Mike's Log

99-08-29

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Mike's Pilot Log: South to South Adventure

At 1:50 pm Greg and I took off for the racetrack

We woke up to the smell of good coffee, baguettes and fresh croissants. After breakfast we were given a short tour of one of the most beautiful towns in the area cobbled streets, old buildings and a short history.

At the airport there were a few more aircraft than the day before. The thing that changed was the number of helicopters they now were flying in and out of the airport in swarms, from little two-seaters to 9-seaters. The pilots were always careful to stay clear of the trike, which was a relief I made it easy for the helicopters to avoid the trike by parking far away from the heliport.

At 1:50 pm Greg and I took off for the racetrack we had decided to watch the race from above we found out that the cheapest tickets were about 200 US dollars which was waaayyyyy too much for us. Besides, watching the race from above would be very special. We arrived over the circuit just as the cars pulled away from the start area for the warm-up lap.

I was excited to see the race I love the Formula 1 circus - so this was very special for me. The cars lined up at the start and after a few seconds they rocketed away towards the first intersection. Greg and I screamed encouragement for the Ferraris and watched with delight as the cars fought for positions. The speeds down the straight was amazing it was like watching jets go past. Although we were high above the circuit (about 2,000 ft AGL) we could very clearly see the front cars by their colours and amazingly enough we could hear the sound of the roaring engines. The Ferraris are bright red, the Jordans are bright yellow and the Maclarens are silver. The two Maclarens immediately started to pull away from the rest of the field then there was a Jordan, then a Ferrari, next another Jordan and behind that the second Ferrari. We didn't concern ourselves too much with the rest of the field. (There are usually about 22 cars in a race.) We watched with fascination as the cars came into the pits one after the other we counted the seconds to check their pit stop times. 8 Seconds was the average pit stop time!

We watched the whole race, all the time keeping away from the other air traffic a Bell Jetranger circled 500 ft above us the whole time, two gliders came in for a short look, a Cessna and a Mooney circled around us, a few other fast aircraft came by for a quick look - at one stage a Cosmos trike flew next to us and we waved to each other. Below us there were always at least two or three helicopters circling. After an hour most of the aircraft disappeared and we only had to watch out for the helicopters.

We landed and ran to the restaurant to see the winners on the podium.

At about 4:30 pm we were packed and on our way to Doncourt in France. It was quite turbulent, but the weather was good and we had a tailwind. We landed at Doncourt just as Olivier's friends Francis and Dominique arrived in their Land Rover to pick us up. We parked the trike in a hangar and headed to their home. We spent a very pleasant evening talking, drinking champagne and wine (the life of the rich and famous!) and eating some of Dominique's great French cuisine.

 


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