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Uvalde Glide 18M / 15M Contest - Aug 12 Report


The drought persists in Uvalde, though areas near here saw considerable rain from late-afternoon and evening storms yesterday.  Del Rio (about 60 miles west) reported 4.5” (114 mm) of rain in 3 hours.  The Hill Country north of Uvalde was the site of some big buildups that produced considerable lightning around sunset. 

It was another morning of extensive low cloud, but no one was fooled into thinking this foretold another classic Uvalde day.  Much of the moisture was at mid levels, thrown off by yesterday’s nearby thunderstorms.  Today’s weather would clearly be affect by this: the sun would need to burn off plenty of cloud, but then not heat the ground so much that further thunderstorms would cause problems.

Landouts at Uvalde can be … interesting.  Thus far in our two 2011 contests we’ve had only a few, and they’ve been routine – but it hasn’t always been so.  The tale is still told of Stig Oye’s landing in a “tank” (farm pond) during the 1991 World Contest here. It was Day 7 of the contest, the first to offer less than excellent weather. He was forced down by a thunderstorm and touched down on grass, then continued into the pond, his Discus stopping just short of the far shore.  He was able to paddle to the shore and get the nose out of the water, but a waterlogged tail stayed submerged.  He managed to transmit an “I’m okay” message before his radio quit.  He was located the next morning, and with some heroic help was able to fly the task that day (he finished fifth).

A tale from last year’s 15-Meter contest: John Murray landed north of home, and duly called in.  Cellphones have certainly improved post-landout communications, but problems still occur. In this case, the Retrieve Office staff heard “John Murray” as “Sean Murphy”. Sean finished his task about 20 minutes later and was surprised to find his trailer and crew gone.  John, flying an ASW-27, was not thrilled to see an ASW-20 trailer roll up to his field.  It all got sorted out in the end.

A small rattlesnake was discovered on a taxiway this morning – it had been flattened by some passing vehicle.  Paul Weeden collected the rattles as a souvenir.  Certain nature lovers have been a bit disappointed by the scarcity of snakes this year, though it seems possible this sentiment is not widely shared.

An airfield denizen of which there’s no shortage is the fire ant.  These reddish insects live in large underground colonies from which they range far and wide during the day.  Well-worn paths about 3 inches wide and 50+ yards long lead out from each hole in the ground.  Left alone they are no problem, but woe betide anyone who stands too near their homes (they have a bite that commands instant respect).  One established, they are said to be very hard to get rid of.

A late-starting day (due to the low clouds) and the threat of afternoon thunderstorms led to short tasks for all classes today, all emphasizing the southeast part of the task area.  In the event the storms mostly stayed away, though the southernmost turn area for 18-Meter and 15-Meter class offered trouble in the form of black skies and rain. Best in 15-Meter class was Erik Nelson, at 128.9 kph (80.1 mph) over 329km.  The 18-Meter class winner was once again Bruce Taylor, at 136.8 kph (85.0 mph) 344km. In Open class it was Bill Ruehle (flying with an 18 m wingspan) at 83.9 mph over 216 miles.


- John Good


Posted: 8/12/2011


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