Ominous weather signs were visible this morning, in the form of altocumulus clouds indicating excess moisture aloft, conducing toward thunderstorms. The morning forecast confirmed this: we were told to expect a short period of good lift, ending with cumulus overdevelopment, areas of rain, and scattered thunderstorms. Short (2-hour) turn-area tasks were set to try to take advantage of the soarable weather before the sky shut down. The launch began at 11:30 – the earliest yet seen at WWGC2017.
Satellite and radar views of the task area seemed to confirm the troubled forecast. All pilots had the message, and did not delay their starts. But the overdevelopment and rain held off nicely and allowed nearly everyone to complete their tasks, typically with good speeds. Most pilots were home before 3 pm, some wondering whether they should launch again to try the task a second time (apparently, none did).
Sarah spent the first part of her flight in a group of a half-dozen good pilots. But she became frustrated with what seemed like excessive deviation from straight flight, and finally split from the group to follow an inviting cloud street the others had chosen to bypass. This worked well, and she got home just on time with a speed of 93 kph. This was good for 6th place on the day, and moved her up to 8th place overall. But the story of the day in Club Class was written by the three German pilots, who found consistently good conditions, wandered only a little, and all finished with speeds above 100 kph (not frequently seen from unballasted gliders in European weather).
I have separately posted a long – perhaps tediously long – account of my adventures traveling from Philadelphia to Prague. I’d promised to write the whole story, and it unfortunately ran to several pages. As Abraham Lincoln is reported to have written: “I apologize for writing such a long letter – I hadn’t the time to write a shorter one.”
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.