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Jet World Masters Report - Thursday August 20

A big hello to the folks who are joining the distribution list including sponsors of Jet Team USA. I'm Jim McEwen, the Team Manager.

This is the report that send out at the end of each day to friends, family, and sponsors to let folks back home know how the team is doing as well as the latest goings on at the event. I try to provide an behind the scenes look at the event in an attempt to give you a bit of a feel of what it is like to be here. Additionally, I try to provide some entertainment as to some of the adventures & misadventures encountered in travelling in Planet Europe.
This is the sixth day of my trip as I departed earlier than the rest of the team and travelled to Sweden prior to going to the JWM in Germany.

OK, enough background, let's get to it.....

Day 5 ended with me writing the daily report on my iPhone in the middle of a grass field beside the JWM site. My hotel room was "unavailable" meaning the hotel wasn't staffed and was locked up tight when I tried to check in at 9:30pm. Fortunately, the Dutch Jet Team, who are camping at the site, took pity on me and put me up in a room in their tent complex (aka New Amsterdam). It was a pretty wet and chilly night but I was snug as a bug and had a good night of sleep.

We all woke up at about 7am and breakfast at the field was the first order of the day. The Dutch Team are extremely well equipped campers but Marco was "big man on campus" when he pulled out a small automatic drip coffee maker. We were soon all enjoying our morning coffee while he set up the miniature stove. Breakfast was sandwich style eggs, cheese, and bacon on buns. Dutch bacon is available in round slices perfect for this style of sandwich.

I couldn't read the cheese label (which was naturally in Dutch) but I thought it was Swiss cheese as I saw a few holes. I was corrected immediately that it was Dutch cheese from a Dutch cow.
I asked about the holes which were attributed to a Dutch mouse! Karin, who is doing the carb-free thing, had brought carb-free bread, carb-free blueberry jam (which doesn't have any blueberries according to the ingredient list - it must be a product of IG Farben or Dow Chemicals or something).

But it was the kiekeboe that caught my eye. Dark (Dutch) chocolate sprinkles on toast is apparently a much loved breakfast in Holland and with ex-pats around the world. OK, and I thought we were bad in the USA with our Coco Crispies or Krispy Crème.

The jet crates arrived in Germany on Tuesday morning, were released from customs in Stuttgart yesterday, and the shipper promised to have them delivered this morning by 10am or 11am. Scott, Betsy, Jason, and Elizabeth flew in yesterday and were jet lagged so I told Scott & Betsy that they might as well sleep in rather than rushing to the field. Jason and Elizabeth were driving down from Frankfurt and they would have been even more wiped out especially because their flight out of Newark was delayed 2-1/2 hours. The crates arrived early and, to my huge relief, appeared undamaged. I borrowed a lift truck and got the crates safely stowed in the US pit area before 10am and ready for the pilots whenever they arrived.

The other competitors started arriving and I enjoyed chatting with JWM friends from around the world as well casually examining the planes (aka checking out the competition). The bar is set quite high this year. Vitaly as returned with the YAK-130 which which he won the 20Kg class in 2011 and 2013.
However, the plane was joined by it's baby brother, a newly built YAK-130 that will be flown in the 13.5Kg class by Pavel, who we all know as Vitaly's caller and mechanic. The plane appears to be just as detailed as it's big brother and it will be interesting to see Pavel take his turn at the sticks after spending ten years of telling Vitaly what he is doing wrong.
The Thai team seems to have traded in their Alpha Jets for a pair of gorgeous L-39's. Indeed, there are a fair number of L-39's at the event and will also be flown by the Italians and Swiss teams, as well as Andy Andrews in the 20 Kg class.
The Swiss have also returned with their big Hunters, and Chinese have returned with four identical L-15's which are huge. I hope they do better than in Switzerland (three crashed) but the jets are apparently new and improved and certainly heavier. Though they are just under the 20 Kg maximum dry weight, they have 2 kilograms (about 4-1/2 pounds) of fuel in a separate "ballast tank" in the nose in order to get them to balance. Then there is another 6 kilos of fuel for the twin engines.
This puts them over the German wet weight limit of 25 kilos so they need a special inspection and test flight on Saturday (I guess it's sort of like Germany's version of the AMA's LTMA program in the US).

With my managerial duties handled for the moment, I thought it might be a good idea to head back to my hotel to try to check-in. Surely someone will be there at 12:30pm right?
Geez, I was pissed, especially because it is a half hour drive from the field to the hotel. The note they'd left on the door from me last night had been removed so I knew that someone had been there sometime. I guess that is reassuring....NOT.
Ringing the bell had no response, and pushing the other button on the intercom once again resulted in a phone call to the front desk, dumped to voicemail, and then disconnected. I noticed another small sheet of paper with the hotel name and two lines of numbers written below.
Sure didn't look like a German phone number as it didn't start with 04..., and it didn't have the right number of digits.
I called it anyway (what did I have to lose?) and I was surprised when someone actually answered. I don't speak German and she didn't speak English but I said my name and the hotel name and I was rewarded with "Ja, ja, itch commin".
I punched that into Google translate to learn it means "Yes, yes, I'm coming" in German or "Your motorcyle has leprosy" in Tagalog. I don't own a motorcycle so either way, I figured this was good news. Sure enough, a few minutes later, a woman walked up and opened up the hotel front door. I'm in!

I got to my room, washed up from a night at the field, and established an internet connection. I had fifty-five MAILER-DAEMON email rejections, one from each of the folks who I sent last night's update from the field, so it looks like the internet connection at the field isn't very reliable. I resent the message, but the hotel must have dial-up or something as it took about 10 minutes to upload each photo which were only about 300 KB in size.
As such, today's update will only have 600 x 800 pixel photos. There is a McDonalds with free WiFi about 10 minutes from the field so I will check out their internet connection tomorrow. It won't be the first time McDonald's has saved my life, and I doubt it will be the last.

Andy and Johnnie rolled into the hotel about 2pm or so and were thoroughly wiped out and jet lagged. Andy had planned to hand carry his fragile L-39 cockpit but the airline forced him to check it. Result: broken cockpit. Our shipper told us that US Customs had opened our crates so I suggested that, rather than have a nap, going to the field to see if the plane had been damaged was likely the best thing to do so off we went leaving Johnnie to nap.

We got to the field to find Scott had been to McDonalds (good WiFi he reported) and had the Sabre half assembled. David appeared a bit later and set to work assembling the MiG. Andy and I unpacked and got the L-39 fuselage assembled.
Jason was still MIA, but I received a text from him this evening letting me know that he was now in town. I'm not sure why it took two days to drive from Frankfurt but whatever. The Russians managed to drive from Moscow in two days which was a substantial improvement from their previous record established in 1945.

There was a fair amount of activity at the airport this afternoon. There is a local parachuting club which was jumping for most of the afternoon. We also watched some well done landings of a few local light planes. The treat, though, was a scheduled low flyby of a Dassault Rafale. It was supposed to do a few passes but had to loiter for a while till the parachutists landed and this must have cut into his fuel.
Still, it was a pretty good pass and the pilot even lit the burners as he was climbing away.

Scott learned a valuable lesson in electricity when he blew out Andy's 110V to 12V inverter by plugging it into a 220V electrical outlet. The boom was loud enough that some folks though the Rafale came back for a supersonic pass. I guess there are still a few jet lag cobwebs in the noggin'. I've been here a few days longer than he has and I'm not firing on all cylinders, in case you hadn't noticed.

Andy and I returned to the hotel, picked up Johnnie, and we all went for diner at a nearby restaurant. The local beer was fantastic but for some reason the main course was delayed. Andy and Johnnie were fading fast so the filets (beef & pork) were quickly devoured, dessert/coffee were cancelled and I drove them back to the hotel.

Rod's and Chad's flight arrives tomorrow around 10pm so they should put in an appearance at the field sometime in the early afternoon, or not, if they don't sleep on the flight and go to the hotel instead. The team is scheduled for practice flights on Saturday afternoon which gives enough time to get everything assembled and tested.

The weather report is for partially cloudy tomorrow, when some teams are scheduled to fly, but clear and sunny on Saturday so we should be good.

Wish us all luck and many thanks to you for your interest and support of Jet Team USA.



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