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Uvalde Glide 18M / 15M Contest - Aug 6 Report


Today is the first official competition day for both Uvalde contests.  After various last-minute changes (that have put some strain on the patience of Leo Buckley, our Scorer) we have the following counts:

   US Open-class National Championships:  16 entrants (including 3 guests)

   UvaldeGlide 18-Meter class: 14 entrants

   UvaldeGlide 15-Meter class: 21 entrants


It’s worth noting that the UvaldeGlide classes are flying under FAI rules, as will be the case for all classes in next year’s World Gliding Contest.  Their task options and start procedures are a bit different, distances are presented in kilometers instead of miles, and scoring formulas occasionally create different incentives. But the basic principle of “fly fast to score well” applies to both.

An important asset to glider contests at Uvalde is SWTJC – the Southwest Texas Junior College.  Our contest headquarters occupies a building that is normally the home of the college’s Wildlife Management Department.  It’s a former hangar on the east side of the airfield, now divided into rooms and decorated with animal heads, maps depicting such things as US white-tailed deer density by county, and posters of which the one showing the various freshwater bass of North America is typical.  Though it isn’t standard for glider contests, you soon get used to composing daily contest reports with the antlered head of an Axis Deer (aka Chital) peering over your shoulder.  A little harder to accept is the poster depicting various deer parasites (you probably don’t want details here), or the snarling & malevolent heads of two large feral hogs that preside over the retrieve desk.  But after nearly a week even these have come to seem normal.

We also use the college auditorium for our morning pilot briefings, and various contest personnel are staying in rooms of the (otherwise currently vacant) women’s dormitory, quite handy to the airfield.  Dorm accommodations here are about as I remember them from many years ago – spare but serviceable. Power outlets were clearly not seen as an important feature when this building was constructed (1963). Air conditioning seems reliable - a welcome thing when the outside temperature at midnight is often still above 90º F.  There is a communal kitchen (probably best not to let the college know that its refrigerator currently contains a case of towpilot beer) and even a coin laundry room.

Weather today was a bit less straightforward than was the case during the practice period.  Temperatures were forecast to be not quite so savagely hot, and some thin cirrus clouds to the south looked like a possible threat.  Nonetheless, we were told to expect very good conditions to the north (over the rugged Hill Country) once a troublesome temperature inversion broke in mid- to late afternoon.

The forecast proved accurate.  Strong and high lift was indeed late in coming, and had many believing the tasks were overcalls.  But come it did (pilots reported reaching 9000’ MSL at 7 to 8 kts), and it got almost everyone home, some with excellent speeds.  The slow-to-develop day led to the use of backup tasks in 15-Meter and 18-Meter class, both of which had devalued days due to winners posting times under 3 hours.  The Open Class stayed with its 300+ mile primary task, which nearly all pilots completed (some landing rather late).

It was a good day for Australia (which has sent an impressive contingent to Uvalde): Bruce Taylor was first in 18-Meter class at 136.8 kph (85.0 mph) and David Jansen was best in 15-Meter class at 134.9 kph (83.8 mph).  Ron Tabery won a close race in Open class at 77.3 mph (124.5 kph).


- John Good

Posted: 8/6/2011


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