09 April 2006


Aerotowing at the US Nats

The wind finally weakened for the last day, so we flew an 82km task, starting with a difficult 15km upwind leg to the edge of the startgate. It took about 1.5h just to get in position for the start and required lots of patience and planning to fight the 30km/h headwind.

A blimp crossed our course line, which was interesting to see. Goal was a large airport on the west coast. The view of the ocean was spectacular.

Oleg, myself, and Jonny crossed goal, with a bit of a time gap before the next wave of pilots came in. The overall positions for the comp were:

1st Oleg
2nd Brett
3rd Curt
4th Jonny

Day 2,3,4,5,6 of the US Nats... wind and more wind. Too much for a picnic, too much for the beach.

Some went canoeing in the swamp, looking for gators, others went on fan boat tours of the glades. Bruce, Rob (crazy Dutch bastard), and I found a gym in La Belle to kill some time. Then we played with a blow cart (windsurfer and a 3-wheeled cart) at the airport, each of us nearly killing ourselves, laughing with our tongues hanging out for every second!

We pulled out Dustin's paraglider and man-towed a few guys. Unstable windy conditions... we shouldn't have been doing it (no reserve, no helmet, no back protection) but hey I'm just tell'n you what happened. The wind gradient surged me up to 20ft before the boys let go of my rope, then I was flying backwards in the breeze and sinking through the wind gradient to a PLF 'landing'. Next second I had lines wrapped around one ankle and I was being dragged at 10km/h on my ass for 100m. The harness was well made so my butt didn't get too hot. It was hard untangling my ankle with myself and everyone else laughing so hard.

Then we started wheely-ing the golf cart with Rob driving and two of us hanging on the back. When we finally ran out of ways to hurt ourselves or damage equipment we went for a few drinks at the Gator Bait Pub to hang with the locals.

Day 1 of the US Nats: Curt won, then Oleg; Jonny and I split up but crossed together in 5 and 6th. Dustin and Konrad short.

Bloody windy in goal, over 40km/h with thermals and tall trees... then the cops showed up to kick us off the property.

Today was rainy, tomorrow maybe the same.

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