Engineered Systems Ltd

Programme and Project Management by Ed Johnston

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EGC 2011 Pociunai

Travel: 22-24th July

A nice relaxing first day of travel. Leave plenty of time for the booked crossing to Calais, into pre-booked hotel and early night. Well, we got the first one right, but 90 minutes or more parked on the M25 got me to Dover just in time to see the ferry sailing from port. Stung for £70 to get on the later crossing, I eventually got to the hotel at 12.30. After trying the wrong 2 out of three adjacent hotels, with interesting midnight trailer reversing in between, I eventually got my head down at some time past 1am.

The next day went better. Up at 7.30 and off to Eindhoven to pick up Devin, then long stretches of good roads all the way to the border. I remember the first time I went to Frankfurt Oder in 92, with very dicey roads all through the old East and into Poland. Certainly all the German roads are sorted beautifully now. However we didn’t make our target that evening as the Saturday night truckers had all come out to play and blocked the roads. We eventually gave up when progress was slowed to a crawl and stopped around 8pm at Sweibodzin: a good hotel, excellent food and breakfast which cost slightly less per head, including evening meal and breakfast, as did the plastic cell I stayed in at Dunquerk.

The last day was a real stretch. Got going decently early and were soon on the last bit of decent road that we were to use. The toll road whisked us along past Poznan but then dumped us on single carriageway, and eventually through Warsaw and onto roads that were simply falling apart. Very slow going and hard work driving for a while, but we managed to keep going reasonably well and arrived at Pociunai in time to dump the trailer, say hello to a few people and get to the hotel before closing time.

Travel Issues

The van that Chris hired for the competition, following the unfortunate demise of his car in a German ditchIt really is a long drive and just to illustrate the problem, Chris Starkey’s crew was just thinking ‘I'm feeling a bit tired now, time to change’ when his next conscious thought was ‘why has the motorway turned green’. Fortunately relatively little damage to all concerned, except the car which had to be replaced by a hire vehicle, arranged by the rescue crew that lifted the car and trailer from the ditch, over a crash barrier and back onto the black stuff.


It's that time again, another European gliding championship is upon us. This year the open, 18m and 15m classes are being held in Pociunai, Lithuania. No one knows how the name should be pronounced, so we'll end up calling it The Airfield. As with the last event, I am crewing for Ed Johnston. This time, however, he's competing in the 18m class, rather than the open class. This means I have a lot less aircraft to polish, so I consider it a good thing. Ed's chariot is his ASG-29E. The ASG-29 and the Ventus 2cx make up the bulk of the 18m entrants, with the recently available JS1 from South Africa, making up the rest.

The drive to Lithuania was mercifully uneventful. We did it in two days, the first going across Germany and the second crossed Poland. As we crossed Poland we could see a massive amount of road building going on. This was partly a benefit; the new autostrady (motorways) had very light traffic and were a pleasure to drive across. The flip side was that there were many places were the roads were incomplete or yet to be build. The alternative roads were in very poor condition, making a progress rather slower and bumpier, especially as we went further East. The bypass going around the centre of Warsaw looked very promising on the map, but turned out to be a single lane of rubble and construction works. I expect it will be nice in a year or two, when it is finished.

We got to Lithuania on Sunday evening and checked into the pilot's hotel. It's seems pleasant enough, but were Welcome to the club! A Yak 50, refurbished and ready for test flight, once it gets rid of the tail attachmenbt surprised to find that the bar shuts at 2200 and breakfast is served after 0900. Clearly the timings are for the convenience of the proprietor. However, the management was very accommodating, and promised to organise breakfast earlier.

Dinner was taken in the hotel's restaurant, which was rather decent. Soup of the day was borscht. I was expecting something with cabbage and meat, but what I was served was a cold, bright pink soup. It is made out of beetroot and thick cream, with a slice of egg hidden in the bottom. The flavor was interesting, but I don't think I'd want to eat it very often. Or again, for that matter.