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2019 Uvalde Invitational - Report for Contest Day 5 (Aug 9)

Uncharacteristically the soaring forecast from both SkySight and XC Skies for the last 2 days was 180 degrees from how the conditions actually proved to be and today would be no different. At the 10 am pilots meeting these two predictors of the days potential were showing overcast skies and no cross country potential when our intuition was telling us just the opposite. Again we awoke to overcast skies and this morning it was even better as there ware signs of even some light rain with puddling on the tarmac. The emphasis for this contest was to have fun and try some new concepts and this even included our tasking which was done largely by committee rather than a dictatorial CD telling everyone what they would be doing. With that and based on hunch and years of Uvalde flying experience rather than scientific evidence we set a bowtie task that would line up with potential streeting with a nominal distance of 512 km.


By launch time the clouds had disappeared and would not return for the rest of the day. The prospect of flying more than 300 km without a single marker raised the apprehension with the pilots but off we went nonetheless. Getting through the start gate above 4000’ MSL / 3000’ AGL proved futile so off we went south towards the first turn. Given the blue skies and what seemed to be a cap on lift the minimum distance seemed the best tactic. As it turned out, the 7 pilots were split into two groups – those that found lift and those that didn’t. The first group made it around the course with little difficulty although it was easy to get nervous when you were down to 2000’ AGL and wondering where your next climb would be especially at the second turn in the hills. The second group turned back early out of frustration and overheating. At the end of the race the 4 pilots that did complete the task were pretty equally matched even though they were spread out and flew alone and without reference to each other.


One of the objectives of this contest was to compare FAI scoring to the SSA rules and todays results were interesting and showed there is in fact differences in the two scoring systems. The SSA rules had “MH” as the winner flying 301 km at 98 kph in 3 hours and 3 minutes while the FAI scoring gave the day to “3D” flying 297 km at 99 kph in 2 hours and 57 minutes. Clearly the FAI rules seemed to put more weight on speed even though the pilot was 3 minutes under the minimum time. Many pilots more knowledgeable than myself have studied this in more depth and might call it differently but it is fun to fly and score using the two methods.


Posted: 8/9/2019


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