So before I get going I must say that I had a less than perfect day landing after 60km when 64 of my fellow competitors got to goal. I rode home in the losers' bus and drank the tequila of inadequacy with as much good humour as my overly competitive genes will allow without feeling overly false. HOW LONG IS IT GOING TAKE (to quote my son Sebastian) to win one of these stupid world championship events!!!??? Ah well I intend to hammer out a respectable result with whatever pig iron is left on this miserable mortal coil. Forgive the overly dramatic prelude, but we did watch 'Les Misrables' last night and it appears to have taken hold.
With that off of my chest, what bizarre day was that!! Holy crap! Viagra climbs and sink of the Prozac variety in the Darth Vader Valley of Darkness with the overly moist convergent cloud shadow. The field is in TOTAL disarray with several of my all-time heros sucking hind-teat in the hinterland of the overall placings: LucaD, JoshC, MickeyS, NickG, TorstenS, PeterN, Arnie, Guy, Adam ChristianB to name but a few, are languishing in, or near triple digits.
If SA team group landing wasn't enough, adding insult to injury Nevil got zeroed for suspected cloud-flying along with a couple of others leaving Stef as the non-scoring lone ranger to goal for team SA.
Even after the absurdity of the super-final in Colombia, cloud flying is here to stay it seems.
My Eureka solution(s) to the cloud flying problem:
1. Develop a probability algorithm based on the last 10 years worth of world championship and world cup tasks and derive the cloud flying 'signature' thereby busting 'cloudies' in the great Lance Armstrong tradition whereby all previous cheats are named and shamed and stripped of any significant honour/result. The cool thing about this is that we have no need of FAI/CIVL/PWC or any other administrative body, we simply publish the probability results based on peer-group consensus independently and ask the aforementioned bodies wtf they intend to do about it.
2. Persuade comp organisers to apply the cheat algorithm to their comps and shift the responsibility onto the pilots to prove their innocence (as shockingly draconian as that sounds, even I take video when I think I may have to explain how I got 300m up the side of some cloud)... and yes, we all know about multiple bases and cloud-tunnels (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-JXmC12WWQ), but I would wager the cloud flying 'signature' will be unique and damning once the quants work it out.
3. Get the manufacturers of our flying instruments to include temperature and humidity into the track log. We know how precise upper air soundings are, so this data is sure to flag entry into cloud as opposed to blue thermals which will have distinctly different temperature and humidity 'signatures' which will aid in the application of burden-of-proof for the pilot.
I hate the idea of over-regulation and the failure of the same has been so completely and utterly demonstrated through the En-D disaster and resulting farce of certification along with the circumvention of speed systems and tweaked performance. Having said that, cloud flying remains an annoying fact of life, so stringent rules backed by theory and technology are long over-due and infinitely more desirable than some arbitrary glider limitations and contrived certification regimes.