A more difficult weather day today, with highly varied conditions that were tricky to predict and navigate. Of the 80 pilots here (yes, that’s the correct total number), just 55 were able to complete today’s task.
Club class (which is always launched first) had it a bit easier, needing to use less of the “overmature” weather at the end of the day. The US Club class team all got around, but felt their choice of an early start time (which the forecast and pre-start conditions seemed to call for) wound up not being the right choice.
Michael Marshall was among 17 pilots in Standard class who outlanded, in his case near the northwest turn area late in the task. His field was a good one and the retrieve posed no problems. (Given the tricky weather that can be expected during a long contest in eastern Europe, it’s good to be flying in a flat task area with a large number of good agricultural fields.)
I thought it might be useful to tally up the pilots and gliders in this contest. Club class has 44 entries from 18 countries. Here are aircraft types and quantities:
LS-4 – 14
ASW-19 – 7
LS-1 – 4
DG-300 – 3
Jantar Std – 3
Pegasus – 3
Std Cirrus – 3
ASW-15 – 2
ASW-20 – 2
Discus – 1
LS-3 – 1
LS-7 – 1
Standard class has 36 entries from 16 countries. Here are aircraft types and quantities:
LS-8 – 19
Discus 2 – 15
Discus – 1
LAK-17 – 1
The Club class glider breakdown represents a significant change from recent events, unquestionable due to changes in the handicaps of various models. Until recently, the list would have included many more Std Cirrus models and a good number of Libelles. But these have lost their luster in favor of newer, higher performance models (most significantly, the LS-4) that now carry more favorable handicaps.
Standard class remains as it has been for a very long time, with just two popular models. With the possible exception of those who own one, few pilots feel there’s much to choose between the Discus 2 and the LS-8.
Of the 18 countries represented here, all but 2 (Australia and USA) are European. It’s a bit disappointing not to see anyone from New Zealand, Canada or South America. Without question the cost of competing far from home is a significant hurdle, but this probably also indicates a decline in soaring participation.
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.