Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Updates soon to come!

Howdy ya'll (yep I'm bringing Texas speak back to Ottawa with me)! Just wanted to update that yes, I will be doing a big post on the second half of the contest, and yes it will be soon. I want to write something decent and it's taking me quite a bit longer then planned, but I'l have it up tomorrow or the day after. Hope all of you who travelled long ways home had a had a safe trip, I had a wonderful time meeting all of you!

Monday, August 20, 2012

America's Most Wanted

So I've heard all of these stories about how serious the law enforcement is in the States, especially in Texas, but I never expected to actually come into contact with it... I have however come into very close contact with said enforcement twice since I've been here, both times within about 12 hours of each other. Go figure right? But not to worry, it turned out well both times because no, I was not doing anything crazy illegal or dumb. Just bad timing and luck on my part apparently!

Thursday Night:
So one thing about me when I travel, is that I'm terrified of loosing my passport. I never want to have to be that person stuck in a foreign country with a stolen passport going what the heck do I do know! So I try to always leave my passport tucked away safe somewhere, and I definitely don't carry it around on my on a daily basis because I know I'd leave it somewhere by accident. Apparently I should rethink this when driving around Southern Texas though... It all started with Stuart (crewing for the Australian team) and I decided to get out of town and away from the light pollution to check out the stars because they're pretty incredible down here. So we drove maybe 30 miles out of town (a little bit further then we thought we had), pulled up next to a ranch in the middle of no where and hopped out to do some star gazing. And wow were they ever beautiful! You could clearly see hundreds of them, and even a huge part of the milky way, absolutely incredible. It's easy to get lost in the sky when it looks like that and it got kind of late so we headed back, and it was about 10 miles out of Uvalde that we hit trouble. Because that area is fairly close to the border, they have these border patrol checkpoints set up aroud on main highways and roads that everyone has to stop through, usually it only take a minute or two. Actually we had gone through one on the way to retrieve Nick and had no problems! I had totally forgotten there was one on this side of the road back into town and it was a bit or a surprise to be turning off into it all of a sudden. It was past midnight at this point though and the checkpoint was completely empty, so all attention was on us. This is the wonderful start that the conversation took:
Boarder guard: Citizenship?
Us: Canadian and Australian
Guard: Passports please
Us: *pregnant pause* We don't have them on us, they're back in Uvalde. We just drove out of town to look at stars!
Guard: You need to have your passports on you. I'm going to need you to pull over off to the left please.
Oh good. So over we pull, he takes our ID's and heads inside with them. Meanwhile there was two other guards standing around while a third one and a dog sniffed around the car (thank goodness there was nothing interesting for the dog!). The two asked us what we were doing here (weird combination in Uvalde right?) so we started explaining about the World's and what our part there was. Turns out both of them had heard about what was going on an were really interested in it! We had a good chat with them about gliding and how it works, what the contest was all about and how long we had been there for. They were really friendly and relaxed which made it a little bit better, but then the third one came back out walking with quite a purpose. Turns out they don't enjoy having to look up ID and did a whole background check on us and where he had travelled...impressive how easily and quickly they have access to all of that. Then there was a whole bunch of talk about records being unclear and having to dig through stuff in files, which was followed by some sentence involving the word "deported". Bad bad word. I mean we both love our own countries but we'd like to go back out of free will thank you! He didn't really seem to have grounds to do that though, but he did give us a huge talking to about not having our passports and all that jazz, making sure it was clear that we knew how easy it would be to get shipped home. It was pretty nerve wracking that's for sure! Finally we got the ID's back and were sent on our way (with waves and byes from the other two guards) and off we went. Never been so happy to see the sign for Uvalde! I mean I love a good adventure but not that much of one. So note to self, if I'm ever back in that part of Texas, bring a passport with you the minute you head out of town. It did give us a pretty funny story for the next day at the field though that for sure.

Friday morning:
On my way back to the house after the meeting I was passing a car that was swerving a bit and making me nervous to drive behind, but I made the mistake of accelerating a little bit over the 50mph speed limit. Within about 10 seconds of getting in front of this guy there was a cop behind me with its lights flashing, oh yay! Not so much. So I pull over in the church parking lot, and I'm sweating bullets because I don't have my passport on me. Cop comes over and tells me I was going 54 in a 50, I try and explain why but he's not having it. Takes my license, and goes to pull up the vehicle registration and all that good stuff. Turns out I had actually accidentally given him my health card by mistake instead of my drivers license (same pocket of my wallet, my bad), but he didn't realize that until about 5 minutes later when he came back and was curious about us driving with "a health permit"... I quickly corrected my mistake and he seemed relieved that it made much more sense now. That was just the start though, because apparently he noticed that the little registration sticker on the front windshield was expired. Bad news bears. I should have checked that, but I never even thought of it! Another lesson learned. So I was in trouble, because that means the car is technically illegally driving around, and in theory he could have impounded the car or taken me in. Thankfully he asked an open ended question that let me explain about the gliding contest and why I was here, which seemed to warm him up a little. I may have played the poor innocent canadian girl card a little bit too... hey I need to be arrested like a need a hole in the head. After much talking and deliberating on his part he decided to let me off with a warning on my "speeding", and let me go as long as I promised to go straight home (which was like 6 blocks away). Which I realize was really lucky! Man was I ever happy to drive away. He did make it very clear though that "they'd be around so I had better not be driving the car until it was sorted out", just incase I felt like being a crazy idiot and testing my luck after that... Not happening. So straight home I went! So note to self, never go over the speed limit, even by a little, and alway always check every date on a car before you drive it. No more cops please!

So now if you see by face on America's Most Wanted you'll know why. Let's just hope they don't have some red x on my name when I try to get through customs today to get home! Funny jokes right... I'd like them to stay as jokes though, I've had enough law excitement for one trip.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Retrieve

Okay so I finally have the time to sit down and actually write about Fridays adventure. I kept hearing about all of these crazy retrieves that people have here in Texas, and now I finally have one on my own! Though I would be lying if I was this positive about it the whole time it was happening...

So Friday looked like a great flying day, but there was a threat of thunderstorms to the North (storms almost always come down from the hill country). And boy did we ever start seeing those thunderstorms as of about 5pm, and they just kept getting darker, closer, and getting more lightening. The 15m class was the last to start, and Nick had started on the later side, so he ended up getting chased down south by the storm and couldn't make it back through, hence the land out. The same thing happened to quite a few of the guys who started later on in the afternoon; they all got cut off by these massive storms rolling through. Ironically though, while they got an inch of rain up in the North, not a drop of rain hit Uvalde and the surrounding area. And so it was at about 8pm that the phone rang and we got the spot tracker message that Nick had landed out about 35 miles outside of Cotulla. He said he had landed right nest to the El Caballero ranch airstrip ("caballero" being the Spanish word for "cowboy")For those of you who don't know Texas, Cotulla is a very small town to the south of Uvalde kind of in the middle of no where, so 35 miles outside of there is very much the middle of no where. It was going to be an interesting retrieve that's for sure because it was about a 3 hour drive one way. Because we knew it was going to be a difficult retrieve and we don't really know Texas, Christina and I enlisted Conrad to come with us, which would end up being a saving grace! He will probably run away screaming if I ever ask him to help with something again though...

It was about 8:15 when we finally left the field, trailer rolling and GPS programmed with the coordinates and headed off South. And I know better then to blindly trust a GPS (technology often fails me...) so I had pulled out a good old fashioned road map and checked to make sure that it was sending us to the right place, which it was. Good right? Nope. While Conrad had a nice nap in the back, I dozed off for a bit too and somewhere along way the GPS coordinates got changed to ones across the border in Mexico. So it started sending us to Mexico. And know when we figured it out? When we were in Laredo, about 50 feet from the border crossing and the GPS was telling us to go through. Yep that was not our finest moment. We finally got the trailer turned around and in a parking lot thanks to Conrad's excellent trailer backing up skills (for lack of a better term) because we had been stuck on a one way entry into the border crossing. I was trying to reprogram the GPS to the proper coordinates but it kept saying we had to go to Mexico, so we put it on a time out and punched the coordinates into the GPS on Conrad's iPhone, which thankfully knew where we needed to go. Good news! Bad news; we had gone over an hour to far south. So our nice little detour down to Laredo had just added 2 hours to our already long trip, it was going to be a good night.

Eventually we made it to Catulla, and headed out into the wild to track down Nick. It was really spooky to be driving around there because there is nothing other then a few oil drill camps and the odd ranch; it's completely silent and pitch black other then the few lights from those places. We started getting close to Nick at about 12:45am, but we were starting to have to drive on little back dirt roads through ranches to get to him. Thankfully the first to gates we needed to get through we open, but our luck ended there. It got to a point where every single road we went down ended in a massive padlocked gate, and we were just driving around in circles. Insert Conrad's trailer driving skills again because making a 3 point turn on a single lane dirt road in Texas bush with a 20 foot trailer is not exactly a walk in the park. It was so frustrating because we had Nicks coordinates, and we could see them on the iPhone on google earth, but we couldn't get to them. We tried all the roads we could to get to him but we couldn't get through. And you don't want to be cutting the locks on gates in Texas that's for sure.

Meanwhile poor Nick had been sitting in his glider for hours, alone and in the dark with God only knows what roaming around in the fields. We got a message from him at one point that scorpions were circling the glider, just incase it wasn't already exciting enough. At this point we had been driving around for so long trying to find him that we were running out of ideas, and realized it was time to call back to Uvalde for help. It was about 2am at this point, and we were down to less then a quarter tank of gas (that last has station we passed 40 miles back? yeah we should have stopped at it). Fortunately our ID badges had numbers to contact the contest headquarters on and we got through to a fellow Canadian  Brian Millner who would help us get out of this pickle. We also had support coming from Ed who we had been keeping up to date and was waiting up for us to reach Nick. A phone call from Headquaters to the Uvalde Sheriff got them in contact with the Sheriff of the area that we were in, who managed to get in touch with the ranch owner of El Caballero (who's gate we needed to get through). All this took a while though and we had gotten to a point where we couldn't afford to waste gas driving around, so we stopped and got out to look at the stars. Because we were so far away from any light pollution, it was so clear that you could clearly see hundreds of stars, the milky way and even a handful of shooting stars! Okay well I only saw one shooting star, but Conrad sure saw a bunch. It was a nice little break from the stress of the whole ordeal to just lay down on the hood of the car and get lost in the sky for a minute. Then thankfully I got a phone call from the ranch owner saying he was sending his son and a ranch hand to open the gate for us! He just had to call their phone enough to wake them up because it was almost 3am at this point...

I don't think any of us had ever been so happy to see a set of car headlights coming at us on the other side of a gate before. And plus it had gotten a little spooky sitting in the pitch black in front of the gate for a bit waiting for them to show up, all those opening scenes of horror movies start to play through our mind. I almost had a heart attack when some kind of little animal scurried across the roof of the car, much to Conrad and Christine's amusement. I startle easily on a good day but stick me in that kind of situation and I'll jump a foot in the air at anything. Oopsies? So the ranchers son and ranch hand lead us back into the ranch and to the airstrip, which just like he said, Nick was on the other side of the fence from in a soft field. Seeing Nick and the glider come out of the darkness was such a massive relief at that point, we finally found him! Ironically enough he hadn't landed at the airstrip because he was afraid of getting stuck behind a locked gate... the airstrip gate itself wasn't locked but the ranch gate sure was... What are the chances? We got the glider de-rigged and back in the box in record time, and thankfully didn't have to unhitch the car to use it's headlights because the ranchers stayed and shone their truck lights on the glider and trailer for us. They were such good sports about the whole thing, especially considering we had woken them up at 3am. All said and done it was just before 4am when we finally pulled out and started the drive back home. And we did have enough gas to make it back to Catulla and the nearest gas station! We did not however have an American Visa card to be able to pay at the pump (the station was long closed for the night), so it was Conrad to the rescue (again!) with his american credit card. Since everyone else had driven at that point, I volunteered to drive the 2 and a half hours back to Uvalde, but man I sure could have used to tooth picks to keep my eyes open. But we made it back all safe and sound, just as the sun was coming up at about 6:15. People were starting their days, and even coming to rig their gliders, just as we were getting home and wanting to go to bed... It was a pretty sunrise though, even though it was the second one I had seen in one day because I had been up at 6:30am the past morning! I took a picture of the clock in the kitchen when we got home, it was 6:25 I believe, but I can't seem to find it. I had completely forgotten to take any picture of the revive until then! Which I'm actually quite sad about. But I've got the story so I don't mind not having pictures quite as much. And so we went to take a brief nap before having to get up and going back to the airport for flying that say, the rooster going off at the house next door that I usually wake up to actually lulled me to sleep...

And so there it is, my crazy Texas retrieve! The rest of the story about what Saturday was like after all that will be included in my sum up of contest days 6-10 that I'll put up either tonight or tomorrow. And I'll be cleaning, cooking and helping with anything I can for the rest of my time here to try and make this up to Conrad, because while he was an invaluable help, I owe him big time for getting him into this adventure! Oh and I forgot to put in before, just as we we leaving he and Christine went out to check something on the trailer and low and behold there was a rattle snake curled up, head up, right there next to them. Scary right? We had just been walking all over the place there in really dim lighting taking the plane apart... Nick and I were both quite happy to have been in the car.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wind storms, cloud streets and mustangs

Okay so I knew that once the contest started life would get kind of crazy, apparently I underestimated the level of craziness though. Hence the complete fail on my part of updating this blog, which I am very sorry about! So this is going to be me trying to sum up the first 4 days of the contest, I’ll try my best not to leave anything out but some of the smaller details are escaping me. 

The past days have however followed the same kind of pattern so I won’t bore you with repeating myself over and over about that. All that has really changed from the daily routine is the times that things happen because they are now flying much bigger and longer tasks. Grid is at noon, earliest launch has been at 12:20 but it was later the second contest day. Their tasks have all been upwards of 500km so that means they are usually flying on task for at least 4 hours, almost 5 on day 3. That puts them down on the ground fairly late in the day, somewhere in the ball park of 6:15-7:30. It’s kind of fun to be able to watch the sun rise in the morning as you get the plane ready and then watch it set as you put the plane away for the night. That does mean very long days though, and we’re all getting pretty worn out. But the rest day is set for Sunday so we get a break soon!  

Day 1
I don’t think anything particularly exciting happened except the fact that it was the first contest day. You could literally feel everyones energy that morning getting ready and at the pilots meeting-they were all so antsy to finally start flying for points. They have also started a cool thing where the winner of each class gets to have the flag in the colour of their classes grid sheets on the team table so that everyone in the room can find the winners at a glance. They are doing the same for the winner of the team cup from the past day (the team that scored the highest overall) except they get a texas flag for the day! Here’s hoping that we have it sitting at the team Canada table one day.

Day 2
Another day of contest flying, and quite a good one at that. We had some incredibly strong gust fronts come through at the end of the day though and our tent took a bit of a beating...

We tried tying it down again but in the end the safest bet was to take it down for the night. We were all impressed that there were no flying cows and glider trailers at one point actually. But the guys had great flights (and had fun!) so it all worked out. The sky did look pretty threatening at one point though but it completely avoided us; that’s the crazy Texas weather for ya’ll! 
Stormy skies!

And as a side note to the contest goings on, I have realized that I know use both eh and ya’ll in sentences now. Strange combination right? They’re both just so easy to use that it’s hard not too! I’m going to get some funny looks when I get back home though... I’ll just start walking around Ottawa in my boots and hat saying ya’ll and see how it goes. My excuse is that we lived here when I was learning how to talk so I had the accent as a kid and that’s why it comes back to me so easily. And I’m sticking with that.

That night I had dinner with our fellow Canadian Willem, his Swiss team and Conrad which was a lot of fun. We went to that fantastic Mexican place down the road which I hadn't been back too so I was happy with that. Dinner was quite entertaining though because we had English, Swiss and Spanish going trying to get everyone into the conversation, I think the poor waitress was completely lost! I also learned that Horchata (a Spanish rice milk drink) is actually very good. really sweet but good. It’s kind of like a thinner less eggy version of egg nog with a hint of cinnamon. If that makes any sense. If you get the chance to try it do it!

Day 3
Another good day of flying, once again a crazy long task of something around 600km. We have yet to have a “typical Uvalde weather day though” since the contest started and every morning we wake up to a clear blue sky. It always ends up being covered in big cloud streets though by the afternoon so hey we’re not complaining. That night was also the night of the American team party which was a lot of fun! In true Texas style they had a longhorn bull there (names Oreo...go figure) and were serving chili dogs and beer. Everyone seemed to really enjoy getting a chance to relax and have a good time with old and new friends. I have to say it’s pretty amazing to see all of these people from 24 different countries all sitting around talking like they’ve known each other for years, it’s something that is really unique about the gliding community. 
Cloud streets anyone?

What everyone was most excited about though was the two rides in the P-51 mustang that Mark Hufftutler offered up for silent auction. I really wish I was rich sometimes. They had it parked outside the tent for everyone to admire; it’s in absolutely immaculate condition. A little back story to it is that Chuck Yager has actually flown that plane in particular and asked for it to be painted exactly like his Glamorous Glen was, so they did! I think there may have been a little puddle of drool around it by the time it went back to the hanger... The best part though was when Conrad hopped in and started the engine for us, it was dark at that point so you could see the blue flames coming out of the sides-so cool! Just incase I was unsure I now know what I’m buying when I win the lottery. I got to have some fun later on to because Aaron let me hop on the tow vehicle when they went out to tow it back into the hanger at the end of the night. Pretty unreal to be driving pulling a mustang behind you. I realize now though that I still haven’t taken a picture of it, so I will have to do that tomorrow and put one up. They usually have the Huff air hanger open during the day so you can go in and look at all of their ridiculously cool toys. Definitely my favorite place at the airport. We decided to go for a walk around the runways later that night too which was really nice, the stars here are stunning and that was still with the light pollution from the airport lights. We did have to keep an eye out for rattlers though, or correction I, the paranoid Canadian, kept an eye out and jumped about 3 feet in the air when I saw a smudge on the runway. Not my finest moment. It was kind of spooky walking through the rows of gliders that late at night though with no people and cars around; it was such a contrast to the bustling place it is all day. I also got to see the Uvalde town dunk tank; yes they actually have one that works and is used fairly often! Priceless.

Day 4
Another typical contest day with nothing too exciting or out of the ordinary. Actually no, yesterday’s landings were absolutely insane. Everyone cam back within about half an hour of each other! That’s a hundred gliders on two runways. I think the most we counted was 14 gliders in the pattern all at once, and that was just the ones on downwind, final, touching down and rolling. They were stacking up at the end of the runway almost faster then we could pull them off and out of the way, but the ground crew does a great job of making sure it never turns into a complete mess. It is stressful as all get out though because every second counts when that many are landing at the same time. One day I’ll have to bring my camera out and take some shots, but I can’t make any promises because it’s going to be very hard to find time to take any.  The guys had a good day though, and they all seemed to have had fun so that’s what counts!

There is a much shorter task today because of the threat of thunder storms to the North. The tasks sent them way down south to avoid this, but they’re still getting them to come home around 5pm just to make sure. Which means that I should probably go get my stuff together because it’s already 4. It’s amazing how fast time flies when you never stop moving and doing things, I don’t know where the days go! Looking out of my window it seems to still be blue skies though so maybe we’ll get lucky. Dan the weather man (yes it rhymes and yes I still think it’s funny) says there should be another gust front coming through though so I think we will take the tent down again just to be safe. We found out after the last one that it actually split parts of the poles in half...duct tape to the rescue. I also learned today that apparently the morning meetings and launches are being filmed and streamed on the contest website, so go check it out! The launch is pretty amazing to watch, I’ll do a detailed post about it with pictures later on this week. 

That’s all that I can think of for now, though knowing me the minute I post this I’ll think of 10 things I forgot. More updates to come tomorrow, from now on I will make sure to post every day while they are up flying. 
Canadian pride :)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Let the contest begin!

The weather was not so great yesterday compared to what it usually is down here and so Nick was the only one who flew. He did have a god flight though, better then he was originally expecting that's for sure! And fortunately he wasn't back too late in the evening because last night was the Pre-Competition Party at the local fairgrounds. They managed to get all 500+ of us in a massive building there for a true night of Texas fun. There was bandanas and straw hats at the door, texas flags on the tables, brisket and refried beans for dinner and a live country band. It was a lot of fun! Apparently you learn how to dance before you can walk here; the locals pulled a whole bunch of us out on the dance floor to stop the night away to some "easy" dances (the chicken dance at the end was a little bit more my speed, I've got two serious left feet). Needless to say it was an adventure of an evening, even though it did end fairly early because we all had to be up bright and early this morning for the parade and opening ceremonies.

Now I had been told that Uvalde likes parades, but I don't think any of us were prepared for the magnitude of it. Every team is sponsored by a business in town (we are sponsored by the electrical company AEP Texas) and so it was up to each business to make a float for their team. And here I was thinking a parade meant everyone walking around a block holding flags... There was everything from an old firetruck to a tractor pulling a trailer that had been decked out with tables and chairs in the parade. Team Canada has a nice big red pickup truck that we all pilled in the back of and decked out with Canadian flags.
Team Canada! (Christine and Annemarie were inside the truck in the AC)
The parade started in the centre of town at the First State Bank because they had a huge parking lot that we could all get ourselves organized in. From there the floats followed by the marching band made its way all the way down the main street to the stadium at the other end of town in alphabetical order by team (it was a good couple miles!). The streets in the heat of town were actually lined with people, all friendly and waving and welcoming us into their town. People had chair out on their front lawns, families were out in full force and even peoples dogs and cats came out to watch the show. We had a blast! I have to say it was pretty awesome to be sitting there with the flags representing Canada-it was a bit of a surreal moment. Once we got to the stadium they got us all lined up in alphabetical order by team again so we could walk in and around the track as a group. The crews went halfway around the track and then peeled off to the side to go up to the bleachers and watch so it was just the pilots and the team captains that stood in the official places around the stage. 

The teams all formed a semi-circle around the stage that had all of the contest officials.

Right as we sat down and the ceremony was about to being the rumbling of an airplane engine started getting closer and we got buzzed right overhead by Conrad in the Huffstutler's P-51 mustang. It is a beautiful plane! I wonder what I need to get a ride... Unfortunately I don't have a good picture of it because it came too fast for me to get my camera out an on. That was definitely a way to start the contest off with a bang. The ceremony itself was MC'd by Mark Huffstutler who did a wonderful job, and we heard speeches from the town major, head judge, contest director, SSA representative and the president of the IGC (international gliding council) who was the one to officially pronounce the contest open. They were all just so happy to have everyone hear, it was very nice to heard all the wonderful things they had to say about the contest and the gliding community! After that everyone was all around taking group pictures and such (hey all the pilots were dressed nicely and clean...a rare occasion) and then we had the rest of the afternoon off to relax. I think everyone is maximizing that relax part because after today there definitely won't be much time for that! And that's pretty much all I've got to report from the past two days, starting tomorrow though things are going to kick into over gear so I will definitely have some stories and photos to share of the first official contest day. It has finally begun!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Teams of the world

For those of you asking, here's a list of all 24 countries competing in the worlds! For details on the pilots, planes, classes and team captains check out the official page on the Worlds website http://wgc2012uvalde.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=28&Itemid=8

-Czech Republic
-Great Britain
-South Africa
-United States

Saturday is the opening ceremony and when all of the country flags get put up at the field so I'll be able to put some photos up that night.

A day in the life...

So yesterday was the first day we got to practice with all three pilots flying and all crew at the airport, and I have to say it went quite well! We really needed this opportunity to see what it would be like when the official contest starts and iron out any kinks that would come along. We seemed to have sucessfully  done this so fingers crossed it goes this smoothly for the rest of the contest! Here's a breakdown of today which was a fairly typical contest day minus the fact that they had a slightly shorter task then they usually would here (3 hours 15 min instead of 4+ hours).

6:30am : Alarm goes off and I contemplate throwing it across the room and pretending I never heard it. But I do manage to roll out of bed knowing the there is coffee in the somewhat near future.

7:15am : At the airport ready to get to covers off and water up ST.
Morning overcast (the best flying days here start off like this!)

8:30-9am : Pull out and head to the grid, pass over the scales to get weighed and pull into staging position off to the side of the grid.

9am : Breakfast at the Kettle, good food and fast service. There's always other tables of pilots around, including our good friends Sergei and his Russian team. They always come in just as we finish eating so the ongoing joke is that we only eat coffee and water...

10:15am : Pilots meeting in the gymnasium on the Southwest Texas Junior College Campus. Pilots and Team Captains sit at their country tables and crew sit up in the bleachers. I keep forgetting to bring my camera to take a picture so tomorrow I'll try and remember so I can put one up here-there's a whole lot of people in that gym! 

10:45am : Team Canada meeting after the main meeting to discuss weather, tasks, strategy, crew organization, announcements of the day, etc.

11:30pm :After the meeting it's back to the house if there's time to grab a quick break from the heat in some AC. Lately I've been getting back at the same time as the guys do for lunch so we pop on the Olympics for a bit and see what going on. The only problem is I can't find any Canadian coverage here at all! And they only have one channel of Olympics here (compared to the 10 I'm used to back at home) and the only sports I've seen them show so far is swimming and gymnastics with a slight break for a water polo game one time.

12:40pm : Grid time. It varies each day depending on the weather and when the sky starts "working". It was such a late grid time yesterday because of this (before it was usually noon).  
15m and 18m grid on the runway-and this is only about half the planes because not every flies on the practice days!

1:40pm : Begin the launch! All weather dependant again on what time it starts, but once it gets going it only takes about an hour to get all there guys and the open class that is gridded on the taxiway up and in the air. With 12 towplanes there's never a moment where nothing is happening. It also helps when the pilots already has the canopy closed, rope hocked up and wing dolly off the minute their towplane lands! The runway at the taxiway both launch at the same time so the towplanes are divided between the two, landing on either side of the runway.
You can tell by the clouds that this was taken on a different day, but I wanted to show the simultanious launch on both the runway and the taxiway. Here we've got an self-launching open class glider taking off at the same time as a 15m glider is being towed up. If you can see there is also a towplane taxiing into position at the front of the 15m class and another one about to turn final in the air.

3pm: Last gliders launched and it's back to Canada base at the airfield to monitor the radios for our pilots start times. We listen on 3 different frequencies at this point to make sure we catch everything: 1: our Canadian team frequency, 2: the airport frequency, 3: the safety and emergencies frequency. It's a good things there's at least 4 of us there because that's a lot of stuff to be paying attention to! Once the pilots call us their start times we e-mail them in to the scorers office and wait for the confirmation e-mail back. 

3:30pm: Our last pilot started out on course so now we head back to our Team Captains room to continue monitoring the radios, communicate with the pilots giving them weather updates and following their Spot trackers online. For those who don't know a Spot is a tracking device that send out coordinated every 10 minutes and plots it on a map, so we can watch this trace and see them as they move along on course. From here we'll swap out people while they're flying so we each get about an hour to get groceries, do laundry, run errands, etc.

6:30pm : ST was the first to start and is the first to call 30km from the airport so we pack up and move back to Canada base at the airport.
Glider passing overhead dumping his water in preparation to land. The weather is so good here that almost every gliders is filled up to full capacity to maximize use of the condition!

7pm : All three gliders are back safe and sounds on the ground and are being washed, getting their covers put on and being tied down for the night. The pilots download their flight logs and submit them online to the scorers office. The internet sure saves us a lot of running around to hand things in!

7:30pm : All the gliders are "tucked in" for the night (we seem to talk about them like people sometimes I'm realizing...) and everyone starts to make their way back to their respective hotels. Now today was a pretty early day, usually we don't finish up until 8 at the earliest, but it could be as last at 9 some nights if the daylight permits.

After that it's up to everyone what they do with their night. Some night we will get the whole team together for dinner but most nights everyone kind of just does their own things. That being said there will always be a little group of Canadians at one of the restaurants in town for dinner to join! I try and get to bed at a decent hour every night because I know that the next morning is going to start very early. I'm not always very successful at doing so though... And that's a day in my life here at the worlds!