Her here is an update from Brazil. On Thursday evening our small team arrived in Caico, which will be our base for the next days. We think it is a great place to chase big distances: it is on the line between the two record sites (Tacima in the east and Patu on the west). We will launch with two winches, as it allows us to get in the air even if the wind is very strong and a take off on the mountain would not be possible. Landro and Vagner, two local pilots, are also flying with our team.
That is how our days look like: wake up at 5:30, leave the hotel at 6 and prepare the gliders at 6:30 on the runway of Ciaco airport. First thermals usually start at 7 and we expect to fly until 18 on very good days. From 7 to 9 it is quite difficult to stay in the air and it is important to stay high: usually you stay in the climb and wait until the climb is lost. The reason is that with 30-40km/h wind, you still make a lot of distance even if you turn for 1 hour☺ from 9-12 the thermals are good, before the conditions go down again (locals say that at that point the cloudbase rises much more and the thermals need to reorganize). After 14 the thermals are strong and the cloud base is high. Usually the retrieve needs +/- 1 hour for every 60km. That means if you go more than 400km and even land at 17, you will be back home after midnight. This is why we try to decide if the day is worth to try to fly war, or if it is better to land “early” and be fit again on the next day.
On the first day the first pilots climbed out at 7:20 and managed to stay in the air. However, it is not easy to catch a thermal from the winch and Chrigel, Patrick and Michael learned this the hard way and bombed out 3 times, before we finally managed to climb at 9. At that time the first pilots were already 60km away from us! However, as a group we did quite well and had a 50km/h average speed on the first three hours. However, the day was not excellent, as the sky turned blue. It made it quite difficult to find thermals and Adi, Chrigel Erne and Jan had to land. Our group also got separated and we lost Chrigel Maurer. At 15 Pädel and me decided to land in Quixeramobim (280km), as we were too late for a good distance anyway. Chrigel continued and landed at 380km, the two locals were close to 400km too.
Yesterday the wind was much more weak. This is causing two problems: the first one is that the runway is too short and we are struggling to climb high enough after the tow, the second is that we are not pushed by the wind and will not fly far enough. However, we still did some tows to get used to it and to optimize the process.
Today the wind was predicted to be even less than yesterday. But when we arrived on the airport, the wind was really strong already! Pädel and Michael launched first at 7:10, but did not manage to stay up. Adi and Chrigel Ene did better and climbed out. Leandro climbed out as well, just before we had problems with our winches. At 9:30 Chrigel, Jan and Pädel managed to get to the air, while Michael decided to stay on the ground and safe energy for the next days. Currently Chrigel Erne and Leandro are 150km out, Chrigel Maurer, Pädel and Jan are 70km out.
I think it is time to say thank you to all our sponsors, the Swiss Hangglider Association and of course Fly with Andy!
You can follow the action live.
08 October 2017, Michael Sigel
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