Celebrating the Sky: Coupe Icare 2023

Friday – The arrival

We arrived at the event on Friday around lunchtime. The day before, it had rained heavily. By the time we arrived, the weather had cleared up, but the parking area was still quite muddy. The first parking spot we attempted to use got us stuck in the mud, and we spent about an hour trying to get out 😅.

Quite adventurous start, I must say! Nevertheless, we eventually managed to resolve the problem and moved on.

The day itself was beautiful, so why not take off, flight and relax a bit? So I decided to do just that, but when I got to the flight area, I found a long line of pilots waiting their turn to take off. It was expected, to be honest. The event have a daily schedule, and takeoffs for the general public are only allowed on certain days within specific time windows. With many activities happening at the event, safety for both pilots and the public always is a priority. So, I prepared my equipment and joined the line, patiently waiting my turn. This was around 13:00.

After approximately 30 minutes, an announcement came that take-offs were temporarily closed due to unstable weather conditions, marked by significant thermal activity and cloud formations all around. By 14:30, the closure persisted, and it was made clear that even if we did manage to take off by 15:30, we would need to be all on the ground as by 16:00 there were other activities planned.

I eventually decided to forget the flight for the day. Unfortunately, that’s just the nature of the sport – nothing is ever guaranteed. I think that unpredictability is part of what makes the sport so exciting; nothing can be taken for granted, so every moment becomes a source of pure joy!

I had signed up for a hike and fly activity, which involved climbing the Dent de Crolles and taking off from its summit. The activity was originally planned for Saturday, so missing a flight on Friday wasn’t a major concern. My chances of flying were seemingly secure.

Yeah shit happens and things aren’t always like planned. On the night before the planned activity, I received an email informing me that it had been canceled due to the weather forecast. Saturday was expected to be cloudy with the possibility of rain and strong winds.

Indded, it raining a lot during the night but on Saturday the day was cloudy but not as bad as the forecast was predicting.

Saturday – The big day

Saturday is usually the big day, with the icarnaval event in the afternoon and some artistic interventions during the night. Around noon we were in the take off waiting for the icarnaval to start.

Icarnaval

Icarnaval is an event where pilots will take off wearing costumes, and it is just amazing to see how creative people are on preparing for the event.

Due to weather condition it was not safe to take off so they decided to not allow the take off and instead do a presentation showing all costumes to the public, which was a good idea IMO. Forecast was predicting a perfect day for Sunday so the take off was rescheduled.

Night presentation

The artistic interventions at night they are just amazing. Every year I’m surprised with their creativity.

On Saturday I also got an email confirming the hiking and flight for Sunday morning.

Sunday – Hike and Fly

Two year ago I tried to take off from the Dent de Crolles, so I did all the way up but due to weather conditions I didn’t manage to take off. So the hike and fly activity was hike and hike. This year I was ready to try again.

The way up was a around 4 hours in total climbing 1200m up hill. The landscape in theat zone is just beautiful.

We did the all the path and the weather condition was not …. no no it was perfect ! 😍

This time I managed to fly and it was an wonderful flight above the clouds.

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