Today’s major weather feature was cirrus clouds darkening the skies above Zbraslavice and adding much uncertainty to the prospects for motorless flight. It was clear that we had a good airmass and that areas receiving good sun would produce good lift. But there was no telling how the high cloud would affect this.
In the event, most pilots found good lift around most of the task (very late starters excepted). But the final leg of the task was mostly shaded by high cloud and proved difficult for nearly everyone – with some falling to earth just a bit short of home.
Sarah had very good day, managing to start decently late, overtake the gaggles, and finish ahead of most. She placed second in Club Class, beaten only by an LS-4 whose good glide performance was just the thing for the difficult final leg. In response to some disparaging Facebook comments of yesterday to the effect that Sarah may be weak at Assigned Task skills, I was tempted to say that she spent the night studying how to fly this type of task and that’s how she managed to do so well. In fact, her resume (which includes an excellent overall result in WGC2013 in France) shows that her skills are, as the saying goes “not of yesterday”.
Unfortunately, today’s flying included another bad outlanding near home. This time it was Christine Grote of Germany, flying a JS-1 in 18-Meter class. She had reached the finish cylinder (3 km from home) but was low – in a direction from which the airfield is hard to see, and at a height from which it may not have been in reach. She reportedly wound up with a rough downwind landing that caused substantial damage to the glider and sent her to hospital for observation. Needless to say, two crashes in two days are troubling to everyone here.
Several days ago, late in the evening there was big excitement at the airfield: an organized band of four or five thieves had infiltrated the campground. The alarm was sounded when one light-sleeping pilot noticed the door of her camper being opened. Our multi-talented Competition Director – Vladimir Machula – sprang into action, jumped into his car, and chased a couple of the “bugglers” (as they have been referred to) around the field, eventually driving them off. In the end, the reported haul consisted on one laptop computer and perhaps a few valuables. As a result of this, the electric airfield gates are often kept shut (they can be opened by calling a designated phone number from a phone whose number is on the official access list). I’m skeptical that this is much of a deterrent to clever thieves (not least because there is easy ungated access) but perhaps an alert and angry CD giving chase has convinced them to look for softer targets.
John Good has been a member of the US Team at many World Gliding Championship events, serving as crew, Team Captain and report author. He was the Deputy Championship Director/ Task-setter at the 2012 WGC in Uvalde, Texas and brings a wealth of international rules knowledge as Captain.