Our Team in Rieti

Our Team in Rieti
The US Team and Crew




Thursday, July 3, 2008

July 3--First Official Practice Day

Well, it's about 3:45 pm and the last of the Standard Class has been launched. The World Class launch was started about 1:15 pm. Everything today was delayed today due to the heavy rain and hail again last night. The rain was heavy enough to delay the safety briefing in the hangar. Rain and hail on a metal roof can drown out even the best communications system!
The launch went pretty slowly today as you can see from the start and finish times since we are currently under the control of the tower until the start of the Official Competition and this introduces some procedural problems into the launch. At the beginning of the Official Competition, the tower will be closed, and we should have the outstanding launch we had last year. I believe we will have in excess of 12 towplanes during the contest.

Work around the airport continues and sod was being placed at the pavilion and around the new office. The wireless internet has experienced some problems, but Selex is working around the clock in an effort to have everything ready. Today we have had excellent internet connectivity.

Since I wrote the above information, I have had to go and retrieve Pat from his landing--his crew will be here Friday--and we have all attended an Airspace briefing in the hangar. At that briefing we learned that the contest organizers will take over the airport tomorrow and we will operate without a tower. That means the 16 towplanes we have scheduled here will be able to launch the fleet in very short order. We are all pretty excited about that!

Pat had a pretty interesting launch today. He was hooked up to a towplane who thought he was two places to the left. When the towpilot noticed this, he slowly pulled Pat to the point where he was somewhat behind him. At this point we were about 200 feet down the runway! I was looking at Pat in the cockpit and wished him "Good Luck. Have a good flight" Pat just grinned. After he landed he was talking to me and said "I have never laughed laughed so hard in the cockpit in my life!!" I asked him what he was talking about and he said "I have never in my life been towed in a glider, and when I got to the end of the runway, watched the towplane retract his landing gear!" Pretty unusual experience. Mark commented "I know, I want to get a picture of that."

Tomorrow in the second Official Practice Day. We have a front passing through Rieti this evening, and the weather tomrrow remains a bit of a question. For those of you reading this, please go to the WGC homepage for real time reporting of the tasks, weather and regular updates of the contest (Ritz Corner). the home page link is on this Blog and is http://www.wgcrieti.it/

I've also attached three excellent photos that Mark took last week, showing the grid, the flying, and the local area from way above.

Hope to be back with you tomorrow.


1 comment:

Kathy said...

Thanks for the great posts Richard! Keep it up, and wish all of the pilots best of luck!