Saturday, July 10, 2010


World Gliding Championships Prievidza

July 9, 2010 A non-flying  day

We took the day off today showing our respect for Alexander Martynov who died in an accident yesterday.  Our day began with a pilots meeting which was totally dedicated to our lost comrade.  A book of condolences was signed by all, a brief video of shots of Alexander was shown and a moment of silence and reflection was had by all.

Representatives of Aero Spool, our host and the manufacturer of our tow planes the Dynamic, offered a tour of the plant.  At least 30 of us, Including 2 of our pilots and myself, took them up on their offer, showing up at the door at 13:00.  We first visited their shop where they do repair work on gliders and damaged Dynamics.  It looked just like any similar shop in the US with 3 or 4 men hand sanding wings and racks of control surfaces on the wall.  Our next stop was the lay-up room where they have a single set of molds for the fuselage, the canopy frame, the horizontal tail, the outer wings and all the control surfaces.  Finally we visited the assembly room where it all comes together.  At full production they can produce 8 ships per month.  There were 4 in the in various levels of production at the time of our visit. The engines are basically Rotax 4 cycle engines producing from 80 to 120 hp.  They come in 4 different Variations distinguished by the color of their valve covers. 90% of the ships leaving the plant have emergency parachutes.  This is really a neat little ship.  Before the contest is over I intend to get a demo in it.

Another popular attraction of the day were the Demo flights of the PW6, a 2 seat trainer similar to the ASK21. Some of our pilots took their crews up and released over the Castle for a delightful bit of sightseeing.

Seven of us spent the afternoon at the Bojnice Zoo.  For a population of only 60,000 in Prievidza and Bojnice, their zoo is amazingly complete and in good condition. Our travel guide refers to it as the best in the country, and we would be happy to support this assessment. The animals all appeared to be well fed and content with minimal, though adequate, space. The zoo offers a wide variety of animals, from exotic birds to your basic lions, tigers and bears. (Oh my!) Some of our groups favorites included the incredibly talented pigmy marmosets, the six month old baby orangutan, and of course the much beloved elephants. The zoo was built to extend up the side of a small mountain, which allowed for many beautiful glimpses of the Bojnice castle, and even some neat photo opportunities. You can imagine that our group enthusiastically took full advantage of these panoramic views of the valley. Francois handled Dottie's new video camera (which was incidentally, a gift from the former) with expertise and much excitement.

                After what turned out to be a lot of uphill walking through the zoo, we headed out to eat at a new (to us) restaurant. The food was excellent, and our waitress even had a slight grasp of the English language. We walked back to our hotel and were home by nine thirty for a good nights rest.