Friday, 7 October 2016

Flying Bossano Del Grappa

We had several great flights at Bossano Del Grappa, Italy. With there being about 340 good flying days per year, it is a VERY popular and busy place!

On our first flight from the lower launch there were easily 30-40 pilots at launch. At one point, after landing, I counted 77 gliders in the air (that I could see) and 25 gliders in the landing zone getting packed up. Easily well over 100 pilots.

Getting launched the first day was more a test of how quickly you could sneak into the lineup than anything else. I was in line right behind Mike, one of the others in our group, and the moment he took off I picked up my glider and was about to step into the launch area when a tandem pilot barged in front of me. By then people were setting up three deep so when I finally got a space to lay out my wing I had to wait for two pilots below me to take off before I could. Sheesh!

Dan, definitely one of the best pilots in our group, had launched earlier and radioed to advise there were good thermals coming off the ridge just left of launch. At the time, everyone else seemed to be to the right and he was one of the few over in that direction so I immediately headed over there and was also lucky enough to get some really good lift. Thankfully, on this flight, it didn't seem too crowded in the air.

Later in the afternoon, Nick thought that conditions might be good for the higher launch site. (The wind would have been too strong any earlier.) When we arrived, Nick told us to get moving as conditions were the best he'd ever seen. As we've learned on this trip, conditions can change quickly! There was only one other pilot there.

The late afternoon light and smooth air definitely made this one of the most beautiful flights of the trip. Although some would complain it was "just" a sled ride (i.e. not many, if any, thermals) it was 36 minutes long!

The second day we got in one flight. It wasn't quite as busy at the lower launch when we got there as it had been the day before because the conditions just weren't developing as quickly. Andrew and I got our gear ready and launched before there was a lineup, even though we knew it might mean a shorter flight. I went back to the same ridge as the day before and hung out there for a while getting into some thermals and getting bounced out again. The air was definitely rougher than the day before. At one point, I was headed back to try again when I spotted another pilot coming towards me, above and a bit off to the right. No worries, there was lots of room. But then I suddenly got yanked up by a thermal and the other pilot yelled at me (English speakers were in the minority so I have no idea what he said but I obviously got too close to him for comfort). Shortly after that, my wing took a big asymmetric collapse. When I turned back to try yet again I saw a big cluster of wings quite close. All these things put me out of my comfort zone so I decided that was enough of that! I soared for a bit longer away from anyone else and landed soon after.

Unfortunately, Cheryl (another pilot in our group) had a very unusual situation happen at launch. As she brought up her wing to launch, it came down again off to the side with the lines on either side of the pole that the wind sock was on. Frustrating!! Luckily the pole could be undone at the bottom and lifted out so while it took a while to get her wing out, it didn't require undoing lines.

Overall, a fun place to fly but wishing for a few less people to compete with for air space!

Many people at the lower launch.

Landing zone is part of the big field centre and left in the photo.
A long runway beside the road and then larger square area.
How many gliders can you count? 
The view from high launch.
Love the late afternoon light!

Again, love the light!!

Andrew above me.

Our hotel. Old building, newly renovated. Very nice!

We went into Bossano for a couple hours and, as always, lots of interesting things to see. 

Beautiful river views.
Thought about this for our new ride but couldn't figure out how to get 9 gliders in it!

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