Belinda & Jeff
American team leader & day winner
Yesterday, we drove up the Chabre because there was a chance that conditions would be good enough for a task. When we arrived up there, it there was still a pretty strong northerly wind. Still, the pilots set up their gliders.
There are about 120 pilots, so there are three launch lanes that they launch from. When they launch from the Chabre, there is an ordered launch, meaning that they have to launch in a certain order. On the first day, the launch order is determined by the pilots' world ranking, afterwards by their overall result in the comp. As the gliders are really big, they have to set them up in a spot from which they can get to the ramp easily once it is their turn. So there is a certain order for setup, too. When pilots arrive on the mountain, it is the launch marshal's job to tell them where they are supposed to set up. With 120 pilots or 40 pilots per launch lane that is quite a challenge sometimes, especially because some pilots mix up their pilot and setup numbers. The pilot number stays the same during the entire comp, but the setup number changes
Came second today
according to the launch order, which is different every day because pilots' results are different after every task.
After all the pilots are in the right spot and set up, there is a task briefing in which the task of the day is explained, and after that, the launch window opens. Then it's a launch marshal's job to make sure that the pilots launch in the right order. There are other helpers who do hang checks or make sure that pilots don't collide with pilots launching from the other lanes. So the launchin process is quite complex, especially during a comp like the Worlds.
Anyway, we didn't get that far yesterday. The wind didn't drop and was just too strong for a safe task. So the day was cancelled at three o'clock.
Today, it looked a lot better, with light winds from the northwest. We went up Chabre again, and we got all pilots off the hill within only 1.5 hours. They had to fly a 160 km task, going to Bonnet Rouge, Attero la Battie, Saint Pons and Martinon. Goal was set at the campsite. The first pilots left the start circle at 2:15, another group
One of the two German pilots who made goal today.
at 2:30, and the third at 2:45. Around six o'clock, the first pilots were in goal. Jeff O'Brien (United States) won the day. Alex Ploner (Italy) came second, followed by Christian Voiblet (Switzerland). There were many pilots in goal, I'd say between 40 and 50. Young Spanish pilot Blay Olmos was with the first ten pilots to come into goal. Pretty amazing! But he's been doing very well during the whole season. And so was Oleg Bondarchuk who hasn't flown comp for quite a while. Two German pilots were in goal, Lukas Bader and André Djamarani. A few pilots landed very, very short of goal, missed the line by only a few metres. Probably due to the fairly stong headwind they had when they came into goal.
That's the news for today - I'll keep you updated.
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