The Icarus Trophy launches tomorrow. This weekend has seen the final days of preparation and training. Here's what happened:
We launched on Friday with moderate weather as the pilots waited out the tail end of Oho. For the lucky few who timed their arrival right, there was a chance for to get up in the air in the afternoon.
Saturday was a different story. A full day of parawaiting. Our weather geek remained upbeat even whilst bringing bad news in his daily report:
"The vertical wind sheer while disheartening is quite impressive. Surface winds in the mixing layer down low below the cloud cover seem quite manageable but readings at the Northwest Avalanche Miur Station (10,010 ft) exceeded 80mph through most of the day on Friday and this is likely to continue into Saturday. "
Impressive it may be, but little comfort to the landbound pilot. Our wise weather-man recommended "a get to know your new friends day in and around town because it will be wet for much of the day with a very gusty wind profile and 50mph winds at 4500ft." Well that's scuppered those flying plans then.
Saturday became a day of race briefings and pilot interviews. Our race crew quiz each pilot individually about their kit, their experience with it, their route and crucially their decision making skills.
On top of that, our referees have to see each pilot in the air before giving them approval to fly and a class: Race or Adventure.
In the meantime, the weather provided a chance for some last minute tinkering with kit and a spot of test flying in the chase plane.
And of course, we can't ignore the opportunity for a visits into town to continue race interviews in an informal setting. Weatherman's orders:
Sunday brought more luck with the weather, and the opportunity to do some test flying:
First in the air was Cayle Royce, until he was forced to land in a nearby field:
Cayle has swapped out his faulty motor and his second flight went more smoothly.
Meanwhile, three of our pilots have had trouble with paramotor transport. Alessandro Mara's motor needed parts replaced, but without the time to replace them and he has sadly had to pull out of the race.
Marcus Deglos and Ky Ahmad have also had trouble with moving their motors. Whilst Marcus is hoping to rent a replacement locally, Ky is waiting for his to make it out of Kentucky where it got stuck after a courier rerouting. We're keeping our fingers crossed it will get to the startline in time.
Right now, we're keen to see Don McLester. He's brought a race support team of two: a driver and a chef. A Mongol Rally Veteran and long-time adventurer, he's going to be one to watch.
And the Adventurist's own Mr Tom? He had a cracking test flight, although a ropey landing: