to CURRENT UPDATES
AUGUST 6 2002
like to thank all of you who have faithfully continued to check
this website despite the blatant dearth of updates. And thanks to
the folks who have written in, I've forwarded your messages to my
dad and he is very grateful to hear from you all. After our shake-up
in Carson City, plans for the journey had to be somewhat rearranged.
Having committed to a previous obligation, I (Tierney) just couldn't
join my dad and since I was in charge of downloading the flight
information etc, that part of the journey had to be put on hold.
Fortunately, a close family friend and accomplished glider pilot,
Al Grismer, was able to join Thierry in Carson City and off they
Al made it all the way up to Point Barrow, turned around, headed
back down,and by tomorrow (August 7th) they should be hitting Nevada.
Whew! They've lots of stories, were thrilled to soar through virgin
territory and even managed to film some of it (that is when the
cameras were cooperating) So as soon as I catch up with those adventuresome
souls, I'll download their flight paths, write-up their tales and
post them to the website, with the help from our fearless website
designer, Mike Johnson.
Please stay tuned. There's certainly more to come in the next few
The Stemme gets Stymied
We had a couple
ominous omens before we finally took off on June 9th, 2002. Our
first omen was a ripped Achilles tendon sustained by Thierry while
pushing the Stemme earlier in the week. Fortunately that injury
was healing fast until the second omen arrived in the form of a
before take off, we found a small female mallard wandering bewildered
in the middle of a busy Oakland street. Thierry jumped to shoo the
duck to safer ground but as he was veering it away from a predatory
feline, he face-planted and retore his tendon. We managed to capture
the lame duck and ferry it to the airport where it followed us around
the airstrip and then suddenly flew off into the night.
last after mounting the cameras, installing the audio system, affixing
the solar panels, troubleshooting leaks and figuring out how to
keep everything working during long flights, the Stemme and her
two person crew finally seemed ready to go. The local news crews
from KRON Channel 4 had gotten their interview. Wed loaded
the plane up with all our essentialscamera gear, parkas, personal
urinals, luna bars, tool kit, nav aids and charts, mp3 player. .
.we were set!
Right as we
were buttoning up the Stemme, a mechanic friend decided to take
a last minute peek under the plane and noticed a problem with the
brakes. Our ground crew immediately installed new brake cables and
we were ready to go.
But then just
as I was about to jump in the cockpit, I noticed a small swimming
pool behind my seat. My Camelback water backpack had leaked all
over the gear and the nav manuals. So our fearless ground crew helped
dry out the manuals-- leafing them in the baking sun and wind.
At long last
we bid tearful good-byes, buttoned down the canopy and taxied to
the runway to slip those surly bonds of earth, lift off and dance
on laughter-silvered wings. Well sort of. . . .
The day was
spectacular--one of those rare days in the Bay Area where the air
is crystal clear and the whole place sparkles. After crossing the
Sacramento Valley, we headed to Pyramid Peak, flew through Desolation
Valley, buzzed Lovers Leap, and then sailed across Tahoea
blazing sapphire in the mountains. Just gorgeous! Crossed into Nevada,
turned off the engine and entered silent flight. Not too much thermal
activity but enough to do a couple turns before preparing to land
at Carson City.
UNICOM informed us, as well as the sock, that there would be a crosswind
and we readied to land power-on. Lining up on runway 27, everything
was smooth until we touched down. With too much speed and a high
tail, we started to porpoise. Up and down, we smacked the ground.
The stall warning went off and then the prop kissed the tarmack.
In an instant, we were off the runway and partaking of an intimate
session with the sagebrush. On landing, the Stemme has one inch
clearance between its prop and the ground so its not what
youd call very forgiving. Next time we'll land with the prop
minutes we had a crew out on the runway who all lent their weight
to push us out of a trouble. My oh my. Our prop was toast.
Next morning we located a temporary hangar--compliments
of Steve Lantz, an amazing pilot who flies airfoils with seats strapped
to them up to 18,000 feet. He set us up in one of his hangars where
we tucked in behind an Airstream, a SuperFloater and a great looking
black window spider.
a car and drove to Minden to orchestrate a repair schedule with
the kind folks at High Country Soaring and then headed back down
to the Bay Area.
a first leg. Not quite what we expected. We may be dented but were
certainly not daunted! We'll be back in the air again soon, so stay