Hello from Leutkirch on this fine and sunny opening day of the 11th Jet World Masters, and a big happy birthday to my mother.
Yesterday evening, I sat in the New Amsterdam complex with several members of the Dutch team as we all put together our various multi-media reports
to keep the outside world informed of the latest goings on.
Ben Jansen, team manager of the Dutch team, updates their website with a short Dutch-centric blurb of the day’s events, as well as many photos.
Check it out at dutchjetteam.nl and you just click on the link in the left margin for JWM2015 Germany.
Ben has also been uploading my daily reports and the Germans have requested to be on the distribution list too. Wow, I’m internationally syndicated.
We all went to McDonald’s last night to upload our work on their WiFi, and have a McFlurry – mine was wildberry (delicious).
The WiFi worked well, so it was a relatively early night with me getting in at 2am and quickly falling asleep.
Today was airshow day and the opening ceremonies and the teams had time off to do whatever. In my case, that meant sleeping in until a glorious 11:30am to make up
for a couple of very late nights or rather, early mornings.
I had a peaceful morning coffee on the patio outside the hotel restaurant and enjoyed just lazing in the sun for a few minutes before heading up to the room
and getting ready for the day.
The curse of my navy blue pants continues. Yep, unbelievable. I couldn’t find them anywhere. I looked for the shopping bag amongst my things, in the closet,
in my suitcase, and even down in the car. Nope.
Naturally, I suspected Chad (my room-mate and Rod’s caller) or, more precisely, I suspected Rod with Chad doing the dirty work at Rod’s direction.
Yeah, that would be funny to have taken the pants to the event site while I freaked out trying to find them in the room. As it turns out, I hung the pants up
in the wardrobe side unit. Hmm, can’t imagine why I did that; I must have been drinking. Sorry Chad; sorry Rod. I never should have doubted that your hearts
Today, the focus of the event was the airshow of full scale aircraft and models putting on flying displays. And there was a display were a model Marchetti and its
full scale big brother flew together. They were flown by a father and son team from Germany. I only arrived at the field at about 1pm or so but Ben Jansen has
a full set of pics on the Dutch Jet Team site.
According to official police estimates, there were 25,000 people who attended the airshow and the vendors,
particularly the beer vendors were doing a landslide business.
The Leutkirch Tourism Bureau had a booth and a couple of their lovely ladies in traditional German dress walked through the pits to inform team members of the
various tours they are offering this week so there shall there should be plenty to do for our team sponsors and supporters should they need a break from watching
As I mentioned above, today is my mother’s birthday and she had asked me to have a beer for her on her birthday. Johnnie took a pic for me to send to mum,
but Sabine informed me that wasn’t enough and had me take a photo of the roses at the restaurant as well.
Happy birthday, Mum. I love you.
Following the airshow was the opening ceremonies. All the teams lined up behind the airport buildings so that we could march out and be announced, by country,
to the cheering crowd. As I mentioned in an earlier report, at the 2013 JWM in Switzerland, the Swiss team looked great in their matching outfits while the US
team looked a bit like a gaggle of hillbillies with some of in shorts, some in pants, everything in different colors. This year we decided to dress to impress
(thus the opening ceremonies shirts and the navy blue pants).
Well, let me tell you that Jet Team USA looked awesome and we received many favorable comments.
The 2015 Swiss team, on the other hand, were mismatched in shorts and pants of various colors. It was their turn to look like hillbillies.
Yesterday I posted a photo on Facebook of Andy and myself had a “summit” with Vitaly Robertus and Mikhail Balenko of the Russian team.
Beer was involved, of course. The photo received a variety of humorous comments including one by Frank Tiano, the contest director of Top Gun,
and a sponsor to Jet Team USA.
Frank commented that we needed to tell “Vitaly to get his ass to Top Gun”. Mission accomplished, Frank; we all gave Vitaly a stern talking to (see pic)
and you can expect him at TG2016.
The opening ceremonies were very nice, though there was a brief light rain.
Note to self: get team umbrellas for next time.
We were announced, and all marched out behind a German girl in traditional dress holing a USA sign. It is really an incredible feeling to represent the United States
at an international event.
Really, it’s just amazing and makes you feel both proud and humble at the same time. We all waved to the crowd of people, photographers, videographers, and took
our place in front of a flagpole flying old glory.
In turn each of the countries had about 30 seconds of their opening ceremony played.
When it was time for the Russian anthem there was a moment of silence in remembrance of Victor Lashmanov, who had been manager of their team since the first JWM.
Victor was tragically killed in a car accident earlier this year. He was a gentleman and an honorable man and he will be missed.
Speeches were given by Frank Dohrmann, President and CD of JWM2015, the mayor of Leutkirch, and the Count von Ziel. The speeches were mercifully short.
A German band marched up and back on the central taxiway and Frank announced the 2015 Jet World Masters to be officially open.
While the pit area is in the left tent, the right tent holds the biergarten and a grandstand for the band. The beer vendors here have an interesting process
that I haven’t quite understood. When you order a beer and want it in a glass (which, incidentally, are quite nice and have the brewer’s logo beautifully
printed on the glass), you pay the cashier for the beer and a 2 Euro deposit for the glass. You are given a ticket, which you bring to the serving table where
you are given the beer (in the glass) and a plastic token. When you return the glass, your deposit is returned. I have no idea what is the role of the token.
I considered 2 Euro to be an excellent price for an authentic German beer glass with logo (along with a commemorative token). In addition to the beer, I also
sampled a local treat called kuchen. It has a few layers of hard pastry separated by cream and topped with fruit in gelatin. Delicious, particularly with beer.
I found the Elizabeth Bauer, her mother, and her aunts Elizabeth and Vicki in the biergarten. The ladies commented that the opening ceremonies were a lot of fun,
and that while the count was good looking, the mayor of Leutkirch was apparently quite the “hottie”. I think they had probably been drinking.
Dan and Judy Bott (Meryl Lynch – The Bott Group) generously offered to take the team out for dinner in Leutkirch. Sabine organized the event and restaurant
and we all travelled in a convoy into town for dinner. This morning I had parked my car along the fence line in front of New Amsterdam. When I returned to
drive to the restaurant, I found my car adorned with Dutch flags. Well, things happen when you park in seedy neighborhoods.
The convoy went well and we all managed to find parking on the street in front of the restaurant. I was amazed.
We had a really enjoyable dinner with the Botts
and chatted about the old days of ducted fans which Dan flew before getting involved with car racing with his son before recently returning to flying model planes.
Being at this event has Dan just raring to get his jets built. When the main course was over, the waitress asked us if we wanted dessert.
The dessert menu sounded delicious but we were hesitant to indulge. Jason cracked, and ordered the banana sundae (for Elizabeth, uh, yeah).
The sundae arrived and it immediately gave everyone dessert envy. With the floodgates open, a few more desserts were ordered. I abstained as I had a date
with a McFlurry while uploading the daily report.
I returned to the field to write the daily report as Ben was updating the Dutch website template. My cable for my laptop power supply was snagged and broke.
Uh oh, my battery won’t last for a week. Fortunately, the Dutch standard camping equipment list includes a soldering iron and Marco and Ido made fast work of
the repair and even handed me back parts of the power supply that “aren’t needed”.
Here is an update on Andy’s plane. Stephan Volker (Germany) and his crew spend the day repairing the wing in the campground and it was returned to Andy
before 6pm tonight. The other minor dings were repaired today and a new engine was installed. Rather than going through the trouble of packing up and
going to a nearby field to test fly, Stephan had made arrangements with the organizers for Andy to have a test flight tomorrow morning.
Tomorrow’s activities start with a pilot briefing at 8:30am. Rod flies tomorrow just before noon while David and Jason have their first flights in the afternoon.
Rod will also have static judging tomorrow. Scott and Andy’s first round flights will be Tuesday. Please wish us all luck. Go Team USA!!!!!
Selfie with the Count