The GIN Atlas in Morocco

At the end of last year, GIN pilots and photographer Jerome Maupoint took the GIN Atlas, our forthcoming EN B wing, for a photoshooting in Morocco.

Jerome takes up the story:

"In December, the forthcoming EN B wing from GIN passed EN flight tests, and soon after I received 3 pre-serial wings to go for a photoshooting. We had already planned to go to Morocco, to the classic flying sites of Aguergour and Ait Ourir. These famous ridges are about 30kms in front of the Atlas range which crosses Morocco from West to East. The ridges face north west and collect all the flow coming from the flatlands in front. Aguergour and Ait Ourir are natural thermal ramps. In December, there is a short daily window of thermal activity. Some days only very weak bubbles give you only one chance to stay at take-off level. All in all, the place offers ideal conditions and scenery to produce photos of the fittingly named Atlas wing, as well as to reveal the real performance of the wing. To produce good product and action shots, we need to climb reliably all together. Scratching under take off is not an option and bombing out at the bottom of the hill would be a disaster!

We are 3 pilots, one photographer and one good friend, offering his time for the needs of retrieve in return for comfortable hospitality in a little riad in the medina (popular quarters of Marrakech).

Everyday we arrive early at take off before the thermal activity really starts. The key is not to miss even a single minute of potential flying. We need to be ready and play with the wings on the ground with the first cycles and then let the wings go when we are pulled off the ground naturally. At less than 80kg (total weight), Marc Boyer is as light as a feather under his wing—he stays in the air more easily than us in the very first bubbles. As the activity becomes more regular, we all converge towards the best thermal Marc shoes us. There starts the photoshooting. Aguergour is generally easy to fly but can be turbulent when the main flow comes across. We try to make the best of each minute we can in flight. Each one not only has to take care his of flying but to stay close enough to each other to make the little gaggle as photogenic as possible. I try to put the green Atlas between me and the 2 others as it fits perfectly with the beautiful green that lightens the plateau of Kik below our feet. Though the day was short, the harvest of images was plentiful!

We also visited Ait Ourir, a long ridge south East of Marrakech, but it was a very tricky hour of flight that day. Never more than 1 m/s climb in the best core and nothing consistent around. The real thermal trigger is far away along the ridge as the cliff gets higher. It's a magic one—but only just big enough to fit a single wing inside, so we couldn't fly together for a long time. But at least we'd got enough photos in the box already. Thanks Allah!

Special thanks to Marc Boyer (Soaring school in Luchon, France) and Laurent Pascal (A soon-to-be happy Atlas pilot)

—Jerome M.