Saturday, July 31, 2004

30/7/04 Klix Airfield

Another typical day in the life of a Sailplane Crew Union Member. Got up at 0630, a bit later than normal, to have a shower before the crowd starts. Usually I would then fill the water containers for both teams, but Keith did it last night. The facilities for filling the gliders are a bit limited here. There are about 10 taps along the south fence of the club house but it is a tight squeeze to get more than about three gliders in there. Since there are 17 in standard class and 14 in 15m it can become a little conjested. Then I headed back to the Geyer encampment and help with their gliders.
After the Swaantje camp gliders have been assembled, we normally sit down to a good breakfast and wait till the two Lisas turn up around 08:00. Everyone is getting into their routines now and we can usually have both LS4s on the grid by around 10:00. Briefing is at 10:15.
Today some advertising material was handed out by the sponsors. This comp is sponsored by a number of industrial/engineering organisations, some well known like Seimens and others less so.
I was a little slow getting out to the grid after the briefing because I was talking winches with a young chap from the Klix club. Their winches are excellent pieces of machinery, even club built ones like this one. Anyway, because standard class was at the back of the grid I knew it would be an hour after first launch, even with 5 tugs, that the two Lisas would be getting away.
Today is a blue day with no cloud to help with thermal locating. The Germans generally don't like this as it makes the days a little harder and people tend to gaggle more when they see other gliders turning. The standard class had about a 270 km triangle for their task.

In the evening everyone at the comp has been invited to a cook up by the aeromodellers club in the south west corner of the field. Last night we had a barbeque, with the all our German friends and the Australians. Sabine, Ralf and myself did the shopping for it, while the pilots were away and then we rushed back at the expected ETA but the day died earlier than everyone expected. Our pilots were left scratching along the last leg. They got home though they were the last finishers in standard class. To add insult to injury as the two Lisas were debriefing with Cathy over the slow flight, Hanno the comp director appeared. Very apologetic to be the bearer of bad news, the girls had infringed Berlin airspace and had been given a technical outlanding at that point. In truth this didn't really affect the days outcome and it was a salutory lesson. Germany is a high traffic environment and we have to be sure where we are and that it is the right place.
Anyway, back to the cooking, I was thinking about a noodle salad, but do you think the Germans sell Thousand Island Dressing? Not on your life. So I made do with a savoury tomato sauce. Also if you want pork in this part of Germany, no problem, any concievable cut. You want it, you can have it. For poultry there is a pretty fair selection of turkey too. But other meats are either rare, expensive or both. These are the details which really highlight the differences between Australia and here. Ralf did most of the cooking on something which looked like the cross between a round gas barbeque and a wok and we continued to socialise till late. I then took the opportunity to go to the briefing room to send some emails. This kept me up till after midnight They were playing “Pirates of the Caribbean” on the big projector screens used during the briefing with the volume turned up full bore. In German of course.
There are a number of traditions at Klix. One is the presentation of garden gnomes to contestants who almost make it home. I think it signifies the notion of arriving in the garden but not actually getting through the front door! Swaantje won one of these on Thursday morning for her Wednesday flight. She fell short by 3.8km (not 15 as I wrote in some earlier emails). The gnome now sits tied to the top of the caravan annexe underneath Swaantje's pirate flag. Her mascot from previous comps, nothing to do with the movie of last night.

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