A weekend in Advanceland!

Last weekend I headed out to Advance’s HQ in Thun for the XC Serial Team Meeting where all the team pilots got to meet each other and the guys at Advance, and most importantly, to pick up our new Sigma 9s.

Here she is…

After we’d done the formalities we headed out to Grindelwald and took the gondola up to “First” under strict instructions from Kari not to land out because the Waldspitz hut where we were to spend the night is at 1900m and the last gondola up is at 4.30pm. Anyway we needn’t have worried as there was plentiful lift and we spent the best part of 2 1/2 hours blatting up and down the ridge in some pretty active air getting to know the gliders. After an initial false start when I either failed to connect one side of my speedbar, or else it became disconnected, and I had to top land to sort it out, I felt at home on it straight away and was totally comfortable using half to full bar most of the time when I wasn’t either thermalling or close to the ground. It’s very precise and direct in the turns, and just left me with a big smile on my face when I landed at the mountain hut at 5pm.

That evening after a beer or two we did some team-building exercises then had a delicious cheese fondue supper, drank a bit more, then hit the sack in the bunk rooms at about 11pm… After all, we had some more flying to do on Sunday!

Cheese fondletastic 🙂

After breakfast Kari and Silas (the S9 designer) took us through the main new features of the S9 before we headed up the hill for a mass take-off at 10.15.

Kari and Silas talk about the S9 “sticks”

We all got ourselves ready and at the appointed time amazingly we all got off within about 30 seconds! It was a terrific sight, but you had to keep your wits about you with so many gliders all jostling for position!

We all then climbed out and headed along the ridge to the east to try and make the 35km flight back to Thun. I think three of us plus Kari managed it all the way back, but it was slow going with variable high cover shutting off any thermals from time to time, but it was a real sense of achievement and a worthy first XC on the new wing…

35km straight line
This was a rather heart in mouth ten minutes as we traversed the mountain…!

I’ve knocked up a short video of the weekend – take a look at it below…

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