WORLD GLIDING CHAMPIONSHIPS 2012

     

     

 WORLD GLIDING CHAMPIONSHIPS 2010

JS achieved a fantastic result at the WGC 2010 in Szeged, Hungary. Uys Jonker was second overall, Attie Jonker was fifth overall, John Coutts won Day 5, and four JS1's attained top-ten positions.

This fully met the Jonker Sailplanes' objective of a JS1 podium place and several JS1's in the top ten. The overall result is statistically significant considering a total of six JS1 Revelations competed in a field of 50+ sailplanes flown by the world's best 18m pilots.

The "WGC Six" are, in order of final overall position: Uys Jonker (RSA), Attie Jonker (RSA), Ronald Termaat (NL), Russell Cheetham (UK), John Coutts (NZ), and Bill Elliott (USA).

The top five JS1 pilots had previous world competition experience while this WGC was the first for Bill Elliott, who performed better than several former WGC champs.

Uys Jonker (South Africa):
Runner-up in WGC2010, Szeged, Hungary
Winner in 2009 SA Nationals, Welkom, South Africa
 
Attie Jonker (South Africa):
Fifth place in WGC 2010, Szeged, Hungary
Winner in 2008 SA Nationals, New Tempe, South Africa
Winner in 2007 SA Nationals, New Tempe, South Africa
 
Ronald Termaat (Netherlands):
Eighth place in WGC 2010, Szeged, Hungary
Runner-up in 2010 Dutch Nationals Open Class, Twente, Netherlands
Runner-up in 18m Class in WGC 2008, Lüsse, Germany
 
Russell Cheetham (United Kingdom):
Tenth place in 2010 WGC, Szeged, Hungary
Winner in 18m Class in EGC 2009, Nitra, Slovakia
Winner in Open Class in EGC 2004, Pociunai, Lithuania
 
John Coutts (New Zealand):
Fifteenth place and day-winner in 2010 WGC, Szeged, Hungary
Winner in 15m Class in WGC 2003, Leszno, Poland
Runner-up in Standard Class in WGC 1999, Bayreuth, Germany
 
Bill Elliott (United States):
Thirty-first place in 2010 WGC, Szeged, Hungary
Winner in 2010 US 18m Nationals, Caesar Creek, USA
Winner in 2008 US 18m Nationals, Mifflin, USA
 

This is the full report from the World Gliding Championships, a personal account from Uys and Attie Jonker.

Attie writes...

Preparation and Practice days


The WGC in Hungary was my 5th WGC and Uys’ 4th. In preparation for this championship we did not feel very confident, as our previous experiences had shown us how difficult it is to do well in a Worlds. Small mistakes that are forgiven in an SA Nationals can cost dearly at this level and all the other pilots are very good or even brilliant.

We had decided that this might be our last competition – it is very hard work to attend and to stay focused. However Uys remembered asking Michael Sommer some time ago if he enjoyed flying in the Worlds, even in very poor weather: ‘ I love it, I just love it,’ was his response. That got us thinking and we decided that we were going to try and enjoy every minute of this contest. If we couldn’t enjoy it, then it will be our last comp.

With the many international pilots visiting the JS factory, we had a special opportunity for some practice. Uys made a point of flying with all the top pilots during their visits. One of the important lessons I learnt from flying with Ronald Termaat, was to immediately put any errors behind you. Don’t beat yourself up about it, it’s wasting energy. Focus to do well with the rest of the day. It’s easy to recover from an error by flying well during the remainder of the same flight. If you keep worrying about it, you lose concentration and start to get anxious and lose even more concentration - soon you are clueless.

Once again we realised that the mind game in competitive gliding is far more important than the simple business of using stick and rudder. So before leaving for Hungary we decided two things were critical:

  • Firstly, to enjoy every moment of the experience and not allow anything or anyone prevent that.

  • Secondly, to prepare properly so that the distractions during the contest can be minimised.

The preparation for a Worlds starts many months ahead, with organisation of gliders, cars, accommodation, airline tickets and visas. There were also six JS1 Revelation gliders to be finished for the Worlds, each with the latest competition modifications and fine tuning of details, even down to the shape and thickness of the Mylar seals. There was also the logistical challenge of coordinating the movement of six gliders, six trailers and a whole load of spares across two continents.

Two weeks before our departure I took a two week camping holiday to reset my brain and Uys took off the last week before we left. We left on 11th July, two weeks before the start of the contest partly because of cheaper tickets, but also to allow ourselves time to get properly organised before the contest start.

We arrived in a very, very hot and humid Hungary. The temperature was around 38°C. We got a black hire car and set off for Szeged, about two hours drive from Budapest. We arrived around 5pm at Szeged, just in time to follow a JS1 on final glide to the airport. It was Iain Evans in WZ (JS1B-013). Iain and Rose were flying their JS1’s in the Flatland Cup in Szeged and afterwards we would be flying them in the Worlds.

When we arrived at the field, we were met by Zolt, the owner of our accommodation and base for the next four weeks. After a 20km drive, we arrived in the next town of Mórahalom and stepped into the houses - and were immediately very depressed. The accommodation was very expensive, and it was very hot inside without any air conditioning. We were very tired but could barely sleep that night - it was too hot to keep the blankets on, but if you didn’t then the mosquitoes tried to pick you up and fly you outside to their waiting comrades. The next morning we went to the local hardware store and bought a mobile air conditioner. That really saved the day or at least the nights - half the night I would take the aircon and the other half Uys got it.

The first couple of days Iain and Rose were still flying the gliders so we spent the time getting to know our way around town and getting everything we needed for the comp. Hungarian is unlike any language you have ever heard. It’s impossible to understand a single spoken word or recognize a single written word. We bought a dictionary but that was utterly useless. Everything has to be done without saying a word - trying to change money, getting a cell phone, recharging the cell phone and buying special stuff needed for the glider, all without saying a word - quite a challenge.

By the time the rest of the team and our crews arrived, we were pretty well versed in the business of living in Hungary. In the end we loved it there; the roads are good, the food is very good and affordable, and our accommodation was two minutes walk from a really great thermal spa with hot and cold swimming pools. This turned out to be very important for our daily after-flight de-stressing. Sitting for two hours after a flight in a nice spa really is a great way to relax and to get ready for the next day.

As for the flying, Iain and Rose kept us updated on the flying conditions and we discussed their flights with them every evening. It soon became clear to us that the weather was not going to be easy. They talked about weak conditions, low cloud bases, large blue patches without lift and very poor visibility. The more we talked, the more we realised that the weather was going to play a major part in the outcome of this contest.

Finally the Flatland Cup was finished and we got our first flights in Hungary, a week after leaving South Africa. We decided to fly around and check out the borders with Romania and Serbia (countries which were part of the WGC task area). The visibility was very poor and we nearly landed out three times during that first flight. We flew about 150km and landed a bit shaken, very unsure of ourselves and our ability to fly in this weather.

The next day we flew again and ventured to the east this time. The country is flat with farmland as far as the eye can see - which was not very far in the humid and murky conditions. The weather was slightly better, but on returning nearer to the field it suddenly switched off and thermals were nowhere to be found. I battled to get onto final glide. Below us was a lovely unfinished highway with no other roads to the airfield. I scraped back to the airfield and was sure Uys was going to land out. He found a thermal at 200m and got in about ten minutes after me.

Landing out was something we really wanted to avoid as our trailer was a special one that can carry 2 JS1’s simultaneously. So if we did land out we would have to land close to each other to prevent difficult retrieves. Also our tow vehicle was not really suited to driving through rough fields, so we were a bit anxious about the out landing possibilities. Furthermore we’d heard rather scary stories about retrieving from Romania or Serbia.

We had already flown three times before the practice period, and then flew all three practice tasks. Slowly we got used to the conditions and got our minds around the weather. We noticed some of the good guys only flew one or two practice days. By the start of the competition we had six flights in the bag and were feeling much better.

To reduce distractions we brought a really experienced crew along. AP Kotse was responsible for our gliders and we also hired a local guy called Antal who spoke very little English, but was hard working and a great help. Having someone who could communicate with the locals proved to be very convenient. Ronald Taljaard came along as technical representative for JS. We did not want the other JS1 pilots to bother Uys and me with technical issues that would distract us. Ronald did a sterling job of sorting all technical problems and keeping the other guys from distracting us.

We soon got into a daily rhythm. We would get to the field at 8:30. Antal and AP would prepare the gliders and get them to the grid. Uys and I would help, but only checking critical items. Off to the briefing and then to the gliders and fly. After landing the crews would take the glider to the tie down area and we would get the log files uploaded. Once this was done Uys and I would check on the gliders and then set off to Mórahalom to relax in the spa and then get something to eat and off to bed. The crews would arrive at their leisure and eat with us before setting off to the local night life.

When the contest started we were mentally on top of things. All technical issues were sorted out. The gliders performed really well. This was the first Worlds where we had the distinct impression our gliders were better than the other gliders in our class and that gave a real mental boost. We enjoyed everything and every day I made a mental note as I got into the glider, ‘This is a really great and fun thing to do’ which got me into a positive frame of mind.

It started raining during the opening ceremony and continued for four days. In hindsight this was a blessing for us, as we had probably flown too much during the unofficial and official practice days. It was bad news for all the other pilots who hadn’t flown enough and were eager to get on with the contest. Many of them got frustrated with the poor weather and immature organisation, wasting mental energy. Conversely we felt relaxed, calm and confident, better prepared for the competition than ever before.

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 his Worlds experience, his special ability to interpret the sky and translate it into smart tactical and strategic decisions, then team flying between the three of us was always going to boost our chances.) We decided before the contest not to get locked into in start line roulette games so we started after milling around at cloud base on the start line after only ten minutes.

The gaggle started approximately four minutes after the JS1 trio. The first leg was good, with climbs averaging 1.8m/s up to 1350m (AGL) and we felt we were slowly pulling away from the gaggle. After the first turn towards Serbia the weather became much weaker and lower. The huge 18m gaggle found a better climb behind us, and by the time we reached the second waypoint, we were swallowed by the gaggle.

The leg towards the third waypoint, Mezőhegyes, passed overhead Szeged. Climbs only averaged 1.2 m/s to 1100m in blue conditions with awful visibility. The Open, 15m and 18m Class tracks converged toward Szeged, resulting in gaggles exceeding fifty gliders at one point. The weak thermals were fully packed with glass ships waiting for one pilot to make a false move….all very inefficient. It was impossible to maintain team flying in these over-packed thermals; the trio was split up, while late starters caught up with the slow climbing gaggles.

Overhead Szeged a decision was needed; maintain a heading towards clouds slightly left of the waypoint or go towards a small, single good looking cloud right of the waypoint, possibly in the restricted Romanian airspace. It was difficult to judge the distance to the isolated cloud. It might have been far beyond the waypoint. The 18m gaggle decided to head on slightly left of track, but I broke free to head towards the lone cloud. Halfway towards the waypoint I found another glider climbing – it was Attie, and Team JS was partly restored.

Reaching the cloud at 750m, we were relieved to find that it was fortunately outside controlled airspace. It peaked at 2.8m/s near the 1600m base, while gently drifting towards the waypoint – exactly what was needed! As we left the climb at cloud base the 18m gaggle arrived, at least 500m lower!

Flying toward the fourth waypoint required much patience. There were two more clouds ahead, and then a long blue stretch towards the control point before the finish line. The first cloud only produced a weak climb of 1.3m/s. After the previous miracle it was hard to keep climbing to the top with the gaggle now slowing catching us up. The last cloud was even weaker, only 0.9m/s and worsening nearer the top. The gaggle now had us in their sights, but still well short of final glide, they also had to struggle in the weak climb.

The final glide felt marginal, with a slight headwind and a glide angle in excess of 55. However thanks to good carrying air and a few weak bumps, we reached final glide and were quite relieved to finish. The gaggle left the last climb slightly lower than us and had to take some very weak climbs to make it back home. Some landed out and others finishing more than fifteen minutes later.

Day 1 was great for the JS1 pilots with Ronald Termaat (Netherlands) second, Uys fourth, Attie fifth, Bill Elliott (USA) seventh, and Russell Cheetham (UK) eleventh. Russell was particularly unlucky as he lost a bug wiper before the start, a distraction for him and affecting the performance. Apart from John who had got stuck on the final leg, all JS1’s finished in the top eleven!

Iain (Baker) had always wanted to use this Worlds as the international launch-pad for the JS1 Revelation. Day 1 achieved this impact in a dramatic fashion and other pilots began to take a particular interest in the JS1. There’s a special aura around JS - the idea that two brothers who shared a boyhood dream of competing in their own design sailplane is truly unique.

Contest Day 2: Day 2 was a 2˝ hour assigned area speed task, with the first area a circle overhead Serbia and the second area northeast of Szeged with the centre over the town Békéscsaba. (This was one of the few waypoint names that we would attempt to pronounce. Only Carol Clifford confidently pronounced town names like Hódmezővásárhely.)

The JS1 trio started again together at 14:15 with a respectable 1450m. Climbs towards the first sector were initially weak, around 1m/s, but slowly improved to 1.3m/s, operating between 700m and 1400m.

After turning in the first sector a small gaggle formed including top pilots like Werner Meuser, Reinhard Schramme, Ronald Termaat, Olivier Darroze and Wolfgang Janowitsch, and for a short period we raced hard in respectable weather conditions. The leg towards the second sector became progressively weaker, with climbs decaying to 1m/s. High level cirrus was cutting off all sun on the ground and the clouds disappeared in the second area. It looked impossible to both reach the area and make it back to the clouds nearer the control point before the finish.

We found the first climb only after thirty kilometres at best glide speed in absolute dead air. The gaggle started milling in a 0.3m/s climb for 200m before the rest of them left, continuing a seemingly hopeless glide into the sector. Only Attie and I kept on searching and the climb slowly improved to 1m/s. This extra 400m enabled us to glide to the northern edge of the sector and maximise our distance as we thought it would be impossible to get back to Szeged.

The only clouds near the designated area were almost thirty kilometres north of the Békéscsaba, well outside the area and taking us further away from Szeged. We reached them 400m above ground, desperately hoping for a survival climb. After milling around for more than twenty minutes and only climbing 600m, the thermal suddenly kicked and we climbed at 1.6m/s to 2000m, a mere 300m short of final glide! Bok-Base (the South African ground radio station) was following me on the Yellow Brick live tracking system and they thought the tracker had failed because we were so far off track and going the wrong way!

John Coutts had selected a different routing into the sector, turned and headed back to Szeged, aiming for a small stubble fire. He arrived at the fire at 300m, just too early for the thermal to recycle and give him the sorely needed last climb to final glide.

I headed back home straight on track, but then deviated with Attie to a cloud street about 45° left of track, in the hope of staying at cloudbase until final glide height was reached. This was a crucial mistake, as this detour only cost precious height and nothing was found under the promising-looking clouds.

We headed back to yet another cloud street right of track – also in vain! The only climb was a 0.2m/s climb drifting us away faster than we were climbing. We decided to throw the towel in and flew towards John’s stubble fire. ‘Let’s see if we can make the fire and land with John,’ I remarked.

We arrived at the fire at 18h15 at 300m under completely overcast skies. I made a few turns and then aimed for an outlanding near Hódmezővásárhely. Attie, staying above the stubble fire, called me back as he believed the fire was kicking again. I reluctantly turned back after wasting another three kilometres and reaching the fire below 200m, started climbing at 0.3 m/s. After more than half an hour, losing and finding a number of small weak bubbles, I managed to climb to 1100m, needing just 300m to complete the task.

Attie had a slightly higher minimum wing loading (due to pilot weight difference according to Uys), and struggling to keep up with me, missed one bubble. Eventually he landed out at near Hódmezővásárhely, still giving him a respectable tenth position for the day and a veritable pronunciation challenge.

It was close to 19h00 when I started flying towards the control point, threatened by a thunderstorm just to the north. Realising the only way to complete the task was to climb near the storm, I headed towards the dark black clouds and was amazed to find strong, smooth lift ahead of the storm at only 400m. The wind changed direction and increased to more than 40km/h and I managed to climb 300m alongside the cloud, probably in wave over the storm.

This should have put me on final glide, but after setting off, I flew into heavy turbulence and sink, forcing me well below glide once again. I just thought this task was maybe not meant to be completed, when I encountered lift near some rotor clouds. This time I ensured that I climbed enough to make it back home!

I landed at 19h23 – to the unexpected relief of Bok-Base - having completed the a 2˝ hour assigned area task in 5 hours 8 minutes, but still enough to give me a massive 911 points for the day. Only ten 18m pilots got back. Attie slipped to eighth position overall, but I held on to fourth position.

Contest Day 3: Day 3 was another 2˝ hour assigned area speed task, with the first area a circle west of Szeged and the second and third areas east of Szeged.

A cold front was approaching from the west, and Iain’s weather forecast predicted that the cloud base would lower in the first sector, especially around the Danube. We discussed tactics with Iain and John, and planned to only clip the first sector to minimise the time in the poorer weather, then try and maximise the distance in the second sector. We also wanted to start early, both to avoid the frontal weather and to escape the gaggle.

Although the JS1 trio planned an early start, we did not coordinate it well. John was much lower at the start, unable to connect to cloud base, he elected to go back and restart.

Attie and I just clipped the first sector, exactly as planned, and gliding slowly out of the sector eventually found the first weak climb at 550m. The sticky patch between the first two sectors only produced maximum lift of 1m/s up to 1000m. The weather in the second sector progressively improved, with the cloud base lifting to 1600m and 1.5m/s climbs. Towards the last sector I found climbs of averaging 2.5-2.8m/s, progressively reeling in and passing a gaggle ahead.

However Attie struggled to climb and complained that the aileron hold-off in the turns was excessive. This misery was only solved a couple of days later, costing Attie valuable points. A main water valve not closing completely after partial dumping resulted in Attie losing all the water in the right tank. Adjusting the valve miraculously solved Attie’s sudden inability to climb to the left!

With the overcast conditions moving in, John struggled to get to start height and subsequently struggled up to the second sector in the deteriorating conditions.

I finished fourth for the day, moving up to the overall third position, while Attie hung on to his eighth position.

Contest Day 4: Day 4 conditions would normally not be regarded by glider pilots as fun! The passing cold front resulted in stable blue conditions. A task was set to the west, crossing the Danube. The second leg ran north over the river valley before heading back east.

The JS1 trio started half an hour after the gate opened. The conditions initially were average with climbs between 1m/s and 1.4m/s up to 1500m. The climbs deteriorated near the Danube river valley to less than 1m/s and the top of climbs lowered to 800m.

Except for a couple of early starters who managed the furthest distance, the rest of the 18m Class gaggled up and battled for survival. It was clear that a finish was not on the cards and all the pilots seemed to progress nervously ahead, using climbs weaker than a ˝m/s! It was torrid stuff.

I managed to find a climb of 1m/s taking me 300m above everyone else, but made the mistake of flying off-track towards a gaggle ahead, just to find no usable lift.

Attie landed out in a field near Szentes, next to one of the Tisza tributaries, where he received a warm welcome from a million mosquitoes and an extremely friendly farmer and son. After a struggle of 5˝ hours I landed 15km further on in a field with Wolfgang Janowitsch and Walbrou Killian from France. While waiting for the JS1 double trailer, the three of us enjoyed a beer in Lapistó, a small town with four houses and a pub. The JS retrieve crew had some challenges to reach Attie, as the river crossing required a ferry – which was too small for a trailer and car! The double trailer only arrived back in Szeged after midnight, where hungry crews and pilots enjoyed food at the well-known 24-hour burger shop.

Uys remained in third position overall, 150 points off the leader and Attie’s eighth position was also unchanged.

Contest Day 5: Crews and pilots woke up on Day 5, still very tired. Ronald and AP, the JS technical support and crew members, prohibited the pilots from getting up early to help with the rigging. When Attie and I eventually arrived for briefing, both gliders were rigged, ballasted and ready to be towed out. This really allowed us to rest enough for another challenging contest day ahead.

The task set was a three hour assigned area task with four sectors and a control point.

The JS1 trio planned once again a co-ordinated start, but with the only clouds well to the west of the start line, it was difficult for us to be at the ideal start height simultaneously. Each time one pilot fell slightly below, he had to fly back west to gain height again. Attie and I started with John not being ready. The first climb at 1.7m/s was found in the first sector. With no more clouds ahead in this sector, everyone turned towards the second sector. Only 1m/s climbs were found and the gaggle progressed slowly.

John, in the meantime, started ten minutes later, just clipped the first sector and had good climbs going to the second sector. Drawing on all his skills, he caught up and then pulled away. Even as he fed weather information from ahead, he gradually gained more and more over the rest of the 18m Class, who were not able to connect with the good climbs.

Attie and I got split up towards the third sector. I finally found myself alone in the third sector, with Attie further to the east in a small gaggle. I connected a 2.3m/s thermal out of the blue in the blue – the best climb of the day - taking me to 1700m and giving a good run into the sector.

On the way back Attie and I met up again, had a good run, but finally struggled in a 0.6m/s thermal to gain the last few hundred metres required to finish the task.

John won the day with his superlative performance – the first day win for a JS1 Revelation in a World Championships - and jumped up to twentieth overall. Uys was still firmly in third position, while Attie moved up one position to seventh place.

Contest Day 6: A 330 km speed task. The weather looked good and the JS1 trio discussed start synchronization to avoid reoccurrence of previous mistakes. Once airborne, we decided on an early start – to avoid gaggle traffic and the possibility of an early weather cut-off near Szeged, as seen on previous days.

The start went smoothly, almost half an hour before the large gaggle. Our gaggle was a lean, fast gaggle, only consisting of three JS1s. By this stage we had honed our team flying skills, sharing information and decisions and felt we were ‘in the zone’.

Climbs consistently exceeded 1.5m/s with maximum climbs of 2.3m/s towards the end of the flight. However there were lots of bugs, and John’s arm became tired of all the winding. Attie and I had electrical winders installed and wiped after every thermal. John was just too tired to wipe before final glide and as a result, finished a minute after us.

The JS1 pilots were chuffed with their performance and finished second, third and fourth for the day. Only Wolfgang Janowitsch prevented us from taking a 1-2-3 finish; he started much later with improved conditions all over the task.

This performance moved John into fifteenth position overall and Attie to fifth. Uys was in a solid third position, well clear of the fourth place and within striking distance of the leaders. Everything to gain, nothing to lose.

Contest Day 7: After another rain-out day, Day 7 arrived – a 289km racing task.

The JS1 trio raced to the first turn point, with some climbs exceeding 2m/s. Towards the second turn, the cloud base started dropping annoyingly, and it seemed that the sun was blocked out by high level cloud over the rest of the task.

Coming closer to the second turn, we slowed down, desperately trying to get to cloud base, before setting off into the bleak weather towards the next turn. We decided to track back into the approaching gaggle to get a much-needed climb and as a result, got stuck in the middle of the big gaggle.

Progress towards the next turn was extremely slow and we once got as low as 350m before finding lift. Bok-Base reported that Karol Staryszak (the contest leader) seemed to have landed out as his Yellow Brick track had stopped – and then when his crew left with the trailer we knew that the leader of the 18m Class had landed out early and I could get into second place overall, possibly even first if Karol’s Polish team mate (in second overall) also landed out early. Back in Bok-Base, Iain was making frantic calculations to predict how far I needed to go to overtake Karol overall, and the tension at Szeged was palpable.

We carefully continued, while the climb rates dropped from 1m/s to less than 0.5m/s and the top of lift dropping from 1000m to 600m. An outlanding was inevitable after climbing only 0.1m/s at 18h00, just 500m above ground. I covered 22km with my last precious 500m to land just past the fourth waypoint, Makó not far from Szeged.

Uys finished fourth for the day and moved up to second place overall as Karol Staryszak dropped from first to third place. Attie remained in fifth overall and John remained in fifteenth position.

Final Day: The final day arrived with severe risks of overdevelopment and storms. Tasks were set for all classes, but by 11h00, all tasks were cancelled. I finished the 31st World Gliding Championships in second place, eighty points behind the winner, while Attie finished in fifth position, a mere thirty-nine points behind the third place.

The winner, Zbigniew Nieradka from Poland, later emotionally explained to Uys that he and his team partner, Karol Staryszak, struggled for a long time very, very low on the third leg. Karol was only a few metres lower and unfortunately did not manage to stay airborne. At this competitive level small differences such as a few metres can have a dramatic effect, and Zibi managed to climb away to secure gold medal.

The JS Team was ecstatic with the performance. (Uys was grinning like the Cheshire Cat for days!) Of the six JS1 Revelations entered in the contest, we achieved one podium position, and four in the top ten. Nothing had gone wrong and apart from replacing Russell’s lost bug wiper, all the spares carefully transported from South Africa proved unnecessary. And the pilots, crews and backup team all had a great time.

Upon reflection, there were a few aspects that really transformed our performance:

  • We had absolute confidence in our gliders, knowing they had the latest performance enhancements such as the extractor and with competition tuning in all the minor details such as Mylar sealing. This was only reinforced by the first day’s results which demonstrated resoundingly that the JS1 is an awesome sailplane.

  • We had a fantastic crew who allowed us to concentrate on the flying and they took care of all the distractions of rigging, grid positions, and the other nausea.

  • We were backed up with technical support taking care of diverting issues with any of the six JS1’s.

  • We were shielded from any involvement with JS back home in Potchefstroom, with no work-related stresses. In fact we only felt encouragement from the team back home.

  • We started the contest feeling well prepared, in practice and without any burden from unresolved logistical issues.

  • There was actually little pressure on us to do well, as we were the lowest ranked pilots flying JS1’s in the contest and expectations were not high.

  • During the whole contest we were ready for fun and determined to enjoy ourselves.

  • Team flying with John Coutts was invaluable, not only drawing on his superlative skills but also giving us the confidence that we really are top class pilots, able to compete with the best.

  • Staying so far away from the airfield meant we got clear of the oppressive intensity of talking about gliding 24/7. And having a spa for post-flight relaxation was really beneficial.

Even now, we remain delighted and proud with our performance in Hungary. We exceeded our expectations and are looking forward to the next Worlds in the USA.

 
   
 

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