|Everything is on its way.
After the tests at Guidonia, Richard returned 1200 miles to UK in the Ducato van leant by FIAT and embarked on a frantic three week round of
final modifications and refinements before returning to Italy to get
everything loaded on a Quatar Airways plane on Monday 29 March.
The most notable addition are four 'bomb racks' on
the microlight to carry oxygen bottles. It would be disasterous indeed
to be stuck with perfect weather at our Syangboche advance base camp
with no oxygen. Our main o2 source bottles and transfilling pump
supplied by Paramina are too heavy to be carried up the mountain from
Lukla, it's a 3 day round trip by foot but only 30 minutes or so by
microlight so the idea is that Richard can pop down to Lukla in the
microlight with all four bottles in special racks made by Articole
Studios, refill them and be back in a few hours. They certainly make
the microlight look quite strange... one can only hope the Nepalese army
garisonned at Luckla don't misinterpret their purpose....
The ALPHA parachute is now fitted to the trike. This is a rocket launched
parachute designed to bring the entire Pegasus tug down in the event of
disaster. This is one item Richard is in no hurry to test, but if the
worst happens it is likely to be life-saving....
Paramina have also fixed the high pressure leak on the o2 booster pump
and supplied remote pressure gauges so both Angelo and Richard can see
their remaining oxygen more easily. Andy Elson has also improved the
plumbing on our o2 regulators (Richard's developed a leak at Guidonia).
Jerry Davis of Lyndhurst Touchdown Services kindly supplied a fuel level
sender for the trike and Dave Simpson (yet again) did some demon
electronics at short notice so Richard could fit a fuel gauge in the
last remaining square inch of panel space on the trike.
Ozee are supplying us with two pairs of special-thickness bar mitts
which should be a better solution than the very unmanageable mittens we
have been using.
Bailey Aviation completed the two 'super trolleys' including the manual
and automatic braking systems and improved stronger track rods.
Mainair and Skydrive delivered aircraft and engine spares respectively.
Crates for the trolleys and trike were made and delivered, and a
thousand other tools and small bits and pieces assembled and sealed in
10 blue 'sherpa-proof' plastic barrels.
Finally Richard loaded all this lot plus a vast amount of spares into a
FIAT Ducato van, and raced yet again hundreds of miles across Europe in time to catch
the freight plane from Milan Malpensa airport.
Richard will be back in the UK for the Press conference 11:00 Thursday,
April 1st, at the Approach Pub, Approach Road, Bethnal Green, E2 (seven
minutes walk from Bethnal Green Central Line tube).
He then departs for Nepal on 12 April. Will it be intact AND out of Customs by then?