ACKNOWLEDGMENT: Alby's Voyage is promoted by the Pacific Soaring Council(PASCO), and encouraged by the Soaring Society of America (SSA). PASCO represents about 400 glider pilots of Northern California and Nevada. The SSA represents about 12,000 U.S. glider pilots. Like Alby, both organizations foster and encourage all forms of soaring.



Alby's Progress

Map Legend

___ Successful Legs

___ Attempts

___ Proposed legs



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latest news


9/14/2015 - Alby arrives at First Flight, Kitty Hawk, NC!

Heartfelt congratulations to Alby pilot Eric Lambert, who found reliable lift on a blue day to get Alby safely to Kitty Hawk, for a well-deserved rest. Eric's notes on the flight are found in more detail below.

Briefly, he said, "I will return to First Flight in the morning and plan to meet with Karen Warlitner, the Executive Director of the First Flight Foundation, for a photo-op. We would like to have a photo of Alby next to the Wright Flyer. On Thursday and through the weekend, we hope to take advantage of this spell of good weather to fly Alby north."


8/31/2015 - Alby flew Sunday from Chesapeake, VA to Currituck , NC with Albypilot Eric Lambert on his motorized Grob 103.


Eric said that he found clouds to 5,000’ and lift up to 4 knots. He got low (1,700’) at the Academia facility (U.S. Training Center) but got back up to 4,000’ and then to Currituck. He said it was not difficult – sure I believe it, when the conditions are good! The flight of 25 miles required only two thermals, but it was one of the very few days that there were clouds and workable lift and no adverse winds. Clouds and lift disappeared soon after the landing.


He had enough altitude to make an excursion over the water for about one mile before landing in Currituck. With this flight then Alby has reached the Ocean, accomplishing his mission to fly the US from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Yeaahh!


Eric wants to spend four days of the long Labor Day weekend trying to fly with Alby the 33 miles from Currituck to First Flight Airport, a place that is so historically important for all aviators. Not an easy thing to do since near the coast the weather is not favorable to soaring in general, and in this case in particular the glider has to fly for several miles directly above water.


It is not an impossible thing if the weather allows, and there are actually days that the flight could be tried and it would be successful. However since the season is declining, and given the rarity of favorable atmospheric conditions to make a soaring flight, if it is not possible to find lift then the last climb may be done under power.

7/31/2015 - Today seems a flyable day with decent lift, mild winds, cloud bases around 5,000' extending to 5:00 PM. So there are flyable days in summer, contrary to what we were told. Eric is in England visiting his aging mother, a good reason to go there. Will be back next week. Hopefully we can find a good day soon.

6/30/2015 - It was a workable day today, with bases up to almost 6,000', mild winds and decent lift. Unfortunately Eric was busy at Garner A/P, where he is a member. A storm beat up their place last Sunday, flooding the field and the hangar, making wet all objects that were laying on the pavement. It will take a few days to fix it all. There is always something....

TALES OF THE FLIGHTS


Alby Flight No. 48 Pin No. 31 - Eric Lambert 9/14/2015


Alby flew today from Currituck, NC to First Flight, Kitty Hawk, NC

The cold front was predicted to pass over Currituck on Sunday [August, 13]. I drove to the airport, as it was forecast to be good at the end of the day. As it turned out,  I spent the whole day cleaning and waxing the glider so it would look good at First Flight. The clouds did lift to above 5,000’ at 5:00 PM however the >15knot  crosswind prevented me from taking off. A long drive back to Richmond with regrets I did not give it a try, the sky looked great at 6:00pm, but the wind was still howling. I arrived home after 10:00pm.

Nearly there, looking south toward Kill Devil Hills and the Wright Memorial at First Flight Airport
Up again Monday morning and on the road by 7:00 AM, the forecast was for 3,000’ at Currituck but no clouds; it was going to be a blue day. I also had a crew, David Reilly, who drove down a little later. Still a 10 knot crosswind but the take-off was fine with a quick thermal assisted climb to 3,000’. Shut down the engine, then due to drift downwind during the start, a quick flight back over the airport to start the flight from northwest of the airport.

Alby and Eric Lambert at Kitty Hawk



Not a hint of a cloud in the sky. A few miles south of Currituck I took a thermal that gave me 150’ above glide for First Flight; from then on it was all lift very little sink. I left the peninsula with 2000’ above glideslope for Kitty Hawk.


Alby landed at Kitty Hawk after first going for a trip over the Atlantic Ocean; approach to the airport was from the east.

A pure Glider Flight, engine only used for take-off. The flight is on OLC and 2 photographs are attached.

Alby has landed.

Eric Lambert


P.S.

[Ed: Eric provided this timeline summary of his efforts to help Alby get to Kitty Hawk. After his first commitment 5 years ago, a wait, months of watchful planning, diligent efforts, and then success.]


Now we have made it I can put some of the details together. But for now this is the timeline I have:

March 2010        Commit to take Alby from Merlin to Newcastle VA.
April 2014          Email from Albymaster proposing I take the leg Merlin to Eagles Nest VA.
May 2014           Alby arrives at Garner Field.
April 2015          Request by Albymaster to support the flight from Garner to Kitty Hawk using the Grob 103SL.
April 27th           Alby flight to Chesapeake VA in Grob 103 from Garner field, aero-tow launch. Mat and Eric as pilots.
April 28th          Attempt to fly Chesapeake to Currituck. Conditions were not suitable. Pilots: Mat and Eric.

Now I have a period of personal and business commitments including: Consulting work in Nebraska, a wedding (not mine) a sailboat race, a 28 year tradition, and house guests. It did not help that when I could have found time the weather was not cooperating.

We did make use of a rainy day to drive down to Kitty Hawk and looks at all the possible landing fields on route.

August 28th       Together with a new commitment, attempted the Chesapeake to Currituck flight. No Go. Pilot: Eric.
August 29th       Attempted Chesapeake to Currituck. No Go, Pilot: Eric.
August 30th       Complete the Chesapeake to Currituck flight. Pilot: Eric. 
Glider returns to Chesapeake using power.
September 2nd   Attempted Currituck to First Flight. No Go. Pilot: Eric.
September 3rd    Attempted Currituck to First Flight No Go. Pilot: Eric.
September 11th  Attempted Currituck to First Flight. No Go. Local soaring ok; 3 ¼ hour flight but the clouds prevented flying to the south,
September 12th   Heavy rain.
September 13th   I made it out to the airport but the cold front did not pass through until late afternoon. Good looking cu’s but a very strong X wind. Waxing all day!
September 14th   A clear blue sky; not a cu. in sight, but the lift was good all the way to Kitty Hawk. We just had to be there on the right day!! Success. Pilot: Eric


Alby Flights No. 45 and 46 Pins No. 28 and 29 - Eric Lambert and Mamad Takallu 4/27/2015


Alby flew today from Tidewater (Garner Airport), VA to Suffolk Airport to Chesapeake Airport, VA with a total distance of 13+15 = 28 miles. 


Grob 103
The motorized Grob 103 C Twin III SL that did the successful flight to Chesapeake
As anticipated, it was not an easy flight. The main accomplishment was the crossing of the Great Dismal Swamp, a 10-mile soaring black hole centered on Lake Drummond. The weather was a little less than expected, but there were clouds and the initial climb was to 6,000’, a fact that did not repeat itself. The flight was made with a Grob 103c SL motorglider, the two Albypilots were Eric Lambert and Mamad Takallu. Eric’s wife Luana was crewing.


Left to right, Mamad Takallu and Eric Lambert
proudly showing Alby at Chesapeake Airport, VA








Alby Flight No. 44 Pin No. 27 - Heinz McArthur 5/25/2014

Alby continued his voyage yesterday from Crooked Creek, NC, to Garner Gliderport, VA, a course distance of 108 mi.
Prior to launch, we had a visit from a reporter with the Franklin Times, a local newspaper.  He took photos of the launch preparations and participated in our preflight discussions.  We look forward to a good Alby story in the next week or so.

I was assisted in my preparations by Ray Kleber (Col, USAF Ret, WW II/Korea/Vietnam vet, Master Pilot), and Frank Swett (Col, USA Ret, owner and master of Crooked Creek).  With this supporting cast, let me just say I was not lacking in supervision!

Col Kleber was the tow pilot.  Take off was at 12:40 pm, with a release from tow at 2000 ft.  The conditions were good, as forecast, with plenty of Cu's with bases around 6,500 ft.  I landed at Garner at 3:10 pm.  With those conditions, I should have had a better cross country speed but otherwise an enjoyable flight.
Mamad Takallu flew out of Garner to meet me, but we were not able to connect in the air.   Too bad I missed him, but Mamad made the best of it with a 355K flight recorded on OLC.
The folks at Garner were friendly and efficient, and had my glider ready to relaunch in short order.  I finished the paperwork and handed Alby over to Tidewater.  Photo attached of the auspicious occasion. 
I relaunched from Garner at 3:46 pm, and initially enjoyed nice Cu's and good lift in Va.  Heading back to the southwest, some high cirrus began to dampen things a bit, the lift began to weaken, and the skies ahead less inviting.  I opted for an easy landing at Halifax-Northampton Regional Airport, near Roanoke Rapids, NC.  I called Crooked Creek and Frank responded by flying the towplane over for an aero-retrieve.  A local pilot agreed to run my wing and we had an uneventful launch and 40 mi cross-country tow back to Crooked Creek.
I activated the Alby SPOT Messenger but appear to have made an error in placement or button pushing since no SPOT positions were recorded.  My apologies for that.  The flight log is available on OLC here:

Good luck to Tidewater Soaring and Alby on his next leg to First Flight Airport!

Heinz McArthur HM

Jenn Player, Tidewater Soaring Society President, receives Alby from Heinz McArthur


Frauke Elber, among other things Editor of the magazine of WSPA (Women Soaring Pilots Association) from Tidewater sends us this note:

“We are giving Alby a good nest to rest. Garner Gliderport is the Eastern most Gliderport in the Southeast of the US.

Frauke.”
 

Alby Flight No. 43 Pin No. 26 - Jake Alspaugh 5/13/2014

Flying Alby to Crooked Creek had a fair amount of stress involved. The day started with small clouds in our area and climbs to 5,500’. The north route looked better but I wanted to go south of Greensboro and Raleigh for more landing opportunities. It soon became apparent that only the north route would work. This late decision made getting around Greensboro seem like it took for ever.

Soon I started getting to 6 and 7 thousand and was approaching Raleigh. Moving to the south again I started seeing another blue hole. So north it was going to be. This route to the north introduces a glider pilot to a large reservoir and trees. I was staying high and with a good tail wind. Soon I made the general area of the Crooked Creek gliderport where I estimated Alby needed to rest for a while.

Charlie had given me a small hand-held GPS, but I could not make it pull up the satellites. I made a call to Crooked Creek Ground to see if they could help me locate the strip. This strip is in the flatlands and after a lot of conversation I concluded I must have overflown it by 10 miles. I put Raleigh in my ClearNav and asked Crooked Creek Ground how far they were from Raleigh.

Twenty-three miles was the answer but later I found they meant from down town, not the airport, which was 28 miles. Frank Swett decided he needed to get in the towplane and come up and find this lost Alby Express pilot. Thanks to Frank and all his help, Alby was soon on the ground at Crooked Creek. I do apologize for all the radio noise; I don't make a habit of this.

While I was approaching the landing, I was looking to the west to see how the clouds were holding up. They were thinning and this is never a good sign. It was about 3:30 and too early to give up, so I towed out for the trip back and hit fair lift and was at 7,000’ after a while. Charging off to the west with at least 15 knots head wind, I set out. After a while I started getting lower and this was about where the trees started. Soon I started thinking going west - maybe this was not such a good idea after all.

I spotted a small cloud over a rock quarry just upwind. The sink was very strong and held for a long time bringing me down to 2,800’. There was a field off to the right that I could make if this plan failed - this was the only field for miles. After a while I blundered into the lift and climbed back to 5,000’. One more thermal and I would make Burlington, but this was not in the cards and I had to move to the north more and put Person County A/P in the ClearNav. It said I had it by 500’. I made it by 50’ under pattern. Soon I was drinking free beer and waiting for my champion Bob Hills. These were two exciting flights, but a few less trees would have made it more comfortable.

I wish Alby a safe flight on into the beach. Thanks for all the help from Charles, Frank, and most of all Bob.

Alby Flight No. 42 Pin No. 25 - Tom Moore 9/9/2013


On Sunday Sept 9, 2013 I had the honor to pilot the 25th leg of the Alby voyage. The flight started at Bermuda High Soaring, near Lancaster, SC  and ended at Piedmont Soaring’s Bahnson Field, near Winston-Salem, NC.   Alby had arrived at Bermuda High Soaring on Friday Sept 7, 2013, having been delivered by Larry Travers from Carolina Soaring Association in Spartanburg, SC. The timing couldn’t have been better for a quick turnaround to the next stop. On Saturday, the day after Alby arrived, I had flown over 400 km, and it looked like that weather would continue to hold up through Sunday. After landing on Saturday I was approached by Jayne Reid, the co-owner of Bermuda High Soaring, about delivering Alby to Piedmont Soaring. I didn’t hesitate to volunteer. And Sunday would be the day. Along with Sunday having a good forecast, waiting would be chancy as the weather would be less and less likely to produce long distance cross country soaring days between now and Winter.

On Sunday I strapped Alby into the cargo area behind the seat and launched at 11:45am ET. By this time CUs were forming and developing into slightly more than wisps. I released at 2500 ft AGL just south of the field into a thermal and was able to climb under a CU to 3100 ft AGL.  I was actually pleasantly surprised with 3100 for this time of day in this time of the year.  The path to Bahnson Field was due north, and by the time I had passed Pageland Airport (which is 10 miles north of Bermuda High) I was reaching 3600 ft AGL and the CUs were much more developed. I had invited Jayne Reid to fly that day also, and she launched in her 18m DG800 (JX) around 12:30pm.  I was flying my 18m ASG29 (T4).

The terrain between Bermuda High Soaring and Bahnson Field was relatively flat. The 96 mile flight was all within the piedmont region of North and South Carolina with ground elevations ranging from 350 ft MSL to 800 ft MSL. The area development is mostly rural with a mixture of pastures, cultivated fields, planted pine timber, and natural forests. Landout locations were available (but not always plentiful) throughout the route in the form of farmers’ fields. As I passed north of Pageland I chose a path close to the eastern edge of the Charlotte airspace to make a roughly straight line to Bahnson Field.  I kept Anson County Airport which is 35 miles NNE of Bermuda High in mind as a bailout airport but stayed well to its west. By 12:50 pm I was 30 miles out of Bermuda High and 15 miles directly west of the Anson Co airport. The day was working well with cloud base around 4200ft AGL and thermal averages ranging around 3 to 4 kts with about an 8kt headwind. The next public airport I would come close to would be Rowan Co (Salisbury, NC) which was 41 miles to the north.

As I continued to fly northward my confidence level in completing the 96 mile trip to Bahnson was growing by the minute. Unfortunately it wasn’t going to be that easy. As I approached the Salisbury, NC airport I realized a high level shelf of cirrus clouds was ahead of me and appeared to be a solid coverage to the north.  There were clearly no CU’s under this broad coverage which I guessed extended 10- 15 miles to the east and west of my intended flight path.  On the eastern and western edges of this cloud coverage I could makeout CUs in the far distance.  I decided to continue north as far as possible utilizing the last few CUs ahead of me and try to work up enough altitude for a long final glide to Bahnson Field.  I reached the last CU about 4 miles north of the Salisbury airport with about 21 miles to go to Bahnson. I was able to climb to 4000 ft AGL with ClearNAV predicting a final glide arrival at Bahnson at a low 500 ft AGL.  I just needed a little more.

 I decided to play it safe – I really didn’t want to land out in a field “almost” making it to Bahnson – so I chose to fly to the west (90 degrees away from my course) to work around to some CUs that might give me a better altitude and position for my final glide.  As it worked out I found a CU with a working thermal about 5 miles to the west and slightly to the north.  Here, with an altitude of 4200 ft AGL I started what I thought might be my final glide to Bahnson field with a predicted arrival altitude of 1200 ft.  At this point life was good - confidence was back - I would make it.

I radioed to the Piedmont Soaring Club that I was 20 miles out, had final glide, and was delivering Alby.  I was immediately greeted by the friendly voices of the Piedmont Soaring Pilots who quickly offered locations of thermals that were still working under the cirrus cover.  At 10 miles out I picked up about 600 ft in a thermal which gave me plenty of margin to reach the field, circle to the north, and enter the pattern. Prior to landing I radioed Jayne (JX) to let her know I was at Bahnson but had flown the last 20 miles under cloud cover.  Jayne had flown a slightly easterly route over the Anson Co Airport and was holding around the Stanley Co Airport which was roughly halfway between Bermuda High and Bahnson.  I landed at Bahnson Field at 2:37 pm and was greeted by a very friendly group of pilots, students, and observers.  Thanks to Charles Cook, Craig Conrad, Bob Shields, Dalton Eberhart (the tow pilot) and others for making me feel at home.

After presenting Alby to Charles Cook, I called Frank Reid at Bermuda High and talked about options to get back. Jayne was reporting good soaring weather around Stanley Co, and the best option seemed to be a high aerotow  to the south. So I got back in my glider and at 3:15 pm was graciously towed several miles south and to a high enough altitude that I could reach sunny skies and workable CUs.  Once in the air I contacted Jayne and let her know my location. She was around Anson Co and reported good conditions. The still present cirrus overcast had grown to the southwest, and was hindering  a directly southern course back home. Diverting to the east towards Anson Co I stayed out of the eastern edge of the cirrus, made Anson Co, then had workable thermals for the remaining 35 miles to Bermuda High. The high tow and an 11 kt tailwind made the return trip quick, and I reached Bermuda High by 5:00 pm. What a great day!  

OLC flight: http://www.onlinecontest.org/olc-2.0/gliding/flightinfo.html?dsId=3376410



Alby flight No. 41 Pin No. 24 - Larry Traverse 9/6/2013



We received Alby on Fathers' Day, June 16. Fernando Silva and that rowdy crew he hangs out with, squeaked into Spartanburg. I think the words were" Whew". It had rained a lot before this but now it started raining every day. In two months we were 19 inches above normal.

Nobody flew for two months and we felt Alby had brought a curse. We had a priest fully immerse him in a baptismal font and on 7/24 I headed for Bermuda High. Thirty miles later I was on the ground at Union airport. MORE HOLY WATER. It finally stopped raining and on 9/6 I took a 2000’ tow and punched in Bermuda High.

Things went fairly well for about half the flight and I worked lift up to about 3800’. At Chester I had my last cumulus (with about 45-50 miles to go). When I crossed the river at Lancaster I was resigned to land at the airport but I messed around so long looking for lift, I couldn't make it. I had nothing but city to the North so I decided to continue East to some of the fields I could see.

I had about 25 miles to go and I hit every landfill, junkyard, and chicken house along the way. I was sure I was soon on the ground. The day was done and so was I. At 8 miles out my PDA said I was 500’ below glide. At 5 miles I hit a monster that sat me down in the seat and the rest is "I'll never do that again". Frank Reid was there to greet me and my advice to him was to get rid of Alby as soon as possible and I learned he left two days later.     

Larry Traverse (left) consigns Alby to Frank Reid in Bermuda High, SC

Alby flight No. 40 Pin No. 23 - Fernando Silva 6/16/2013

Fernando Silva, preparing for a long flight

FS and 6i ready to go
Alby was delivered!  Great team effort with Joe Flores handling communications, Dan Nugent and Michael Abell driving, and Mitch Deutsch and me flying. 

We assembled at 10:30 with 24 gallons of water each. We expected 5,000'+ cloud bases but it was evident that the dew points were very juicy!  

Delayed launch until 12:55 when cloud base reached 2,400' AGL.


Fernando with checklist

We hung around till 13:30 with cloud bases only at 3,200' AGL. Since we had a 9 knot tail wind we left flying in non-racing mode. It was evident that we could not go above the AHN class D so got permission to transit and got as low as 1,800' near Athens but climbed in about 2 knots which turned out to be the typical climb. 

Fernando ready to launch for Spartanburg

Aimed at Elberton next but deviated towards Anderson SC on a better street. Crossed Lake Hartwell still flying very conservatively at 1.5 McCready. Saw a huge cloud and went for it. Got bumped up really hard, turned and saw we were over a power plant. My vario speaker was screaming for mercy and developed a bad sore throat!  Will have to send to CkearNav for repair!


At this point we got to 4,000' cloud base and started to feel racy. Soon we were back to wimp mode crossing a 10 mile blue hole...  Ended up on the other side over an old coal fired power plant which was not running!  This is when team flying proved invaluable. One of us would mark a 0.5 knotter while the other would test the next cloud. We leap frogged slowly among the half knotters and finally had enough  (2,500'AGL) to cross the trees for ten miles towards Triple Tree (the most beautiful airport in North America -- look it up on the web). Past Triple Tree, 6i and I finally had a half decent climb to 4,000' cloud base and I left at 120 knots for a 14 mile final glide. Landed on the grass and waited for Mitch who had decided on a more leisurely final glide speed. Ten minutes later the ground component arrives!!!  Perfect!  Beers and photos all around... 

We fill out the Alby log book and give it to FBO who was amazed and took a bunch of pictures of our team. Celebrated at a burger joint, drove to Monroe and then home arriving at 23:00. A 14 hour day with great fellowship!!!
L to R: Michael Abell, Mitch Deutsch, Fernandi Silva, Dan Nugent
Thanks to all, especially to Dan and Michael who made it possible, and to Mitch for the thermal centering help.



Alby flight No. 38 pin No. 20 - Rand Baldwin 6/30/2012

Rand Baldwin successfully flew with Alby in his LS-8 from Moontown Airport (just east of Huntsville) to LaGrange on Saturday, June 30. Congratulations to Rand!

Georgia on My Mind

By Rand Baldwin “NN”

My planning for the 21st leg of Alby’s journey began after my soaring buddy (and SoaringCafe.com partner) Bill Elliott trailered his JS1 Revelation to Sylacauga on June 23rd and received custody of Alby from Eric Hey. Bill made sure Alby was comfortably tucked away in his JS1 and then soared to our home base at Moontown Airport (3M5) near Huntsville, Alabama. Bill and I are both long-time members of the Huntsville Soaring Club, which has operated from Moontown since 1985.

Bill suggested that I consider flying the next leg on the following Saturday, June 30th. The synoptic forecast looked OK, although the weekend would be a scorcher. Max forecast ground temperatures for Saturday and Sunday were 107F! Temps that high are extremely rare in the Southeast, especially in June. The soaring forecast, however, was extraordinary. XC Skies predicted thermal heights at 7,000 to 9,000 feet and climb rates of 5 to 7 knots. It has been very dry in the South this spring, so it would be blue around Huntsville with perhaps some cu near my destination at Georgia’s LaGrange-Callaway Airport, southeast of Atlanta and home to the Southern Eagles Soaring (SES) club.

On Friday, the night before my flight, Tim McGowin (2EZ), a long-time soaring buddy and SES member, called to tell me that my friends and SES members Mary Jo and Wally Berry (WB) had graciously offered to put me up for the night if I made it to LaGrange. I’ve known Mary Jo and Wally for two decades, but hadn’t seen them for a couple of years, so I was tempted to take them up on their offer.  
Flight Plan: Moonville to LaGrange

LaGrange is 143 miles from Moontown by air, so it’s not a particularly challenging cross country flight on a decent day. My only concern was the terrain along the latter half of the route. Much of the area along the Alabama-Georgia border and toward LaGrange is hilly and heavily forested. Although there are small airports every 20 to 25 miles near a direct course between Moontown and LaGrange, landable fields are few and far between. If the forecast panned out, of course, I should easily be able to hop from one airport to another. Landing out would be far down my list of concerns. Nevertheless, with the terrain in mind, I chose the following route: Moontown – Guntersville – Albertville – Gadsden – McMinn – Anniston – Ashland – Roanoke – LaGrange: 153 miles.



As expected, Saturday morning dawned hot, hazy, and blue. High pressure, which in the absence of the extreme temperatures would normally suppress convection, dominated the area, causing visibility to suffer.

A couple of days before, I had contacted a fellow HSC pilot, John Mittel, whose ASW-27 is undergoing repair, to find out if he could crew for me. John kindly agreed to retrieve me, which was a major commitment, since a round trip by car between Moontown and LaGrange is an eight to nine hour road trip.

We wanted to assemble the glider early, so John and I met Bill at a Waffle House for breakfast. Bill was on his way to Tullahoma, Tennessee to fly his JS1 with Dick Butler, who would be flying his brand new Concordia.

After breakfast, John and I drove to Moontown and stopped at the HSC trailer hangar, where my LS8 spends most of its down time. We were joined by former HSC instructor Don Gamble and HSC tow pilot (and Grob Astir owner) Doug Morris. While checking the trailer lights, Don pointed out that I had no left turn signal and that one taillight was brighter than the other.

Fortunately, Doug tackled the trailer lighting problem with a vengeance and managed to successfully troubleshoot the issue and fix it (Thanks, Doug!). Unfortunately, we lost about an hour of time, so we had to assemble after the ground temps were well into the 90s. Finally, the ship was ready to launch and scurried around making sure the last few items were in the cockpit. By that time, I had decided that I would either stay with Mary Jo and Wally or try to get a tow at LaGrange if I landed early enough and there was time to make the return trip. So John was off the hook.

I launched at about 1:00 PM CDT and soon found a 2 knotter that took me to ~ 5,200’ AGL. The sky was blue as far as I could see (~15 miles), but by 1:20 I was high enough to get started, so I pushed the nose down and headed southeast toward Guntersville.


Guntersville Airport and Lake Guntersville
A few miles down course, I ran into the first decent thermal of the day. I averaged 3.3 knots and climbed to 6,800’ AGL. I was relieved to get that high because Lake Guntersville, which is a large bulge in the Tennessee River, lay a few miles ahead. I had crossed Lake Guntersville and the river many times and usually experienced much weaker or non-existent lift in an area extending to 5 or 10 miles on either side of the lake. Sure enough, as I approached Guntersville, the air became ominously smooth. I slowed to ~65 knots and hoped that by the time I reached Albertville, about 10 miles east of Guntersville, I would run into a thermal.

I glided for about 20 minutes and lost 4,000’. I flew over the edge of the town of Albertville and felt a few bumps, but nothing worth circling in, so I turned toward the airport, hoping the runway or a nearby construction site would trigger lift.

Albertville Airport from on high
I flew over the runway from north to south, getting down to 1,600’ AGL before the vario came to life. I rolled into a right turn and held my breath. It started off slowly, but the climb rate increased and in a few minutes I was at 6,500’. Even better, there were cus ahead! On the way to Gadsden, I circled under a couple of nice cus and worked my way up to 8,300’. Cloudbase was still above me. The forecast was right on!






First Cumulus







Short of Gadsden, I headed straight for McMinn Airport, working a couple of clouds along the way. The clouds proliferated and grew in size as I flew further south, so the rest of the flight was pretty much a cakewalk. My concerns about terrain evaporated. Who cares about the ground when you’re at 8,000’?

On final glide eight miles from LaGrange over the lake














The rest of the flight was high and fast. At 3:23, 47 miles from LaGrange, I started a 30-minute final glide. Except for one circle, I flew straight to LaGrange and arrived over the airport at 3:56 CT.

Before landing, I called Tim McGowin, who was preparing his glider for its annual inspection at the SES hangar. The hangar is on the west side of a beautiful wide grass landing area, which lies between runway 3/33 and a taxiway near the hangar. On final, I saw Tim waiting for me. As I rolled to a stop, he ran out and caught my wing. 
Rand at LaGrange
First things first: As soon as I stepped out of the glider, I retrieved Alby from his perch behind my seat, and turned him over to Tim, who will shepherd Alby to his next stop at Chilhowee Gliderport in Tennessee.
 
Rand (R) presents Alby to Tim McGowin (L)
After Tim helped me move the glider off the runway, I relaxed in the hangar, made a few phone calls, and enjoyed the air conditioned comfort of the pilots’ lounge. Later, we shuffled gliders around and made room for my LS8’s overnight sojourn in the hangar.

 

Epilogue:

Tim gave me a ride to Wally and Mary Jo’s home near Auburn, Alabama, where Wally is a professor of agriculture and a specialist in poultry science. The Berrys had recently built a new house in a wooded area outside of the city, so I was treated to a tour of their beautiful new home. They did much of the interior work themselves and it is truly a work of art!


Rand, Mary Jo, and Wally . . . and the dogs

We had dinner at a nearby restaurant and stayed up late catching up on the years since we’d seen each other. The next morning, I enjoyed a wonderful breakfast, courtesy of Mary Jo, who also packed a cooler with lunch and dirinks for a morning at the airport. Back at LaGrange, Wally assembled his Libelle H-301 and we conferred with Chris Ruf, Tim, and Dieter about the weather and their tasks for the day, which was forecast to be another good soaring day.


Chris, Rand, Tim, and Wally under Tim’s wing awaiting tows at LaGrange
We began launching around 1:00 PM. About 20 minutes after I release, I found a strong thermal under a large cu near the airport. Tim and Wally were higher but in the same thermal, and waited for me to climb up. I intended to fly back to Moontown and they decided to join me for a while, so the three of us headed NW toward Roanoke with Chris Ruf a few miles behind. 
Tim McGowin in 2EZ




Wally’s H-301 Libelle















The cus were clearly overdeveloping even before we left LaGrange, but the lift was great. When I passed Ashland/Lineville, the others wisely decided to rurn around and head back to LaGrange before the sky blew up.



For me, the flight all the way to McMinn was high and fast, but after turning toward Gadsden, I ran under blow-off from a storm to the north that had dissipated. It was shadowing the area ahead, but I had plenty of altitude to make it to the turn, so I wasn’t too concerned. Mother Nature, however, had other plans. I was soon running through interminable sink. My netto was indicating a constant 3 to 4 knots down, and the altimeter was winding down at an alarming rate. This continued unabated for several miles, until I became concerned that I might not make Gadsden Airport. There are few places to land on a direct route to the airport, so I deviated to a private strip, Golden Pond, about 10 miles south of Gadsden, hoping to find something going up around there.

The sink finally abated, but by that time, I was ~1,500’ above Golden Pond and the shadow from the high altitude blow-off had apparently killed the lift. The dying cumin must also have dumped cool air, which caused the large scale sink. I was stunned at the dramatic turn of events, but I had to accept my fate. Gear down, spoilers out, land. . .

Golden Pond turned out to be a nice wide, grassy strip with no surprises. As soon as I collected myself, got out of the cockpit, and surveyed the strip, I called Doug Morris, who was waiting for my arrival at Moontown and requested an aero retrieve. Doug fired up the Pawnee and was there within an hour.

On Golden Pond
We took a few pictures, pushed the ship back, hooked up, and took off. The tow back took about 45 minutes in relatively smooth air. The clouds had all but disappeared and we ran into only three or four bumps along the way. The day had definitely died.

After passing Guntersville, I released from the Pawnee and raced the 25 or so miles back to Moontown at ~90 knots. When I landed, club members John Mittel, Randy Stout,and Stu Venters were there to greet me and help me disassemble my bird. As I was getting out of the glider, Randy handed me a beer, which I gulped down immediately.

I am honored to have participated in Alby’s voyage. It was great fun and I enjoyed a wonderful weekend of soaring in outstanding weather and seeing old friends. Thanks Alby!

Alby flight No. 29 pin No. 19 - Bill Elliott 6/24/2012

Bill Elliott flew Alby from Sylacauga to Huntsville, AL Sunday , June 24. Congratulations to Bill on a terrific flight.
Eric Hey hands off Alby to Bill Elliott in Sylacauga, AL.
Bill, almost ready to go.
Bill and Alby away.
Alby arrives in Huntsville, AL. Nice flight, guys.

Alby flight No. 28; pin No. 18 - Eric Hey; 5/7/12

Eric was towed to 3,500' agl and was on his way with Alby towards Sylacauga, Alabama. He landed at Sylacauga at 4:45 pm with Alby. Here, Thomas (left) passes Alby to Eric for the next leg.
Eric with Alby.

Alby flight No. 27; pin No. 17 - Thomas Sippel; 5/7/12

Thomas Sippel in the PW-5 and Carey Hardin in the Citabria delivered Alby to Bob and Eric Hey at the Shelby County Airport SE of Birmingham AL. Departure from STR was 12:37 and Arrived at Shelby Co. at 3:15 pm. Within moments Alby was transferred into the waiting Laister Nugget LP-15 (N97DT) piloted by Eric Hey. The aero tow was performed by Carey Hardin in Citabria (N662V). Alby now awaits a flight from Sylacauga to Huntsville, Alabama.

Alby flight No. 26; pin No. 16 - Bob Herndon; 6/26/11-8/6/11

Vicksburg to Starkville, MS

Alby arrived in Jackson by Fed Ex. We were not able to meet him in Vicksburg. He was not happy as he was supposed to fly from Vicksburg to Woodbridge airport, just North of Jackson, MS. Since he expected to fly the whole distance, we planned to fly him back to Vicksburg. With my first try on June 18 in our ASW 20, N3EB. I couldn’t control the plane adequately with Alby’s case on my lap, the case got in the way of the stick so I didn’t have adequate right aileron range. I had to release at 200 feet because of slack rope and made a quick 180 and landed. Alby was not impressed.






Notice that it is a sunny day. Scattered lift. I only got to 3200 staying close to home in the Grob 102.




The next try, on June 26, we flew Alby, without his case back over the Vicksburg airport where he could see the Mississippi flood, which was receding by that time. Lift was weak and it took almost a half hour to get to cloud base. Alby insisted that he could do much better on his own and didn’t seem impressed with my thermalling skills. Nevertheless, once we got to cloud base the trip proved fairly easy and we never got below 2,500 AGL until descending to land at Woodbridge. Alby got a good view of the Mississippi Delta. Since there are very few land out spots in the area around the Big Black River I was a bit nervous crossing that area but did not have any trouble with it.

On July 10, I took Alby on our first try for Starkville – It was a good day locally with cloud bases at 4,000 msl and expected to rise as the day progressed so it looked to be a good day all around. Unfortunately, half way to Carthage which is about 25 miles to the North, there was a big blue hole and the few tiny clouds in the area had bases at about 3,000 msl or 2,500 agl. Lift was weak, there were no good land out areas and I had to turn back. I got some good lift and tried again about a half hour later but again ran into the same big blue hole. Lift west of the Pearl River looked a bit better but by then it was too late to try again.

August 6 time for another try. Conditions looked fairly good with cloud base at 3,800 msl and, since they usually go up through the afternoon I expected 5,000 to 5,500 msl cloud bases by late afternoon. There are essentially no decent land out areas between Woodbridge and Carthage so getting to Carthage was a bit tense but there were some good cloud streets so I went ahead. I didn’t ask Alby what he thought of a rough off field landing but fortunately didn’t have to land out. North of Carthage, there are more airports and land out possibilities so I proceeded despite the fact that conditions were a bit overbuilt and the cloud base remained low, about 3,500 msl or 3,000 agl. As I approached Louisville, the lift appeared to be dying and I got down to about 1,200 agl but was quite close to the Louisville airport so I kept searching and was just starting a turn toward the airport when I finally hit a strong thermal and worked my way up to 3,500 msl. There was a thunderstorm just North of Louisville and between there and Starkville and Alby didn’t want to be too close to a thunderstorm. “Leave that to the Storm Petrels”. So we skirted the storm to the West and arrived at Starkville after a 3 hour 22 minute flight. George Bennett came out and had arranged a tow which got me about half way back as there was no longer any lift. I landed at Kosciusko and was picked up by my close friend and fellow CFIG in our tow plane and he brought me on home. Had I known that ceilings would remain as low as they did, I would not have even considered trying a long cross-country but it all worked out. Alby was happy to be out of his box and moving again and seemed fairly impressed with the distance and I didn’t even have to flap my wings.







Dr. Bob Herndon arriving home after taking Alby to Starville MS. Landing after rain and cloud covered afternoon.





That is among the longest flights for our club. Probably the longest was made on a good day (cross country days are a rarity here, almost all in the Spring or Fall. We have had a 9,000 foot day but only once since the clubs inception in 2003. The longest flight was probably 60 nm to Greenwood and Back by Stan Music. I think this is the second longest and the longest direct flight to a goal by a large margin. Certainly it is the longest on a 4,500 ft. max day. I did a flight of about 95 nm. round trip a few years ago but under much better conditions.


IGC file 



Reflections on flying with Alby - Dean Forney

Monday, June 15th

After much soul-searching, I have decided to go ahead and tell you a few things about Alby that I’m sure will surprise you. Who knew that Albatrosses have a temper? I guess I was so smitten with the image of Alby the adventurer, and Alby the free spirit, that I was caught completely off guard the first time he blew up and started screaming at me. I might add that he can be quite sarcastic in some of his remarks. He first started in on me when I was unloading him after landing-out in York’s pasture. I had to explain to him that this was just all part of the cross-country experience, and part of the adventure. He said he didn’t think much of it, but would try to bear with me.

The next episode was after I landed at Cypress River. That’s where he really showed his temper and we got into quite an argument. It got so heated that at one point I threatened to throw him out in the swamp and let him find his own way on without me! I know that was a childish, petty statement on my part but he insulted me by saying that a 6 month old Albatross chick knew more about soaring than I did! After we both cooled off, we made peace and apologized to each other. As I was driving home, we had a long talk. He told me that he was getting sick of riding in my truck, that he hadn’t signed on for this, nor had he agreed to sit in my study in a box for 6 months. He asked me if I had confused his race for that of Polar Bears or something else that hibernated during the winter.

Albatrosses, as I found out by listening to him, are a very patient bird, accustomed to soaring for days on end. But they do have their limits, he told me. On my side of the discussion, I explained all about how humans mimic his species the best we can, but circumstances of varying terrain and the vagaries of the weather will screw up our best-made plans from time to time. He said he understood. I had to remind him that his part of the bargain meant that he would have to just put up with our shortcomings in order to learn about our sport.

We finally both agreed that we could do better and promised to show more tolerance for each other’s differences. I’m glad we cleared that up. I just thought I should warn those of you who are traveling with Alby from here on, to be aware that if you inadvertently cause Alby to be confined for too long a period at one time, you should be prepared for the consequences. On the other hand, if you treat him to long flights, and frequently, he will talk, or even sing to you your praises. If you keep him in the right mood, he will teach you things about soaring that you could never learn on your own.

Godspeed Alby!
Dean Forney

Alby flights No. 23, 24 and 25; pin No. 15- Dean Forney; 4/26/10; 5/24/20; 6/13/10

Notes below are from Dean Forney, recounting his 3-part flight from Midlothian, Texas to Gilliam, Louisiana. Congratulations to Dean on this exceptional leg of the journey! Ed.

The last legs from Texas to Louisiana was filled with new adventures over unknown territory and although quite challenging and very difficult at times, it was never the less a wonderfully rewarding experience.

Part 3. Cypress River, Texas to Gilliam, Louisiana

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

I had checked with Wayne to see if the towplane would be ready the weekend of June 5th and 6th. It wasn’t, and the weather was not cooperating either. They were under a Tornado Watch as I was speaking to him. I continued to check the weather as the next week wore on, and it was iffy. When I looked at Dr Jack’s Blipmap for Sunday, it looked favorable and I decided to give it a try. Friday after work I rounded up my trailer and parked it in front of the house. I loaded up everything except Alby before I went to bed. I work from 3:30 in the morning until 2 PM on Saturdays, so when I got home I grabbed Alby and hooked up the trailer. I was on the road to Louisiana shortly after 3:00. The fastest route had me traveling east across north Texas to Texarkana, Arkansas then south to Shreveport.

I made a couple of phone calls along the way, first to Wayne Crank Jr. in Shreveport, arranging to meet him at Gilliam the next day, then to Glenn and Liz Maynard to keep them posted on the latest developments regarding Alby’s Voyage. When I talked to Glenn, he and Liz were actually at The Lone Star Aerobatic Championships near Sherman, Texas where they were both competing. I passed by about 10 miles from the Grayson County Airport while I was talking to him, and was very tempted to detour there and give my support to their efforts. I still had nearly 200 miles to go before bedtime though, so had to keep on the road. By the way, Glenn took first place in his category, and Liz placed in the upper third in her advanced category, flying their Giles G-202. They wished Alby and me luck on completing this last leg out of Texas.

I checked into a motel on the north side of Shreveport around 8:30 and hit the sack. The next morning I grabbed a quick breakfast and drove the 25 miles north to Gilliam. Just as I was pulling into the Airport, I saw an Aeronca coming in to land. It was piloted by Shreveport Soaring’s Ralph Forrester and his passenger Doug Olson. They showed me where to park and then the three of us quickly put the Libelle together. Ralph is one of those guys that do anything and everything that needs to be done around the club. Today he would be our winch driver. Doug is a new member in their club and has had a couple of lessons so far. Doug’s day job is flying B-52 “Buffs” out of Barksdale AFB located at the east edge of Shreveport. It was still early and Ralph and Doug had some chores to do, so they took off to go get a lawn mower somewhere and I decided to drive over to have a look at Thackers airstrip some 8 miles from Gilliam as an Albatross flies. What I saw was dense trees, sloughs and creeks and no place to land once I got away from the Red River farmland about 3 or 4 miles out. Shortly after I got back to Gilliam Ralph and then Wayne arrived. There were also a couple of fellows waiting for the local Skydivers that operate out of Gilliam. I found out from Wayne that the club had conducted around 25 winch launches the day before, and several people had managed to climb out to cloudbase around 3000 agl. Today looked like it would be about the same. This encouraged me. While I was driving in the day before, I had ample time to think about the real possibility that today might turn out to be a series of winch launches followed by landings, or something worse (as far as Alby’s Voyage is concerned) such as a 8-10 mile flight with a landing at Thackers, Vivian, or even 28 miles away at Cypress River! I was eager to get started. The fellow that owns the airport came by and introduced himself: Mr. Danny Logan, a really nice Southern Gentleman, keeps his own 172 on this airstrip, and allows a crop-duster as well as the Skydivers and the Shreveport Soaring Club to operate here. Thank you Mr. Logan for letting Alby fly from your strip as well.

I had looked back through my logbooks a couple of days ago, and discovered that it had been over 15 years since my last winch launch or auto-tow. After talking it over with Wayne and Ralph, we all decided that it would be wise to do a couple of check rides in their 2 place Lark. Wayne got in the back seat and I in front. The first launch only netted 700 feet due to me starting the climb late. I was happy to note a couple of good bumps as I entered the pattern. The next climb was a little better, but only got about 850 feet. While we were hanging around for a minute or two, we ran into a thermal and climbed up to 1200 feet or so. Wayne suggested that we might as well stay up where it was cool for a while, but I was really eager to get back down to start the “Voyage”.

I was soon settled in the cockpit of my Libelle and Wayne was attaching the winch wire to the cg hook. My first launch resulted in 750 feet and I didn’t contact lift after release, so back on the ground for an immediate re-light. This time I got 900 feet and ran smack into the house thermal right after release. I steadily worked my way up as the wind drifted me north 2 or 3 miles. I was looking down on the paved drag strip located 1.5 miles from the airstrip. I had been warned by Wayne not to even think about landing here, because the drag strip is lined with lights and you can’t see some of them from the air. It looks just like a nice paved runway, even has a taxiway along the side. I couldn’t see any clouds within reach directly towards Cypress River, but there were some south and a bit west of Gilliam and more or less in the direction of Thackers, so I ran over to them. I was back down to 2000 or so when I got there. As I slowly climbed back up I was studying the location of clouds on course. There was pretty much nothing directly along the course line, but there were several around Thackers and a few west of there. When I topped out here I was at 3500 and so headed on to the next one. It was 6 or 7 miles out there and I was back at 2500 feet when I arrived. I wasn’t averaging much of a climb rate, but I wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth. I was getting between 2 and 3 knots in the climbs.

Now I was located about half way between Thackers to the south and Vivian to the north and I was well away from the farm fields. I could look straight down and see swamp water amongst the trees. To the west there were no clouds, and the cloud I was milking gave out on me at 2900 feet. My inner voice was telling me it was time to move away from the trees, so I started back towards Gilliam. This was the right move and at the right time because I slowly but relentlessly sank toward the ground. I ran through a teeny thermal just before I got out of the swamp, but only managed to get back up to 2300. I could see that I was staying in a very safe position, and had it made back to Gilliam, but would soon be landing if I didn’t find something. It kept on until I was only half a mile from Gilliam and at 1100 feet. Literally at the last minute, I found the house thermal, and cranked my way back up to cloudbase, and yep, drifted back over Thunder Road again. The clouds were right about where I found them the first time, but had improved in the sense that the tops on some of them were building and a few had developed those good looking concave bases. In fact, by scouting around different spots under the cloud I was working, I found a sweet spot that gave me 4-5 knot lift and topped out at 4200.

Now I was ready to make a serious charge out west, and off I went. I ran out to a cloud that was about the same place where I quit the first venture, and got from 2600 back up to 3800. This afforded me the chance to go for a couple more clouds off to the southwest. My dilemma wasn’t an inability to get along the course; it was getting enough altitude and/or close enough together to be able to stay in the lift band. It’s one thing to be able to make it to a landing place, and quite another to arrive there with enough altitude left to hook up with some more lift. It accomplishes nothing if you land at a checkpoint along the way. After one more run to the next cloud, I was a couple of miles north of Cypress River and working some mediocre lift. The wind was blowing out of the south, so I was drifting farther away from the airport as I climbed. By the time I topped out I was at 3500 and was wasting more time than I was gaining. At least I had enough to run into the airport for the remote start, and I crossed the runway at 3000 feet.

After 2 ½ hours in the air, Alby was now officially on his way to Shreveport. There were neither clouds nor lift that I could find around Cypress, so off I went back north to the cloud I had come in from. It had moved quite a way farther north so it cost me 1000 feet to get there, only to find it had completely died while I was gone. All of a sudden the situation changed from good to bad. There was nowhere to go except for the safety of the runway back at Cypress River. I set a course straight for the airport, desperately scrutinizing the ground for anything that might make a thermal. About the time I had resigned myself to the fate of a forced landing at Cypress, I spotted a small area where the trees had been clear-cut around the top of a small hill. I veered my course off to the right, and just like the textbooks promise, there was the nicest little thermal you could ask for. I was only a mile from the runway, at 1100 feet above sea level and the terrain here is around 300 msl. Folks, that means that I was 800 feet above the ground. This was one of the best saves I have ever pulled off. I worked it for all I was worth, too! You can bet that I wasn’t going to blow this one. I had to go pretty steep to stay in it, but the higher I got, the better it got. This is what soaring is all about!

A cloud began to form above me, the lift had picked up to 3 knots (I thought this was excellent by the day's standard), I could see another cloud to the east that would be reachable and was right on course for home. Then I saw a rainbow between the next cloud and me. Cloud base was 4100 feet. I left it with a light heart, and a thank you on my lips. I tanked up again at the next cloud. It was one of those that have a multi-level base. The west side where I was working was higher than the rest of it, and lift was strong. I got to my highest point of the day at 4350. I was 22 ½ miles from Gilliam, and no worries about needing a bunch of reserve altitude, so I set a straight course for home. I was passing under the low part of the deck when all of a sudden it began to rain. Little beads of water formed all over the canopy then it started really raining with a big sheet of water running across us. I could see the ground by looking straight down and had pushed the speed up to 80 to get out of it as fast as possible. It didn’t take long and I soon broke out into the clear.

For a brief period I was sinking like a brick, as thousands of little spoilers formed all over the wings. They soon blew away and I was back running at best L/D. I wasn’t real sure that I was still high enough to make it now, but was confident that I could easily detour to Vivian or Thackers if needed. Now I could make out the white spot that is the bleachers at the drag strip, and from there I picked out the gap between two cornfields that is Gilliam’s runway. It was pretty low on the horizon, but I knew I was going to make it. I arrived a little too high for a straight in approach, but a little too low for a standard pattern. I veered off to the north, then back south, making a very large split-s approach, and touched down about half way up the runway. Wayne was the only one left at the airport. He greeted me with as big a grin as I had. We shook hands, and then I made the official presentation, turning Alby over to his next pilot. I can’t find the right words to tell you what a grand adventure this has been for me, but I can say that this has been the most rewarding series of flights I have done in many years. I believe that this is what Alby’s Voyage is all about.

With Wayne’s help we de-rigged and loaded the Libelle. I headed back home, and Alby went to spend his first night in Louisiana at Wayne’s house. I stopped in Texarkana for supper and gas and was at the house around 1 AM. I’m still grinning every time I think about my part in Alby’s Voyage!

View Flight on OLC

***********************


Part 2. Mineola to Cypress River, Texas

Monday, May 24th

Almost a month had gone by since Alby and I landed in Russell York’s pasture just outside of Mineola, Texas. The time had been spent repairing the landing gear and then when the ship was ready to go, waiting out the weather. Finally we were set to go. Getting a towplane to meet us at the Mineola Airport took some doing. First try was with the Shreveport Soaring Club 101 miles away. This was when I learned that their towplane was in the shop getting an engine overhaul. Next I checked out the Commercial operation at Midway Airport, 85 miles away. While this was viable, the cost was more than I had hoped for so we put this option aside as a reserve plan. After our home club, North Texas Soaring, (Captained by Jim Vickery) chipped in on the cost of using our tug, and after Tom Dowdy volunteered to take off work on Monday to ferry the Cessna Ag-wagon back and forth as well as do the tow at Minneola; and seeing as how we would not interrupt normal week-end club operations at Decatur, the plan was put into motion. Mineola is 130 miles from Decatur, and Tom lives a fair distance from the club, so he had to get up early in order to be on time for a noon launch.

Glenn and Liz Maynard were once again ready, willing, and able for crew duties. We repeated the rendezvous at the Denton Airport, switched vehicles, and headed out southeast to Mineola, Texas. We arrived around 11:00 and immediately set about rigging up the Libelle. It didn’t take long to get Alby and me ready to launch. Shortly after we finished up, Tom came sailing in about 2000 feet over the trees with our tug, and entered the pattern. From here on the countryside for about the first half is mostly trees with farm fields sprinkled along at irregular intervals. There are lots of ponds, or what is known in this part of the country as “Stock Tanks”. There are also two very large lakes, and eventually some big areas of swampland. I had carefully planned the route with checkpoints selected where landing strips were located. I had never flown over any of the territory east of Dallas, and because satellite photos show mostly unfriendly terrain, as far as I was concerned, I would consider land-out fields to be non-existent. By now, medium looking cumulous clouds were scattered about. It was time to hook up and go!

Take-off from Mineola

Tom towed me into the wind out south of the airport and then looped around back over town to arrive on the west side of the runway at 3000 AGL, where I released. I headed for a cloud over town and connected with lift. I was disappointed to see that everything was rapidly drifting northward and so knew that my forward progress would require extra time. It was important from a safety point to stick to the planned route.

I pushed southeast toward my first checkpoint, a ranch strip named Rhodes. I also spent some time exploring the optimal lift zone to work and found it to be between 4000 and 5000 with average climbs of 4 knots. I was encouraged, and so set off to the east and the next checkpoint at Holly Lake. I made pretty good progress for a while, but bogged down when I got to the city of Gilmer. I could find lift around town under the clouds, but it was all very weak and was taking forever to climb back up.

I had a long hop to go to the next checkpoint of McKenzie, and it was located on the other side of a very large expanse of water, namely, Lake O’ The Pines. There would be no place to land along the way, and I needed to tank up large before heading out. Finally, by waiting it out mostly, and grinding away at it, I got into some decent lift and actually topped out close to 6000 feet. Now I was off and running and Alby was even talking to me again. I found 2 more decent clouds along the way and was topping out between 5800 and 6000 each time. I really was feeling optimistic, however I could see a pretty good-sized blue hole coming up.

I could see more clouds to the south, but they were too far away from my known landing strips for me to consider trying. It’s funny, (not) how quickly things can go from elation to that gut-gnawing sinking feeling. I was high enough to make it to the next checkpoint, but probably wouldn’t be able to do anything but land when I got there unless I could find some good lift along the way. My only choice was to press on and hope for the best.

You know, the odds of finding lift on a decent day like this are pretty good over a 15-mile glide. As I kept on going mile after mile I found nothing. I’m guessing that the blue hole was due to a mass of cool marine air from the lake. There was absolutely not a bump the whole way in. I veered off course each time I spotted anything close that might produce a thermal, but to no avail. I raised Liz on the radio and told her about the situation. She told me that they were already at Cypress River Airport and she spotted me coming in. After I got about a mile away from the airport, and was at 1800 feet, I turned around and ran over to the town of Jefferson, about 3 miles away to try to find me a thermal. I was able to scratch a little weak lift here and there and got up to about 2200 at one point, but it was a losing battle. So, once again I returned Alby to Texas when I landed at Cypress River.

I really loved this flight, up until the part where I had to land. We saw some beautiful and interesting country, experienced some good soaring for a while, and moved to within 15 miles of the Louisiana state line. I won’t bore you with the details of how Glenn and Liz (and Alby and me) took the glider apart, put it in the trailer, drove 200 miles back to Denton, etc. etc. etc. Alby arrived back in my study in Gainesville at 2:00 AM. I will tell you what he had to say about that later. We all had some really good pizza on the way home.

View Flight on OLC

I checked with Wayne Crank Jr. at Shreveport Soaring to see how their towplane overhaul was progressing. He told me it wouldn’t be ready the weekend of May 29th, but possibly would be by the following weekend. I didn’t even bother checking the soaring forecast; I did chores and yard work instead. The next weekend I did check, and it was dismal. Strong winds, broken weak lift, and an absolute dead zone centered right on Cypress River. The towplane wasn’t ready yet, so it didn’t much matter. While talking to Wayne, he had mentioned that his club was using a winch to launch their gliders during the time the towplane was in the shop. He said that we might be able to trailer the winch over to Cypress River and get me launched for the final leg. I began to think of possible ways of doing the job. The problem with setting everything up at Cypress River was a matter of logistics. It would require a crew of people to drive there from Shreveport, conduct the operation, wait around to see if I could find lift, possibly would involve multiple tries to get started, and would take the only means of launching gliders away from Gilliam, effectively shutting down operations for the whole club for at least a day. I would also need someone to bring my pickup and trailer from Cypress River to Gilliam. Not the best plan, I reckoned. On the other hand, if I could launch from the existing winch set-up at Gilliam, it would not upset normal operations at all for the Shreveport club. Also, my trailer would already be waiting there for me when I finished the task. Wayne told me that launches at Gilliam would result in average climbs of 1000 to 1200 feet. That means that you just about need to be in a thermal when you release, obviously a landing is imminent if you don’t connect with one. Now you might well think that this would be a piece of cake. It should be and could be on a day when you have respectably high cloud-bases or tops of thermals. However, I am remembering that I had just completed two hops along the way, 85 miles and then 75 miles, and I had learned that cloud bases kept getting lower as I moved farther east through this particular country, and that the availability of safe out-landing sites decreases at about the same ratio. While neither of the previous 2 flights netted large distances, I feel good about them. I would stick to my plan of hopping along established landing strips while crossing unknown hostile terrain; it’s the safest way to do it.

So this would be the plan: winch launch from Gilliam, fly across the swamps and forests to the west side of the Cypress River, Texas Airport, make a remote start from there, then do the official Alby Flight back (across the swamps and forests) to the Shreveport Soaring Club at Gilliam, Louisiana. There would be only two possible landing spots along the way, and neither was directly on the shortest route between Gilliam and Cypress River. One is Thackers, a private airstrip 4 miles inside the Louisiana state line. The other is the Vivian, LA. Airport, 2 miles inside state line. It is 20 miles from Cypress R. to either of these fields.

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Part 1. Midlothian to Mineola, Texas Sunday, April 25th, 2010

The Soaring forecast didn’t look that bad, but showed there would be strong winds. The fact that the winds were pretty much blowing from Midlothian straight towards Louisiana caught my attention and made me decide to give it a try. Unfortunately, Liz Maynard was down and out with a bronchial infection and Glenn was scheduled to fly a trip from DFW to Tokyo, so neither was available for crewing. I decided to press on anyway, and thought that I would not worry about how to get home until after I landed. It’s all a matter of priorities and number one on the top of my list was getting Alby moved (safely, but not necessarily conveniently) on down the road and as soon as possible. So I got up early Sunday morning and trailered the Libelle the 90 miles south to Midlothian.

I put the glider together and put Alby on his perch behind my head. We were all set to go except for one thing. The wind was blowing right across the runway with gusts over 20 knots. I waited a couple of hours, hoping things would improve, but they didn’t. Conditions were just not conducive to making a safe take-off. Finally, after 3:30 came and went, I scrubbed the attempt. I tied the Libelle down, parked the trailer out back of the hangers, and put Alby back in my truck. Alby was getting a little up tight by now (more about that later). After I got home I called Liz to keep her informed of the (non) developments, and was surprised when Glenn answered the phone. He had not taken the Tokyo flight after all, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear that he and Liz (ever faithful to the Alby Cause through sickness and health) would be available for crew duties for another try the next day.

Glenn Maynard and Dean
Monday, April 26th, 2010

I left home at 7:30 and drove south 35 miles where I met up with Glenn and Liz at the Denton Airport close to where they live. We left my pickup there. We arrived at the Gliderport south of Midlothian a couple of hours later. We got the Libelle untied, readied, and Alby loaded onboard. We hooked my trailer up to Glenn’s truck and soon were all set to go, both in the air and on the ground. The winds were still fairly strong but had switched around from yesterday’s cross component to a more favorable direction for take off. Our towpilot had some morning appointments and so we didn’t get to take off as soon as we would have liked to. When he got ready and we were briefing each other about the tow, he informed me that the forecast didn’t look good at all, with a plus something thermal index. That turned out to not be accurate but alas, the part about it not being good was true. Undaunted, and casting all negative soaring thoughts behind us, we hooked up, took off, and soon were 3000 ft AGL and into the first thermal.

The wind was a factor on getting started because as I was working under my first cloud, I drifted under the DFW class B airspace and had to watch that I didn’t get above 4000 ft. As it turned out, I didn’t need to worry much about it because the thermals were not going above that anyway. I cloud hopped my way around to the east and north, passing south of Midway and then Lancaster Airports imbedded in the Dallas Metroplex. Now I was clear of the Class B and struck out on course for Louisiana.

The first part of this flight was comfortable enough because after leaving the city there were a lot of farm fields along the way, plus several landing strips, which were major checkpoints along the planned route. It was slow going though. There was a temperature inversion sitting at about 4000 feet putting a lid on the tops of the thermals. You could see heavy haze in most any direction and the cu’s appeared to dissolve into the stuff beyond about 10 miles. There also was still a pretty good crosswind blowing south to north. The good news was that I kept finding useable lift marked by small low cu’s just about anytime I needed them. The disappearing cu’s were just an illusionary effect of the haze, because new ones kept coming into view out of the murk as I trudged along. I never did get very high, the lift was running between 2-3 knots, occasionally 4, and was topping out between 2700 and 3200. My high for the day was 4200 and that was only once. Three times I got down to 1200 ft but each time I ran into the needed thermal and scratched my way back up.

I had passed my checkpoints of Harper, Eisenbeck, Erco, and Goode. I crossed over Interstate 20 shortly after passing ND Ranch and this is about where I begun to run out of farmland and into the beginnings of the east Texas forests. Right about here is also where I noticed funny things happening with my electrical system. My audio vario was giving me different tones than I was used to; one of my varios quit all together and my data logger also gave up. I finally woke up to the fact that system battery voltage was down around 5 volts. (I discovered later that the battery had developed a short in one cell). I shut down everything except one vario and this worked ok for the rest of the flight. I now had no radio contact with Glenn and Liz as well.

I continued to work my way eastward using the clouds and was now over some mostly wooded terrain with a few low hills. Ground elevation here is around 500 feet above sea level and I had been seeing 2800-3000 feet on the altimeter for the last few climbs. The thermals were getting weaker also, averaging 2 knots. I finally came to the end of the trail when I got low over a timbered area with a few fields scattered around. I was still a few miles from the next checkpoint, and was only a tad over 6 miles southeast of the Mineola Airport, but couldn’t reach either. I picked out a good field, flew a pattern around it twice while still hopefully searching for lift. I actually got my teeth into a bit of lift and circled in and out of it for a while but it was too little too late. I made the decision and switched my focus to the job of landing.

My field was located at the junction of two county roads that wander through the woodlands, and was close to a tall narrow cylinder painted light green which I assume is a water tower and would prove to be a visual aid for Glenn and Liz to find me. The field had some low terracing which followed the contour of the slope it ran through. I could see a few houses scattered along the roads. I set up a right hand pattern and turned final over the tops of some trees. Everything went as planned with a normal approach and touchdown.

As I was rolling out and slowing nicely, my left wingtip caught a tussock of grass on the uphill side and swerved me to the left. In doing so, it put an abnormal side load on the main gear and actually popped the wheel out of the strut, as well as bending the A-frame pieces. I coasted to a stop in the grass with no other damage to the ship and none to me. To add insult to injury though, Alby chose this exact moment to tell me what he thought about the whole day. I will defer further description of the conversation, but promise to tell you about it later.

After removing the canopy and climbing out of the ship, I activated the message button on Glenn’s SPOT device. He had loaned it to me and explained that he had a pre-recorded message set up which would call his cell phone and report the coordinates of my present position automatically. I also checked the Alby SPOT device and saw that it was still functioning normally with both LED’s blinking properly. I then called Liz on my cell phone and found out that in spite of no radio contact, they had been following the Alby SPOT signals via Glenn’s I-phone screen and so were less than five miles from me and were on their way. Modern technology is truly wonderful, I thought.

I remember many occasions in my early years of cross-country attempts when I walked from my landing spot to some ranch house and used their telephone to call home, then waited hours, sometimes into the middle of the night for someone to come fetch me. In the mean time, I set about trying to find a gate that would allow access into the field. There was a house across the road, and while I was walking the fence line, a fellow strolled over and struck up a conversation. He hadn’t noticed the sailplane sitting in the field and said he thought I was inspecting the fence or something. I explained what was going on, and told him my friends would soon be there with the trailer. He said that he wasn’t the owner of the land, but knew Russell York, the man that was leasing it. In fact, he dialed Russell’s number on his cell phone then handed it to me.

I introduced myself and explained the reason for the phone call. He began to give me directions on how we could get into the field, but then decided it would be easier to just come on over and show us. A few minutes later, I saw Glenn and Liz arrive and shortly thereafter Russell York and a friend of his, Markeith Buckner showed up. Before long the whole convoy had come in through a neighbor’s pasture and a back gate into this field and pulled up to where the Libelle was resting. After introductions were made, we spent some time telling Russell and Markeith all about sailplanes, soaring, cross-country flying in general, and Alby’s Voyage in particular. They were fascinated with the whole project and we gave them information on how to check the past and future progress of Alby on the website. We also told them to be sure and look for this story to be posted because they were going to be included in it. Meeting helpful and friendly people like Russell and Markeith is one of the greatest parts of this whole adventure. Thanks again guys, for all of your help and hospitality!

Because of the lack of main wheel, we had to use a modified procedure to de-rig the ship. With the help of our new friends we wrestled first one wing then the other off and into the trailer. Then we all lifted the fuselage up and onto its’ cradle. It didn’t take long at all and we had everything secure and ready for the trip back home. We made it back to the Denton Airport around midnight and swapped the trailer from Glenn’s rig to mine. Alby and I were back at my house in Gainesville about an hour later.

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Special thanks to Dean, Elizabeth, Glenn and Tom for their extraordinary contributions to these flights. Ed.
Alby in the News

The flight of the Albatross across our Country caught the attention and the fantasy of a newsmaker, Adam Breen, who published a well written and inspired article in Hollister's "The Pinnacle" newspaper: www.pinnaclenews.com/news/contentview.asp?c=255106

Alby's Story

Alby is a Laysan Albatross. He was born and raised in the Midway Islands, not far from the very same Laysan Island that gives names to all the individuals of his species. His parents fed him for six months. They alternated trips of one or two weeks, during which one of them was feeding and the other was protecting Alby and the nest. The long intervals were necessary because often the food was very far away, up to 400 or 600 miles away. They fed him until he became as big as them, and then suddenly deserted him. They did that because they instinctively knew that he was developed enough to take care of himself from then on. And they could not spend all their energies in raising a chick. Although they can live 40 to 60 years, they can only raise a chick every couple of years.

The young albatross did not know all the tricks of life at sea, and the first year he had difficulties at times. One half of the fledglings do not make it through the first season, but Alby did, and everything was much easier after that. He went out on the open ocean and did not come back for years, not touching land at all, living off the bounty of the ocean, sleeping on it, learning to travel using the wind forcing the air up against the moving ridges formed by the waves.

Alby came back to his native island when he was three years old, because his biological clock was giving him the urge to look for a mate. His tentative dances with prospective mates were as clumsy as those of the other young albatrosses around him. Naturally nothing happened, but he experienced and practiced the ways of the elders.

He is 4 years old now. He has wandered the ocean all this time. He has gone through the vast expanses of water finding food, freedom, and safety. He has gone to the north Pacific and flown around the Aleutian Islands and the Gulf of Alaska and the fiords of British Columbia. Next year he will try again to go back to his birthplace to search for a mate, and probably will find one.

Albatrosses are at home in the open ocean, keeping at least 30 miles offshore. But Alby is different. He is curious about the land, just as curious as a young soul can be. In his voyages near the northern seashores he watched eagles fishing for salmons. That was not his preferred food, but he looked with interest at this different method of fishing. He communicated with the eagles, answering their whistles with his screeches.

He is fascinated by the land, but unable to penetrate it - he is used to mastering the wind over the waves, and the different way of flying inland is unfamiliar to him. He asked Eagle about the extent of the land, and Eagle said that there is land up to the summit of those far away mountains to the east, and more.

One day he met Pelican, and while they were floating and chatting over the gentle waves of a mild afternoon he learned that Pelican had actually been inland while flying with his flock. He had flown across the fertile valley of California, and over the magnificent mountains of the Sierra Nevada and farther more to the northeast. Alby learned that inside the land, beyond those far away mountains, there is a great lake, and peaks with snow, and forests and valleys, and towns and people.

Pelican described the beauty of the land, which is called America, according to what he heard when people talked about it. Being a sociable character, when he was inside the land Pelican also had contacted other big birds and knew a good deal about what lay farther inside that large country.

Pelican learned from the other birds that there are large deserts and arid mountains in the interior highlands. There are very few people in those deserts, few roads, few machines. Nature is mostly untouched by man there, with many animals running free. The air is not disturbed by artificial smells and mechanical noises. It takes many days of overflying this natural environment before reaching the majestic mountains of the Continental Divide. Here the land is green again with large forests. Snow may remain up to late summer, the rocks are harsh and austere.

From there one can overfly the vast farmlands that gradually decrease in elevation until they make room for the mighty rivers that cut the America land in two. Pelican had also contacted seagulls that told him about more land to cross going east, with plenty of houses and towns and people. There are cities sporting very high buildings that tower up toward the sky. There are rivers and lakes where an aquatic bird can feed. He heard tales from vultures and hawks that there is another long range of lower mountains and beyond that, couple of days away as the crow flies, there is ocean again.

Alby would like to go inland, see the beauty of the country, but he is not fit to go there. He does not know how to master the thermals the way eagles, pelicans and other birds with big wings travel there. He is made for the ocean.

Still he would like to go and try to cross this enormous island that he cannot cross, and get to the sea on the other side.

One day he flies along the shore, and sees some very big wings flying along the cliffs of the big town called San Francisco, as he understands people call this place.

Approaching those big wings, he realizes that there are people hanging on them. He discovers then that people cannot fly on their own, but have created artificial wings that support them. He knows what they are doing; he knows how to fly along the cliffs. He knows that, ‘cause such was the very kind of flight he took when he left his nest for the first time.

Soon those cliffs become a favorite place for Alby. He flies there often and so close to the flying people that learns many of the words they speak. He listens and learns that there are even bigger and faster flying machines with long wings for the people that like to fly like birds, which are called gliders or sailplanes. And there are flying crafts with propelling engines, capable of transporting many people at high speed. He understands now what are those enormously high flying machines that cross the ocean, so high that he barely can hear their sound through the whistle of the wind.

The flying people are impressed by the unusual behavior of this albatross, which so often flies with them instead of flying far away in the ocean like others members of the same species. They imagine that Alby wants to travel ashore, but does not trust doing it by himself.

The soaring people offer to take Alby inland, and to show him the beauty of the countryside. They offer to take him aboard their flying machines and let him cross this big island in silent winged crafts, no noises, no vibrations, no offending gas smells.

Alby accepts the invitation. He wants to see the mountains, the valleys, the lakes, the deserts and the forests, and the towns and the towers, and the roads and the bridges and the rivers of this beautiful land called America. He realizes that it is not possible for him to travel here alone, without the help of the flying people.

So the soaring people take Alby in their silent aircrafts across that vast territory. They understand. Because they themselves share the curiosity, the need for adventure, the thirst for knowledge of that young spirit. They share the independence that flying gives, the endless autonomous decisions that need to be taken in this constantly moving environment. They know the far-reaching view that this privileged position allows. But most of all, they share the elation of infinite freedom by being immersed in the sky, floating, suspended in the brilliance of this transparent ocean. Those are the reasons why they aimed for the skies, and now they cannot live any more without the magic of flight.

They take Alby with them, in the togetherness that unites all aviators. Alby’s great voyage has just begun.


Rules

ORGANIZATION OF THE VOYAGE

This website is recording the flights of Alby, his whereabouts and his flight log. The webmaster of the site is the Albymaster. All news and inquiries about Alby will be handled by this site.

Alby wishes to soar across America. He wishes to see it all, from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, and then resume his wandering life across the seas.

Alby flies only in aircraft that use the energy contained in the atmosphere as a means for traveling. Motorgliders can use their engine only for taking off.

A proposal to fly with Alby shall be sent to the Albymaster. A proposal shall include a pre-declaration of the proposed flight.

Preference will be given, in order, to the site that is closer to Alby’s current location, to the first proponent in order of time, to soaring clubs or associations, to groups of pilots, or to an individual pilot. This means, for example, that an individual pilot has to wait for the soaring club to fail its attempt, before making its own attempt.

A club or pilot that has proposed to fly with Alby and has been accepted by the Albymaster, will be called the Albypilot. When a proposal is accepted, the flight should be made before the end of the next Friday.

If no other Albypilots have made the flight on their assigned week, the hosting club or pilot will have the right to make the flight before the end of the next Friday. If the host did not propose or is not able to make the flight, the next Albypilot shall make the flight before the end of the next Friday. And so on.

RULES FOR THE FLIGHT

Gliders can be towed to an altitude not exceeding 3,000’above take-off. Motorgliders will shut off their engine before that altitude is reached. The release or engine shut-off point shall be west of the take off field.

Each landing point will be to the east of the take-off point. If difficulties arise, an occasional back leg may happen, when accepted by the Albymaster.

The flight should end in a soaring site, or a place from where a glider can be towed out. If the flight does not end in the pre-declared location, the Albypilot or a pilot of the same club still have to the end of the next Friday to try and complete the flight as declared. If the pre-declared location still is not reached, Alby must be taken back where it started (not necessarily by flying).

Both the current host of Alby and the new host shall communicate the outcome of the flight to the Albymaster.

If the flight cannot be made before the end of the next Friday by the first Albypilot, it is the responsibility of the first Albypilot to give notice of the inability to make the flight, with timely courtesy, to the Albymaster, to the host, and to the second proponent in line.

The Albypilot who flies with Alby is responsible for keeping good care of him. When the Albypilot represents a soaring club or association, the representative of the club or association will be responsible for the well being of Alby.

The above rules may be superseded by the Albymaster when atypical circumstances arise.

Order of Preferences:

1 - The club that is closer to Alby’s current location
2 - The club that proposes first in order of time
3 - Clubs, soaring associations, soaring centers
4 - Group of pilots
5 - Individual pilots

ACCESSORY RULES

When start altitude, release to the west, landing to the east are difficult because of special local conditions, an exception may be requested to the Albymaster.

When an Albypilot cannot make the flight in the week he/she has been assigned, another Albypilot can make the flight provided he/she has been accepted by the Albymaster.

LOGBOOK, LAPEL PINS, SPOT DEVICE, GPS TRACE

LOGBOOK - Alby travels with a logbook. The Albypilot will fill out the log entry and sign it. The flight data will be e-mailed to the Albymaster and an entry will be placed in the website logbook. A description of the flight and pictures may also be sent along with the flight data, to be posted in the website. Enter all flights, successfull or not.

LAPEL PINS - The Alby case contains lapel pins. The pilot(s) successfully accomplishing a flight will get one pin each. The lapel pins are numbered. Check in the log book for the last pin number and take the subsequently numbered pin(s). If the flight is not successfull, place a bar in the last column (Pin No.). Please guard carefully the pins, we do not want them to misteriously disappear.

SPOT DEVICE - The SPOT device is to be placed in the glider in a place where there is sufficient visual contact with the outside (inside a shirt pocket is OK). It is to be used during the flight and placed in Alby's case when not flying. Instructions for use are in the case.

GPS TRACE - Pilots are encouraged to send their GPS log no matter how successfull the flight, as it will be posted in the map (flying with Alby is already a great success, to be recorded and displayed). Alternatively, it can be downloaded to OLC.

DISCLAIMER

Pilots who participate in Alby’s voyage acknowledge that it is a voluntary effort, and that the timing, route selection, weather decisions, and all other aspects of the flight are the sole responsibility of the pilot in command of the aircraft in which Alby is transported. The Organizers of Alby’s voyage, retain all rights to the concept, images, logbook, Alby trophy, and eventual chronicle of the journey, but neither they nor volunteers involved in the project nor the Pacific Soaring Council (PASCO) nor the Soaring Society of America (SSA) are in any way responsible for the decisions of the pilots that carry Alby in their aircraft. When pilots propose to carry Alby on part of his journey, they warrant that they have sufficient experience and will exercise all due caution to ensure the safety of their flights. By allowing pilots to carry Alby, the Organizers of the Alby project are merely keeping track of and attempting to facilitate the continued progress of Alby’s voyage.

WAIVER AND ASSUMPTION OF LIABILITY

Please accept me as a participant in the Alby voyage. In consideration of acceptance of this entry, for myself, my heirs, executors, administrators, personal representatives, successors or assigns I hereby release and discharge the Organizers, The Pacific Soaring Council (PASCO) THE SOARING SOCIETY OF AMERICA, INC., and their agents, representatives, employees, successors or assigns from any and all claims for damages or injuries suffered by me or by any member of my crew during the aforementioned soaring venture.

I further agree to assume full responsibility for and to indemnify, defend and hold the aforementioned entities and persons harmless from any and all legal obligations for damages to personal property owned by, or injuries suffered by, any spectator or contestant or personnel of the aforementioned entities, or by any other person or entity, which may be caused directly or indirectly by my participation in the venture. I further certify that I have read, understand, and agree to abide by the rules and regulations of the aforementioned endeavor.

I fully understand and agree that I am waiving any claim for damages that I may suffer by virtue of any act of negligence arising in the future by any act or omission of any of the aforementioned entities or persons or their agents, representatives or employees, and that the consideration for this waiver is the permission by the sponsoring or presenting bodies of the aforementioned venture allowing me to participate in the said venture and that such permission is being granted me in the reliance upon this waiver as set forth in this entry form.



Logbook


Tracking the flights with SPOT


Tracking the flights with SPOT



Where in the world is Alby?



Scroll below to follow Alby flying in real time. For more detailed information on the flight go to our Spot satellite tracking page.



Position updates are broadcast in real time every 10 minutes, although occasionally there may be delays. If Alby is not flying at this time, the trace shows Alby's most recent flight. Traces are left posted for the duration of one week only. However, the flight can be seen on OLC.