Thursday, 4 July 2013

Wednesday 7th July 2013 Registration

Wednesday 7th July 2013
Registration and Practice Task

After yesterday’s long travel, and the forecast not looking too good, I made the call not to rush the boys off to Registration first thing and instead get some well needed rest instead. With a quick trip to the campsite shop, baguettes and croissant were soon being served  for a late, lazy breakfast. Having finally got online via the campsite wifi (which, in my opinion should be free, especially when the service is ridiculously bad), a gaggle of laptops, iPads, iPphones, tablets and smartphones from Team GB were soon sucking every last ounce of MB down the line. If everybody carries at least two “connected” devices, no wonder the service falls down…

Only a two minute drive from the camp site and right next to the large hang gliding and paragliding  field, Competition HQ, is based in the vast Doussard Sports Hall. As we drove up there were only a few hang gliding vehicles parked up outside – it seemed that other pilots were also having a slow start to the day.

 Once inside I met up with Yves Weiss who had been extremely helpful in our pre-competition arrangements. First Bomber, then Skywalker, then Buzz were each registered with pilot numbers 2,3 and 4. Easy to remember. It was obvious that the organisers were still getting their house in order  - that, after all, is what these “Pre” events are all about, making sure that all the processes are in place for the event proper, in this case  the Worlds 2014. 

Each pilot received a pack containing lunch vouchers, a party ticket, map, information and of course the obligatory t-shirt and mug. As team leader I had not been charged a registration fee, but was not surprised when Yves pointed out that a fee should be payable. Fair enough. There is no such thing as a free lunch (or party! ) and we agreed a reasonable fee to cover expenses.

Next inline was instrument updating with waypoints and airspace. Unfortunately the downloads were interrupted due to a technical issue so we will be back tomorrow morning to get the updated files. Instrument fiddling is always a major activity at any competition, especially after all the problems being caused by the unreliable software being furnished by Flytec and Brauniger. Luckily, with the new release everything had been fixed, or so we thought… A bit more on that later.
The rest of the morning and early afternoon was spent getting local phone SIM cards for retrieve purposes and getting the gliders repacked from transport to flying mode. Unfortunately the team is not fully Androided-up so using Richard Hunt’s fantastic Tracker service plugged in to Livetrack24 will not be available – I am working on addressing that as it is such a great facility.

Back at base camp Andy, Neil and Luke did some more work on Buzz Lightyear’s new aerodynamic flying suit. With the amount of effort that has gone in to reducing drag on gliders and instruments, gaining a point or more on glide will make a big difference, especially in competitions. The prototype will be flown over the next week, so watch this space. 

Having experienced problems with their new Brauniger Compeo +  and Flytec 6030 instruments, pilots are now understandably nervous that their flights will be properly recorded. At the last round of the British Open Series many pilots could not access their flight logs, leading to many a nervous half hour while SD cards were examined and downloaded.  I personally am amazed that instruments costing around $1000 are still not fit for purpose. Neil had to upgrade to the latest firmware, and we spent an hour in the afternoon trying to get the process to work. Being a software technical architect one would have thought that with his knowledge he could fathom out the ridiculous process that pilots are forced to undertake to get the instruments to work. But to no avail. After an email to Wolf at Brauniger I now await (yet again) advice on how to get thing working at the beginning of a major competition. Not good enough.

True to his culinary skills, Andy then headed up the kitchen to prepare dinner while I was working away on the laptop. Juggling work with flying commitments is always difficult but long days and a good internet connection helps - if only! After dinner we had a team planning session, studying the large laminated terrain map poster I had printed up to help the pilots chose the best routes to take on tasks. Spending two hours marking up the map, identifying the most likely climbs, will hopefully bridge the knowledge gap that exists between local flyers and visiting pilots. Past experience has shown that good local knowledge really is advantageous.

Approaching midnight, and fighting a losing battle with the internet connection, we called it a day. Hopefully tomorrow will be a flying day.


  1. As always Ben..brilliant writing..i almost feel like i'm there too!Be sure to get some pics of Buzz's costume..i mean harness modification!!Have fun..Steve Leeman

  2. Thanks for the updates. Hope you get sorted out with all the tech stuff. Any chance of bringing some posters back. ?