old song "I am fixin' to die?" Well, it is that hot. The Texans among you may question this assessment of the heat. I mean, we are talking about FRANCE, not Houston, for goodness sake! But you have to trust me...I think I have melted a sizable section of my brain due to desert-like temps and although it is sort of dry, I am always sweating. I found Dottie Pin yesterday in the hangar waqtching the VPOS tracking of the World Class and resting her head on her frozen bottle of water. I would have taken a picture, but she was so hot, it didn't seem fair to subject her to that (although she still looked good - how do you do it, Dottie?) Oh, and to clarify, I am not complaining - at least it is not raining and we are having lots of good flying WX.

Anyway, back to the flying. Today's tasks are:
Club Class - Assigned Area triangle Task 2:45:00 hrs min distance 223.32 km, max 426.8 kmStart 123 Greoux, 073 Pre Md Carl with radius of 35 km (Darned abbreviations), 027 Chatillon radius of 30 km, and 125 finish 20

World Class - Assigned Area "bowtie" Task 2:30 hrs, min distance 211.5, max 463.8 kmStart 124 Pont de Manosque, 029 Col De Cabre (our fave) radius 20, 064 Moustiers radius 20, 086 Serre Poncon radius 25, 125 finish 20.

So they are out there now and I am seeking shelter from the sun in my air conditioned hotel room for a few minutes.

Wrapup of yesterday - We seem to be taking turns having good and bad days in club class. Tim W put together a good flight for 19th place on the day, and David S. was 30th. The winner, France's inimitqble (ask me and I will tell you why) Olivier Darroze won the day with a smoking 115kph speed. Tim McA had a tough day, making it home, but winding up dog slow back in 35th on the day. Oh well!

In World Class, at least a Pole won the day instead of a French pilot.
Francois placed 6th and Pat was 9th on the day. Now Pat is having radio probs instead of battery probs, urgh!

Latest controversy: sunflower picking on final. There's a field of sunflowers at the appreach end of runway 20, so of course, some pilots cut their margin pretty fine on final glide...sometimes even disappearing under the blooms for a moment. I have not yet seen a glider hop out of the cockpit with an armload of sunflowers, or tournesols, in French, but it wouldn't surprise me if it happened. Well, it would surprise me to receive flowers from a glider pilot, but I think you know what I mean...So Regis the CD made a new ruling that low approaches will not be tolerated. How low "low" is will be determined by a video camera at the finish line. So it remains to be seen who will have an example made of them. It seems like half of the finishers are sunflower picking from my vantage point. I will keep you posted on that one.

Weirdly enough, after three weeks in the French desert, I am having a hankering for the following: Mi Cocina food and a Mambo Taxi, a Dr. Pepper slurpee, a selection of current English magazines, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, the Weather Channel (I know, I can't believe it either) because there seems to be no Weather on French TV except a super cool guy who kind of waves at a graphic with little suns on it), and of course a long phone chat with my friends & family. Other than that, everything is cool here. Anyone who wants to send along some of the above mentioned items will find our physical address on the official website Be sure to pack that slurpee in dry ice.

Here are pics...

You have got to love a language that calls a sports goal a 'but'.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Day 6 underway

Hey Y'all,
Another hot one, sans cirrus clouds today. The tricky thing will be avoiding late afternoon storms in the northern part of the task area (the high ground). Things were pretty weak at first, with almost all of our pilots complaining of being below release altitude early on.

The tasks:
Club Class - Racing task 376.0 km. 107 Vinon Aero, 053 Luc En Dioi, 022 Castelon, 086 Serre Poncon, 125 Finish 20. This is another bow tie to the north zest, then on a southeasterly line, north to Serre Poncon, and home.

World Class - Racing task of 366.8 km. 123 Greoux, 075 La Roche Ram, 090 St. Andre Les something ( I only have the short names), 084 Savines and home. This is a kind of long dog leg to the northeast.

Yesterday was indeed challenging, but doable for both classes. At times there was alot of rock polishing - this alps should be pretty shiny with all of the polishing going on!Unfortunately, David landed out at Briançon Airport, but he did make dinner reservations for Meredith and Meghan at the apparently good airport restaurant. Good pilot!

Tim McA pulled off arespectablee 7th on the day w/ a speed of 91.8 kph, and Tim W made it home after getting stuck in "the right place that he thought was the wrong place," if that makes any sense. Good job Tims. Good Pilots!

In World Class, Pat and Francois placed 6 and 7 on the day, with speeds of about 74 kph vs. the French winner's time of 76 kph. They seem to be putting it together well and are moving up the overall scoresheet.

I am impressed at your restraint in the caption contest. In fact, no one has entered a caption at all, which I suppose should tell me something about the attractiveness of the contest. I will endeavor to take a more interesting or humorous pic in the next day or so.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Day 4 Wrapup; Day 5 underway

I am starting to sound like a broken record, but it is true: it is another hot day here in Vinon. Today, cirrus clouds were hanging around our area and they are still here to some degree now (14:15) It looks very blue around here, with a few puffy cu way off to the Northeast.

Here are today's tasks.
Club Class will do a 406.6 km racing task shaped like a butterfly or a bow tie depending on how you look at these things. First turn is Plampinet to the Northeast, Then to La Cluse to our northwest, then back to the east to Jausiers, which is near the high mountain town of Barcelonette, then home.

World Class will also do a racing task of 269.7 km shaped like a bow tie, but to Orpierre first, then to Aiguines east of us, then to Seyne and home. I expect it to be a challenging day...

So, yesterday was an interesting, albeit frustrating day for most pilots, including ours. "Nothing was easy," they all said. After many long hours in the cockpit, all of our pilots mase it home (hooray) and although the club class pilots were not pleased with their speeds, I would submit that survival was a big enough achievement. Tim McA ended up 22nd on the day, Dave Stevenson was 28th, and Tim Welles was 33rd. But today is a new day, and they are all on task now.

In World Class, Francois and Pat had caught up with the French team, who do seem to be the ones to beat, during the first leg of the task. However, the French took a different route back home and somehow outpaced our guys, who ended up 10th (Francois) and 13th (Pat) respectively.

Now for the photo caption contest! Please submit your caption for the photo below and I will choose a winner tomorrow. The lucky winner will receive a goodie bag of assorted WGC swag. The pictured unfortunate PW-5 pilot, Paul Schofield of New Zealand ruptured his achilles tendon by stepping in a pothole while running after his trailer after landing out on Day 2. Now, Paul is a special friend of the US Team and we do wish him the best, but the situation also begs for a special caption!

And in other photos...

Dave Stevenson with his wife and crew Meredith, yesterday - 19 July.

Tim Welles after his outlanding at La Motte Chalcon on the day of Mudfest. This is the altiport where tow pilots must have a special certificate to fly there.

Neil, the Team captain of GB gives his best dour Scotsman smile.

Yesterday in the pool - left to right: Sylvie, Megan, Jan and me.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Day 4 underway

Hey all or y'all as the case may be. I am sitting in the info office watching team captains turn in start times. The pre-start time is always such a chess game. On a day like today, with big tasks - club has a 405.4 km triangle racing task to 10 Beaurieres, 35 Digne, 17 Briançon; the World Class is on the way for a long out and return to Plampinet for 312.5 km. The weather looks pretty good, although it's always possible we'll see overdevelopment (by which I mean thunderstorms...sorry for the jargon) later this p.m. and very possibly in the mountains when the club class is at Briançon. Check out the meteoblue link to the right for the latest conditions.

Here are some of the pics I have been collecting:

At the morning briefing. Always looking at the map.

Tim Welles programming the task into his flight computer on 17 July.

Uli Schwenk (Germany) got really stuck in Lake Vinon during the Mudfest.

I am dealing with a computer problem, I think.

Here's Jan (crew for Tim W.) after being drenched on the muddy day.

More after I have a chance to upload what I took today.

I just heard that the Brittish team had a photo caption contest yesterday on their website I am going to look through my pics and see if we can do the same!

Be sure to drop us a note through the comment area below...we'd love to know how our 3 readers (excluding my parents and Aldo - Ciao!) are enjoying the reports!
More to come...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Day of Rest - July 18

After yesterday's excitement, it was kind of a relief to hear from the CD that he expected to have a rest day today. With strong thunderstorms predicted again (starting to sound familiar?) the task was indeed cancelled at the 10:30 pilots' meeting. We busied ourselves with cleaning yesterday's mud off of gliders and other housekeeping tasks.

A few notes from yesterday's landouts: Pat Tuckey ended up in a field near Espinases, which is by Lake Serre Poncon. Immediately, he met a nuber of locals, including a glider pilot, a woman who wanted to "show her baby" the glider, and a guy in a motorized whelchair who seemed to be berating Pat about his ability to walk...all in French!

Tim Welles ended up at the 'Altiport' of LaMotte Chalencon with the German pilot Matthias Sturm. During the hours of waiting for an aero retrieve, the tow kept each other company. Tim took the second tow because he could communicate the wing running instrutctions in French to the airport caretaker who had to run the wing downhill. Everything went fine, and after im returned to Vinon, Matthias's 5 yr old son was waiting with a cold German Bier for Tim...very cute!

We did have a 1000 point day in Club Class, with 21 of 39 completing the task. In World Class, the day was devalued to arounf 700 points, with 7 of 19 completing the task.
And the weather, well, we'll see. We need to get out of this pattern, but I don't know when that will happen.
More news soon,

Monday, July 17, 2006

Mudfest 2006 - Day 3

So we had another contest day today. The weather man figured we would have storms, but the task setter was optimistic? with a 222 km speed task for World Class and a 291.5 km speed task for Club. Things were hot on the ground here, but more difficult up north, where they were going. Unfortunately, Pat landed out near lac serre poncon. Shortly after Bogie left to get him, it started raining here...then it started pouring here for about an hour. I heard from Tim Welles, landed out safely, if not dramatically at the La Motte Chal. Altiport, which features a very sloped runway and is located on a mountainside. Then we heard Dave Stevenson was out at Serre. So The crews strained to hear Francois and Tim who were out there somewhere fighting through the rain. During the biggest downpour and lightning several finishers started to arrive in near zero visibility. Soon we saw Tim and Francois. Good job in terrible conditions.
We're waiting for Tim to return via aerotow and for Dave by trailer.

Here are a couple of the first pics.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Stevenson wins Day 1; Day 2 complete

Hello All,
The afternoon thunderstorms are really giving our internet service fits. About the time I want to sit down to write to you, a storm comes along and knocks things out.
This was a carbon copy of yesterday, which I haven't told you about, so: yesterday (day 1) featured assigned area tasks with a min time of 1.5 hours in both classes. Immediately after launch, a big thunderstorm was brewing over the high ground to the east-northeast, over the plateau. Once pilots got away from the airfield, conditions improved, after fighting through rain on the way to the first TP. Out on course, there were good thermal conditions and plans were made for long final glides back home. The storm finally moved through with very gusty winds which tore part of the roof off Tim Welles' camper!

Dave Stevenson wins the day with a speed of 116 kph. Congratulations to Dave!

So, today (Tue) was another hot one, with storms building even during our early (12:00) launch time. The tasking was again conservative, with a 1.75 hr assigned area task for the Club Class and 1.5 hrs for the World Class. Our team heads out at about the same time, sticking together during the first parts of the task. At Blayeiul, they separated taking different lines. Dave returned first, turning in a fast enough time for 15th on the prelim score sheet. Tim and Tim got stuck on L'ubac for a time but ended up crossing the finish line at exactly the same time and causing a near accident between Jan and myself as we hurried toward the two gliders!

This evening we look forward to the Italian cocktail party and another early night as we rest up for the next hot day. I hope for longer tasks and 1000 point days!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Day 1 at 10:20 a.m.

Sorry for the silence yesterday - a strong storm (well, not that strong by Texas stds, but strong enough) knocked out the internet service at the airfield on the night of the 13th. So we spent Bastille Day without internet. Although flying was permitted before the opening ceremony, most just did last minute preparations and got ready for the opening ceremony. During the first speech, it started to pour, after having been extremely hot while we were in the marshalling area. So that was about it - a march in, one speech, and a quick aerobatic display to music. No tiny gliders! No folk dancing. I was disappointed. So, we are about to begin the pilots meeting. I'll give you the task and other color commentary in a little while...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

2:30 on Thursday

It's another hot day in Vinon on this last practice day. The weather forecaster predicted early overdevelopment with storms, so many pilots decided not to fly today, and no task was called. However, the forecast was quite wrong. It's hot, with nice cumulus and no major overdevelopment here yet. So it goes...a 300k day, perhaps? Tim Welles is the only U.S. pilot who is flying today, and we expect to see a big smile on his face when he returns.

Last minute glider tweaking, gap sealing, and various errands are taking up most of our time this afternoon.

Tonight will be the first team captains' meeting, and tomorrow, Bastille Day, is our opening ceremony. Then we get going on Saturday.

More soon,

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Downpour! Wed p.m.

Well, bless his heart - our Pat Tuckey is 2 for 2 so far - he got caught in strong storms this afternoon and landed out at Klaus Ohlmann's airfield at Serres, not far from where he landed out on Monday. Luckily everything was fine, and he decided to spring for the aero retrieve. He just returned safely. However, his crew, Bogie, while now in Europe, is still not here. Bogie, please hurry!!!

So now it's still rainy at 7:20 pm.
More soon...

Midday on Wednesday

Hello Everyone!
We had another hot day (100° plus), with great flying conditions on Tuesday. The CD, Regis Kuntz has been calling Vinon the French Namibia, and although I have never visited that African land, I can believe that Vinon could actually be hotter and dustier. It kind of makes Uvalde, and definitely Dallas, seem cool. Or maybe I am just suffering from heat stroke!

Anyway, finally, everyone is here! Francois and Dottie Pin arrived yesterday with their German PW-5 in tow. He has already gone through technical inspection, so we only have Dave Stevenson to go this morning.

Yesterday, Tim and Tim flew the task, which you can see on the official site Tim McA placed 7th of 12 and Tim W. was 9th. They both had good flights up in the alps. We had our first dinner together followed by our first team meeting. There are still many logistics to work out...cell phone SIMM cards to buy, antenna connectors to scrounge, and various electronic problems to solve. We are getting things sorted out and should be ready by Saturday.

The WX today doesn't look as good as the last two days, although it should still be good. The practice task will be a 1.5 hour Assigned Area Task ( like our TAT) to the northwest and northeast. There's already alot of vertical development on the Lure Mountain, not usually a good sign for long flying tasks.

Here are some pics as promised...

Lake Serre de Ponçon, north of Vinon, leaving the high mountains onto the Parcours.

Tim Welles having made the traverse from Pic de Burre transitioning into the high mountains of Les Ecrains, headed for the Pas de Cavalle and Briançon. Looking north towards Grenoble.

The high route from the northern Dormilouse (there are 2 mountains with this name) towards the south and home. Vinon is in the direction of the far away clouds in the left of the picture, about 80 plus miles away.

Pics by Tim McAllister, on July10.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

After a long Practice Day

Hello All,
A long day yesterday (Monday)...There were practice tasks in both classes. The Tims (McAllister and Welles) flew the club task but also enjoyed some sightseeing, since it was a spectacularly clear day. They took a look at Mont Blanc from a fair distance and explored some new areas and practiced some transitions. Pat Tuckey flew the World Class task but got caught in contrary winds at Col de Cabre and achieved the distinction of having the first landout! Since Bogie, his crew, is still in Dallas (Personal note to Bogie: please hurry up and get here!) Jan, Tim W's crew and fellow PiWi pilot Paul from NZ trucked off to the landing field, about 1.5 hours away. Everything was fine, but it was a late night for them.

David Stevenson spent the day working on his glider and getting settled in.
Tim and Tim went through technical inspection last night with no major problems.

We had a near international incident when the Lithauanians parked their trailers in our tiedown area. A little diplomacy and discussion with the organizers took care of this after a few tense moments.

More news and pics - I promise - today.

Monday, July 10, 2006

First Practice Days at Vinon

Finally back on the internet after a couple of days without. Tim Welles has been here for qa few days. Tim McAllister and I arrived on Friday. Pat Tuckey soon followed, and his PW-5 got here yesterday from Poland, so he spent most of yesterday working on it out in the sun. Did I mention it's pretty hot? Not Texas Soaring Hot, mind you, but very warm all the same.

The two Tims had a nice flight on Saturday - a tour of the mountains, nice conditions. Once we get the internet straightened out today, I plan to post the flight to the OLC so those who care can take a look.

David Stevenson arrived late last night; now we're just waiting for François Pin and the team will be complete.

I'll post pics later...
Susan McAllister
10:00 am

Monday, July 03, 2006

Idyllic Schwabia

Tim and I made it to Germany via Atlanta on Delta (note to Delta - you could be a little more generous with the seat pitch in coach!) and now we are in the Schwabian Alps. If you haven't been here, picture green rolling fields, hills with ancient castle ruins, and of course, a zilion gliders everywhere on a Sunday afternoon in July. We drove straight from the Stuttgart airport to Hahnweide (naturally) to see what was going on. Just as we were hanging over the fence, we saw our team mate Tim Welles on his first tow in the Standard Cirrus he will fly in the WGC. Then we met some other German glider friends, Mario and Sabine. They were at the 1st Grand Prix Worlds last September. Many other familiar faces there, and everyone was happy because the weather was nice, if a bit windy.
I'll post some pics later.