Happy Easter! What about that Sierra Wave? Albatross!

The Sierra Nevada is "cooking" this spring season.

Another amazing flight by Jim Payne, who was Team Captain for the USA in 1991 in Uvalde, and his mate and owner of the DG 1001 M, Dennis Tito. They started from Rosamond Sky Park [ California] and flew all the way up NW, over the Sierra Nevada. This mountain range in the states of California and Nevada goes N to S over 640 km.

Both are not the youngest anymore but fly like "spring chickens"! Great effort!!! This time they flew 1,620 km with a nice speed of 130 km/h. As I read in Jim's comment, both love those "wave adventures" and in the four flights after the DG 1001M flight test was completed, they flew 5,823 km and logged those on the OLC list for us to look at. Congratulations to Jim for his 5,000 hours and to both for their SUPER flights.

I have never been to the California site but for sure loved Minden, Lake Tahoe, and Truckee in Nevada.
Unforgettable of course was that landing in the Albatross on Lake Tahoe on June 24 in 1990!

At that stage I was  a bit  scared. I only knew I was with some top glider pilots and some were top airline pilots as well. It all happened in Minden during the pre-worlds, where we got to know Jo Lodato. Would love to know if he is still alive, he must be in his 90's by now.

He invited us for a flight in his amphibian, an Albatross, in the early morning at 6. The goal—a landing on Lake Tahoe!! Of course we were not sure if this was really going to happen, but with 10 invited friends, we were ALL there that early in the morning, and ready to go for it, some anxious/eager as little boys. Picknick basket [box] with us to have breakfast on the wings of this Albatross???!!!!

It all happened!!!! We started from Carson airfield and indeed landed on Lake Tahoe. Boats rushed to see if we had a problem. No—no problems! Not at all! Still scared as the plane was old, noisy and landing on water is not so smooth as on a runway, but enjoying every minute of it as well.

How decadent is a breakfast on the wings of such an old plane on the middle of huge Lake Tahoe. We did it! At that stage I had no idea what the result of this flight was.

After burgers and Coca Cola and fruit (to have something healthy as well), we left again. Water splashed everywhere around us and even more noise while starting from the Lake. Not the easiest job and my ex, George, who celebrated his birthday, enjoyed the flight the most, as he was allowed to be co-pilot and take over and fly!

A few years later George bought the "bloody plane". It was a super toy but also some kind of nail on your coffin, as it only costs! A few years it stayed in Minden, engines were ran regularly, and maintenance was done.

Then the idea was to fly it to Tocumwal where we lived and worked at Sportavia. Our great WW2 hangar had still some places left. A few good pilots and some paying guests who did not want to miss this opportunity flew the plane from the USA to Australia. Though I sometimes "hated" the plane, I loved the engines and the way it looked when it flew over, and I welcomed it warmly in Tocumwal. Many came from town to look at such an interesting "Toy". Now it is "dying" in the WW2 hangar, which is dying as well! May I give you some well meant advice: Never ever co-operate with a partner in business, who you do not know for the full 100 %.

Pictures by George Schuit start on a lake, at the grass runway in Tocumwal and in front of the WW 2 hangar!

For more news from last week, you can read at www.soaringcafe.com


Cheers Ritz

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Since before the word “blog” was created, Ritz wrote about her experiences every day after flying at the Sportavia Soaring Center in Australia, where she helped run a successful business from 1996 to 2005. Her first blogs on soaring.eu date from June 2006, and she has been blogging ever since, joining Soaring Café in January 2011. She says her experience as columnist for Gliding International and blogger for Soaring Café has enriched her world more than she can say and that her soaring friends keep her young and ”going”.

Read Ritz' full bio under the menu item About -> Our Contributors.

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  1 comment for “Happy Easter! What about that Sierra Wave? Albatross!

  1. Jim
    April 8, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    These posts are super! Personally,…..I’d enjoy them more if we used miles per hour and miles instead of kilometers to express distant and speed.

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