Leszno with it's huge airfield.
Back from Leszno after 2 VERY interesting full days.Specially the landings on the short overshoot -runway -15 , last Sunday , were at the least spectacular as the decor for this landing was a dark, very dark sky to the NW of the airfield with flashes-of lightning "from heaven to earth" and the wind belonging to the thunderstorm blowing over the field with 30 to 35 kts. and gusting!!!
They are WGC pilots and showed their airmen- ship, even though they had aborted their task as there was no other way to get home. An out-landing was SURE,.... the other option .... return to the field as some did.
Here is the story from flying day 6 ,Sunday August 3.
After a nice breakfast and a walk from the Akwawit hotel to the Leszno airfield I could already see that the skies looked promising. And at briefing it was clear NO AAT's but racing tasks from 367 for open, 331 for 18 m. and 356 km. for 15 m. class.
The meteo message was that "we" had a tropical air-mass, it would be very hot and storms were possible during final glide. There was high humidity and the first launches were set for 11.15.
At that stage it was totally blue over the field but around it, slowly nice clouds popped up.
Surface pressure chart displayed predicted ; major frontal systems and pressure distribution in the forecast area.
No first launches at 11.15 but at 11.58 when Mark Keene was the first to go up. I looked at them on a cool spot at the end of the runway. They had quite some cross wind.
That airfield is HUGE.Clouds popped up more and more at 12.15 they were everywhere and base was up to 1700 m.
High towering clouds, and over-development was visible from the field.Some TC's already said " this is going to be an out-landing-day, look at the radar!" Pilots said to each other, it will be late tonight, look at the skies!!!!
The organizers strongly believed in their tasks and at 13.09 the line was open for club, at 13.36 for 18 m. and 13.38 for open class.The tasks were definitely set in the right direction but the weather built up much faster than anticipated.
The first launches and later launches, see how quickly the weather develops.
I stayed at the Dutch team tent and we prepared straight away for upcoming storms by securing the team tent and team radio center and closed all " side-curtains" .
Crews were advised to go on track already with car and trailer.
The [cross-] wind from the South was VERY STRONG.
Trailers ready to go on a long retrieve mostly over 2 lane roads.
At 15.30 we hear the first glider who had aborted his task, glider FB from Greek pilot Alexis.He had a steady voice whilst the voice from the organizers sounded stressy/panicky." There is a strong wind from the South,30 to 35 kts. You can use overshoot runway 15, strong wind from the S. Strong wind from the S!!!! " Also JS [Steve Wallace from NZ] arrived .
Then the sonorous voice of Dick Butler, who announced his landing at 15. Quite some people stood at the field to look.
Now you have to know that 15 is the shortest runway, they called it the overshoot-runway. So the gliders come from the East, turn behind some trees with that black sky full of lightning behind them and appear again from behind the trees to land on that short runway, crossing the main very long runway.
The wind of course was strong enough to stop the glider quickly. Dick in his CONCORDIA did well, it was impressive to see that big sail plane disappear behind the trees,.... then appear again for a short landing.
I could see RR [open Maxime ]] and GO [15 m. Sven] ] and till around 5 PM more pilots had aborted the task and came home. In between it had drizzled, rained ,rained very hard and it was dry again.
The black skies at Leszno looking at the NW AND the skies to the East at the same time.
I asked Dick the next morning if that wind was really that strong and how he had experienced this flight/ landing.He said;
" I was about 30 km. before the first TP and I could see there was no hope to go further on track. Without an engine I had to land somewhere in a paddock. So I noticed behind me some lighter spots and decided to fly back to Leszno."
" I had to go through huge turbulence with some light hail, rain and gusty winds. It was the most turbulent flight I have ever had!!! Even with us in the West of the USA I NEVER experienced that.
When I arrived at Leszno the weather there had turned bad too with severe wind gusts.There was now way I could land on 06-24 with that cross wind.
I asked for permission to land on 15, which I got and could land straight against the wind" .
" That really was a 35 kts wind on the nose during landing."
His crew rushed to the field and brought the glider back to be tied down strongly in the tie down area. Rick [Sheppe] helped the team then by going on a retrieve as 4 USA team members were in paddocks. Most where in the neighborhood of Ostrow.
DB on a better day as shared by Jacek, who allowed me to use what pictures I wanted.
Interesting was that OSTROW was closed that day , as the Polish president visited. But due to the severe weather it was opened and some could see, the presidential helicopter about to leave, when they had arrived there. TC's had told their pilots straight away when they had heard from the organizers, over the radio, that Poznan was open. Good to see they still all had smiling faces.Not all TC's had them.
As seen and shared by Arnaud and Arne, with the text:
" Things to do when landing out in the storm and rain at Ostrow airfield. A selfie with Polish President Bronislav, [already in the chopper] Jan Andersen, Peter Eriksen, Luciano Avancini and me = Arne. "
In the end it turned out a very interesting day looking at the points , better said a very expensive day when you had not continued through lightning ,storms and rain,as Dick lost over 600 daily points on winner Daniel Rossier from Swiss who got for the 308 flown km. 1000 points. Quite a few TC's thought that for " distance only" 1000 points is too much. But this was said already 15 years ago too, nothing new.
Big changes in the scores.
Only looking at open class,... Uli went up from 8 to spot 1. Daniel from 25 to 12 and Dick [DB] dropped from 17 to 24.
Today was cancelled.
The full story with more pictures, will be published in the " LESZNO DIARY " tomorrow in www.soaring.eu
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