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 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.