All five of the US soaring teams finished in the top five places this week in the International Gliding Commission's OLC World League Round 11--the first time any one country has made a complete sweep of a week's completion round. All five US teams were flying their gliders out of airports near the Sierra Nevada Mountains running from Southern California to the Lake Tahoe area, where soaring weather conditions were excellent this weekend.
The Soar Truckee team, flying out of the Truckee/Tahoe Airport in Truckee California, claimed the top spot for the weekend round. Yuliy Gerchikov, 36, a Russian flying with the Soar Truckee team flew his DG800 glider 275 miles in the 2.5 hour competition time window. His 110 mph average ground speed was the best individual performance of the round. This was done entirely in gliding flight without the use of an engine, finishing the timed run with a higher altitude. His team mates for this round were Sergio Colacevich, 68, of Carmichael, and Jonathan Hughes, 39, from San Carlos, both in California. Their three individual speeds, adjusted for their glider's performance handicap, produced a total team score of 376.81 for this round.
Warner Springs Gliders top three pilot's scores totaled 367.87 to place them second this week. Their team's home airfield is the Warner Springs Ranch in Southern California. Chris Ashburn, 38, a UK native, had the best individual performance on this team, posting an average ground speed of 96.7 mph.
The Crystal Squadron team in Llano, California, claimed third place with a combined score of 350.84. Crystal Squadron's Mike Koerner, 51, from Rancho Palos Verdes, California, took off from Crystal Airport in southern California, at 9:30 am on July 7, and continued flying after completing his speed task, landing his Ventus glider 594 miles to the North in Paisley, Oregon, 9 hours later.
Pilots may select their speed course to optimize their performance based on the local terrain and daily weather conditions. The course does not have to return to the starting point, although pilots on most teams land back at their home airfield at the end of their flight. The Crystal Squadron, however, generally favors straight-out distance tasks--landing as far away as possible--when the weather conditions are suitable, as they were this week.
Caracole Soaring was fourth this week, scoring 347.83, flying from the California City Glderport, also in southern California. Minden Soaring Club, flying from the Douglas County airport in Minden Nevada, took the fifth spot with a score of 297.12, completing the sweep for the American teams. The FLG Blaubeuren team of Blaubeuren, Germany was next with a score of 270.29.
The IGC-OLC World League is a multi-national decentralized soaring competition sanctioned by the International Aviation Federation (FAI). Unlike a centralized competition, where individual glider pilots fly head-to-head out of a single airport for several days, in the World League, pilots at each airport fly together as a team. Teams compete against each other from various airfields around the world each weekend. The season runs for 19 weeks through the Northern Summer.
American teams have been leading this year's World League competition to date, with the German teams next, and an Italian, Dutch and Swiss team now rounding out the top 10 spots. Coincidentally, the five German teams claimed all of the next five places, 6th through 10th, in this round. Nine countries currently participate, including the Czech Republic, Finland, France and Slovakia.
Pilots must carry onboard their glider a sealed GPS logger that generates a secure flight log to document their flight performance. The log files are uploaded to a central computer where the security code is verified, and the flights are scored automatically. The best three individual performances from each team are combined to get a team score for each week's competition round. The best five team scores from every participating country are advanced to the world scoring. The scoring format is similar to Formula-One where first place is worth 20 points, second place is worth 19 points, and so on to one point for places 20 and below. Overall scoring is cumulative week-to-week, with the winning team decided by total points at the end of the season.
Albuquerque Soaring continues to lead the overall IGC-OLC World League scoring at 168 points, with 11 weeks of the 19 week season completed. The Albuquerque Soaring team did not score in the World League this week due to unfavorable weather at their home airfield in Moriarty, New Mexico. Black Forest soaring of Elbert, Colorado have 125 points to hold second overall, with SFZ Königsdorf of Königsdorf, Germany third at 107 points.
The IGC-OLC World League is part of the aerokurier OnLine-Contest (OLC). Teams flying from the their designated home airfield are scored on an optimized 2.5 hour sprint task, all in gliding flight, with the finish altitude no lower than the start. The longest cross-country distance flown in 2.5 hours is handicapped by the glider's performance index to generate a handicapped average speed. The top three club member's speeds are added to get the club's speed score for the weekend round.
Complete official scoring is available on the IGC-OLC World League website.