16th FAI European Gliding Championships: Make or break day

Today, Friday 29th July, dawned sunny and bright at the 16th FAI European Gliding Championships in Nitra but the daunting cloud cover moved in very quickly. Assigned area tasks, with areas instead of points to fly towards, giving pilots more freedom to avoid showers and storms, have been set in all classes but already, the World Class has been changed to a B Task as the weather to the south became quickly less favourable and a more northerly first area has been substituted with little difference in distance to fly. It is "make or break" day for this class as they are still chasing a 4th full contest day to validate their championship. If today doesn't come up to expectations, they will need to fly tomorrow (Local Rules having been agreed to allow a reserve flying day) while everyone else packs up and sets off for home! When this reserve day was written into the local rules, as it sometimes is in countries shorter national championships, no one could have imagined that an event lasting two weeks would be unable to produce at least four days good flying for all classes, even if on different days. But, this is summer 2011 and the weather has been playing tricks and reversing seasons all around the world for months now. But the photo galleries on www.nitra2011.sk show that there has been a lot of fun too. Today's tasks have a time limit of 2 hours and we can start up until 15h00. Whatever happens, tonight's farewell and closing party will be followed by the official prize-giving for the completed championships. Everyone will be flying with extra care so as not to lose any points and positions, while those within fingertip reach of the podium will be going all out to secure a medal. Good luck and safe fun to them all.