Today’s conditions produced the first scores at WGC2022 – and a high percentage of task completions (two 18-Meter pilots “ran out of day” and came up just short). The absurdly good weather of the practice period may be a thing of the past: today was merely very good. It was a mostly blue day, but with occasional “haze domes” to indicate thermal locations; lift was typically around 5 kts, occasionally extending as high as 7000 ft.
Sarah and Karl had a “solid if unspectacular” run around their 380km task at a speed of 118 kph, good for 12th place; the Swiss Arcus was best in 20-Meter class, at a speed near 125 kph. It took 133 kph to win in Open class, but the best speed of the day was by a “short-winged” JS-3 flown by Davide Schiavotto of Italy in 18-Meter class.
The Szeged task area deserves some discussion. The airfield (which lies right at the western edge of the city) is conspicuously close to the borders of both Serbia (closest point just 7.2 km south) and Romania (18.4 km southeast). Cross-border flights require paperwork and permissions that put them out of the question for a gliding competition, so all our tasks must use Hungarian airspace north of the airfield. Nor is this trouble-free: the capitol and largest city in Hungary is Budapest, about 160 km NNW of here. The international airport there owns an amount of airspace that would make Los Angeles blush, and adjoining this is a decent helping of military airspace. The result is that controlled airspace is encountered only about 50 km north of Szeged: we thus must make do with an east-west corridor. The north-south extent of this increases considerable once you move about 70 km either west or east, so in effect we have a “bowtie”-shaped airspace to work with.
This bowtie contains mostly flat terrain just a few hundred feet above sea level. Much of it is under cultivation, making it generally quite friendly for glider outlandings. Through this area flow two significant rivers: the Danube to the west (on its way south from Budapest into Serbia) and the Tisza (from the northeast, right through the heart of the city of Szeged, on its way to join the Danube). Local wisdom holds these to be significant on most tasks: their valleys don’t look especially wet or troublesome (at least, not after a significant drought), but they typically suppress lift for a meaningful distance and call for care on any task leg that crosses one (which will be a feature of most tasks at this contest).

Continuing with our look at the gliders of WGC2022, we today consider Open class, with 22 entries. Here is the list of models, and the number of each:
• Jonker JS-1 – 11
• EB-29 R – 6
• EB-29 DR – 3
• EB-28 – 1
• Schleicher ASH-31 – 1
Jonker gliders again predominate, here making up half of all entries. These (and the lone Schleicher ASH-31) are “short-wingers”, with a wingspan of “just” 21 meters. The EB models are all long-winged “supergliders” from Binder Flugmotoren- und Flugzeugbau in Ostheim (east of Frankfurt), offered with spans ranging from 25 to 29 meters. The EB-28 and the EB-29 DR models are two-seaters. All the EB models feature thin, “floppy” wings with minimal dihedral: at rest, the wingtips droop near the ground and the wing runner needs both long arms and good foot speed for a trouble-free launch. In the air, they flex upward, which has much the same effect as dihedral does for a stiffer wing.
It will be interesting to watch the faceoff between the short-wingers (strong point: nimble handling that allows the pilot to better deal with small & gnarly thermals) and the supergliders (better minimum sink rate and amazing glide performance at speed).

You can find the latest contest scores at: