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Uvalde Glide 18M / 15M Contest - Aug 10 Report


We had another heavy dose of low cloudcover this morning, which again made everyone think we could be in for a classic Uvalde soaring day.  Accordingly, reasonably long Assigned tasks were set for all three classes.  Backup tasks were Turn-area version of the same, giving some good distance flexibility. 

At launch time the problem was clear: limited sun on the ground yielding a slow-developing day.  The cloud cover broke and the launch was finally underway at 13:15, late enough to cast doubt on whether the Assigned tasks could be completed.  We wound up using backup tasks in all classes, which yielded a high rate of completion. 

It wasn’t especially easy.  Many pilots reported inconsistent lift, some low points, turbulence and struggles.  But winners managed good distances and speeds (which were much the same in all classes). In 15-Meter class, it was John Seaborn with 127.4 kph (79.2 mph) over 487 km.  Bruce Taylor was again well ahead of the pace in 18-Meter class, with 129.3kph (80.4 mph) over 517 km (he has now won four days of five).  Dick Butler was best in Open class, with 79.6 mph over 278 miles – but this was awfully close to a “dead heat”, with only 6 points separating fifth from first place.

An impressive thunderstorm loomed west of Uvalde not long before sunset, at about the time the last finishers were arriving.  This yielded just a few drops of rain, but enough wind and distant lightning to convince most pilots it was wise to pack gliders into their trailers. All locals were hoping for some useful rain, but at least for tonight it appears most or all of this will fall some ways southwest of Uvalde.

Tomorrow has been declared an official rest day, for which a good many pilots, crews and volunteers seem grateful (local laundromats should do a good business).  Weatherman Dan Gudgel is glad, as he felt it might be tricky to pick rain- and storm-free areas for a task tomorrow.  We’ll be back Friday for three more scheduled contest days. 

Tomorrow evening’s event is a visit to the Frio Bat Cave, about 30 miles north of Uvalde.  Starting at sunset, about 10 million bats take flight in search of food.  They exit the cave’s mouth at the rate of around 1000 per second for three hours.  They return around dawn having collectively consumed something like 100 tons of insects. (I hope the drought has not seriously hampered their hunting success.)


- John Good


Posted: 8/10/2011


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