1/20 WHY ATACAMA ?

1/20 WHY ATACAMA ?

Eighteen years ago, I launched my first expedition in the Andes to discover the wave phenomena of which airline pilots spoke while trembling and the rare glider pilots which returned from it had their eyes twinkling. During all these years, strengthened by our alpine...
1/8 – Patagonia 2012-2013

1/8 – Patagonia 2012-2013

Overall, a very pleasant season even though the trends of the meteorological conditions, in line with global warming, in particular in altitude, never permitted us to go for a big flight from dawn to dusk . All pilots enjoyed their expedition and would like to come...
2/8 – A diversified activity: air, ground and water

2/8 – A diversified activity: air, ground and water

The gliding activity was statistically similar to the  previous season but with more  flying hours, 30 flying days out of 60 days available and 200 hours against 160 in the past year, an average of 7 hours per flight, the longest being 12h40 January 7th, this was also...

5/8 – The big flights

The last three weeks of December were particularly interesting and the presence of Philippe Athuil, a top French pilot residing in the United States, made it possible to break eleven American records and one world record, the speed on out-and-return 1.000km at nearly...
6/8 – World Record

6/8 – World Record

The world speed record on 1.000 km out-and-return at 214,8 km/h On the eve preceding this flight, the pilots had to anticipate their return to home because of the arrival of a front and strong rain, flying “only” a small flat triangle of 1.200 km in 7 hours. I had a...

7/8 – The crazy nights of Zapala, December 2nd

This is what happens when one moves far away while knowing that a front will pass in the afternoon. Bruce Cooper replayed precisely the same script as two years ago, the cloud cover over Bariloche at the end of the afternoon being, as foreseen, about 7/8 with heavy...

8/8 – And now?

I shall likely re-launch an expedition but first the most difficult part has to be done: it is necessary to rebuild a complete logistics from a blank sheet of paper. There are two options: either entering Argentina via the port of Zarate, 100 km NW of Buenos Aires on...
1/5 – Patagonia 2011-2012

1/5 – Patagonia 2011-2012

The expedition of all the surprises A season under the sign of adversity from both natural and meteorological phenomena, aggravated by the lack of collaboration of some air traffic controllers and the increasing appetite of the customs officers in the port of Buenos...
1/5 – Patagonia 2011-2012

2/5 – The Volcano Puyehue

The first natural, and certainly the most meaningful, phenomenon was the eruption of the Chilean volcano Puyehue-Cordon del Caulle, situated 100 km NW of Bariloche, last June 4th, 2011. Photos, taken about 30 km away from the crater, give an idea of the size of the...
3/5 – Gliding and volcanic ash

3/5 – Gliding and volcanic ash

The plume with clear sky, January 2012 To all things misfortune is good, it is said. If ash is actually a poison for the engines and prevents all take-offs, the situation changes when the motor is put back. Once in flight, we discovered two types of volcanic ash:...
4/5 – A capricious meteo

4/5 – A capricious meteo

We therefore made “bad luck, good heart” (the best of a bad job), the ash was not the main thing that spoiled the season, the weather conditions did. Indeed, the direction of the “bad” wind, the one that made the plume pass above our heads, was about 310°,...
5/5 – The Via Crucis of the customs

5/5 – The Via Crucis of the customs

Considering the very low number of European gliders (only four), we agreed to send only one container using that of the Germans, whose coordinator was Diether Memmert. At the beginning, I underestimated the cost of two out and return trips from southern Alps to...
1/11 – Patagonia 2010-2011

1/11 – Patagonia 2010-2011

An expedition governed by the Niña, name given to the cooling down of the surface water of the central pacific ocean, which has generated a monstrous high pressure cell above our heads for three months.  Notwithstanding this apparently adverse phenomenon, the Polish...

2/11 – Genesis of a record

The genesis of this world record deserves as much interest as the narrative of the flight itself, because this flight is actually a fast reaction against what my British companions considered in diplomatic language an “erroneous interpretation” of a NOTAM. It is...

3/11 – The German surprise of December 8th

December 15th, FAI publishes Klaus Ohlmann’s claim for a world record, distance on triangle of 1.600 km flown December 8th, clearly outside of the area specified in the NOTAM by 113 km. One can  easily imagine our reaction, and I immediately asked FAVAV (Argentinean...
4/11 – A very special Christmas Eve

4/11 – A very special Christmas Eve

My programme for the day following the receipt of this letter had already been decided:  attempt of 2.000km badge, nothing else. Wake up at 3h30 for 12 hours of battle against more of 100 km/h of wind above 1/8 of uncertain fractos ending during the last 500 km by a...

5/11 – An incredible accumulation of mistakes

At 3h30 a.m., a glance to the weather maps and the IR satellite indicate a strong southwest wind, more than 100 km/h in the half south. I am afraid that the second big leg of the triangle, the one of 474 km completely above the desert pampa, above an unknown and...
6/11 – Finally a little bit of pleasure

6/11 – Finally a little bit of pleasure

I don’t like much to narrate a flight, but this one is too exceptional to be forgotten, there are too many teachings to be divulged. In a big triangle, opposite to the out and return and the yo-yo, one never flies above the same place, the conditions are...
7/11 – A first leg quite weak but uneventful

7/11 – A first leg quite weak but uneventful

The sky is beautiful but weak, the wind is lower than 60 km/h. The Vz netto is particularly disappointing. The wave bars of Sc seem to evaporate in direction of the turn point (see photo satellite fig. 18 at 12h45 with our position), the Vz are in the range 1-1,5 m/s...
9/11 – Slowly descending to hell

9/11 – Slowly descending to hell

The calculator is unfortunately not programmed for sectors of infinite length. To such  a high distance from the point, the risk to be out sector for few meters is too big and is not a risk worth taking, this is no longer a speed task. I therefore wait to read on the...

10/11 – The absolute void exists, I met it

The books of science tell that the absolute void doesn’t exist. Hey, believe me, that is false, I met it. Bruce, John and I have all met it in the evening and the following day. I didn’t even open the IGC files since I was convinced to have lost...
11/11 – Addendum

11/11 – Addendum

On January 12th, 2011, Klaus flew a 1.750 km triangle on practically the same track. The meteorological conditions were far better than ours and we cannot compare the results, but the tracks are almost identical, even though turned in the opposite direction. 10/11 -...
1/8 – Patagonia 2008

1/8 – Patagonia 2008

The cake was so nice that it didn’t need cherry! Since we went back, every new met person comes out again me the same question: it was not that good, didn’t see you beating record”? What a mistake! It was the most beautiful season in absolute since...
2/8 – The cake was so nice !

2/8 – The cake was so nice !

Of course we didn’t ever flown at 200 km/h of average during five hours, of course we could not make flights of 16 hours from  dawn to sunset because the meteorology never conceded ever us a whole day worth of interest, and by consequence my beautiful dream of...
5/8 – The best flying times

5/8 – The best flying times

NB: every flight mentioned in this article is downloadable on our site as well as on Netcoupe with report of flight. http://www.netcoupe.net/Main.aspx Whereas the main weather novelty of the past year was the abnormally south position of the anticyclone of the...