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Uvalde Glide 18M / 15M Contest - Aug 14 Report


Afternoon report

It’s the final contest day of Uvalde 2011 – and we have a notably attractive sky.  Pilots are off on Area tasks ranging from 3.5 hours for 18-Meter class (last to launch) to 4.5 hours for Open class.  We were told to expect very good soaring conditions, with a significant sea breeze front in the southeast part of the task area by late afternoon that might kick off thunderstorms.  Despite this, it’s clear from start times that some pilots are gambling on the day staying strong at least until 6:30 pm (as indeed most days have).


5:30 PM report

Looking south from Uvalde, we see what could be a caricature of a stunningly beautiful soaring sky: flat-bottomed cumulus at something like 8000’ extend to the horizon. Satellite images show that the sea breeze front is indeed marching briskly into the southeastern task area, and generating some isolated rain.  Tracking data shows that a good number of pilots are running south in areas enhanced by this front, apparently achieving good speeds.  It remains to be seen how they do on the long run home, and if any will find part of their final turn circle unusable.  I’m expecting some very high speeds.


Evening report

Though not entirely problem-free, it was indeed an excellent day at Uvalde, as the day winners’ results clearly show.  In Open class, Ron Tabery (who had enough difficulties to conclude he’d probably not done well) was best at 89.6 mph (144.2 kph) over 417 miles.  In 18-Meter class it was Gary Ittner with 150.8 kph (93.7 mph) over 546 km.  And Erik Nelson was on top at 148.2 kph (92.1 mph) over 599 km.

The sea breeze front did indeed intrude late in the day.  Several pilots reported passing close to rain showers, and a few briefly got wet.  But the showers were not large and at worst dictated only small detours.

The US National Open class champion is Uvalde pioneer Ron Tabery; his daily placings of 1, 1, 2, 1, 2, 2, 3, 1 are the essence of consistency and made him unbeatable.  Second was Bill Ruehle, an extremely commendable result achieved with 18-Meter wings.  Dick Butler was third, which initial analysis says gives him a position on the US Team for next year’s World contest.

The 18-Meter champion has been a foregone conclusion for several days.  Bruce Taylor scarcely put a foot wrong during the entire contest, and won by over 600 points; his daily placings were 1, 5, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 3 – you’re not supposed to be able to do that.  Second was Gary Ittner; Bill Elliott was a close third.

In 15-Meter class, Mak Ichikawa never won a day, but was the most consistent pilot, and thus the winner.  His daily placings were 6, 3, 2, 3, 2, 5, 3, 12.  John Seaborn was second and Mark Keene was third.

Our contests finish with eight good – often astonishingly good – soaring days, just a few landouts and no safety issues.  Give credit to Contest Manager Linda Murray, Competition Director Ken Sorenson, and a host of hard-working volunteers who made Uvalde 2011 a success.  


- John Good

Posted: 8/14/2011


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