The 5th FAI Junior World Soaring Championships will start in Rieti, Italy, July 28 and run through August 11. Mike Westbrook will be flying a Discus 2b and Kathy Fosha an LS-8. Team Captain Richard Maleady will be doing double duty as crewman with a car and the last member of the team is Giorgio Marchisio who will be helping out while the team is in Italy. The team goes to Italy July 18th and will have the gliders in Rieti starting the 20th.

Once the team has arrived in Rieti and settled in, Richard will be providing regular reports via this blog. Visit for up to the minute news of our SSA Junior World Team performance.

10 August 2007

Arrivederci Rieti!

We've enjoyed sharing our time in Rieti and want to leave you with this closing video of our contest memories. Just turn your speakers up, click on the Play button and sit back and enjoy the music of Andrea Bocelli's 'Con Te Partiro' (Time to Say Goodbye)!

09 August 2007

Richard and Mike Take a Spa Day

Oh, goody! Richard said I get to write the blog tonight since he and Mike are languishing in the quaint town of Chianciano Terme, which means "Town of Well Being". The town is renowned for the liver restoring powers of the local waters which makes perfect sense to me as it seems a logical offset to enjoying copious amounts of good Chianti! Before they retired to their respective rooms in a 4-star hotel, the gentlemen dined on exquisite Italian cuisine, partook of the local wine, then had two-hour massages followed by mudpacks and a facial. Okay, okay! So they didn't do that...but I would if I were stranded there! Some guys have all the luck. Hmph! This town is only 10KM from Pienza where some scenes from the movie, "The Gladiator" were filmed. This will be on a trivia test at the end of the contest.

The part about the town....that's true...and now I'll tell you the rest of the story. It all started when Mike landed out in a particularly nice wheatfield which Richard described as "great to land in but s_ _ t to get out of". Richard found Mike easily enough and proceeded to drive down ('down' being the operative word here) for the retrieve. With the soft ground and empty trailer the going was tough but they loaded the glider and headed out of the field. Then headed out again, and again. Turns out the field consisted of a lot of rolling hills and only two exits neither of which their 2-wheel drive vehicle could use. This was only discovered after almost 2 hours of driving and scouting on foot. The trailer was abandoned and the guys got in the car and made a run uphill and proceeded to look for a place to stay. Richard had contacted Giorgio back in Rieti and there would be a 4-wheel drive vehicle sent to fetch Mike's plane in the morning.

After debriefing over a good pizza dinner, Richard and Mike found a very nice hotel in the town at only $41 euros for their rooms with a view. They made the acquaintance of the proprietor who not only offered to help them find a Jeep to pull the glider out of the field, but shared a bottle of wine and some pleasant conversation. I love this about never feel like a stranger there. Hopefully as I write this, the guys are getting some much needed rest in preparation for getting Mike back to Rieti and launched for the final day of the contest.

As for me, after Richard reads this, I'll probably never be allowed to write in his blog again! Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Buona notte!

Stephanie Maleady

08 August 2007

Competition Day 7

It's 7:15 here in Rieti. Mike and Kathy are back and tied down. This seems to have been one of the best contest days to date. The task was a 403 km speed task. Both pilots appeared to have had a lot of fun, and are currently over at the swimming pool. We're headed to L'Aquila for dinner a bit later, and it should be a large crowd.

Today was pretty ordinary from a ground perspective. Pilots briefing, launch, lunch, siesta and chores. Somehow I missed the siesta though. Went for gas, money, duct tape (Kathy will have to explain that one), soap, newspaper featuring Kathy on the front page and contest T-shirts. T-shirts--20 Euro, Polos--30 Euro. ?????? Oh well.

Kathy and Mike took some good photos of their flight today. Obviously they seem a little more relaxed!! And by the way, in case you're wondering, that stylus mounted in Kathy's glare shield is the new FAA approved version of Flarm. It took a great deal of work to get the approval, but unfortunately, still doesn't work quite the way it was intended!!

Richard Maleady

06 August 2007

Competition Day 6, August 6th

We're trying Day 6 over again. The weather has changed considerably and Mike and Kathy have just crossed the start line. It's a 283 km speed task south to Villa Valleno, then north to Trevi, down to San Gemini and home. The weather should be reasonable today, but mostly blue.

In a previous post, I indicated that ENAC was involved in a change to the towing procedures. This was not correct. ENAC had no involvement. I have edited the previous post to exclude the reference. Yesterday at the pilot's briefing it was announced that there had been a tug pilots meeting and today's tows are very much improved.

After my trip to San Gemini, and Mike and Kathy's to Gran Sasso, we met up here at camp and drove to Jane and Orlando's for dinner. The meal was excellent, and the company even better.
Orlando, who owns a Restaurante in Rieti, grilled both chicken and quail. That, with all the trimmings, including a little Vina Rosa, really ended the day on a high note. On a low note though, Jane told me this morning that her daughter had fallen and broken her jaw. They don't know if surgery will be required, but are headed to the hospital, which is a three hour drive.

And today is Giorgio's birthday! After the pilot's briefing I set off for downtown Rieti to find a Pasticceria (pastry shop) to get a cake. Since they appeared to be repaving half of the city, and traffic was like Los Angeles, I turned back without the cake. Which worked out quite well as Giorgio doesn't like cake. We'll find another way to celebrate.

And now the Rest Day--August 3--from a Captain's/Crew's perspective.

We gridded this morning as we normally do, with Giorgio filling Kathy's glider with water and towing it to the grid.(Mike's glider was still in the shop) We attended the Pilot's briefing at 10:30 where we got a pretty negative weather report. Likely thunderstorms from the North. But, we had a 12:30 launch time. At about 12:10 it was announced that the launch was postponed until further notice and that there would be
a Captains Meeting at 12:30. At this meeting the day was cancelled and declared a rest day. About 1:30 we had the glider back at the tie downs and secured. We ate lunch and Kathy and Mike headed off on a tour of some of the monasteries. This tour was arranged at the last minute and had a total of 8 participants--on a brand new monster motorcoach. I stayed back because I needed to catch up on some work. I removed the tailplane from Kathy's glider and carried it off to the campsite where Giorgio heated out the dimples from the previous day's incident.

I sat down to start writing some reports while Giorgio repaired the tailplane support in the trailer that had fallen apart on the previous retrieve. No sooner than this was done, you could see thunderstorms building in the north--quite close. The two of us hurried out to disassemble the glider and get it in the box. With that done, it was now well past time to get started on some necessary chores--filling with gas, getting cash and recharging our three TIM cards.This actually took until 7:00. And now it was time to go to dinner! Back in my room at 11:30, I laid down and reflected on our wonderful rest day that wasn't!

Richard Maleady

05 August 2007

Day 6, August 5th Update

Well, it's 12:45pm, Competition Day 6, and the day was officially cancelled in the interest of safety at the Captain's Meeting. Alessandro, who is setting the tasks, explained the reasoning behind the cancellation. Briefly, the winds aloft were anticipated to be 050/28 with a strong inversion at 1800 to 2000 meters. Strong turbulence and major downdrafts in the contest area would make it impossible to calculate a safe outlanding. The decision to cancel met absolutely no resistance!!

Some commentary that might be of interest. Yesterday it appeared that the tug pilots were doing their ground roll from runway 3. Now, any of you who have looked at the runway map here in Rieti, know that there are 4 runways. We grid at the end of runway 1 and 2. So pilots who are gridded at the far side of runway 1 now have the towplane offset 45 degrees from their grid position, and are towed even further to the left very quickly. Unfortunately, it seemed as several of the pilots were expecting something different and there were several badly dropped wings. And the reason for this change?........... Fortunately, I noticed what was happening--not why--and rotated Mike's glider 45 degrees. I think his ground roll was a little more comfortable. And just a point of information, most launches are downwind.

Since this day has been cancelled, we have some time to catch up as well as explore. Mike and Kathy were invited to Gransasso by the Swiss Team and some other pilots for some hiking and work on international relations. They have deserted me again. Oh well, I had already decided that I was driving back to the site of Mike's outlanding to take some photos. Unlike our 'declared' rest day earlier in the week--which was anything but for Giorgio and I--this day should be a good one. We have been invited to dinner in the garden with Jane and Orlando for this evening and it should be quite nice. These are the folks who own the B&B where I am staying.

So it's off for pictures.

Richard Maleady

Competition Day 6, August 5th

The task for today has been determined, and it will be an extreme challenge. The winds are from the NE and currently here on the ground they are gusting to 25 knots. Kathy is sick just thinking about the task today. She just left, and I think she is headed to the bathroom!

We just received a radio notice that the launch has been delayed until further notice, and that there is a Captain's meeting in 15 minutes. We'll just have to see what happens.

Richard Maleady

More on Competition Day 5, August 4th

I left off yesterday preparing for a retrieve. Giorgio and I left shortly thereafter for Mike and Kathy. They had landed at Terni Airport, along with six or so other gliders. This was a pretty standard retrieve, with one minor exception--driving through Terni. I had a glider trailer in front of me, who lost me on the straightaway to Terni. I didn't see him again until we had finished putting Mike's glider away and were about to leave the airport. The Streetpilot 2720 with the European database is just incredible. There are a number of people here on the field asking about it. More about this when I am able to write about the retrieve from Hell. Ironically, I almost left the navigator at home. I had not had time to study it and had not yet downloaded and unlocked the database. I was thinking that our two handheld Garmins would be adequate, and I didn't need the extra weight. After being here, I am convinced that some guardian angel caused me to bring it along!! Maybe Nathan. And I want to personally thank Sam Zimmerman for introducing me to the navigator in Albert Lea. Thank you Sam.

The day before yesterday Giorgio's son Edoardo arrived for a weekend visit. So the three of them, the three of us and Mike's Grandmother, Mother, and Aunt went to our favorite restaurant for dinner. The proprietor had previously offered to make us something special if we could give him three hours notice. So we had specially prepared Lasagna and Stinco for dinner. Believe me the Lasagna was nothing like what we have at home--it was wonderful. The Stinco is actually cows hock, and was quite delicious. That was topped off with a variety of Gelatos. What a fun evening for a rest day that was anything but a rest day for Giorgio and I. (more later)

Yesterday morning on the grid Edoardo informed me that he had some bad news to tell Giorgio. He had gotten notice that his Dad's home in Torino had been broken into and ransacked. It is a beautiful home and Giorgio and Mariangela had just completed it. Giorgio was devastated, and Edoardo and Mariangela left for Torino in the late morning and arrived yesterday evening. Apparently only minor things were stolen, but the home was totally vandalized. I know how badly Giorgio wants to be there, yet he has chosen to remain here to work with us. That is an example of how much he has dedicated himself to this team. We personally owe Giorgio so much more than we can ever repay.

Stories yet to report are Competition Day 4, the supposed rest day, and the retrieve from Hell. They should be good stories so stay tuned.

Richard Maleady

04 August 2007

News From Competition Day 3 and Aftermath

We are currently in Official Competition Day 5, and both Kathy and Mike are on task. When I last wrote, we were on Competition Day 3, and were on standby for possible retrieves. Well, the possible became the definite, and Giorgio went for Kathy and I went for Mike. Giorgio got the difficult retrieve, and I got the RETRIEVE FROM HELL. I intend to write up the retrieve in detail as soon as possible, but I must go back to the retrieve site to take pictures. I am not capable of describing the events without photographic evidence.

Shown here is one of the only photos taken that night and it is just before leaving for home--where I arrived at 3:30am. Mike's glider was damaged significantly, but has been repaired and is flying today. I believe that was August 1.

On August 2, after getting to bed at 3:30am I left for the airport @7:30 to turn in flight logs for both pilots. I had Kathy's SD card and turned it in. The scorer asked if I had Mike's card, and I told him I would get it as soon as I got the fuselage out of the trailer and the Colibri out. He said he needed it immediately. I think I may not have been polite. But I turned it in and apologized for being a little short with him. Then I walked back to the trailer to assemble Kathy's glider. Giorgio was at the trailer--he didn't get to bed till 2:30am, since he and Kathy had come to help Mike and I--and we rigged the glider. As I mentioned in an earlier post, lining up for the scales was a bit difficult because of the angle from which you approach.

I was determined to get it right this time in order to avoid having to take the glider off the car and moving it by hand, so I tracked a little farther to the right.
Giorgio and I were talking and he said to move a little to the left. Well about that time there was a loud noise, I hit the brakes, and saw the tail of the glider outside of the window on Giorgio's side. The wing had hit the fencepost and was slingshot forward. What happened then was absolutely impossible. The amazing thing is the extremely minor damage done to the glider. See before and after. And the tow bar has been untwisted and is completely fine. (Note from the editor: Following is a slide show of the wing mishap. If you don't believe what you see and want to see it again, keep watching. It's on a continuous loop.)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
I am going to post this now and continue later. It appears as if both of our pilots are low and anticipating a landout. We need to get prepared.


02 August 2007

Competition Day 3

Competition Day 3 is officially underway, with the launch beginning @ 12:45. Both our pilots are out on course, and I can tell you from the radio communication, that the going is tough. They are on a 340km assigned task with 6 turnpoints and the weather is weak. Michael came in for a relight earlier, rather than struggle up from 400 meters and he, Kathy and Doug Bradley (South Africa) have been flying together. They currently have about 150km to go, and it's 5:30pm. There have been reports of trailers leaving the airport as well as finishers in the Club Class. I've just heard from our team, and we are on notice for a retrieve in Foligno.

Things to do---more later

Richard Maleady

01 August 2007

Day Cancelled on 31/07/2007

As many of you may know by now, Day 3 was cancelled on account of weather. We awoke to mostly overcast skies this morning, and the weather briefing, being somewhat optimistic, suggested that we would be able to fly. But with the possibility of thunderstorms. So, of course, we were on the grid waiting. The day was officially cancelled at 2pm.

On Tuesday evening the American team, along with Giorgio and Mariangela, accompanied
the South African team to a wonderful Italian dinner at La Pannocchia, which is located in the village of Cantalice. La Pannoccia is one of Georgio's favorite restaurants. He is a personal friend of the owner, and has been going there as a regular for 25 years. The food is exceptional!

As a side note, it appears that unfortunately Jennifer's glider cannot be repaired in time for her to continue in the competition. Jennifer Bradley was the South African representative in the Club Class.

The wireless internet continues to be a major problem in the campsite area. Reception is intermittent at best. (since this is being written on Day 4, I can tell you the wireless has failed. It is under repair and may be fixed by this evening. Maybe not)

More tomorrow.


30 July 2007

On to Day 2 of the JWGC

You can see scores and winners on the links shown on this website. They are posted as quickly as we get them here. Both our pilots made it home safely with Mike completing the course at 130kph. Kathy was pretty disappointed with her flight, but
she did return here to Rieti. A missed start gate and an ultimate restart put her last out of the gate and flying alone. And that's very difficult in Rieti. She made the first two turnpoints--fighting several "almost" landouts. On two occasions I believe she had her gear down and her landing field chosen. I can only imagine the effort it took to continue. At 7:00 pm she made the very wise decision to to return to Rieti. And today is another day.

Today's task is an AAT with a 321km minimum and a 443km maximum. Both Mike and Kathy are out on course and flying together. I believe they are also flying with Doug Bradley from the South African team. And an unfortunate outlanding yesterday has taken Jen Bradley out of the competition. She is quite well, but I believe there was damage to the landing gear.

On the ground, things have settled down quite a bit, actually leaving time for some reporting and repairing of equipment. The leads from one of the LS-8 battery chargers broke off. Fortunately Giorgio had some replacement fittings and quickly repaired the charger. I took on the task of putting the Northrop Grumman logos on the glider trailer. Northrop is Kathy's employer and has been one of Kathy's major sponsors

Richard Maleady

29 July 2007

Competition Day 1

Both Mike and Kathy have gone through the start gate on this first competition day. They are on a 368 km racing task. First turnpoint, Trasacco to the south, and then north to Gualdino, south to Bgo S Pietro and then home. The weather is expected to be good, with some cumulus.

The trip to the grid today was a little different, as we all had to be weighed. There was a question during the Sabina Glide about this large hole located in the middle of the towout area with concrete poured around it. Well, that was the weighing scale. It was a bit chaotic, as overweight gliders were dumping ballast, causing the backfilled dirt to settle. And if you were a little to the right of the actual scale, your glider main wheel would fall through and hit the electronics. Fortunately, I don't believe this happened.

The launches here are spectacular. We have 12 towplanes, including three military planes, and they are efficient! Today 59 gliders were launched in 38 minutes. We are gridded 8 wide and each pilot has his or her own towrope which is dropped at the hanger for collection by crew.

At the pilot's meeting this morning it was finally announced that there would be only left hand thermalling prior to the start. This generated a little controversy as some of the team captains still believed that the rule would be changed.

Last night's opening ceremony was quite well done. I think that rather than trying to explain the event it would be better to post a number of the photos that we took during the event. I will do that as soon as we have combined the files from our three cameras.

Richard Maleady

28 July 2007

Update Opening Day

Just to fill you in a little concerning the requirement to circle left only prior to the start. At the Captains Meeting it was decided to eliminate the left turn circling rule. There were a number of reasons given, most of which I felt were not logical. After much discussion with Mike and Kathy, who had encountered some serious problems with gliders circling in BOTH directions in a thermal prior to the start yesterday, we decided to e-mail Marina and request a meeting with her and Leonardo to discuss this proposed rule change. I met Leonardo on the field this morning and discussed with him our feelings regarding the safety issues that such a rule change would create. He proposed a lunch meeting with two other officials. As it turned out we only met briefly and Leonardo assured me that the rule would NOT be changed. From a safety standpoint I consider this a victory.

Last night the mayor of Rieti held a reception for all the teams and organizers, and today there is an air show occurring.
But mostly we're here on the ground trying to catch up on last details. I've been studying the operation of my new Street Pilot 2920 with it's European database (Thanks SZ). I'm feeling a bit more confident that I could actually reach a retrieve site!! And Mike and Kathy went off to the grocery store and stocked up on some food. Apparently there was some problem with their navigation--they're discussing it right now. I can't believe they're giving me the ammunition to get back at them for their kindly observations on my driving abilities!! They were exceptionally kind as they brought back a pair of sandals and some socks for their weary captain.

Richard Maleady

Opening Day Ceremonies

Today the opening ceremonies will begin at 1900 hours. (Note from the editor: Rieti is 6 hours ahead of us based on EDT.) We have completed the three official practice days and as a team we are close to being ready. There are some minor issues remaining--such as replacing a battery in the LS-8--but essentially we are ready.

Since arriving in Rieti we have spent hours preparing the rental gliders--particularly the LS-8. The Discus has only had a radio transmission failure, which Giorgio traced to a disconnected microphone wire. The LS-8 has required the installation of my 302, a new PDA mount, rewiring of the panel as the LX5000 wiring had become disconnected--and in the process of rewiring, several other connections disintegrated-- and dealing with major software issues with See You freezing. Kathy had the misfortune to have to fly two days in Rieti with no moving maps. Fortunately we were able to use Winpilot--with a lot of new files--until Andrej was able to determine the cause of the problem. I wish to express my thanks to Tim Welles for getting the information to Andrej--who happens to be on the field as we discovered. And a sincere thanks to Andrej who spent a number hours determining the cause of the problem and correcting it. That was exceptional factory service!

I do wish to apologize for the spotty reporting from Rieti. We are a very small group of three with a lot of work to accomplish. One of the most frustrating conditions is the lack of consistent internet service. Here at the airport the wireless is sometimes up and sometimes down. Once we leave the airport we have no internet service. At the airport it has been difficult to find a place where you can actually see the laptop screen. We occasionally find a table under a small tree or sit inside a trailer or hold our computers upside down. But just minutes ago, Giorgio and I went down to our fine white tent and removed the table and chairs and took them to a small camper next to his in the camping area. His friend who is not here has graciously allowed us to set up on his porch in the shade and a cool breeze. That also gives us ready access to Giorgio's radio antennas.

Who is Giorgio you might wonder. Well, he and his wonderful wife Mariangela have been the two people most responsible for our current state of readiness. Giorgio was hired as an Italian crew member who had a car with a trailer hitch. There is no way to completely describe how much more than that he has been. He has taken it upon
himself to provide tools, knowledge and experience. When we arrive in the morning he has the gliders full of water and ready for the grid. He has spent 38 years flying in the Rieti area and is a well known competition pilot. He and Mariangela have adopted us and we were really a trio of stray cats.

Giorgio has also assumed the role of team coach and has taken three flights with Mike and Kathy to show them the area and conditions. And he has briefed them extensively on the ground. Our sincere thanks go to Giorgio and Mariangela.

I have to go to a meeting with Leonardo and two of the stewards regarding a decision made at last night's captains meeting to eliminate the thermalling left only, prior to the start. I feel this is an unwise decision from a safety consideration and hope it can be rescinded.

I will write more as I can. Please stay in touch through the JWGC website as well as Kathy's blog.

Richard Maleady

25 July 2007

On to Rieti-July 20

Before continuing with Kathy's narrative, let me tell you briefly what's happening at the moment. It is Wednesday July 25 and both of our pilots are in the air. It is the first official practice day. The task has 6 turnpoints, going south and then back north for 264 km.

Alright--back to July 20. Our car and driver arrived at 1pm as promised. Unfortunately, it was the car we were going to be using in Rieti, and we struggled mightily getting all our luggage, equipment,team box and four passengers into the vehicle. But succeed we did, and we were off to Rieti. Our driver was a wonderful Italian who spoke no English. But with Kathy's innate ability to combine English, German, French and a little Spanish together, we were able to achieve some success in communication. On our trip we experienced some of the best in Italian driving. And we were even able to see our driver's eyes widen as we were passing a car going up a mountain, while another car was passing a car going down the mountain. Four abreast on a two lane road and all sideview mirrors remained in place!

Arrived in Rieti, took care of the paperwork and took the keys. We're on our own now. I haven't driven a stick shift in a few years, and I imagine it was a bit comical for the rental folks to watch this crazy American try to start the car without depressing the clutch. At least Mike and Kathy thought it was pretty funny! I haven't heard the end of it yet.
Onto the expressway and off the exit for Contigliano. Oops, you have to depress the clutch when you stop. Now Mike and Kathy are getting worried. We didn't have directions to San Pastore since I had been unable to get online or to e-mail since leaving the States. But with a good map and great navigators, we finally made it. Four U-turns later. I should tell you it appears that in Rieti all roads you're told to go straight on inevitably come to a Y, no roads are straight, and street signs are either non-existent or there are 12 signs on the same post.

We arrived at San Pastore where we Met with Gunilla Flodin and checked in. The accommodations are quite nice. Now it's about 4pm and with directions in hand we're off to my B&B. After a similar driving experience, I'm checked in and we're on our way to the airport to check on the rental gliders with more directions from the wonderful proprietor. Drive straight for 6 to 7km (see comment above about straight) and eventually follow the signs (see comment about signs above). We arrive at the airport about 9pm and are lucky enough to find both of them. The LS-8 dampened our spirits a little, but we had two gliders.

Now it's late and time to find our way home, get something to eat and prepare for July 21.

Richard Maleady

24 July 2007

Long Time, No Update!

Hi all,

Well, it's been 6 days now since we've been in Italy and it's passed incredibly fast as we've been so busy. I arrived first into Rome, and quickly met up with Mike and Richard as they arrived. We had planned to have two days in Rome, the first being an extra day to account for problems with luggage or flights, and to overcome jet lag, and the second day to get our Italian validations which we were told were necessary to fly in Italy.

Rome is every bit as exciting and energetic as I had remembered from when my family first visited Italy in 1999, but just a little bit quieter (in the meantime the Italian government passed laws restricting the noise of mopeds). We caught a taxi to our hotel -- it was decided that public transportation was out of the question with all of the extra heavy luggage that we had, and took showers to clean up. We headed out for a bit of touristing to try and fight jet lag. We had our first Italian pizza followed by gelato, then jumped on the bus (which we weren't sure if it was going the right direction) to head down to the Trevi fountain.

Then we walked to the Spanish Steps via the scenic route (ok I screwed up the directions) and then headed back to the bus to our hotel. By this time we were sweaty and gross (it's really hot here) and decided to shower and meet for dinner. All of this time, Richard, Mike and I have been cracking jokes and getting along really well. Jet lag grumpiness can be a total fun killer but that wasn't the case with us. However, everytime we stopped moving, we all were attacked by the sleepy monster and quickly began to notice the jet lag. Anyway, we had a great pasta dinner at the restaurant around the corner from our hotel, and called it a night around 10pm. Jet lag be gone!

The major objective for our second day in Rome was to head to the ENAC (it stands for something in Italian - trust me) (Note from the editor: for those who are in suspense and have to know what the acronym stands for it's 'Ente Nazionale Per L'Aviazione Civile' aka 'Italian Civil Aviation Authority') to get our US licences validated for flight in Italy. Leo Benetti-Longhini had found the office and prepared all of the paperwork for us. However, even though we had an address, finding this office was a bit of a challenge as it was off all of the maps that we had. We took the subway to the stop which the lady at the hotel had told us to go to, but once we got there, I had to slaughter the Italian language (I brought the French, Spanish and German languages down with it too) by trying to get directions. We had to go to the previous stop, and the office was very near by -- and thankfully this guy was telling the truth. We got to the ENAC office, and they told us we had to go to another office were they could accept the cash for the fees that we had to pay. I have to add here that the Italians have been extremely helpful and patient with the fact that none of us speak Italian. So off we were on the train again, headed to another stop, to exchange some money for a receipt, which we had to take back to the first office. Luckily, both offices were very near to subway stations, and we had a lot of english help. Once having the receipt, we headed back to the first office where we waited about 45 minutes before we got the validations. YAY!
Success -- hats off to Leo and Richard who made sure that we had all of the necessary paperwork, and Mike for helping out with the navigation.

By this time it was about 3pm and we decided to head to the Colosseum, for a bit more touristing before we were to head out to Reiti the next morning.

We had a tour of the Colosseum - things of note: over 1,000,000 died in the time of the Colosseum (approximately 350 years), they used to put wings on slaves and throw them off of the top of the colosseum to see if they could fly (think Icarus), and really sick and twisted, they used to smear slaves with the scent of a female lion, and release the slave and the lion who hadn't eaten in 2 weeks and watch what happened. And they thought that the Olympics were immoral because they were competing in events naked! After our tour, we headed to the Palatine Hill, the home of the Roman Emporers, caught a bus (we were never sure of our direction or stops) to the Pantheon, walked to Piazza Novola were we convinced Richard to get a henna tattoo (Note from the editor: WHAT???!!! VBG-that's computer speak for Very Big Grin)(Mike and I got them too -- it was really just to see if we could get Richard to do something crazy), walked through small Roman streets toward Vatican
City, and got some really pretty pictures of St Peters cathedral by night. We decided at this point that it was time to head home -- maybe 9pm and get dinner, and we headed to the nearest subway stop.

As we were walking there, exhausted and hungry - Mike commented that it would really suck if the trains weren't running.... and when we got to our station it was closed. Something about laviola -- anyone know what that means??? (Note from the editor: I think it means somebody left their violin on the train!) Well we walked back to the bus station, got on a bus we guessed was going to nearby our hotel, rode it to the end, and realized that we weren't anywhere near our hotel. Ok, more language slaughtering -- but the driver got us to another stop, where we caught another bus which got us home. 11pm, another pasta dinner and off to bed, getting nervous about our trip to Reiti...

I'd love to write more but it's 11:30 here and we've got another day of extremely technical and intimidating flying for tomorrow. Richard will fill in more tomorrow... You can view my photos at Photos from Italy

Reporting from Reiti,

TEAM AMERICA, WORLD PILOTS, coming to save the day.


16 July 2007

Leaving for Rieti

The U.S.Junior Team is heading for Rieti! Kathy leaves LA this evening and Mike and I leave in the morning. We will all meet in Rome where we will spend two days before driving to Rieti. Italian license validations will be the order of the day on Thursday as we try to find the ENAC Office in Rome. Many thanks to Leo Benetti-Longhini for all his assistance with the paperwork!

Richard Maleady