Mike's Log

99-05-27

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Mike's Pilot Log: South to South Adventure

We intended flying to the active volcano called Arena...

Guido seemed to shout very loud at my door this morning. I sat up so quickly that I thought I put my shoulder out of joint. 4 am . Yes he's mad, but I liked the thought of taking off before sunrise for a change. Olivier and I never seem to get away before about 9 in the morning and sometimes only by 1 or 2 pm! Well, we have a lot of time to get where we are going!

Guido has a Cosmos Phase II trike, so he had no problem keeping up with us. Anke, his better half, flew with him, Nancy flew with Olivier and Jose (a friend of Guido and Anke) flew with me. Who is Nancy? Well, it certainly is not Mrs Reagan! Ask Olivier.

We intended flying to the active volcano called Arena, which was 150 km away to the northeast. Apparently the trick is to stay on the northern upwind side of the volcano, because on the other side you are instantly incinerated. Very nice place our host is taking us to!

The huge cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds that bring constant rain to the interior during the wet season were absent at this time of the morning and so we enjoyed good clear weather. About 30 km before we reached the volcano the ground rose and there were large clouds covering the area ahead. We started to climb and I watched with fascination as 2 things happened at full power and best rate of climb the altimeter indicated that I was descending and the second thing is that my GPS indicated that we had a ground speed of 35 km/h! Well, that's the best headwind we've had so far. The turbulence told me we were flying into the bad side of a standing wave or similar and so all three of us turned back and in the calm air were able to climb. Olivier indicated that he wanted to go back because of the very thick cloud cover up ahead. I tend to continue no matter what is ahead but when Guido and Olivier turned around, I knew it was time for home. The tailwind was great I was cruising at 170 km/h ground speed so when I hauled the control bar in we managed 203 km/h for a few minutes. Nice! Jose was very quiet in the back.

We stopped for breakfast at the little town of Canas. We all had a local bean and rice mix called galopinto, a Costa Rican speciality - also very tasty. Well, no, it doesn't make you fart more than usual, actually.

And then after another 20 minutes of flying we landed at another town for a blackberry and milk drink.

Guido likes to land more often than Olivier does. Olivier likes to stop for coffee not as often as on the last trip (thank you, Lord!) but once or twice a day when he can. I have got used to it and even enjoy it, but I think Guido would throw me into suicide mode with a stop every 20 minutes.

Although we haven't really seen much of Costa Rica, I have had the opportunity to speak to Guido at length about life here. Costa Rica is known as the Switzerland of the Americas and although the country and most of its residents are poorer than the Swiss (that excludes Olivier after this trip), there is not much crime and most people seem happy in this beautiful little country. It's interesting that in a continent with a history of conflict, they have no military at all. I guess big brother will help them when someone tries a bit of rape and pillage and all those good things.

Guido and Anke started the Flying Crocodile Lodge 6 years ago. At the moment they still return to Dortmund in Germany during the low season where Guido takes up his more serious job as an airline pilot and Anke goes back to being an air hostess. During the busy season, Guido and Anke run the Lodge and Guido rents out his 3 microlights or takes tourists for flips. Check out their web page www.flying-crocodile.com. If you are an experienced trike or 3-axis pilot and want to have a holiday in an exotic part of the world and also rent a microlight to do some touring then this is your next happy hols spot!

 


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