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21st World Precision Flying Championships - Day 10
The weather is still overcast and cold, but the cloud base is high enough to complete the route set for us today. The pilots were very eager to improve on their scores from yesterday, and most of them achieved this goal. Hans had a very much improved day, and claimed first place, followed by Mary, then Frank.
Barry had a mishap on take-off when the back of his seat broke off. He considered turning back, but decided to continue, and was doing very well until turn-point 5 when the strain on his back caused him to lose concentration. This is a great pity because Barry is one of South Africa’s long-time top rally and precision pilots, and his score is usually one of those used for the combined team score. The seat malfunction was reported to the technicians, and hopefully they will fix it before tomorrow.
The Swedish team continues to do well, and they might be the cause of South Africa losing their usual fourth place slot. In the team and individual divisions, the Polish, Czech and French team fight it out for the first three places. Today Poland will be very pleased to have taken all first four places, and all six of their pilots are in the top 10.
The team members constantly debate the reasons why we do not achieve better results. One of the reasons is lack of sponsorship, which precludes some of the younger pilots from competing overseas because of financial constraints. It also prevents some of the experienced pilots from participating in all the rallies that are organised.
Every pilot in the team comments at the end of the competition that he feels prepared by this time to participate. This means that we require a week or two before the competition to start practising in earnest.
Another reason is that the maps in South Africa have heptometric tint, while those in Europe show areas of green for forests. Heptometric tint is the shading of areas to indicate valley and mountains.