Our Team in Rieti

Our Team in Rieti
The US Team and Crew




Sunday, July 20, 2008

July 20, 2008--Competition Day 11 and Summary

It's early Sunday morning and the competition is officially over. Competition Day 11, the final day was flown pretty much without incident. All of our pilots returned back to Rieti with 5 of them flying completed tasks. The day was one of a sky full of cumulus-though not all of them were working. We had Pat (7th) announce final glide and landing, followed by Francois (13th) saying "I'm 10 kilometers out, but I don't have final glide". The next we heard was that he was here at the airport. That was followed by Chip (38th) announcing "10km, no finish". Soon thereafter Mark (19th) announced and arrived at the field for a finish. Then we waited for the Club Class, who had launched last. Pretty soon we heard from Manfred (34th) that he was on final glide. I asked him how he was doing and he said "I'm in fat city!" Jonathan (36th) soon followed with his 10km call and was on the field.

And then the pilot scramble started. Pat taking his instrument panel out of W2, replacing it with the original, and returning it to the club, Jonathan and Alessandro getting P8 back to the hanger, Manfred, Carolyn and Giorgio preparing 99 for travel, along with Mark and Quay and Chip and Paul. Instruments, cables, loggers, stakes, trailer plates and ropes were returned to their owners. It was a continuation of the frenzy yesterday afternoon as tow ropes were collected returned for deposit refunds, tow bills were settled, ATM's used, final prices on our "office" were negotiated and tickets were purchased for the Farewell Party. And Carolyn had to fix another flat tire! The car has no spare.

Enjoy some of our "Packing Up" photos as well as a few of the final competition day. (Note from the Editor: I don't think I've ever seen a wing runner like that out at Bermuda High!)

Later this morning we are head to the Closing Ceremony which will be held in the center of Rieti. The original time of 10:30 was changed to 12:00, and I know some of our pilots are eager to get on the road, on the bus or on the train. Many leave Rome early in the morning and two are driving to Germany. I leave for Rome tomorrow and arrive back in the USA on Tuesday. It will give me a chance to have dinner with Giorgio and Mariangela this evening.

Giorgio, my good friend from last year, was an indespensible part of this team. There wasn't anything he refused to do when asked and he did it eagerly. He took a towplane flight to Rome for a license validation, drove to Terni to pick up a package that was mismarked, settled insurance problems (including one of his own when he accidentally backed into my car. It's amazing how fragile the bumpers on a tiny Chevy are), arranged to get flat tires fixed on a Sunday, and on and on. Mariangela always prepared lunch in the campground for the three of us and refused to even let me help her clean up. We usually fit lunch into the time after the first class was launched when I was monitoring the radio for gate openings. Once all three classes got into the air it was generally too busy to do much more than make announcements, take start times and deliver them to the scorer.

I would also like to thank the entire organization for all the assistance they provided to our team throughout the contest, and especially for their assistance in getting Jonathan back in the air for the first day of the contest. Without their help Jonathan would have been unable to compete.

And while not a formal part of the contest this year, Alessandro Bruttini was of tremendous help to all of us. His generous repair of W2's tail skid and many other helpful actions really made a difference. And on top of that, after two years of being in Rieti, we have become friends. That is most rewarding to me.


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