2013 WGC Argentina

3 timers AAT

Et par billeder fra i går Samme vejr som i går blot med mere vind. Det bliver svært, som sædvanligt. Rigtigt svært. I går var gaggle-flyvningen ved startlinjen frygtelig, og de sædvanlige prøvede at komme sig selv, og os andre, til livs. Det lykkedes næsten med en mid-air collision, hvor begge fly dog heldigvis kunne […]

Postflight interview on 99.7

The local FM radio station interviewed Sarah after she landed today. We had the radio tuned to the wrong station back at USA Base, so we missed it. The station promised to get us a copy of the audio.

Vi er hjemme!

Vi er begge hjemme – Felipe har lige meldt ankomst. Uden tvivl en skidt dag resultatmæssigt, men vi kunne desværre ikke komme afsted ved startlinjen. Too bad! Det blev ren overlevelse hele vejen rundt… MEN, nu er der kolde øl /Morten

Scrutineer at rest

The gentleman with the clipboard in this photo is Art Grant, Chief of Scrutineering at the championships.”Scrutineering” is the method the Organisers use to assure that the configuration, equipment, documents, and weights of the gliders are all within …

Good report – Dieciseis

WGC2013 report – 18 January

As everyone knew they would be, yesterday’s tasks for all classes were cancelled around 2pm, in the face of entirely hopeless conditions: low cloud, mist and a cold southeast wind.  Perhaps a dozen gliders were never placed on the launch grid – their pilots had decided that the chance of flying was not worth the effort.

The mandatory improvement in conditions shortly after cancellation was again seen, but it was slight: the sky brightened a bit and the mist stopped falling for an hour or so.  Not the most incorrigible of the second-guessers was able to make the case that we should have waited longer.  There was a considerable body of thought that, with impossible conditions and a weather forecast that offered not the slightest chance of useful improvement, it was a waste of time to put any gliders on the runway.  It’s fair to note that contest organizers are ill advised to closely consult crew comfort in making their decisions – this habit often leads to lost flying opportunities.

Our morning routine here usually includes a visit to the Hotel Paris, which is something of a social center in the town of Gonzales Chaves.  Its confiteria features good coffee and reliable internet service, which have made it popular with many at WGC2013.  I expect hotel management will be sorry to see the contest end.

Within walking distance of the Hotel Paris are three food markets that have met our needs rather well, but which require some adjustments in planning.  They open around 8:30, but always close from noon through 4:30.  Beer and wine are readily available (the latter is excellent value in Argentina – $3 buys a good bottle) but are not sold before 10am or after 9pm.  Cheese selection and price are favorable.  Fresh produce is not impressive.  Breakfast cereal – especially low-sugar varieties – seems hard to find; mushrooms close to impossible.  Meat is inexpensive and of good quality, which makes sense in view of the Argentine preference for – and skill at – carne asado (barbecue).

Today’s morning weather looked much improved: at 10am, plenty of low cloud could still be seen, but sun was on the ground and seemed to be gaining the upper hand.  The weather presentation at the morning pilot briefing described a flyable but tricky day, with sun, southeast winds (mercifully not strong) and cloudy areas to the southwest all contending for mastery.  The general sense is that conditions to the northwest (where tasks have been set) may be decent, but it will not be wise to plan on a long-lasting day.

The FAI is the Fédération Aeronautique Internationale, the umbrella organization for air sport competitions around the world.  The FAI flag is always displayed prominently at such events, along with flags from all participating countries.  It was announced at the pilot briefing that two of these flags are missing: the FAI flag and the one belonging to Team Argentina; information as to their whereabouts is sought.  We immediately considered the possibility that Heinz Weissenbuehler had put in a stealth appearance, his presence at a world gliding contest being reliably associated with missing flags, banners, etc.  But a thorough search turned up no sign of this, so the missing flags are a mystery.  One rumor – of dubious reliability – has it that the Argentina flag is missing because someone determined that Team Argentina might have something to do with the disappearance of the FAI flag.  We await developments. [Editor’s note: any potentially libelous statements in this paragraph should be attributed to the author, and not to the US Team as a whole.]

265 km. AST

A-opgaven er 265 km. AST – CU’erne er forsvundet, og der er trukket noget mellemhøjt AC ind. Indtil 14:30 lyder prognosen på 700-900m blue thermals med CI+AC tillagt. Fra 15:30 til 17:00 er det samme model, men med en højde på 900-1100m. HVIS temperaturen kommer over 26 grader, kan vi komme i max. 1200m. Opgaven […]


Her til morgen er solen fremme, men der er også et mudret billede af lave skyer. Vi krydser fingre!

Good report – Quince

WGC2013 report – 17 January

As is often the case, yesterday’s grim weather brightened considerably shortly after the decision to cancel the day was announced.  There was enough sun on the ground for just long enough to start the second-guessers speculating on what might or should have been.  Then, as predicted, clouds overdeveloped, some gust front indications were seen in the distance, and it became abundantly clear that a fair and safe task would be impossible.

The US Team decided that the right task for the day was a group meal at the estancia (ranch house northeast of Chaves, where some of us are staying).  Head chef for the evening was José Ignacio Otero, the extremely capable assistant crew assigned to glider PG.  José is a man of many talents, and among them is the preparation of Milanese, which is essentially veal cutlets, pounded, breaded and deep fried.  These made a meal to exceed anything found in a Chaves restaurant.

The multi-talented José

We haven’t had a big retrieve day for a while, but the issue is still one for discussion and planning here.  Given the high cost of container shipping and the (now obviously wishful) belief that retrieves would be few, a number of teams decided to bring fewer trailers than gliders. It’s safe to say that many have by now repented of this decision – it makes for a late night when one trailer must fetch two gliders, each a 90-minute drive from home.

Our large and capable fleet of towplanes is available for aero retrieves, and the announced cost is quite reasonable.  But so far we’ve seen only a handful of these:  they are offered only to pilots that land at actual airfields, of which there aren’t vast numbers in the Chaves task area.  And when it’s normal to have a choice of beautiful agricultural fields within easy reach (many outlandings here don’t require a pattern – just proceed on course until your wheel touches the ground) airfields have lower than normal appeal.

Fifty years ago, a more rugged race of men walked the earth and things were different.  At the 1962 pre-World contest in Junin (around 450 km north of Chaves) the Argentina army had helicopters on site, ready for impromptu aero retrieves from most fields.  The glider pilot had to be prepared for an exciting trip home, mostly done at altitudes below 50 meters.  When this became dull, the helicopter pilots decided to liven things up by not taking out slack in the towrope, thus “jerking” the outlanded gliders off the ground with maximum drama.  This came to an end when it was attempted with a heavy Open-class glider which refused to accelerate at the expected rate – the stout towrope thus yanked the helicopter to the ground, and bits of helicopter rotor narrowly missed the glider and bystanders. (Gliding is a lot more tame than in the old days).

Today’s weather actually looks grimmer than yesterday’s.  At 10:00 we had low cloud cover, occasional light rain, and a cold wind.  (When you’re trying to fly gliders at a site 100 km northwest of cold South Atlantic waters, a southeast wind is not what you most hope for.)  The announcement of a noon grid time was met with unfavorable reviews by many pilots and crews, who are less than eager to undertake the considerable effort of preparing 84 gliders for flight when mist is falling and the probability of motorless aircraft staying aloft looks to be around 1 in 200.  But there is a strong sense that we need more competition tasks and must be ready to seize any flying opportunity that comes along.