High Hopes in the French Alps

It Was Not Just Me Then?!

Well it’s been all go here for the past few days. On Friday, we went to Annecy, where it was the final day of the Belgian Open, we didn’t enter it this year, but it was great to catch up with people. We had a couple of clients who had never flown in Annecy, and the conditions were looking ‘good’ for today. We arrived at Doussard for a briefing, where we bumped into Toby, who was checking out his wing. The wind was already quite strong early on, so the concern about the wind strength was already a factor. After a briefing and a bit of banter, we then did the Talloires shop route, incorporating a further briefing then onward up to  Montmin, to be greeted by a scene of bunched up gliders, and pilots milling about kicking their heels waiting for a task to be set.

It was great to see Stefan again, and to catch up with some other regular Belgian comp pilots, where friendships have blossomed over the years! As well as some familiar local faces. The wind was looking too strong with the valley wind funneling through, as well as an airmix of a strong Northwestly, it wasn’t looking great. It was flyable for those who wanted to fly, but not taskable, not at that time of the day anyway. I had the car keys, and Dennis flew, along with our two clients, it didn’t look that appealing, it was all a bit of a mess.

I drove down to Doussard, to pick them up, then we made a trip over to Plan Fait, where it was empty! So our clients had another fly there, with the whole of Plan Fait launch all to themselves! Whilst at Plan Fait, we saw a gaggle of gliders all heading out to Le Roc des Boeufs, and when they arrived a whole load of them got stuck there on the other side, scratching and scraping around for ages.. we wern’t sure if there was a task or if it was just a free fly, because whilst a gaggle had gone across, there were loads just milling around up to and near Les Dents du Lanfon, some getting pinned… and not looking like they were flying with a purpose.  Not the best conditions in Annecy this week, sadly. The last flight was another one from Montmin, and Dennis wanted to fly my glider to see what it felt like being on the top end of the weight range, always a good thing to check out a gliders reaction at different weight ranges, and today seemed like the ideal time.

Back down at Doussard, the competition pilots were coming in, in fits and starts… the Enzo, and Icepeak brigade were making their early arrivals, whilst the majority of the rest of the field where some were left feeling disappointed by having been made mincemeat of by the new phase EN-D’s. It’s all a bit controversial methinks… There had been a task set, as there was a ‘goal-line’ in Doussard, but not many made it, and most of them just decided to glide back instead of attempting the task.

It wasn’t easy to set a task in the conditions, so they did really well to get one at all!  A little bird tells me, it’s all change at the Belgian Open from now on.. but I’m not going to tell you lot about it! It remains to be seen, and it shouldn’t come from my mouth anyway!

*          *          *

So yesterday, Saturday we flew Chamonix in the morning, which was ok, cloud was quite low though and began to lift very slowly… I made the mistake of trying to get a climb out over ‘the Pump’ and then glide over to Le Brevent, but the Pump was all bits and pieces, it would have been better in hindsight just to have taken a straight glide over to Le Brevent, and hang around there for a while, and climb up as base lifted, but I didn’t, and ended up in Bois du Bouchet with everyone else who took that route! A few managed to just scrape over but no significant height was gained in the transition so it would have been a bit of a gritted glide over.

The air was lumpy, and not so nice either. After I landed and caught up with our clients, we had some Australians join us who had driven up from Chabre, having just flown at the Chabre Challenge where they said they had been unlucky with the weather there also, a couple of others, Hugh and Stewart, we all landed, and after the discussion of ‘what was it like for you?!’ the resounding chorus was… “O! It was not just me then!”

After Chamonix, we flew here in Plaine Joux, where we had arranged to meet some of our friends from the Belgian Open, having given them our address, for gps co-ordinates and phone numbers, it was great they had turned up and we had a lovely hours flying with beer and nuts at home later.  So it turned out a really nice day… It looks like deterioration is on the cards from now until Tuesday, and sure enough the wind has picked up and the day’s been binned.  Hence managing to update the blog.

Anyway folks, I’m sorry about the photos I took loads of photos, but since this computer keeps on wanting to update and is trying  to extract more dosh from me, in the form of an ‘update’ I had to try to upload the photos in a different way, and I thought they were all ‘saved’ but they weren’t and the whole lot have been deleted… so sorry no photos, and they were good ones too… drat!

June 24, 2012 - Posted by | Flying, Guiding

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