7 summits by Microlight

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Post flight analysis
15 Jan 2006, All done
6 Jan 2006, Highest tow yet
5 Jan 2006, Rivadavia
30 Dec 2005, Summit
25 Dec 2005, Feliz Navidad
15 Dec 2005, We have a convoy
17 Dec 2005, Desvio Las Lenas
14 Dec 2005, We are on our way
10 Dec 2005, The flight from hell
3 Dec 2005, Where we are going
17 Nov 2005, FIAT Wind Tunnel
1 Dec 2005, Kit is away
1 Jan 2005, 3rd place Best of ExplorersWeb 2004 Awards
24 May 2004, Summited Mt Everest
4 Feb 2005, RAeC Awards
 
Weather
Analysis to 96h
Meteogram
Satellite IR
SIGWX Argentina
SIGWX NOAA
WINTEM 24hr at FL230
WINTEM 36hr at FL240
WINTEM 36hr at FL300
Advance base Camp
El Juncal, Chile
Mendoza
Punta de Vacas
RMH pilot CV

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News release: 15 Jan 2006, All done


 

 

 

 

 

 
As soon as the high altitude flight was done it was time to pack up and leave, a sweaty job in 40 degrees. Flying was over and now we had a few days holiday before our flights home. Everybody but us were going back to Buenos Aires to do some filming for FIAT, we were going to have a second attempt to get into Chile, this time by bus.

I returned to Aeroclub Mendoza to retrieve my microlight crate and pack up, so having loaded my van once that day, I had to unload it, dismantle the trike, fix it on the palette and then load it all again. By the time I got back to the hotel I was knackered.

In the meantime Nicky had been to the bus station to buy tickets. This being high season, if we wanted to go next day we had to divide ourselves across two buses, not ideal, but there as no other option.

Nicky, Hugo and Marco, the expedition doctor, who wanted to fly home from Santiago as soon as possible took the early one and then the girls and I the second several hours later. While they waited for us Nicky was going to hire a car so we could get to the beach near Quintero to stay with our friend Henrietta who had moved to Chile six or seven years ago.

Both buses were late, there was a three hour delay at the border because of the volume of traffic (it really makes you appreciate the ease with which you can cross borders in Europe these days) so by the time I got to Santiago it was already 10pm. Because of the holidays Nicky had found no cars for hire at all so we took another bus to Quintero. We got there at 2am.

Chile is considerably more developed than Argentina but I was told several times that it all depends on who you know. For example, we still wanted to hire a car. Max, one of Henrietta's sons said he had a school friend who's dad hired cars. We went there but no, all sold out, 15 day wait. We went off to find Max's friend, returned, and suddenly they were all smiles, no problem at all, what size would you like? You can even leave it at Santiago airport if you want.

This was perfect for us as my family were all off home from Santiago. We had a very pleasant couple of days on the beach and then I left them at the airport and returned the car.

I then took a bus back to Mendoza. More by luck than judgment I chose an Argentinian minibus rather than one of the bigger ones. When we arrived at the Argentinian border post there was a much bigger queue than when we'd entered Chile, four hours wait at least was my estimate. The minibus driver had other ideas though, we were only 5 passengers and he somehow managed to nip past all the buses, sneak between the queues of passengers having all their luggage inspected, and got us out within 30 minutes. Quite an achievement.

Back in Mendoza Beto invited me to a Parilla with some microlighting friends at Jorge Caoa's house. Jorge showed me an amazing photo of him flying a hang glider back in 1976, the year he became Argentine hang gliding champion.

The next two days I had the long drive back to Buenos Aires in my van. It was an unusually grey day in Mendoza and a few miles out of town it started raining. It rained on and off all the 1100 Km back to Buenos Aires.

Here, it's been pissing down for days, most unusual the locals say. We've finished packing all our kit and it's all now at the FIAT Argentina place waiting to be shipped back home, I'm off tomorrow.

So; what did I think of Argentina? I think it's a great place. Almost everyone I met was more than helpful, (or perhaps they just didn't understand my terrible Spanish) it's a beautiful place and I'd love to see more of it.

The opportunity may come sooner than I might normally expect; It seems the Furzea Area (air force) and FIAT are highly satisfied by the publicity surrounding this expedition, it's been all over the newspapers and TV here, and Angelo is suggesting to them right now the idea of "the 7 summits", doing the same thing over the highest mountain in every continent. We've done the two highest already, the most difficult logistically is certainly Mt Vinson in Antarctica, and of course the nearest point to Antarctica is Argentina.....

ALPHA emergency parachute
 
 
The FIAT group
 
 
ICARO 2000 Hang Gliding World Champion
 
 
Outdoor sport professionals choose Ferrino to help them meet fresh challenges
 
 
P&M AVIATION manufacturers of fine microlight Aircraft
 
 
SKYDRIVE, the UK Distributor of ROTAX engines
 
 
O-ZEE flight suits.  Suppliers of Bar-mitts to the expedition.
 
 
Neltec flexible heaters to keep Angelo's nosecone clear
 
 
P&M AVIATION; UK dealer for Warp Drive Propellors
 
 
Survival Equipment Services Ltd, Suppliers of ELT to the expedition.
 
 
P&M AVIATION manufacturers of fine microlight Aircraft
 
 
BAILEY AVIATION manufacturers of Paramotors and automotive sport acessories
 
 
Articole Studios - GRP mouldings
 
 
PARAMINA; Suppliers of Oxygen equipment to the expedition
 
 
FLYCOM Intercom and Radio equipment
 
 
Gerbings heated clothing
 
 
AV8 Systems video gear
 
 
Alitalia
 
 
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21 Jan 2006
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