12 July 2009

Rain refugees

After a thunderous Tuesday night some of us simply had had enough. When Wednesday was cancelled because of the ongoing rains Juha K., Sebu and I executed a wild plan we had researched the previous night: rent a car and drive to the closest flyable place (with dry air).
As we could take turns the 800 km ride to Nice went smoothly and as we passed Monaco just at the right time Juha and Sebu could fly down to the Rocquebrune beach. We then hurried to Gréolières for famous pizza at the Barricade.

Thursday we had some good flying at Gréolières, once we managed to get high Sebu and I flew the ridge all the way to Coursegoles and back. We landed for lunch and in the late afternoon had another, shorter, flight. The next morning we heard that some local heros (David, Luc, and someone else) had flewn a 195 km triangle!
We ourselves on Friday probably took off a bit too early in Gréolières and never really got high; a bit of overcast seemed to dampen the thermals too much. But in the late afternoon we had a fantastic flight in a nice clear sky and strong conditions at Gourdon.
Meanwhile we had met a nice group of Swedish pilots who planned to attempt the classic flight from Col de Bleine to St. André on Saturday. At the launch we went together through the route details and then waited for the thermals to turn on. I took of first soon to be followed by Sebu, Juha and 3 Swedes. At a crucial point all but me and Juha did not attempt the glide north to the next ridge, but continued westwards which is a bit of a dead end. I easily got to the other side and up again but a bit furhter along the route encountered ever stronger headwinds. I probably should have gone over the mountain again a bit earlier instead of trying to fly around it. Nevertheless a very nice flight. Once on the ground I was very lucky to get a ride back to launch. Hence I could make a second flight, now back to Gréolières. There were a lot of clouds now and I could pretty much just glide home, at times having to pull big ears to stay below the clouds.
Sunday morning we had to get up early to drive back to Slovenia, so we could not fly, but our escpade was really worth the effort (and expense): 4 days with good flying!

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