Today was the long distance flight from Chateau d'Oex to the Gruyere Castle. We inflated right after the pilots meeting. It was -11c on the field and much colder in front of the fan! Jon, Marty and Al took off and flew very gently down valley trying to make "the Cut" and be squirted out of the mountains into the valley below so you had the speed and winds to get to the Gruyere Castle and drop our baggy to win a prize. Robin, Steve, Jeff, Roland, Pierre and Magali crewed. All was well until Jon hit a little wall of wind after "the cut" and bounced back to Lessoc. We were just about 2 miles from where we landed a couple of days ago just the other side of the wooden bridge. They found a great huge field with a small farmhouse. Sarah, our landowner, was wonderful to let us use her field after an nice introduction from Pierre. No baggy drop today. We enjoyed a lovely lunch at a restaurant in Montboven of sauerkraut with sausages, lasagna, pork roast and lentil soup.
Roland, our new crew member (who grew up with Pierre in Chateau d'Oex), invited all of us for a wonderful happy hour in his new condo. The balcony over looks Cahteau d'Oex and has a beautiful view. He treated us to local cheeses, crackers and wonderful wine. Our very special thanks to Roland for his help for the entire week, commitment, patience and friendship!
Tonight we received a coveted invitation to a chalet party at Patrick Kearly's chalet. He inherited the chalet from his father who purchased it in the early 1940's...it is over 200 years old and extremely incredible. We met many pilots from Europe as well as Bertrand Piccard who was part of the Breitling balloon team to circumnavigate the world. What great fun!
Todays flight was a technical flight!! We had on board 4 ea.15.6 gallon tanks and 2 ea.12 1/2 gal tanks for the flight. We filed our flight plan and joined in on the flight to the target at Gruyere castle. All went quit well down valley with the GPS showing at times 10.5 knots of wind to the south at altitude of approx 10,500ft AGL. Came through the cut and made the turn to the north and dropped altitude. Then dropped down into the Valley and lost our momentum,then back up to 10,000 ft to find a 5 knot wind to the north again and we could now see the castle. With only 20 minutes until the target would close, we figured at our speed that we would not make it in time for a score on the court yard. Decided to begin to find a landing site as we had now used over 45 gals of fuel. We still had plenty of fuel for landing and found a nice open farm yard among the power yards!! Nice soft landing and contacted the crew for retrieval. Pack up and refueled at Le Moulinpressureed nppressure for presure in cold weather. All packed up ready for next flight.