Despite not such good flying conditions, Roger successfully came back home, thanks to the electric engine which allowed him to escape from a severe low point at 7pm near Luzern’s lake, short from goal.
His summary of the flight:
The perfect Cross Country adventure: Flying the Archaeopteryx from Eastern Switzerland to Southern France and return.
The flight back home
From the beginning of the adventure it was clear that I would like to return from Southern France the same way I got there, by air. As the route promised some difficulties on the tasks last part by means of airspace restrictions as well as non-ideal terrain for a late evening return, I decided to launch by aero-towing and save the battery for the possible need in the end.
Ridge-soaring in the southerly winds close to take-off, I was not so quick in finding the thermal lift to the low cloud base. Anyway, once I got there it became quite clear that following the Vercors and Chartreuse mountain range was most promising. After some turbulent lifts it was great to soar in absolutely smooth conditions above Grenoble and Saint Hilaire. Later I decided to cross Le Massife des Bauges and following the north side of the Chaine des Aravis, even though it was a little of south wind around but for memory reasons it was great.
Overflying the region of Porte du Soleil was very nice but the altitude I got to cross the large valley south of Lake Geneva was not ideal I thought. However, on the other side close to Leysin it worked light and smooth so I was able to continue towards the Bernese Oberland. After another long glide I experienced a turbulent entry to the ridge of Niederhorn next to Lake Thun followed by a very nice ride along the evening orientated ridges until the end at famous Mount Pilatus over Lucerne.
Fortunately, the military airspaces around central Switzerland were not active anymore due to evening hours, opening me a super smooth and long glide across Lake Lucerne towards the region of Schwyz. Unfortunately, I arrived few meters too low to over-glide a small pass east of Mount Rigi so I had to fly east all the way around the mountain on low altitude. Finally, as on so low altitudes the thermal lifts were dying out a little too early this day, for the very first time of the entire out and return adventure I had to make use of the e-drive just 32 km before goal. After this short e-lift activation to lift me over the next pass there were some last light lifts around to let me complete the journey. After a total of 17.5 hours of flight and 849 km travelled in those two flights, I soared above my home and landed nearby in the arms of my family and friends to cheer!
Heartfelt thanks to my wife Cornelia who was ready on the Swiss side as well as to Philippe who promised retrieval on the French side in case of an out-landing and of course to Jac for his great hospitality and airfield organization. And to all family and friends who crossed their fingers!