A hot day today (around 96F) – hot enough to make a moderately stable airmass work moderately well, (though not hot enough to produce cumulus clouds). Good climbs were available at launch time and through much of the afternoon, but the lift clearly had weakened by 4:30 so late starters and stragglers had to struggle to get home.
The tasks for the two classes were nearly the same, which produces issues and controversy. Standard class gliders carry waterballast, so mostly fly at higher airspeeds than the “dry” Club class machines. When thermals get crowded (as they always do on blue days), the differing speeds and circle diameters can cause conflicts and raise the general level of cockpit anxiety. Yet it can be difficult to separate the two classes while also keeping all gliders in areas of good soaring conditions.
US Club class pilots got their start just about right and marched efficiently around the area task. As has been the case on many days, the crossing of the Tisza River valley was a critical point. They “downshifted” at the right time and had far less trouble with this than many pilots, a few of whom landed there. (For a glider pilot approaching a river valley in Hungary, “tiptoe” would rarely be bad advice.)
The result for Daniel, Noah, & J.P. was speeds only about 2kph below the day winner, good scores, and daily placing of 8th, 9thand 11th– collectively their best day of the contest. Michael Marshall also had a very good day, just 5kph slower than the day winner, which was good for 6thplace.
The contest is now complete. Of the 14 scheduled competition days, we flew 11 – well above average for eastern Europe. There were plenty of outlandings, but I’ve heard of only a few cases of minor damage (one glider hit a rock, damaging its landing gear). Thermals were often crowded, but the general level of stress that resulted from this seemed meaningfully lower than at some recent WGC events. The contest organization at Szeged – ably led by Championship Director Milan Kmetovics – gets high marks.
Leigh’s connection to soaring and competition is through her husband, SZ, for whom she’s crewed for 44 years. She’s a passionate supporter of the US Teams and loves contest reporting. She currently resides in both Steamboat Springs, Co. and Greenville, SC.