In international competitions, the day before the first competition day is reserved for the Opening Ceremony. All of the teams get together, don their uniforms, march with the flag, and get welcomed by local dignitaries. It is a no-fly day; a good time to relax and get fully into a racing mindset.
In the morning, we worked on getting the team radio working at the team house. This will be the US team headquarters for the team captain and crew during the competition days. One of the challenges was making a sufficiently high antenna that would receive over long range. Noah and John Good were up for the task, fashioning an antenna and coaxial cable to mount on the roof of the house. They wanted to make the antenna mount even higher and looked for material to do so. It seemed like the bamboo growing on the grounds nearby would do well for this purpose. But before cutting anything down, John asked Akos, our Hungarian crew, to check in with the owners if this would be okay to do. Akos came back 15 minutes later and said it would be fine so long as they didn’t cut down the whole bamboo grove! Images of John Good with a chainsaw entered our minds and we had a big laugh!
Later we went out to the airport and did some final checks on the gliders. Everything is now perfect. We are really happy with the gliders! Usually it takes half of the competition to get the avionics and equipment working right. This is the challenge of having borrowed gliders on another continent. But all of our equipment is exactly where it needs to be on Day One and this is very satisfying.
We are very happy with Glider Rent, the group that owns the LS4s in the Netherlands. They got the ships nicely tuned and ready to go. Couldn’t ask for a better set up and we really appreciate that we have such nice gliders to race!
Later we went off into town to get stocked up on supplies. We now have enough water and oatmeal to survive an apocalypse! Afterwards we ate lunch at the local Hungarian burger joint. Surprisingly nice burgers!
We came back to the team house to rest and await John’s return from the Team Captain’s meeting. Once he returned, we met as a team and discussed final logistics and strategy. In the end, John conveyed several simple messages.
1) Stay safe.
2) The game is to fly with company; both as a team and other competitors. Don’t get cute.
3) It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Ups and downs don’t count toward much; consistency is what matters in the end.
Afterwards we were off to the Opening Ceremony. Here we got together as a team and marched as a group with all the other teams doing the same. Luke had the honor of being the US Team’s flag holder!
We listened to speeches by the local organizers, airport authorities, head of the Hungarian air-sports federation and the IGC representative. For entertainment, they had a fantastic aerobatic routine flown in a MDM Fox. The ceremony was well done and got across the desired effect. This is an international event where all the competitors represent their country at the highest level of their sport. It is an honor to be here.