I flew! I took off in “DA” around 2pm yesterday afternoon on unofficial training day 1. The skies looked good (like good-day-at-Perry good) and I decided to fly the short 200 km racing task
I started at 5000 ft about an hour after takeoff and had a good run into the first turnpoint under reasonably good cu. Then I turned west towards the second turnpoint and had my best climb of the day – close to 5 kts bottom to top that put me just over 4000 ft. I assumed (incorrectly, as it turns out) that 4000 ft was enough to cross the Tisza River Valley. I was wrong. About 20 minutes later I found myself on the ground in a freshly cut hay field about 50 km from Szeged. As it turns out, the owner of the field is a retired glider pilot with 1100 hours from none other than the aeroclub in Szeged! My crew (Alex and Akos, our local contact) came to retrieve me about 2 hours later. We were back in Szeged in time to join the rest of the US team for dinner. At least I didn’t win the training day! (In US soaring circles, winning a training day is generally considered to be bad luck.)
In other news, we finally found the famous the Szeged mosquitos. I had been warned by past US Team members that the mosquitos in Szeged were bad (Al Tyler may have even used the word “savage”), but we didn’t realize quite how bad until Sunday night. I won’t go into details, but savage was a fairly apt description. I loaded mosquito warfare gear in “DA” and will now have it with me any time I’m out at dusk here – lesson learned!
Two more US Team pilots arrived in Szeged yesterday. Daniel and Noah – both flying LS-4s in club class – with their crews, Jacob and Luke. Daniel and Noah are flying today while I stand down. “DA” was in desperate need of a bath after the outlanding. “DA” will fly again tomorrow, weather permitting.
The practice period ends on Friday, then Saturday is a mandatory no-flying day for the opening ceremonies. Racing starts on Sunday! Stay tuned!
All the best,
Leigh’s connection to soaring and competition is through her husband, SZ, for whom she’s crewed for 44 years. She’s a passionate supporter of the US Teams and loves contest reporting. She currently resides in both Steamboat Springs, Co. and Greenville, SC.