As the thunder and lightning boomed overhead we fettled gliders, trailers, winches and did some airfield gardening. With the toys safely away I thought back to the heady days of 1972 and the world gliding championships in Yugoslavia:
The weather looks much the same as yesterday but even more humid. Separate but overlapping tasks are set with Standard Class to fly a 214-km. triangle to Zrenjanin and Omoljica, and for Open a 309-km. triangle to Elemir and Smederevska Palanka. Forecast is for weak conditions locally but strong convection and buildups in the southern area near the second turn. Some forecast. The sky over the field is covered with building clouds by the time everyone is in the air around noon. It does look dead out on the first leg. George Moffatt starts at 12:30 p.m. and follows the clouds north into Romania; this does not seem to pay off, and he works his way to the first turn in 400-fpm dry thermals. Our other pilots start around 1:00 p.m. and stay pretty much on course in moderate lift around the first turn. From the turn, George finds no more lift and glides all the way to the ground about halfway down the second leg. Ben is farther west and low, but he works around the second turn to reach a buildup to the north where he climbs to 12,000 feet in cloud to finish at 3:35 p.m., fifth best time out of the fifteen who finish in Standard Class. Hans Nietlispach of Switzerland is first for the day.
Halfway down their second leg, as they approach the Danube, the Open pilots are able to gain altitude in building clouds. The second turn is pretty well blocked by storm clouds as Dick Johnson and A. J . approach the area. Dick searches for lift but has to land at the turn. A. J. rounds the turn and lands in a field with two other sailplanes about ten miles back on the third leg. All ships are down now except for Nick Goodhart. He has climbed his Kestrel 19 to 29,000 feet in a cloud halfway down the second leg to make his final glide from there! He rounds the second turn at 17,000 feet, takes his photo through a break in the clouds, and stretches his glide to finish in the rain before six. It has been stormy, windy, and raining at the airfield most of the afternoon, A radio mast on the tower was knocked over by lightning. One of the East German Cobras was riddled with holes from hail while flying in the vicinity and will be out of service for repairs for a day or two. Denmark’s Taarnhoj got zero points for the day because his cameras were stolen from his SHK after an outlanding.
Extract from soaring magazine.