Saturday, June 30, 2012

Zapata WRE Attempt 1

Well after a 3 hr flight yesterday around the airport getting to 9,000 ft agl I was ready and nearly prepared for the WRE. After a few days of prepration there was only a few things left to complete the WRE here in Zapata.

My first was to have a practice flight down the course line and get familiar with the lack of landings, lock gates and air space that one has to deal with on a record flight. I had my Spot trackers and also wanted to test them out as they are a huge asset to safety and being found here in this harsh environment.
Gary, Me and Davis

We woke up this morning to thin clouds drifting over with what seemed to be reasonable strength and direction so I thought I would make my first attempt. I was prepared to launch early and see if I could stay up and drift slowly down the course line.

We had some issues and I was unable to tow until 10:30 am which is still about the time that most of the record flights have started here in Zapata. I decided on setting a distance to declared goal flight to Big Springs 621kms away. I was first up and started heading on course all alone through the locked gates and mesquite ridden forest.
Preparing to launch

After about 30 mins in the air it was obvious that the wind had backed off and was averaging about 10kph. This was going to be a long day ahead of me as I basicly had no wind to push me to my destination.

I decided that I at least needed to get past Laredo where the airspace was just so I knew my way around and then look at conditions again. After the first hour I had only done 42kms which was not so bad considering the wind strength.

On tow behind Russel at 10:40am
I wanted to keep going as cloud base was rising to over 4,000 ft agl and some streets were looking good in front of me. I pushed on getting some good climbs of 6-700fpm and thought if this keeps up or gets even better there might just be the slight chance of making the distance.

After another hour or so I had only reached the 110km mark and did some more calculations. I now knew that given my winds and average speed my goal was unachievable and 4-500kms was all I was going to be able to fly.

With better days coming I decided to call it quits at 120kms and land next to the road where Timothy was waiting for me.

Packing up under a sky full of pumping clouds
Glauco from Brazil was behind me and kept flying making it to around the 200km mark before giving up also to the lack of wind. He landed 3 hrs after me so it was clear it was not the record day and we now need to wait for the wind.

All in all it was a great day out here in Zapata I arrived back at the pool and had a few drinks and watched big black bottom clouds at around 7-8,000 ft slowly drift past me.

It is so hard to be on the ground when the sky looks so good and even harder to make the decision to land with a sky full of great clouds.

There is not many places in the World where you land early because you think you can only fly 500kms for the day. Welcome to Zapata this is one of those places and I am sure that in the next week or so you will be reading about some very long flights.

To stay tuned for all the latest updates and to watch me live with my spot check out the links below.

This is my page where you will be able to follow me live on my spot tracking device.

Also you can follow me on facebook under Jonny Durand

everything will also be posting to my twitter account  -Jonny Durand

To watch todays flight below.