Good weather today (low cloud, then clear, then plenty of higher cumulus) and long tasks in all classes (over 300km for Club Class). Not everyone got home, but the flying was generally good and for the first time in this contest the day winner in each class achieved 1000 points.
Sarah started well behind all the others, did a reasonable job of catching up over more than 4 hours of flying, and managed to finish 6th for the day, with 937 points. She now stands 6th overall, just over 200 points from first – not a formidable difference in view of how volatile WGC scores can be.
We have an interesting set of towplanes here, comprising one Pawnee, one Maule, a couple of Zlin Z-26 variants, and two Zlin Z-37 Cmelaks (Cmelak = “bumblebee”). This is a radial-engined cropduster that first flew more than 50 years ago. It’s the little brother of the mighty Zlin Z-37T – the turbine Cmelak. This powerful machine is occasionally seen at European glider contests, where it is happy to launch ballasted Open-class gliders to 2000’ AGL at the rate of one every three minutes. The non-turbine version here is not in that league, but it does a good job and with huge flaps lands shorter than any other model. In the strong winds of two days ago its groundspeed at touchdown was around 15 mph, yielding a landing roll of perhaps two plane lengths.
The Zbraslavice airfield offers an interesting mix. At the north end is a small house with a MiG-15 fuselage in its yard, and a complete MiG-23 on display out the back. It’s a bit of a mystery how this could have got here, as neither the runway surface nor length would support fighter jet landings. Presumably it came in pieces, by truck.
Just south is a hangar that’s home to a light aircraft company known as InterPlane. They make small powered composite aircraft, including models known as Griffon and SkyBoy. A 2-seat, twin-boom pusher has occasionally been spotted (its takeoff and climb performance has impressed), though it’s unclear whether this is a production model.
Next in line is the WGC briefing tent, then the clubhouse / office building, home to a small (but certainly well regarded) snack bar / restaurant and the best place on the field for internet access. South of that is a swimming pool (not yet receiving much custom, due to cool temperatures). Then comes a large hangar mostly used for towplanes, but also home to an active Blanik training glider.
Near that is the tent village, holding up admirably against the ravages of would-be thieves and high winds. Behind that is the “hangar of dreams” – an elegant private hangar that’s home to several state-of-the art gliders (including an Arcus M) and a DA-42 Twin Star, a modern light twin built by Diamond Aircraft of Austria. This is followed by another large-ish hangar that adjoins a factory that manufactures auto seats.
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.