Articles

WGC 2010, Part 2

Uys continues… Contest Day 1: Finally Day 1 arrived for the 18m Class.  It was a 337 km polygon with 5 waypoints. John Coutts, Attie and I started together at 14:24.  (Couttsie was an integral part of the Team JS.  He might be a Kiwi but we regard him as an honorary South African.  With…

WGC 2010, Part 1

This personal account from Uys and Attie Jonker brings a unique and interesting perspective to the challenges of the 2010 World Gliding Championships.

How to Pull a Camper and a Glider to a Contest

It all started with a simple principle; if you are going to do it, it has to be overboard. The evolution of my tow vehicles: My first tow vehicle was an Econo line van, blue, white, and rust. With a window air conditioner mounted in the passenger window for camping in Waynesville OH. The common…

Zen and the Art of Cross-Country Gliding

What on earth is that? Almost without exception, the first question I’m asked about my glider is, “What does the writing on the fin mean?” In fact it’s the same as the registration, ZEN, just written in a Japanese semi-cursive script. But very few people really probe about why I chose D-KZEN as the registration.…

X. A Vision

Let me close with a vision for contest soaring; perhaps reversing my charge to talk about the past with facts and instead talk about the future with hope. I love contest soaring. Selfishly, it’s very time-efficient – you go and fly on days you wouldn’t get out of bed on a safari. And those weak…

IX. Safety

The final trend I will comment on is safety. Contests are getting slowly safer. If you watch the spectacular “Sunship Game” from 1970, you’ll not only be struck by how much everyone smokes, and how little they wear in the sun, you’ll be struck by the amazing amount of glider carnage, and the casual attitude…

VIII. Rules

To some rules are boring. But rules make the race! The only difference between a glider race and a tiddlywinks contest is the rules! The character of racing has changed a lot as rules change, and it will continue to evolve. 1. Measurement vs. incentives. The Big Picture of rules evolution in the US is…

V. New Races

The last 25 years have seen a huge structural change in how contest flying is organized. I start with two whole new race formats, the OLC and Grand Prix 1. OLC The OLC (online contest) is a big development. Pilots send their traces in from around the world, and are scored on various formats, most of…

IV. Two Demographic Developments

I have so far focused on technology. Most soaring pilots are analytic, engineer types, and a story line that focuses on technology is natural to us. But in tracing this story, already we’ve discovered that the technology per se was not the central part of the story; it was how technology changed the “soft stuff,”…