A steaming national holiday!
Last July 14th, national holiday in France, the aerological conditions were particularly favourable to long distance flying, and our Team pilots Justin PUTHOD and François MONTUORI took advantage of it as it should be ...
They tell us about their 342 and 307 kms flights!
Wednesday evening, July 13th : great, tomorrow is a holiday ! Last check on the weather forecast with François, we see wind in the massifs and a mass of unstable air on the front reliefs, with in bonus of beautiful ceilings! We meet 5 pilots in Cluses to go up to the takeoff in 4×4 at 7:30 am.
A veil of alto cumulus cools me down a little, I'm not very confident on the fact of taking off early. In more, arrived at the takeoff in the north of the point of Areu, we have of the west which returns back wind to the takeoff... We cross the fingers, we prepare and there at 9:30 am, we see birds going out 300m in front of the takeoff, GAS!
9:40 am, in the air: Gee, it's already quite smoky. The route to Montlambert works really well, 2h of flight and already more than 30km/h average. A little bit of slack where I struggle to climb to go to Chartreuse, where I hang up low at 850m. It finally comes out well, even very well, in less than an hour, I find myself perched at 3200m on Chamechaude with a direct course on the NE shoulder of Moucherotte. A hang-up in a 5m/s at 1350m, then full throttle at the ridge and I'm already at 2600m in the Vercors.
This is when I start to feel the lack of stamina on the bar, I get shaken up in a straight line on the ridge. I find this round trip quite long, with the impression to be always facing the wind, but it goes very fast: 34km/h average! Then follows a long and fast climb towards the Chablais, in 7,5m/s wind in the Chartreuse and an express crossing of the Bornes pushed by the south-west: at 7pm, we are at 34,9km/h average speed. After a long glide over Mieussy where I struggle to get out, I try to lengthen this triangle a bit to push to 350-360 km. In the end, I get trapped in a stable layer and take 1h to finally land within the tolerated percentage!
In short, 342km in a flat triangle. A much more interesting flight than expected at the beginning. Incredible flight with crazy conditions! And possible to do much more with a small group of excited pilots!
Day of national holiday, with Justin we see the day that we scrutinized for a long time. So we meet at 7:30 am in Cluses to go up to the takeoff of the head of Sallaz, in the north of Aravis. In place from 8:30 am we wait a little that clouds of high altitude pass. A west wind background makes the take off tricky, we are forced to take off on the wrong side and throw ourselves in the east face. After 8 failed takeoff attempts, I finally manage to put us in the air, when I say "we", I mean my Kanibal Race 2 equipped with 2 reserves, 20kg of ballast, and myself.
Well, even if I believe in myself, I know that 20 minutes behind Mr. Justin Puthod it will be complicated to catch up. So I take off at almost 10am and put myself in my bubble to move forward efficiently in the Aravis mountains which are still rather shyly lit despite the good ceilings. I hardly push the gas pedal but I try to take good lines by following the numerous vultures present and by winding up as little as possible. I find myself at 3000m at l'Étale then more a thermal until the Bauges hang-up. When I arrived on the dent de Cons, I was surprised to hit a strong thermal despite my relatively low hang-up. It's at this moment that I start to think that we might be living one of these exceptional days, where the ceilings are generous, the thermals strong and especially the low layers as good as the high ones! I see Justin not far ahead and I think that the thermals are starting to be strong enough to push the XC Racer.
I hang up the Chartreuse at just over 1000m, and stall the pace a bit to reach the top cliffs. Once I reach the upper level, I can crush the bar again and the Chartreuse is eaten up at 37 average. The Vercors is just as turbo smoked. Hanging up in Chartreuse, I find myself in the most chemical puke I've ever encountered, and I'm forced to hide under the wind on the East face to avoid landing. It works well after having tightened my buttocks! I find Justin who went down in the Vercors and we do the turbo crossing of the Chartreuse together until the Granier. I make a small mistake at the Bauges hang-up which makes me lose the champion. Arrived on Annecy, the air mass is not at all of the same quality. A South-West wind pushes me but stabilizes the air mass... I manage to move forward by typing anemic Vz while it is barely 6pm.
Fortunately Justin who is a few kilometers ahead tells me that the Jallouvre works very well, that gives me hope for the 300km objective! Indeed I find a very good thermo dynamic support but everything is brushed above the summit and the thermals are not strong enough to go through the weather wind. I transited on the Orchex point and took 200m in soaring before transiting on Mieussy. I can climb up to the Haute Pointe almost without making a turn and slam my 310km marker! Back to Cluses with a glider glide as often at the end of the day in this area. It's past 8pm and I'm soaring back up to the Tête de Seudets to get within 3km and complete this incredible flight!
This is so huge for me that I can hardly realize the feat! What a trip!