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.