Today’s forecast predicted challenging condition in the form of a cold front approaching from the northwest. With luck it would hold off just long enough to allow short-ish tasks that first went west, then east, then back to home. It certainly sounded like a day when starting early would be the right choice, in contrast to the standard wisdom of go late and catch the early starters.
In the event, the weather was perhaps just a bit better than the forecast. Except in areas well to the west, lift was often strong, climbs went high (sometimes above 9000 ft, and thus close to the contest altitude limit of 2800 m), and some unusual “half cumulus / half wave” clouds provided useful clues. The late starters actually did reasonably well, and the day lasted long enough to get everyone home (though a few finished low enough to earn penalties).
Karl & Sarah had a decent speed of 127 kph, though this didn’t yield a great score when the winners did the course 13 minutes faster (at 140 kph). In difficult conditions near the first turn, they elected to go a bit out of their way for a good climb; the gaggle shunned the detour, got low, then connected with a strong climb.

As I expect you’ve already gathered, airspace is a big issue here (in truth, it is so pretty much throughout Europe). Near Hungary’s border, military airspace runs from the surface to 1500 ft. Not far north of here are large areas of overlying airspace associated with the airport at Budapest and military operations. Throughout the areas where tasks can be set are found parachute dropzones, military gunnery areas, and a nuclear power plan; overflying any of these is deadly to your contest hopes. The good news is that many of these are inactive on some days (e.g. many parachuting areas are active only Friday through Sunday), so the contest lists active airspace on each task sheet and undertakes to distribute an unofficial daily airspace file which, when correctly loaded into a compatible flight computer, will warn pilots as they approach forbidden areas. The penalties for getting it wrong are severe: At your first offence, you are scored as if you had landed at the point of airspace incursion; the second yields a score of zero for the day; the third earns disqualification from the contest. Despite the care taken and the severity of mistakes, it’s an unusual contest that avoids all airspace penalties.

An interesting – and, yes, controversial – feature of this contest is the PEV. This stands for Pilot EVent: a time-stamped notation that a pilot can cause to appear in the electronic log of each flight, from which speed and score are calculated. The rule here says that when you choose to cross the start line and begin your task, you should first create a pilot event (by pressing a button associated with your logger). You then must let a defined time (here, 5 minutes) elapse at which point a start “window” of defined length (here, 8 minutes) opens for you. If you cross the start line during this window, all is well; should you start outside such a window, you’ll be hit with a 50-point penalty. And during any one flight, you can create only three such windows for yourself – once the last has closed, the only way to avoid a penalty is to land and re-launch.
Why, you may ask, might this folderol be called for? Well, the goal is to frustrate “leeching” – the tendency of glider pilots to start just after a top pilot, follow him around the course, and get an equal (possibly better) speed while having made few decisions and exhibited little soaring merit. With the PEV rule, if you wait until you see your leader start, you’ll either have to wait 5 minutes to follow, or take a 50-point hit. And it will presumably not be easy to guess when he has recorded an event to open his start window. In the world of glider racing, almost any change is controversial; just how well this works – and what pilots think of it – must wait until we gain more experience.
(I’ll note that the preceding is not entirely accurate: Sarah has made it clear that she has an opinion after just a couple of tasks and some careful analysis. Without providing details, I can say that it’s less than 100% positive.)

Concluding our look at the gliders of WGC2022, we today consider 20-Meter class, with 19 entries. Here is the list of models, and the number of each:
• Schempp-Hirth Arcus T – 9
• Schempp-Hirth Arcus M – 6
• HpH 304 Twin Shark – 3
• Schleicher ASG-32 MI – 1
All these gliders are motorized. The ASG-32, Twin Shark and Arcus M models all have engines large and powerful enough to launch these heavy gliders (after which the engine folds neatly away). The Arcus T models have “sustainer” (aka “turbo”, whence the “T”) engines, not capable of launching the glider, but which can be extended and run to avoid an outlanding and get the glider home. At a competition (where towplanes are readily available for launching), the T model may be the best choice: its smaller engine is significantly lighter, allowing the glider to climb better in conditions of weak lift (little of which we’ve yet seen at WGC2022).

You can find the latest contest scores at: