Saturday, May 2, 2009

Preparations update

Work's been really hectic over the last month so I've had very little time to update the blog. Here's a quick summary of what's been happening:
  • Red Bull have announced the final route, including the details of the turnpoint cylinders. I've made a Google Earth file of the route to help my route planning which you can download from here. The start is at 11:30am in the Mozartplatz in the centre of Salzburg on 19 July and Red Bull estimate that we'll be taking off from the local mountain, the Gaisberg, at about 1pm. After having run up it, of course!
  • The Axis Mountain Masterclass was a great success: three days, six sites and nine hours airtime in everything from snotty thermals below an inversion to screaming 6m/s climbs to magic evening restitution soaring to gentle XC conditions. Congratulations to our Axis "Mountain Master" Adam Stanfield and our two Axis "Mountain Stars" Colin Hawke and H.H. Tsai.
  • XC season is here and I've been out enjoying the feisty spring conditions in Annecy and St Hilare. The flying is currently best in the Pre-Alps, but come the Summer and the time of the race it's likely to be quite stable and inverted in the Pre-Alps so the best flying route will follow the high mountains. The photo at the top of this post was taken during a great XC day in Annecy with my friends Damien, Pascal and Esa.
  • Axis have finished building my glider and it's just waiting for its test flight. I should have it next week. During the Masterclass I got the opportunity to fly an Venus 2 RX like I'll be using in the race, albeit with normal materials, and it's brilliant: solid, fast, and despite being over the weight range it still climbs really well. Compared to a competition wing it's much easier to handle but still has excellent performance. Given that I'll be flying tired this is big advantage.
  • Pal Takats (HUN) and I are interviewed in the latest issue of Dragonfly magazine. You can read the magazine here.
  • I've found a camper van and it's just going through its checks. All being well I'll have it on the road in a couple of weeks. It's a Ford Transit Nugget Westfalia with a 2.5l diesel engine and 130,000km on the clock.
  • Finding a harness is proving to be problematic, but there are potentially good options from both Sup'air and Woody Valley. There are numerous comfortable harnesses, several light harnesses, a few reversible harness/backpack combinations, but not very many that are all of the above.
That's it for now, the good news is that work (real life) should be less demanding this month so normal blogging service should resume.