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. 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 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.