Monday, August 9, 2010

Al Tyler - Final Thoughts

I guess I should be very sad with my 45th place finish but I actually flew pretty good in the worst conditions I have ever flown. I worked very hard to get ready for this competition. They say luck is when preparation meets opportunity and I just could not seem to find the luck I needed at the critical times.

The tactics to prevail on task in the very large gaggles in extremely weak conditions must be experienced to understand. Although I had studied these tactics I still could not make myself be patient enough and took too many risks. John Cochrane and I did get the opportunity one day to display our team flying skills in “strong “ conditions ( 3500agl and two knots) and this was my most satisfying day. I was also happy to make almost as much distance as anyone else on the day that the entire 15 meter class landed out in Serbia.

I want to thank my wonderful crew for all their support. I must have worked my crew harder than any U.S. pilot that ever attended a WGC. Thank-you Rob, Rhonda and Wesley. I even forgive you for remarking on a retrieve well after midnight that you had driven more (expletive) miles than I had flown!

Dennis Linnekin’s execution of the Team Captain's job neared perfection. Always upbeat and positive and never failing any pilots request. Dennis even found an alternate Team support group in the staff at the “John Bull Pub”. The entire Team worked very well together and all the crews were ready and willing to assist each other. I would like to especially thank Adnan Mirsa ( unofficial Team psychologist ) for helping me maintain a positive attitude. Adnan is truly one of the most positive and upbeat people I have had the privilege to be around..

The competition suffered in many areas. Organization and facilities were poor at best. The task setter evidently did not pay much attention to the weatherman . Launching 150 gliders into a sky with bases at or slightly above tow altitude was asking for disaster. I think it was a miracle that no one was killed. Having said this I must complement the small group of very young workers led by contest director Milan.

I will remember with fondness all the fun of the opening ceremonies, international night party, closing ceremony and especially the new and renewed friendships. The retrieve stories (especially Serbia) will be retold and embellished for years to come. I would like to leave you with a quote from Rob while leaning against the car that was attached to the trailer that was two feet deep in Serbian mud: “8H if we ever get out of here I am never crewing for anybody ever again !!!"