EGC2023 NEWS – DAY 11

Angela Elinor Sheard, 09/08/2023

Sun looked in at 5am, didn’t like what he saw and went away. Gloomy till lunchtime, briefing delayed until 12.30.The two Hungarian heroes who decided not to land when yesterday’s tasks were abandoned and completed theirs, received a prize of honour for their tenacity!
Rain-wet gliders wiped dry yet again, new tasks – simple polygons of 3 or 5 turnpoints, less testing mentally than choosing routes while up there as in the “assigned area tasks” of other days – distributed to sceptical teams on the flight line but slowly, slowly, the day came right! More than right! Stunning formations of beautiful white Cu, blue sky, hot sun and only a light wind for once. A joy to watch the take-offs – gliders twinkling in the sunlight against the rolling cloud streets and the antics of the towplanes, especially the versatile Wilgas, exciting to follow. The whole field, towed or self-launched, airborne in just over an hour. Just time for crews to stow the launching equipment and rehydrate before the speediest land back! More when they have!

I am looking out across the airfield as bedtime approaches at a beautiful and encouraging striated sunset sky, really the end of a perfect day. As far as I know, only one person failed to their task of the 3 classes, Open, 18m and 20m multi-seat. The wind freshened towards the end of the contest day but was much lighter at start time than previously this week and the superb ranges of stacked-up Cu, still evolving in late afternoon, except in one easterly sector, late in the day and ablaze with energy in the distance, made for good speeds, such that the points, you will notice, usually 1000 to each class winner, were correspondingly reduced. Note also the little arrows on the left side of each pilot’s name in the lists showing how today’s flight affected their overall score, up or down.
They arrived back flying the length of Leszno airfield from the west, turned and landed from the east (over tall crop that I have had to help get a glider out of, that had not quite been high enough on the approach in past years – so near and yet so far!), at times several and even many at once. A stirring sight and with Briefing planned for only 10,00 tomorrow (Thursday), one I very much hope to see repeated!

EGC2023 NEWS – DAY 10

Angela Elinor Sheard, 08/08/2023

Biblical quantities of rainfall covering much of Eastern Europe and dropping quite a lot off over Leszno’s huge and historical airfield, it is a wonder there was a task at all yesterday (Monday 7th August). Add in ferocious windspeeds, such that the national flags had to be knotted to their flagpoles to stop them snapping the bendy poles and flying away home – a new sort of Wind Speed Indicator, I thought as I took their forlorn photo, it needed all the pilots’ skills and experience to stay up, never mind complete the task. Due to the clingey mud, one glider suffered undercarriage damage just manoeuvring on the grid. Another, a two-seater, attempted a field landing later in the day but failed to stop at the end of the field, nipped across a road!! and completed the landing roll in a second field! Subsequent tortion damage to the undercarriage could not be repaired in time for today’s tasks. Please see the results tables by class for the names of the plucky pilots who pressed on and made a contest day of it. Prizes and cheers were their reward this morning.

So, Day 10 (Tuesday 8th August) dawned, gliders were weighed as per rules, to check for anomalies or unauthorized changes, and towed or pushed to their places in line by class i.e. 18 metre, 20 metre muti-seat and Open.

The sky didn’t want to play though – windier than yesterday, much colder overnight than yesterday and no curly white Cu, only lowering grey and black clouds frowning at the soggy field. A task was set, however, so the usual preparations were made, to the gliders by crews and to their navigation and tactical plans by pilots. All classes would have assigned area tasks with 2 areas (In the past, regular tannoy announcements would be broadcast to interested observers and participants alike regarding first launch time, delays to launching, other operational information or abandonment. Now, such messages are circulated by Whatsapp groups, efficient but leaving the casual visitor or interested members of the public in the dark.)

Ohhh! at about 12.40, a patch of blue, spreading, clouds losing their menacing dark appearance and brightening up. Even the windsock drooping a bit…Hope…
The rumble of a variety of towplane engines, “crew cars away” gliders hooked on, others starting their own engines.
Then, the sunshine went back into hiding, the wind got the better of the few gliders already launched and the word spread:
Tasks for all classes cancelled for today.

Hope springs eternal in the soaring family breast so here’s to tomorrow…