23 Jun 03

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Back to Normality

After yesterday's excitement pilots felt disinclined to fly on a day that was predicted to be difficult. A strong inversion that would require a 33C trigger temperature along with a maximum temperature for the day of 34C led all but Wendy and John to take the day off flying and various expeditions set off for shopping, swimming and sightseeing.


Pre-flight at the bar

One down, 29 to go...

The competition grid was nevertheless dispatched in about an hour, to the great credit of the French launch point organisation, leaving any remaining pilots to launch at the time of day they would have normally launched anyway.


Lac d'Esparron, south of Lac Ste Croix

Wendy made it down to the lac Ste Croix and the Gorges du Verdon for the first time, and then headed off north to the parcours as far as les Trois Eveches and la Blanche, before heading for the pic de Bure and the area around Aspres and Serres.
John took time off from the high mountains and flew south across the 'flatlands' to the Montagne Ste Victoire, near Aix-en-Provence. Predictably, he was unable to resist the lure of snow and ice and had a good run up to the Ecrins to explore the western face of the Barre des Ecrins, where cloudbase had risen to 13,500ft. The return was via the western face of Pelvoux and the Valgaudemar. In hindsight, a very reasonable day and well worth launching for.

Near Morgon

Barre des Ecrins

As a postscript to yesterday's weather, two German gliders made it to the Grand St Bernadino pass, about 700km out and return, which put the rest of our achievements into some sort of perspective. Jerome, the CFI at Sisteron, commented that yesterday's were the best conditions that he had seen since 1976.
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