Balken Samstag, 07. Juli 2018

Today's guest comment by Harry Cooper - once in English

Druckverteilung / Isobarenkarte
Sonde Payerne
In der Region Sempachersee
Blick zurück - auf den Heimweg
Verlängerung an die Mythen

Waking up & looking out of the window, the hill opposite was still shrouded in cloud. However, a quick look at the Schänis webcam showed sun. So, after two days of rain, optimism.

The briefing by Ernst suggested that the thermals would start around 13.00 and get useable by 14.00. But there was some doubt in the forecast and what areas would be the best.

Thus the chosen task was “Aufgabe 20” – a relatively short 148 km out and return to Mauensee with a way point at 'Menzingen, Frauengefaengnis' on the way back. Apart from the likelihood of weak thermals, the other consideration was deciding the best route through the Zurich and Emmen airspace.

At the briefing I’m always slightly nervous that I won’t understand the crucial points as I’ve not yet mastered the art of “Schwiizerduutsch” and I’ll be too slow off the mark to get allocated an instructor. I needn’t have worried as Ernst gave the briefing in “Hochdeutsch” and took me under his wing, offering to fly with me.

We bagged an Arcus, something that makes my English gliding club colleagues envious when I tell them about Schänis - as Lasham, where I fly, doesn’t have an Arcus in its fleet.

Taking off shortly before 13.00 Ernst proceeded to ignore his earlier advice to soar locally until 14.00. After one thermal, off we set.

Half way across the Zurich See Ernst calmly announced that actually we should have had a little more height before crossing. But with the glide angle of the Arcus we were across without having to think about a field and the engine.

The route to Mauensee was never very comfortable as we were generally between 1200 m and 1500 m. I decided in the interests of completing the task, I’d let Ernst do the thermalling when at 1200 m.

Rounding the waypoint, the route back looked very blue. We returned to a thermal that we left just before the waypoint but decided it was dying so headed off towards a wisp of cloud. Nothing. Things were just getting critical when a useful thermal appeared and saved the day.

Not far from Zug we saw a ragged formation of PC 7s. Their leader must have been giving them a day off as they were not flying in the usually immaculate formation. Or perhaps they thought that no one was looking.

A high speed dash to the finish line saw us over Rieden at 900m and 2 hours after we started.

A thermal between Rieden and Schaenis then sped us to 2000m. Typical! However, that then gave Ernst the opportunity for him to show me Mythen, Glarus and Saentis. I’ve spent quite a lot of time walking and skiing in these areas so it was a great thrill to see them from the air.

A much better day than forecast and a big thank you to Ernst for his help and guidance.

A few years ago I was having a beer on the terrace of the Berg Hotel on Schaefler and I saw a glider circle Saentis. It was shortly after I took up gliding and I said then to Irene, my partner, that one day I would also like to fly around Saentis. That goal has now been properly achieved as this was the second time I’ve flow to the peak, the first being with Dani Bischof during the second Glider Cup.



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