The Winner Is …

Today the CIVL plenary voted for the place of the next World Championships. Clear winner with 19 votes is Piedrahita, Spain. The World Championships will be held from July 2nd to 15th, 2011. Other candidates were Feltre in Italy (2 votes), and Kayseri in Turkey (8).

Piedrahita is a beautiful flying site. I’ve flown there 2005 in two comps in a row, the Dutch and the British Open. The first and only task I’ve won so far, I won in Piedrahita. (The whole field bombed out at the windy turnpoint at Tornavacas. Just my Zoom and me, we climbed a little more patiently than everybody else, and made it almost five kilometres further.) Piedrahita means convergence flying, means cloud bases up to 4000 m on a lot of days. Steve Ham, the designated meet director, is with no doubt a skilled and experienced task setter, and also the other people in the organizer’s team are known for their professionalism.

Still, after I had had a brief look yesterday into the bids, I hadn’t bet on Piedrahita. I assumed, that after the accident report from Valle de Bravo, the CIVL delegates would opt for the place with the safest possible flying conditions.

Piedrahita is exactly the spot of the three sites, where I expect the highest potential for severe accidents. In the two competition weeks in 2005 the reserve deployment rate was between 2 to 3 every day. We did need helicopter rescue on more than one day. No fatality, not in 2005. Last year at the German Open, however, it went completely wrong for a pilot. It was a typical situation: In the beginning of the day quite often you can’t find a thermal beaming you away from the ground. Instead you’re scratching, scratching low in turbulent air. It happened a few times to me. Up to about one hour after takeoff no ground clearance, e.g. here. I was just lucky.

Typical altitude profil for a flight in Piedrahita

The decision of the CIVL plenary comes as a big surprise to me. But then, that’s just me.