Saturday, June 28, 2008

Task 2: Saturday June 28 - Aspres

10am local time: Pilots have headed to Aspres again after a day of no flying yesterday. The wind is moderate north west now, and is forecast to go west later. Organisers expect to use the west launch at Aspres. Updates on the day will be reported as they come in on this post.

12noon: Wind on the south launch is north and on the west launch it's east, according to official telephone reports back from the hill. This means it is not flyable at the moment. "Pilots are in for a wait," said this blog's insider. Watch this space.

1pm: Still waiting

2.45pm: A 72.7km task has been set. The task is from Aspres to turnpoint 11 (St Genis), to turnpoint 35 (Gache), to turnpoint 31 (near Tallard airfield), then back to goal at Laragne camping. The window opens at 3pm, closes at 5pm. Start times are 4.15pm, 4.30pm, 4.45pm and 5pm. Turn direction is right. Paraglider wind-dummies have not yet launched. Wind on launch is said to be inconsistent - switching direction and occasionally over the back. There are three launch lanes. More as we get it.

3pm: All times have been put back an extra 15 minutes. Window now opens at 3.15pm, closes at 5.15pm. Starts are at 4.30pm, 4.45pm, 5pm and 5.15pm. Move made due to variable conditions on launch.

5pm: The whole field is now in the air. At 4.30pm there were only four gliders left at launch. Hence the delay in blogging - all our marshalls/reporters were busy launching gliders. The window opened at 3.30pm, and all times were put back accordingly. The first start time was at 4.45pm. The last will be 5.30pm. There are a couple of big clouds outside, so this might affect how things go. It should be a quick blast for lots of these good pilots.

The route:

5.30pm: 45 minutes in and the first phone-ins are coming into HQ. For those who don't follow hang gliding competitions, pilots have to phone in to HQ very soon after they land. This is for safety reasons - so HQ knows where pilots are - and it helps with organising retrieves. Any pilot phoning in this early into a task will be annoyed at themselves - they've bombed basically, landed early and not managed to get round much of the course. This doesn't mean conditions are bad though, at the first start time there were reportedly an estimated 80% of pilots at 2,500m waiting for the off. This blogger is off to the goal field to try and catch the ones who make it.

6.20pm: Superb! The first pilots started coming in 10 minutes ago. A lead gaggle of five topguns roared in overhead whistling like freighttrains. They are arriving thick and fast now, just as the first rumbles of thunder drift across the landing field from a raincloud to the south. Looks like it will be a close thing - this blogger isn't going to call it, we'll have to wait for the results later tonight.

6.42pm: Task stopped at 6.42pm. I just heard the meet director say over the radio. Presumably because of rain/storms.

6.50pm: This guy was first over the line. He was high. Results out later tonight on

7pm: Session closed. Off to see check-in at HQ, via Le Bar. More from Laragne, France, tomorrow.

7.50pm update: Unofficially the goal line crew say Pilot 51 was first over the line - Robin Hamilton of the UK. Some 60 to 70 pilots made goal in time. GPSs are still to be downloaded, and all results are to be confirmed.

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