2002 story of team D2  

Euroglide 2002 story of team D2

Euroglide 2002

This is the story of the D2 team consisting of Chris van der Meulen en Joeri Bierings. This is the second time we contested in the Euroglide competition. In Euroglide 2000 we flew an LS-4a, this year we flew a Discus 2. We take turns in flying and crewing; this year Joeri would start of.

day 1, Eindhoven - Romorantin
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 the sun.

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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day 2, Romorantin - Joinville
I was the first to start (of the gliders) due to our relatively low handicap. Joeri had set the bar quite high with his performance the day before. French tug pilots are in the habit to vanish when lunchtime comes round, but somebody tracked him down and I was of.

The Sologne was quite good and until we met the Loire we had really good thermals and some nice cumulus to show the way. North of the Loire the cumulus disappeared. At first I flew along with some other competitors, but as my impatience grew I found myself alone in the blue.

I had set a course that led me more north of Auxerre then others and things were going not as I had planned. I spent a lot of energy ‘digging’ there. It had set me about 80 km behind the other, so I was less then amused and still impatient. After that I wasn’t making much speed and when I heard that some had reached cumulus-country I was getting worried that I was going to be in time to reach cumulus too.
As the thermals were getting weaker, I could see the cumulus in the distance. I ended up near Joinville (with the EH) and I didn’t have a lot of height to play with. As I made a last attempt gain some height, two jets passed me at the same height and too close for comfort. I set down at Joinville while the EH flew of again. I thought that was really bad sportsmanship. Not long after that the MCC and the M1 landed to keep me company. The people from Joinville were very hospitable, a tug pilot was arranged for the next morning.

Aside from my impatience, a little aggravation near Auxerre and two ‘large’ jets, it had been a nice day. I had thought about my sins and I could live with it. Joeri was up next.
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day 3, Joinville - Klippeneck
To be written


Joeri ready for departure on Joinville
day 4, Klippeneck - Cham Janahof
The night before we arrived at Klippeneck. It was pinch-dark and nothing to do. So after a good night sleep in the trailer,I was amazed at the beauty of this field. Joeri made the coffee in his amazing percolator and I got the ballast-water.

The strip is a sort of last ditch, which would result in my daily amusement (on the ground) when we had to transport the Discus to the other side of the strip. What you do is: you put the glider on the tarmac and you give it a good push.Then someone has to run along with the wingtip as is gains speed. Joeri is a good runner. When you reach the lowest point,you put the car in front and tow it up the hill again.

After deliberation about the price of winch-start, I set of with 100 liters of ballast. The second take-off I started with 50 liters which was better. The wind was strong and at low altitude thermals where really torn-up. After about 80 km I had made the mistake of getting to low. I landed at Blaubeuren. After about 45 minutes I could start again, so little damage was done.
The way to Cham Janahof was good, but by the time I reached Cham thermals where too weak to take me into wind (34 km/h). I tried for over an hour (and DM joined me) but in the end I had to land at Cham.

DM had arranged beer, so within a record time of 30 second after my landing I was enjoining this wonderful beverage after a beautiful day of flying. By the time Joeri arrived the DM and the D2 where in the hangar and we had the keys to the clubhouse. Excellent.
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day 5, do 27 juni
To be written
day 6, Wasserkuppe - Oerlinghausen
I love to start at the Wasserkuppe, it’s quite spectacular. It was cold, but the weather was better then expected. It was to be a day where you had to be at the right place at the right time. The weather could collapse in a really short time, but it was so unstable that when the sun got its chance you got instant good thermals.

When I passed Kassel the MCC appeared on my right wing. Discus or Duo Discus, it was a wonderful sight.We each had to make a decision get to Oerlinghause. I wasn’t too keen on crossing the transponder mandatory zone, but a direct route was cut of by overcast.

I had waited near Wolfhagen for about 40 minutes when conditions got better on route. I chose a route easterly route but as I progressed, the weather collapsed again and there was noalternative but to proceed.

The LX displayed that I could reach Vincebeck, but not with a lot of spare height. About 5 km before I reached it I couldn’t see it - no worries. But when I was at 1 km distance, I still couldn’t see it. When the Germans constructed Germany they put some hills in it. This particular hill was in my way. I had to fly around it, and there it was. Second later I was on the ground and proud of the LX.
There was no activity on the field, so I thought it was the end of the day (with 26 km to go to Oerlinghausen). Then a couple of beautiful girls approached me (nothing to do with gliding of course) and someone who introduced himself as a winch-man. I asked him if he could get the winch out and so he did.

It was a really short field and the girls didn’t have push the Discus far. I never saw the winch, because it was on the other side of a (smaller) hill.I don’t know how high I got of cable, but it as a high speed take-off. The sun was shining and soon I was on my way again. I thanked the winch-guy and I was very very welcome. Good.

Oerlinghausen was just within my reach. I was a little disappointed that Oerlinghausen, again, on the wrong side of a ridge. That was it for the day. It wasn’t a competition flight (26 km), but I was totally satisfied. Not the largest distance of the competition, but for me it was the best day.
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day 7, Oerlinghausen - Venlo
To be written
Euroglide was, like last time an adventurous, beautiful competition, for pilots and crew (well, we were both). And although we might never get the fabulous weather we encountered this year,we'll definitely be there next time.

Until then,

Chris van der Meulen & Joeri Bierings
Oh yes, we sincerely hope Germany won’t loose a soccer game during Euroglide next time. The maximum speed really is 80 km/h in such occasions.
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