Chris and I had to make up for EUROGLIDE 2000, since we were stuck for 6 days on Pirmasens.
We made several attempts to continue, but te lack of good thermals (rising columns of hot air)
condemned us to Pirmasens. It seemed as if we were the Eddy the Eagle (very popular olympic
ski-jumper with very poor results). Even the local television interviewed us as
the unfortunates of last edition.
Moreover, everyone laughed when I mentioned that Chris might have to drive to Romorantin.
It turned out that the last laugh was mine. I DID IT. At 20.00 I landed on Romorantin,
having flown more than 620 km, which is my personal record. The larges distance I flew
before was 485km on a 520km attempt. Chris did not reach Romorantin before midnight,
which is the reason we weren't able to write a story before (we will try to update every day).
Takeoff was at 12.30 and the climbs were reasonable. I passed Aachen to the east to avoid
the Maastricht Airport area. Then clouds packed together to a hughe dark blanket.
Generaly speaking you may say: No sun, no fun. However, I got several good climbs out of
As I got nearer to Dahlemer Binz the clouds broke giving the sun more chance to heat up
the Eifel. Upon reaching Dahlemer Binz, the navigation instruments switched to Romorantin,
indicating I had 492km to go and needed more than 10000m of climb. Thermals were superb
and went on to 2000m.
I continued a bit to the north of track to avoid Luxemburg. I decended to 1200m above
sealevel, which seams a lot. The ground level was about 600m, leaving me at 600m above
terrain level. I found a small thermal of about 1.5 m/s. At that point team C4 called
me and directed me to their thermal in exchange for a couple of beers (I still have to
give them). I flew back 2km, but is certainly was worth it. The 3 m/s thermal took me
to 1700m in no time. Thanks C4.
Overhead the belgian Ardennes, it was not allowed to climb above 1500m above sealevel
due to airspace restrictions. Because of the hills, I continued carefully and tried
to stay as high as allowed. I survived and entered France at Sezanne. From theron the
terrain was less bumpy and there were hardly any airspace restrictions.
I continued on track by myself for a long time. Just before Nogent, I dumped my water
ballast (used for higher speeds on the staights) because I thought the thermals were
getting less. At that point team XX joined my thermal, and we continued together for
a few km. Since he still had waterballast, I could not keep up with him. South of
Orleans team MD joined my thermal. We decided to take a northerly route, because that
was still patched with clouds. After a few thermals I lost him (MD has a better glide ratio).
At that point I never imagined to get to Romorantin. It was getting laten, thermals were
getting less and I had to cover and area with a lot of forest hardly any place to land.
I continued with caution, never letting the landable fields out of my sight. Just 200m
of altitude short I pushed on for Romorantin. That 200m got bigger and bigger, so I
decided to stay in the thermal long enough to make sure I defenitely could get to Romorantin.
With as surplus of 350m I continued. I arived as Romorantin with 600m of ground clearance.
I checked out the airstrip and winddirection, and finally joined the circuit for runway 05 Right.
After 7,5 hours I set foot on solid ground again. Somebody towed me towards the hangar by
tractor to join the teams XX, MA and MD. Later on we were joined by the PM, VW, C4, NL, DP,
YA and EH. We found out that SM had flown back to Orleans, which turned out to be a good decision.
So with SM ahead, I may say the eleven of us did pretty well.
It certainly was a good day.
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