Intro and briefing at www.BlueSky.at in Sillian in the morning. The German intro and weather forecast was very detailed and the guests were informed of details with a lot of graphs. The Canadian intro version was "Sunny and Hot" and watch out to not get blisters on your ass from flying too much.
With that, we headed to Monte Piano and set a task to fly from Monte Piano to the 3 Zinnen, via Cortina to Arabba and land right at the hotel Olympia. I think this is about a 40 km flight and right though the middle of the Dolomite's. The conditions started weak and with a lot of east wind. 2 hours later, the thermals got stronger and blocked the wind. After launch, there were some nice, but not strong enough thermals to get over to the 3 Zinnen. Being patient, and on my second attempt to cross over, I reached the 3 Zinnen at half the summit height. To get higher, you needed to scratch close into the towers of the 3 Zinnen and I have to say it was very spectacular watching the rock climbers on the walls and slowly "thermalling" to pass them on the wall, and eventually reach the summits of the the "the 3 summits". Once I was about 300 meters over the summit, I headed south and fueled up more height over various exposed summits before crossing over to Mount Christallo. Mount Christallo worked very well and at 3300 meters I crossed over Cortina and scratched along the west side of Cortina but barely crossed a low ridge over to the foot of theTofane. I was very low and was close to landing at the gravel field below the massive 1100 meter rock face of the Tofane and literly at my landing approach my vario started to beep and I could do one figure eight along the gravel, gaining about 20 meters. From then on I kept scratching and slowly worked myself up this massive and never ending wall right to the summit. I have to say that this was my most rewarding flight I have ever done. Just amazing to soar so close in absolute gentle lift up to the summit along such a massive rock face. Once I got about 300 meters above the summit things got a bit rough with the east wind kicking in, but I continued my flight to Arabba and landed right at the hotel. After I landed, Frank called me on the radio to say he already had a couple beers ordered. He had the same experience as I had on the Tofane and agreed that this was the absolute highlight. The only part Frank missed was the 3 Zinnen as he was to eager to get the beer first. The rest of the group landed either at the regular landing site and 3 others landed in Cortina. Our 2 non-pilots had a great day hiking around the 3 Zinnen and Kari discovered the mountain named after her family name "Paterno". Very cool as well.
Sunny and hot. So we headed to Col Rodella and after watching some crazy take offs on the east side we started flying later on the SW side of the mountain. The conditions were superb and I had an amazing flight over the Lang Kofel, the Sella, the Marmolada, again along the Sella to the east and back to Arabba to the hotel again. Everyone had great and safe flights and the non-pilots were hiking on top of the Col Rodello.
Sunny and hot again. The thermals were a bit weaker, but we flew the same route as the previous day. Our 2 non Pilots did a great hike from the top of Sass Pordoi.
Sunny and hot again. This time we decided to take the Gondola up to the Sass Pordoi to enjoy an amazing view of the Dolomite's. After that we headed to Col Rodella again and once again we flew all over the place, including the Marmolada. Our 2 non-pilots headed for an overnight trip to Venice and had an amazing time.
Guess what.... yes, Suny and hot again. This time we parked on top of the Passo Pordoi and hiked for about 45 minutes to the Belvedere. Most people flew to the landing site and then up again to the Col Rodella for further flights. I launched later from Belvedere and did my usual round over the Marmolada and back to the hotel.
This was our last day. After checking out of the hotel, we drove back to Monte Piano to fly over the 3 Zinnen again. The conditions looked a bit weak, but we set the task to fly over the 3 Zinnen, over to Sexton and then to the www.BlueSky.at office in Sillian. The conditions turned from weak to amazing again and everyone flew over the 3 Zinnen. Most of the group landed in Sexten and Cyril, Wendelin and myself managed to get to Sillian.
What an amazing week in the Dolomite's. Every day we were able to have incredible flights and flew all over the place! I even had a double bonus, as I was able to hike every morning to the Sella rock face, with Wendelin (best BlueSky guide), before we started the tour. It was a great morning flight along the rock-face and we landed right at the hotel. The pictures below will tell more than my words.
Back in Germany and the weather was sunny and hot. We visited the "Free Flight" at Tegelberg. The "Free Flight" was not as good as we hoped for and a lot of manufactures did not attend. We still had a great time getting a couple more flights in, and enjoyed the beer tent. One thing I was very impressed with at the show was the Atos with all the different motorized versions.
Some morning flights from Buchenberg and then on our way to the Oktoberfest in Munich. The Oktoberfest is so huge and the grounds are massive. It was wild how many people were there, but we only managed to see the first 50 meters of the grounds as we got sidetracked with the partying and dancing in the Paulaner Beer tent.
Sunny and hot and lots of traffic to the Munich airport.
Wow what a couple of weeks this was. Simply amazing and almost unreal for both pilots and non pilots. I think we will offer a package like that for next year again. Let us know who might be interested to join us next year.