Author Archive for Dave Springford

Canadian Team – WGC 2012 – Uvalde, Texas 2012-08-24 08:20:00

Team Captain’s  closing notes.


Now that we are back home again, but details are still fresh, I should add some thoughts to the blog.
As some of the pilots mentioned, the trip was long indeed and with all the driving around at the contest site we added about 6000 km to the Santa Fe’s odometer.
The contest was well prepared and plenty of US  volunteer staff were at hand to get the job done in an orderly fashion. Some issues always surface last minute, but overall it ran pretty smooth.

The practice week proved that indeed practice is very valuable for pilots, crews and contest personnel.
The Canadian team had its own glitches as our pilots had their own ideas about practice flying.
Some preferred day on/day off, others 2 days flying  and 2 days off etc.
As it turned out, there was always flying during the practice days, resulting in no rest days for the crews,
tiring them out even before the contest started.
Observing the first few practice days,   I came up with a routine for all the crews and this was tested at the one day during the practice week that all pilots were flying.
It worked quite well and was maintained until all suffered from the heat at the field and it was decided that the crews spend the waiting time at our air conditioned motel room.
Scruteneering was as serious as it gets, with the FAA looking at all the glider and pilot’s documentation.
As it turned out this eliminated FAA checks on the grid.

All our pilots were flying their own gliders with familiar equipment, flight computers and back-up loggers. They still experienced glitches with SUA files and outright logger failures.
Jerzy’s  ClearNav failed on the first contest day and his Cambridge back-up did not start until after take-off.  Nick’s EW logger failed…. All this was due to extreme heat and added a lot of stress and distraction, costing valuable points.

As I mentioned earlier in the blog, pilot’s responsibilities have shifted. More attention is required during flying, but technicalities such as reporting start times and turning in flight logs is the Team captain’s responsibility.
Issues with procedures, changes and concerns are dealt with at the team captain’s meetings, which simplifies and shortens the morning general pilot’s meetings.
With all the up-to date available weather info it is also very important to have this passed on to the team pilots.
A good ground station with a tuned antenna that was erected at the Motel 6 resulted in an acceptable range. This worked quite well.
I was able to talk to most pilots up to about 120km out and this proved to be a big help.

On the first contest day heavy T-storms developed on course and I was able to advise the pilots of their locations, helping to avoid slowdowns.
On many contest days I advised on blue holes and cloud situations that the pilots could not observe from their own locations.

We have proven that the Canadians can and will be at the top and it was disappointing that during the closing ceremony no mention was made of the last day when  Jerzy and Dave  finished 1, 2 in the 18M, the best Canada has ever had at any previous WGC’s.  Nick finished  a very respectableble 10th for the day in  15M,
Dave and Jerzy flew together on several occasions, but on the last day it worked quite well, resulting in the top 2 spots in their class.
I am sure that with some more practice in team flying our pilots will be at the podium in 2014.

In closing, I would also like to recognise the volunteer crews. They showed up paying their own way to look after the pilots, relieving the pressure of the pilot’s spouses.
Joe Laposnyik, Dave Springford’s crew. Dan Daly, looking after Jerzy Szemplinski, skilfully updating the team blog and taking care of some team captain matters in my absence when I had to pick up Annemarie in San Antonio.
Sonia Hildesheim, looking after Nick Bonniere in her own quiet but very efficient way.
I am glad that Annemarie was able to join us during the contest and share some of the load.
Her observation from the 1991 contest was very valid…Bloody hot!
As a matter of fact, one of the local politicians admitted that if he  owned both  Texas and hell, he would rent out Texas and live in hell… but the flying is the best in the world!


Ed Hollestelle. 






Dave’s post-contest analysis

To start, I would like to thank Virginia and Joe Laposnyik who suffered through the heat on the grid each day making sure my glider was as clean and ready as it could be before the flight.  Having two dedicated crew was a real asset and saved me f…

XG – after 2012 Worlds

We are back at home in Canada after two and half day drive.

Our Uvalde hotel lost email connection in three two days.

I didn’t have full access to tasks results and possibility to

analyze opponents traces for last two days, I just used

information from others. I assumed that weather briefing is

accurate .

The weather on the last day of flying wasn’t very promising as

high clouds were moving in and just couple short lived Cu’s were

popping around.

Before start we had hard time to climb to start altitude as

fast approaching Cirrus from NW didn’t work in our favor, I met

with Dave and we started together at the same time.

When we were ready to start most of competitors were on course.

First leg with with low cloud base and fake clouds wasn’t good

sign , but deviation made to the North paid off and we had to

thermal just to improve our altitude.

At the end of the first leg, very dark Cumulus clouds under full

Cirrus worked and next leg looked better and better with

beautiful cloud street leading to the next turn area.

Then suddenly our cloud street merged with new cloud street

leading back to Uvalde , flying extra 20 km put us in to perfect

position to make the last turn .

Around 67 km from home I was able to center 10 kt thermal to

which Dave arrived just 1 minute later . Couple turns and I was

on final glide finishing task with average task speed of 150km/h

which gave me win for the day.

It was my second win in this contest, but mistakes in other days

cost me a lot and I finished 8 th after 13 days of flying.

I think it was the best day in history of Canadians flying in

World Championships, two Canadian pilots taking first and

second place of the day.

It was one of the most demanding contests for the pilots and


Pilots had chance to cool down under cloud base, but crews had to

stay on the ground in full heat till pilots were on the course

and then after couple hours of rest in cool hotel room they had

to work in heat and dust to help returning pilots.

Conditions were very harsh on our gliders and cars as well,

picture shows dusty engine compartment after 3 weeks in Uvalde..

Maria my wife/crew helped me with glider preparation and all

daily tasks. In addition I had comfort of second crew, volunteer

Dan Daly who helped me with glider preparation before and after


Ed Hollestelle our team manager took care of all administrative

and team related problems in addition he was working hard to

give the pilots current information about weather and position

of other competitors while we were on course.

Thank you All

Jerzy Szemplinski XG

It’s all over

The closing ceremony happened this morning and new World Champions were crowned.We sat outside in the rain for the closing ceremony.  The weather cooperated for the duration of the contest and held off the rain until all the flying was done. …

Dave’s Day 13 – part 2

Well it was a late night last night, so I didn’t get a chance to write about the flight.  The weather yesterday had a risk of thunderstorms, as a trough to the north started to pass through the task area, it also spun off a lot of cirrus that move…

Dave’s Day 12

A long 653 km racing task today that the winners completed in 4:08 at 157.8 km/hr.  We started too early today at 14:11 while the others started around 14:21 and then caught us about an hour later. It is amazing what difference 10 minutes can…

Dave’s Day 11

Today, it was expected that convection would start late and finish somewhat early so we had a relatively short 3:30 area task.  The 18 m class was second on the grid, and our gate opened around 3 pm.  With an expected end of convection before…

Dave’s Day 10

The weather today was a mix of cu and blue conditions on different parts of the course.  The first three and a half legs were in the cu, then we transitioned into the blue, and then on the final glide back into the cu again.  Jerzy and I flew…

XG Day 9 -Canadian Day

Today we had very fast task, any waste of time was very expensive.
I was able to start late and pass early starters and win a day,
finishing first with the highest speed of 153.5 km/h.
Jerzy XG