On August 2nd the 42nd Vintage Glider Club (VGC) International Rally 2014 started in Arnborg, Denmark, right in the middle of the small northern European country. More than 170 pilots from 15 different countries will be flying vintage gliders over the countryside around Arnborg. The area is flat, so thermal flying will be the best way to stay airborne, and the weather has so far been favorable.
Living only a hundred kilometers south of the Danish border, we had heard about the event. The first persons to introduce me to the 42nd VGC meeting were the one and only American pilot Bill Batesole and his wife Annie, who had decided to do a round trip through Northern Europe before finally traveling to Denmark, and put up their camper on our small and cozy airfield in Aukrug. I am now hoping to get some news from Bill about the meeting?
Then I realized that a pre-meet was organized just 200 km south of my place. I was too busy to go there myself, but my son convinced his father to charter a Grob 109 to see what is going on at Wilsche's gliderfield:
45 vintage gliders and roughly 100 people took advantage of the pre-meet in Wilsche. Teams from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Great Britain, Hungary and the Czech Republic enjoyed a week with wonderful weather conditions to warm up their ships in Lower Saxony’s skies. Flights up to six hours were possible, and Johannes Fischer who usually flies in the Alps completed 214 km, scoring almost 400 OLC points in his DFS Olympia Meise. Unfortunately my son could not take a picture of him and his glider, Johannes was still in the air…
But on his photos you can see a lot of interesting and unique birds, like the German-made Minimoa called “Bob” or Hol’s der Teufel and a number of other distinctive gliders from various countries. Each of them has a very special and colorful story to tell. Here we’d like to simply let their pictures speak:
And how do you get such a mixed fleet airborne? Like any other German airfield Wilsche of course offers winch launches, but even more than that the club has a Super Dimona motorglider equipped with a tow hook, a tow plane and for this special event organized permission for auto tow. Quite an unusual method to launch a sailplane, but great for vintage material. As there are only a few pilots who know how to perform the perfect auto tow, some ten launches were executed with a plastic rope (not a steel cable!). The rope has a specific gauge factor to provide the initial acceleration, and of course you still need the right car and a driver who pilots the car with a defined and stable speed. The glider on tow will so release at 150 m above ground level.
Arnborg is probably offering even more?! At least the skies north of here look great. Soaring Café whishes the VGC a great Rally in Denmark!
Meanwhile, she has traveled a bit, flown a lot, and lived in the US.She is happy to now know glider pilots from the US too and says, “they are as amiable as everywhere on the world.” She feels fortunate to have found a temporary soaring home in Boulder, surely one of the best and most scenic places to fly on Earth!
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