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Swiss Open 2022 / Ollon 2022

Thursday Report

Toni Crottet, 19. May 2022
Today (Thursday, 19.05.2022) is cancelled: The weather forecast say föhn or/and strong sw wind with early thunderstorms in the afternoon. The Swiss Open is getting to an exiting race. Two tasks has been flown until now. Both tasks seemed all easy, but in the air it turned out to be quite the opposite. Fighting with low safes and stability kicking in got very challenging for all competitors. The needed ingredients required was something between keeping the positivity even when low, the technical abilities to fight back to the higher levels and a very good awareness of the current navigation zone. Hence a certain kind of "flying dexterity" seems necessary in order to solve this challenges. The first day, there were rain cells and the sky was changeing between grey with some blue spots. So we did a warm-up day with beautiful thermal flying and getting used to the "normal" final approach to the landing field. The second day, takeing off in Villars at 1700m after a task of 66km was set seemed easy first hand side. It showed up that a certain stability layer made it quite difficult to make it to the upper level. This layer seemed to be a mix from the valley breeze, which on the good side, "slides" up the hills toward the mountains, due to the alpine pump, didnt provoke much lee situations and the humidity from the geneva lake. So soaring this breeze was possible, but very difficult to make it to the upper level, where the thermals were predominant. The pilots were faced with a problem so solve at the start: "how do i make it to the higher level" and for the final leg, which was set in that valley breeze zone, how to solve. Once in the upper level, going to the famous Pic Chaussy and back was quite straight forward depending on the chosen line. At the end of the task, it turned out that it was very slow to solve the final leg the "classic way". A certain confidence was needed to soar the ridges opposed to the valley breeze and not to loose time, trying to gain height by circling thermals. On the third day, the organizers took us further north to the beautiful Gruyère valley. The bise was dominant that day and it was the perfect choice. A task takeing us to in the prealps towards north-easy to the Schwarzsee in the canton of Fribourg and brought us back to the first ridge and following this one south turning aroung the famous take-off of the Acro Show, Sonchaux back to the landing field in Ollon. Again, it seemed to be an easy 86km task, what was a so called "Swiss Hammer Day" in the high alps turned out to be quite difficult in the prealps. Again, stability kicked in, which lead to a lot of challenging "low safes" in this stable layer. What the pilots did that day was amazing and they showed high technical skills and a huge perseverance in dealing with difficult situations. The final leg to the landing showed once again that either choosing a good line outside the ridge or soaring some ridges makes a difference. At the moment, after 2 super tasks and beautiful flying, Franz Herrmann after winning the second task leads before Fredy Bircher showing a solid performance. Damien Zahn after winning the first task is on the third place. The next and last 2 days look promising and we look forward for another amazing flights in the beautiful swiss scenery.