Waking up in China has become a routine at 5:30am get up and complete my report from yesterdays events. As the sun rises go to the hotel window and check the weather. Today Tim and I couLd barely see buildings 1 km away. The wind was nill and the smog had settled with a vengeance. Being Saturday we would begin flying at the field until noon before leaving on buses to Lake Xueye for the Opening of the Aerosports Fiesta. All teams were invited to the opening ceremony where we were promised a spectacular show of mixed aero-sports.
Sounds like we are in for a very fun day.
At the field we discovered that we had company and would be expecting more as they rolled out red carpet. There were approximately 150 school children lined up on the edge of the field and tents for some visiting VIPs.
The contest began with 2 groups of duration from yesterday to be flown to compete round 2. Roman announced that we would begin immediately and that there would be a delay later for a short VIP ceremony.
Dave was up first and headed west as most did to find warmer air retained by the buildings and asphalt. Daves flight was uneventful and he shot a 9:59 – 95
Tom launched the Fosa next and he also went west but was really struggling to be sure of his time halfway in. Tom flew extremely smoothly to stretch the Fosa and finished with a long run down the road and back to land 14 secs early for another 100. He clearly could have just got the complete 10 but may have jeopardized his 100 points in the LZ.
Roman started us on round 3 duration with Kyle up 1st. The air was truly fickle with areas of neutral to bouyant air but not enough going up to gain at any point. The smog limited the ability of pilots to venture far either as visibility was the poorest I have ever seen. As can happen Kyle was struggling halfway through bad was able to extend his flight in a low bubble for a couple of minutes to finish with a 7:50 – 95.
Tom was next up and flew a perfectly executed 10:00 – 100. Dave was our last pilot to fly and he also got it done with a 10:01 – 100.
Distance began with Kyle launching first and finding good air to run out 23 laps. The 23 was shared by Laurent Gauthie of France.
Tom also launched early to enter on the west side of the course in reasonable air which quickly went away. Those that followed Tom all relaunched but Fabrice had snuck off to the East to find better conditions and was catching Tom. Tom switched to the East and completed 22 with Fabrice finally squeezing out one extra lap for a 23.
We had a delay for 40mins while the local officials gave short speeches and Martin Herrig completed a demonstration flight for them. We also presented the school children with 16 packets of astronaut freeze dried food and a model of the space shuttle as a cultural exchange. The children were very curious and certainly excited like kids anywhere in the world. A visiting American pilot Dale was mobbed by a huge group of these kids seeking his autograph. It seems that big white people in this part of China are revered as Gods by many.
One more group of distance was flown after the officials and children departed and one of the Hong Kong pilots hit base B after completing his laps so it will have to be reflown. It was a pity because the Germans and Austalians had flown 32 laps before the incident. They had thermalled for 1.5 minutes in strong lift before entering the course. this group will be reflown tomorrow as that was all that was flown today as we packed to head for Lake xueye.
The ride to the airshow was bedlam as the nearer we got to the lake the more jammed were the roads. In general traffic moved slowly as lanes converged and every driver communicated freely with their horns. Ws arrived at Lake Zueye at about 1:00 pm with the show scheduled for 2:00 pm. The seating was made with concrete and slate in orderly sections and rows all the way along the side of the hill overlooking the runway. If was a natural site beautifully adapted to show off well the spectacle of an airshow.
The show commenced with four colors of smoke bbs on the opposite shore an skydiver demos. Powered paragliders, aerobatic demos with a pair of Sukhois and more skydiver/parachutist followed. At the conclusion a large group of hot air balloons were released and the entire group of us walked to the north end of the airstrip to check out the Aerosports exhibition. There were a coupl of China model manufacturers there including some robust helix for about $60. Andreas Kunz tried one and hit the ceiling with it much to the amusement of the rest of the F 3 B pilots. It was a fairly tame air show by American standards but appreciated by the Chinese.
Tomorrow will be our first full day of non stop F3B rounds.
Bye for now