July 28- August 3, 2014
CASCAIS, PORTUGAL - Members of the World Sky Race Route Selection Committee (RRSC) were guests of Cascais Dinâmica’s Tourism Department, for their conducting a review of Portuguese venues to potentially be on the race route. With several months of preparations, H.E. Ambassador Nuno Brito and Colonel Jorge Alao Correia da Silva with Embassy of Portugal in Washington, DC arranged the welcoming local introduction tour. The beginning of connecting these relationships started when Ambassador Brito hosted the Explorers Club at his residence in Washington, D.C. last October, 2013.
At the working meeting, Mr. Duarte Nobre Guedes and Mr. João M. Custódio greeted the RRSC review team. "You have journeyed far in your preparations for this most amazing race that we expect will connect the world as one and at the same time celebrate each part of it uniquely. We welcome you to our home with all the warmth and heart of Portugal." said Mr. Guedes, CEO of Cascais Dinâmica.
To assist the World Sky Race in its mission to highlight World Heritage, Cascais Dinâmica arranged for the RRSC team guided tours of the Tower of Belém, the Monument to the Discoveries, Monastery of Jerónimos, Roca Cape (mainland Europe’s most western point) and Pena Palace in Sintra. "We wish to thank our hosts for their visionary leadership in supporting our program by providing the opportunity to see the region and enjoy the hospitality of Cascais", said World Air League Commissioner Hartsell.
The site tour included an inspection of the Cascais Tires Aerodrome. The review team determined the facilities were sufficiently large and could be secured to manage the refueling of the competing airships. The team observed that the Tires Aerodrome offers the advantage of being outside the air traffic of the international Lisbon Portela Airport.
Initial activities for forming the World Sky Race Portugal Local Organizing Committee were made by the appointment of Mr. Fernando Costa Freire to be the chairman. "It is an honor to have a role in creating an epic that will show to the world, our home. The proud connection between Portugal and exploration continues by our being involved in making this historic race possible. It is fitting that Portugal have a visibly significant position in the final dash to complete the epic World Sky Race." according to Mr. Freire.
The crowning meeting between Marinha Portuguesa (Navy of Portugal) and the RRSC review team was made possible by the significant effort of the Embassy of Portugal in Washington, DC. Rear Admiral Gouveia e Melo, Comandante Marinha Portuguesa (Commander of Navy of Portugal) received the review team to hear their request for the provision of a frigate with a helicopter pad to be stationed between the Azores and Portugal. Lawrence Waks on the RRSC review team outlined, "Safety is the highest priority in developing the logistics and refueling procedures for the competing airship teams. We seek to provide a safe point for a mid-ocean rendezvous should circumstances require." The Admiral was pleased to hear that the World Sky Race would be an affirmation of Portugal's historic navigators and naval expeditions that explored the world and that the educational elements of the Race in classrooms will make it a program for which the whole world, including Portugal, will benefit.
The provision of a mid-ocean rendezvous point by the Portuguese Navy will virtually complete the necessary logistics for the Atlantic crossing: NYC - North Caroline - Hamilton, Bermuda - Flores, Azores, Portugal - Santa Maria, Azores, Portugal - Tires Aerodrome, Cascais, Portugal - Versailles, France. Admiral Gouveia e Melo outlined the necessary steps for consideration to secure final approval by the government of Portugal for the Navy of Portugal to provide these important resources.
Concluding the site visit, Commissioner Hartsell said, "We are very pleased with the reception by the Navy of Portugal for their strategic involvement in helping making the World Sky Race possible. Upon approval by the Government of Portugal, the importance and strength of this commitment will result the RRSC picking Portugal to be on the route."