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Programme and Project Management by Ed Johnston

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Uvalde WGC 2012: Racing Class

Uvalde is a truely remarkable place to fly. Wide open Texas airspace with air regularly refreshed from the Gulf then baked up by the Texas sun generates day after day of strong, reliable thermals, usually under clounds and often with the most remarkable streeting runs lasting for mile after mile.

In the time we were there, the only day that was not soarable was on the closing ceremony. From our arrival we only got a couple of tasts of the 'classical Uvalde' conditions but despite that the conditions we got regularly gave us 140Kph speeds and exciting racing round good length tasks.

Having such good conditions didn't make the the flying dull or unvaried. We enjoyed some truely spectacular runs and climbs but also some tricky decisions and delecate balance of agressive speed versus prudent conservation of height. The nature and strength of climbs changed day by day and across the task area. Cut off times varied substantially from day to day and there was the ever present risk of thunder storms and the strength and location of the Sea Breeze Front to contend with.

This narrative tries to give a perspective of what the conditions were like and how the competition progressed day by day in the 15m class, with occasional reference to the other Team GB pilots and their exploits. I draw on the journal I kept, usually written within a few hours of the relevant flights, plus the trace data from the competition to cross reference how the flight felt from the cockpit with how we actually perforned in reality.