This is IGC Journalist Angela Sheard's July 30, 2014 report from the World Gliding Championships in Leszno, Poland.
As I wrote on 28th, the heavy, humid weather continues and the final arrivers at Leszno that day met a wall of water blotting out the airfield. Luckily, everyone made it in safely and the crew members, drenched to the skin, were able to secure the gliders without damage
In view of this, task planners set only short Area Tasks on the 29th, to get everyone round and home ahead of forecast storms, but guess what? The weather brightened, a cheering breeze cooled the airfield and a very beautiful day emerged - but as so many pilots zipped home in no time, the points were reduced from the top in each class (see the Organisers' Results page for tasks, daily and overall scores). Similarly, pilots who rushed off as soon as their class start gate opened enjoyed their flights but found that hanging back had produced better times and distances for other teams, due to the improving conditions. Briefing on the 29th was enlivened by the visit of FAI General Secretary Susanne Schödel and the Mayor of Leszno, in office for over 20 years and a keen supporter of gliding’s role in his town’s recent rich history. Airsports pioneer Poland has seen world championships in 5 disciplines this summer, not to mention ours being the 4th at this airfield since 1958
Closely observing the legality and above all, safety, of differing approach and landing styles, FAI-appointed Chief Steward Robert Danewid (SWE) sits just inside the airfield, binoculars and camera at the ready, and doesn’t miss a trick! His colleague, Steward Jaroslav Vach (CZR) races all over the airfield on his bike, checking the length of landing runs, watchful and glad to advise where necessary.
Each day, as anxious crews muster at the finish ready to remove their pilots and gliders from the active runway as fast as possible, visitors from the town arrive, often with grandchildren or friends, to peer into the bright sunlight and glider-spot. A fine display thrilled them yesterday as sometimes 7 or 8 gliders at a time swooped towards the airfield, whooshing over the ripe corn at the runway threshold, some very low (did you see that, Robert?) and some with wingtips turned up so high at speed that the glider seemed bowed and the tips about to “clap hands”. Jettisoned water streamed behind those who had held onto to their water ballast until the last, some even to touch- down.
Between that ripe crop and the perimeter ditch, however, is a busy road with all manner of vehicles heading home from work, from tractors to bikes and enthusiastic photographers sticking their lenses as well as their necks out by lingering too long right in the path of the fast-arriving finishers. To keep the worst from happening, a security team keeps watch, holding up beeping cars and racing after pedestrians turning a deaf ear on yellow quad bikes.
And so to today, the 30th – again, 2-hour Area Tasks for everyone as the forecast is unchanged. “Storms may develop” and indeed, big, dark CuNims have developed earlier than any day so far, so there could be a lot of land-outs.
This evening sees the opening of the OSTIV Congress. These international gatherings of top scientific minds, applied to all branches of flight: hull and pilot safety, emergency escape systems, innovation, construction, to name a few topics, run concurrently with every FAI World Gliding Championships and the papers presented, which sometimes seem far-fetched, often result in improvements which in years to come will seem routine.
Whatever happens later, if enough people score to make this 4th Championship Day a valid contest day, then the whole Championship will already be validated as four days is the minimum requirement. Contest Organisers can then relax a bit!