The first launches in the 16th FAI European Gliding Championships at Pociunai, Lithuania, have just started. Conditions look difficult for today, with a low cloud-base and thundery showers developing this afternoon. Pilots have been set to fly round tasks varying from about 200 to more than 400 kms in length.
From tomorrow, Tuesday 2nd August, the forecast looks much better, so we can expect several classic glider racing days later in the week. Among those competing are several former World and European Champions, so the competition will be tough. The Opening Ceremony in the main square of the local town on Saturday featured traditional Lithuanian folk dancing and singing, and was attended by the Lithuanian Vice-Minister for Transport and Communications. Gliding in Lithuanian receives tremendous support from his Ministry. Local clubs have an excellent system of basic training that allows children as young as 8 or 9 years old to do ground hops in simple gliders, launched by catapult.