Icarus Trophy Qualifier Weekend - The Report

A cracking shot, David Wainwright captures a fellow pilot on Friday afternoon. 

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.

Winds at 4000ft at 1100 Saturday

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. "

The airport from the air - tall trees and tricky winds means this is not an easy spot to launch from. Our pilots have to prove their skills from the off. 

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. 

The calm before the storm or the calm because of the storm - There’s no flying today.
— Race Crew

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. 

My little air conception amongst the Giants.
— Don McLester
It’s not often you organise an event that has it’s own plane.
— Duncan, Event Manager

Icarus Pilot Cayle Royce takes the chance to get in the air before his kit arrives, with pilot Trevor Meeks.

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:

Here's Duncan, Icarus Manager, enjoying his 'birthday' with pilots Claire Mackay and David Wainwright. It's his third 'birthday' this week. Apparently, we Brits are easy to embarrass. Apparently that's easily exploitable. Especially effective if you sing to him and sit him next to an enormous stuffed dog. 


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’s engine seized after 25 minutes of flying. That is the risk which everyone runs. For this particular paramotor, that’s the second time that has happened.
— Alex Ledger, Race Referee

Well this morning could have gone better!!!

Posted by Alex Ledger on Sunday, October 11, 2015

Cayle has swapped out his faulty motor and his second flight went more smoothly. 

Please reserve me a seat on the 2016 edition.
— Alessandro Mara

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. 

It’s not over until the fat lady sings isn’t that the expression?
— Ky

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:

Tom always seems to overshoot the 3000ft long runway. which suggests he doesn’t have a good appreciation for the glide ratio of his wing. He needs to be aware of that, so he doesn’t have a ticket to fly yet.
— Alex Ledger Race Referee
Ed Hamilton won gold star of the day for doing all his tracker and radio calls right.
— Duncan, Race Manager
 The Final Briefing - Sunday night.

The Final Briefing - Sunday night.

So. Where do we go from here? To the race.

We start Monday morning, after sunrise, PST. As soon as the weather permits. 

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