07-28-19 | First Day Cancelled; A Day Trip to Budapest

We came, we saw, and we never made it off the ground. The morning pilot’s briefing featured an optimistic weather forecast that counted on the temperature reaching 32 degrees Celsius. With the high overcast from blow-offs from storms in the area, this never materialized. The organizers called the day for the Club Class fairly quickly and we had our ships back in their boxes by 12:30pm.

It was a very good morning for the US Team. It was never certain that the day would be a bust; we were ready and raring to go fly! It could have as easily triggered and we were ready for a tough task, with showers and strong southerly winds. The crews had the ships perfectly ready to go and did a fantastic job through and through.

Since the day was called off early for Club Class, the team decided to find a fun way to spend the afternoon. Our crews wanted to do some sightseeing at Budapest, so we headed on over to the Hungarian capital.

Before we departed, Jacob Barnes asked if we could head back to the team house so he could change his clothes from his wing-running attire. We all looked at him and said absolutely not! He will most definitely walk around in a US flag onesie all day!

Our first stop was the Hungarian Air Museum. Akos, our local Hungarian crew was a tour guide there and knew the airplanes inside and out. His father used to fly Tupolevs for Malev, the country’s former national airline. His mother was a stewardess. Needless to say, Akos was very excited to act as our tour guide and share his knowledge.

Interestingly, the museum not only had a large collection of airplanes, but also weapons. Jacob Barnes and Noah shoot quite a bit and were intimately familiar with all the guns. The rest of the team was amused with the guns and planes being in the same place. This was a wonderful photo opportunity!

We toured all the former Soviet aircraft on site. I was most interested in the Li-2. It looked exactly the same as a DC-3… because it essentially was. The Soviets built a modified version of the ‘3 during the late 30s. The modifications were locally produced radial engines and all the tooling was converted to work with the metric system. 6,000 of these slightly heavier and weaker-engine aircraft were built. Considering there were 10,000 DC-3s built, this was a huge proportion of aircraft that were almost exactly the same, but yet entirely Soviet. Very interesting!

After we toured the museum, we headed off to city. We parked in the city center and walked along the Danube River. It is a really beautiful place, with its 19th century buildings and wide boulevards. The city is surrounded by hills and is bisected by its illustrious river. We walked quite a bit and enjoyed the sights.

We had dinner in the city, in a place close to Akos’ home and headed back home in torrential rain. The rain was so severe that some sections of road were approaching the definition of flooded. But at least most of the rain was well north of the task area.

Unfortunately, tomorrow does not look all that promising for soaring. The weather system that moved in quickly today is not going to leave until Tuesday morning. We will be ready and eager to go regardless, but at the same time the odds are against flying tomorrow. But following Tuesday, it looks like we will be getting into a good stretch of weather. Let’s fly fly fly!

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