Flying Day 1, Tuesday 11/22

OK – so much for “I won’t fly until Wednesday”.  Today turned out to be a really pretty good day.  A new young German pilot did his first 300km (so he bought all the beer tonight) and one of the more experienced fellows did a bit over 400km.  My Nimbus got done with the tail repair around 3:00pm, it made sense to give it a test flight, and I was feeling reasonably good considering the 7 hour time loss from Boston. So I climbed into “Hotel Sierra” and took a tow at about 4:20 pm and flew for 2 hours.  As I have written often before the presumptive tow height here is 1500’ AGL and I got off there and managed a climb to 7600’ AGL (12,200’ MSL). I didn’t go far and just flew up past the Krugersdrift dam near to a little town called Dealsville.  Landed at 6:22 pm.  Glad I did it as there are a couple of things I need to adjust in the cockpit. Still, I will take it easy for the next few days and not push until I feel I am physically ready.

We have home cooked meals at the airport pub/kitchen every other night.  Tonight was a traditional South African dish that I cannot pronounce (much less spell) made with minced lamb, spices, sliced nuts and raisins. It was pretty good!

Travel & Repairs.  I arrived Sunday morning (11/20) in Johannesburg after 14 hours on an Airbus a 340 600. It’s non stop getting here from JFK (there is a fuel stop on the return flight) I spent an overnight in Joberg and then took the short commuter flight to Bloemfontein Monday mid day.  It’s 82 degrees, a popcorn sky, and time to settle into my room, go and get some food, and head to the airport to see my friends.  I won’t fly until Wednesday so as to let my body acclimate to the 7 hour time zone change.

We are also waiting for a part to arrive from Schempp to repair some minor damage to the Nimbus 3 that occurred on Saturday in a really bizarre accident.  It seems that we share New Tempe Airport with a South African Army billet which is across the field. They do parachute drops all the time – including some high wind exercises and unmanned material drops.  Well, one of the 120 kg unmanned parachute packages got let go early (or late, or something) and the wind dragged it down the runway to the stationary Nimbus which was parked, minding it’s own business, and waiting to fly.  The chute hooked on the tail and the wind pulling the chute straps pulled the elevator up and  bent the split elevator metal fitting (imagine a 5 degree difference in  the left and right elevator angle and you will understand the damage). The part should arrive tomorrow.  Not a big deal as they are pretty comfortable here doing most types of minor repair – but this was a whole new way to damage a glider.

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