Thursday, June 18, 2009

We made it to Monaco and have to do some changes.

We are having to do some modifications to our plan. Frank had a landing accident in Monaco. He fractured and compressed his Vertebre (L2)and will be released from the hospital today wearing a body-brace. Frank is very mad at himself that this happend. To the accident, he was on final and wanted to land closer to me, did an extra turn, then stalled the wing from about 20 feet and ended up on his behind.
The injury is a clean fracture and needs time to heal. We are happy that it did not turn out any worse.
Today we will pick up Frank from the hospital, check into a hotel and figure out when they will go home.

Here a couple words in how we got to Monaco.
Wendsday morning, light rain. Not really what was forcasted. We took our time, cought up on work and e-mails. Once we packed up and went to the van, the weather opened up and it turned into a super nice day. We decided to go for a flight Frank and Tracye drove up and I decided to hike up. It is only about 400-500 meters in elevation and somone told us that there should be a path going up from the hotel. Well, not even the hotel owner knew about this trail and I decided to head up anyways. This little hike turned into a little adventure through tall wet grass, thick bush with a lot of thorns. I crawled through a very steep dried out creek up to the plateau reaching eventually the launch site. This was a friendly reminder in how it can feel if you try to make your own path, specially in a terrain you are not used to.
Frank flew first while I ajusted the harness and sorted out the gear. Once airborne, I realized that this older version of harness is not the same as I tried at SupAir. It was not comfortable at all. The thermals were strong and punchy and I got up to plus 2000 meters. I was trying to see where the mountain range is leading to Monaco and I could not find it. In the mean time Frank landed as he had trouble with his vario and I decided to fly out as well and check out maps and then head down to Monaco. Once I got down and checking the map and driving towards Monaco, it all made sense. The range was there but we had to drive over a 2700 meter high pass (Col de la Bonette). So from the air it looked like you would fly into instead along a mountain range. The top of the pass was spectacular and the drive down the other side turned into a 60 km narrow valley leading to Nice. Not very inviting to land. Later with Google Earth it showed that you would fly along the range and if you need to land, you would land on the east side of range in a wider and higher valley and not landing along the road as there is no way to land.
We got to Monaco around 7:00 pm and headed straight up to Mount Gros. The wind was very light, the sun was just about to be gone. The launch was easy and we had a spectacular flight looking over Monaco. Looking over the mediterian, checking out all the houses, hotels, people and ships. It was just beautiful until we landed.

As stated before, Frank will be ok and on his way home in the next days. I will head back up north and continue as planned.
I will keep you updated.

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