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Fernando Silva

Yesterday the saying “the last shall be first” applied.

On take-off with a strong crosswind and from a rarely used end of the grass (tall at that end) runway, we hit a huge chuck hole which caused my crew to lose control of the wing which rose shifting the water to other side. As I struggled to raise it, I veered right, while the tow plane struggled to move to the center. As it turned out, I had pulled his tail to the right and his nose went left. The tow plane went into the wheat field next to the runway but he kept trying to save it as he cut wheat (2 feet tall) and kept full power! I decided that wasn’t going to work so I released him and went right. He decided to continue through the wheat diagonally to short cut to the cross runway where the tow planes land. It was a fairly tall Cessna 185 so the farmer didn’t lose so much wheat!!!!

So I was pulled to the back of the grid and relaunched. The task was a 3 hour Assigned Area Task which they had briefed we should try to return by 5:00pm because the cirrus would shut down all lift after that. The normal tow height here is 500m but due to the 25 knots and blue conditions they raised yesterday release to 600m. The day had cycled and I struggled to get to the inversion at 1000m AGL. Finally at 2:45pm – about 15 to 30 minutes after everyone had departed – I leave into a direct 28 knot headwind from 1100m AGL Luckily, just then the day had finally heated up from all the rain the previous day and I got two reasonable climbs topping out at 2,000m. From then it was a lonely but fast flight. I had to push about 10 miles into a dead first circle in the shade of severe cirrus and escape by racing the cirrus out. Got a save at just as I got to the sun and benefitted from the 30 knot tail wind for a while. As I got to the third turnpoint near the Atlantic Ocean, the cold marine air was penetrating but I was able to get my best climb at the marine air front to 2,300m under a completely gray dense cirrus sky. Final glide to the third steering turnpoint and home.

The day ended with a fabulous grill at the home of one of the local club members which started at 9:00 pm and ended at 11:30 pm. There were 20 Argentinian pilots and crews and more kept arriving from retrieves as the evening progressed…

Today is last day….

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