Tuesday, 09 September 2014 10:39
In the beautiful setting of the Valley of Cerdanya in Catalonia The Aeroclub of Sabadell is host to the Spanish FAI Sailplane Grand Prix where 15 top sailplane racing pilots will compete to qualify for the final of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix series in Varese in 2015.
Thursday, 07 August 2014 14:46
This is IGC Journalist Angela Sheard's August 7, 2014 report from the World Gliding Championships in Leszno, Poland.
At last, Wednesday 6th August, the weather was not only flyable but better than forecast for the pilots out on course. Minimal outlandings and though speeds were not the fastest, those who completed the task flew home in kind conditions.
It was a RED LETTER DAY for the small Argentinian Team who have come so far to compete. Flying in their very first international competition, brothers Gonzalo and Sebastian Riera took first and second places in the 15m Class, 1000 and 999 points shining next to their names. Both flying Ventus 2a gliders, they rounded the 295.7km task at 85.7 and 85.6kph (unofficial results).
The brothers at Briefing on Day 8 with Team Captain Federico Barrientos on left.
The rest of the team all smiles.
Now for Thursday (07.08.14), Competition Day 8.
At 6 am, sunshine lit up the hotel surroundings and cheered the spirits.
Tasks of 313.5km for 15m Class, 324.6 for 18m and 329.4 for Open Class are set and the weather will hopefully collaborate as well as yesterday.
Former IGC delegate and ULM designer Tadeas Wala from Slovakia flew in from Prievidza with his son to visit old friends and see how Leszno is getting on with so many stars in its sky!
Meanwhile, the OSTIV Congress has concluded and the delegates set off for home with many fine papers to think about. President Loek Boermans of the Netherlands has announced his retirement after 19 arduous years in the post.
No. 1 Fan! Prof. Boermans leaves with a reminder of the Polish sunshine!
Click here for official contest results.
Tuesday, 05 August 2014 11:17
This is IGC Journalist Angela Sheard's August 3, 2014 report from the World Gliding Championships in Leszno, Poland.
Thursday’s (25.07.14) task for Open Class (only) was cancelled shortly after the start gate was due to open due to the black clouds rushing towards Leszno and over the airfield. Some Open Class pilots would have liked to have a try but the organization erred on the side of caution and called them down.
The following day was cancelled even before Briefing time so everyone had a definite free day rather than hanging about awaiting the news.
The countryside that pilots see taking off from Leszno is changing before our eyes. Hay is cut and the big bales wait on the fields to be gathered in. So, there is no longer tall hay, known for breaking tailbooms, to worry about on the approach, but anyone looking for an outlanding field must avoid these big bales which are as soft as a brick wall. The fields now turned to golden stubble contrast with the strong, dark green uprights of surrounding woods. These are a mixed forestry harbouring many types of mushroom as well as the silver birch plantations typical of the region and of Polish folklore.
So, outside the cockpit are strong blue skies, dazzling white clouds, rich greens, and toasted yellow on the ground:
Leszno is a sizeable town with a railway shunting yard and many steeples, but in the scattered villages, more modest local churches are often made of black or painted wood, as are the antique windmills. Gardens of single-storey cottages overflow with flowers. Though it is still not unusual to see an open carriage drawn by fine horses, much of this attractive land is offered for sale or already disappearing under building projects as the country develops in its new role. An interesting countryside that also features lakes, large and small, dotted with wooden holiday cabins.
On Saturday (02.08.14), flying was again possible and yet another short Area Task was set to outwit the stubborn storm systems. These world championship pilots would really love a long Racing Task to get their teeth into but wet gliders don’t fly well.
So they were all back to enjoy the Polish Night party with great food and traditional music, generously offered by Poznan’s Dr. Jerzy Kolasinski. Jerzy, national team pilot, is very active in bringing on the next generation of young champions. His Klinika Gliding Team is already snapping at the heels of the multi-medalled pilots gracing the team this year.
And so to Sunday, 3rd August, which will be remembered for a long time by those who were here.
At last a Racing Task! Yes, the task setter replies, we do expect storms around 5pm, so get out there and hurry back.
300km for all classes.
But the 5pm storms couldn’t wait and by 3.30pm, the skies over the airfield darkened. Over-developing, brewing up like a witch’s cauldron, rumbling with thunder. We were enveloped in a whirl of gritty dust.
Across the airfield, wary crew members started to hook up trailers, check the fuel in tow vehicles, and locate rubber boots and heavy waterproof jackets.
One by one, the trailers rolled out of the airfield gates. Then two by two and on and on, a white wave clogging up the drowsy Sunday afternoon roads.
Almost a hundred off-field landings!
Pilots with engines (either self-launching or self-sustaining but none designed for storm conditions) threw in the towel and revved up to come home under power against a 15kt headwind. One almost ran out of fuel and planned a field landing, but just made it to Leszno. Others did indeed have to opt for a field landing to be safe.
Permission was sought to reopen the enormous Michalkow airfield near Ostrow Wielkopolski, temporarily out of bounds due to a presidential outing. Permission granted but too late for some to reach beyond the howling storm.
Others on an outing were the OSTIV delegates who got a soaking down to their Ipads. And the Tour of Poland cycle race, on its opening day, was met by a wall of hail and fallen trees.
And where on earth were all those long trailers going, stacked up with provisions for a long haul? Well, not that far in many cases but most of the area being covered with farms and hamlets between towns, driving anywhere is a slow business with constant speed reductions.
Your correspondent hopped in a car heading out to pick up US Team Pilot, Gary Ittner. As we left, Team New Zealand were anxiously wondering why John Coutts, who had won the previous day, hadn’t called in. Well, he was just busy winning this day too!
Gary was only 120km away, in a near-perfect stubble field near the city of Kalisz but it took almost 3 hours to reach him by the last light of evening.
The Polish villager and his son, who came across to watch, were astonished at how fast an experienced crew could take a glider to pieces and stow it in the trailer.
With thanks to the owner and goodbyes to the visitors who had asked to pose with the glider (Americans floating out of the sky onto their land was quite a Sunday adventure), we set off home to exchange stories with other crews.
Jean-Denis Barrois of France landed on ploughed mud,
and a tractor was brought up to carry the wings to the distant road:
Thomas Gostner of Italy dined on a full meal from soup to dessert brought by a Polish farmer to gliderside, and the British team drove home intoxicated by the delicious smell of the gift of home-baked bread they received.
Somewhere around 11pm, a text message from US Team Captain, Dennis Linnekin, told us Monday would be the day of rest that Sundays are supposed to be, before we finally remembered to ask if the day had been a valid contest day. A percentage of the field must pass 100km to validate the day.
They had and it was.
Indeed, a heroic, full 1000 points to Anne Ducarouge (FRA), in 15 Meter Class, Daniel Rossier (FRA) Open Class and in 18 Meters, John Coutts (NZ).
No reported landing damage despite the state of the various fields and the stressful moments before touchdown. But then these ARE the best pilots in the world!
So it’s “Bravo” to them all, and many, many thanks to the stalwart crews (first up and last to bed throughout their “holiday”!)
Paul Mason, crew for Open Class pilot Peter Harvey
Thursday, 31 July 2014 21:59
This is IGC Journalist Angela Sheard's July 30, 2014 report from the World Gliding Championships in Leszno, Poland.
As I wrote on 28th, the heavy, humid weather continues and the final arrivers at Leszno that day met a wall of water blotting out the airfield. Luckily, everyone made it in safely and the crew members, drenched to the skin, were able to secure the gliders without damage
In view of this, task planners set only short Area Tasks on the 29th, to get everyone round and home ahead of forecast storms, but guess what? The weather brightened, a cheering breeze cooled the airfield and a very beautiful day emerged - but as so many pilots zipped home in no time, the points were reduced from the top in each class (see the Organisers' Results page for tasks, daily and overall scores). Similarly, pilots who rushed off as soon as their class start gate opened enjoyed their flights but found that hanging back had produced better times and distances for other teams, due to the improving conditions. Briefing on the 29th was enlivened by the visit of FAI General Secretary Susanne Schödel and the Mayor of Leszno, in office for over 20 years and a keen supporter of gliding’s role in his town’s recent rich history. Airsports pioneer Poland has seen world championships in 5 disciplines this summer, not to mention ours being the 4th at this airfield since 1958
Closely observing the legality and above all, safety, of differing approach and landing styles, FAI-appointed Chief Steward Robert Danewid (SWE) sits just inside the airfield, binoculars and camera at the ready, and doesn’t miss a trick! His colleague, Steward Jaroslav Vach (CZR) races all over the airfield on his bike, checking the length of landing runs, watchful and glad to advise where necessary.
Each day, as anxious crews muster at the finish ready to remove their pilots and gliders from the active runway as fast as possible, visitors from the town arrive, often with grandchildren or friends, to peer into the bright sunlight and glider-spot. A fine display thrilled them yesterday as sometimes 7 or 8 gliders at a time swooped towards the airfield, whooshing over the ripe corn at the runway threshold, some very low (did you see that, Robert?) and some with wingtips turned up so high at speed that the glider seemed bowed and the tips about to “clap hands”. Jettisoned water streamed behind those who had held onto to their water ballast until the last, some even to touch- down.
Between that ripe crop and the perimeter ditch, however, is a busy road with all manner of vehicles heading home from work, from tractors to bikes and enthusiastic photographers sticking their lenses as well as their necks out by lingering too long right in the path of the fast-arriving finishers. To keep the worst from happening, a security team keeps watch, holding up beeping cars and racing after pedestrians turning a deaf ear on yellow quad bikes.
And so to today, the 30th – again, 2-hour Area Tasks for everyone as the forecast is unchanged. “Storms may develop” and indeed, big, dark CuNims have developed earlier than any day so far, so there could be a lot of land-outs.
This evening sees the opening of the OSTIV Congress. These international gatherings of top scientific minds, applied to all branches of flight: hull and pilot safety, emergency escape systems, innovation, construction, to name a few topics, run concurrently with every FAI World Gliding Championships and the papers presented, which sometimes seem far-fetched, often result in improvements which in years to come will seem routine.
Whatever happens later, if enough people score to make this 4th Championship Day a valid contest day, then the whole Championship will already be validated as four days is the minimum requirement. Contest Organisers can then relax a bit!
Tuesday, 29 July 2014 22:15
IGC Journalist Angela Sheard is attending the 33rd FAI World Gliding Championships in the Open, 18 Meter, and 15 Meter Classes in Leszno, Poland. She is planning to write a series of reports from the competition. This one is from July 28, 2014.
The best place on Leszno airfield today is the huge fan cooling the dining room in the Airport Hotel. Red and dripping crew members are staggering in from the airfield after seeing their pilots off, to stand luxuriating in the only cool breeze for miles around. Yes, the heavy, hot and humid weather goes on.
Yesterday’s area tasks took place while rain lashed Leszno but ended successfully with Leigh Wells (GB) and son of a champion, winning the 15m class, Poland’s Karoly Staryszak the 18m and Ronald Termaat of The Netherlands, the Open Class (see tasks and full results on Soaring Spot. The Competition website address is www.wgc2014.eu where you can also follow the gliders via the tracking service.)
Today, 28th July, assigned area tasks in all three classes, skimming round the potential storm areas brewing due to the high temperatures combining with the large amount of moisture still present after two days heavy rain in the training period. The imposed time allowed is around 3 hours.
Launching is still taking over an hour as a colourful succession of tugs race to get 130 gliders airborne ready for the start but this should improve as the days pass.
A young, Anglo-Polish visitor celebrating his tenth birthday was thrilled when the sniffer pilot, back from testing the thermal strength ahead of the full launch, sat him in a glider and explained the details of today’s met.
Behind them, one of the workhorses of the sky, an Antonov 2 and, over the trees, today’s first cumulus start to build.
Thursday, 26 June 2014 15:00
The Italy Qualifying Sailplane Grand Prix took place in Varese from 14 to 21 June with 18 the competitors from 6 countries : Argentina, Austria, Chech Republic, Germany, Italy, Slovenia.
The opening ceremony was held in the wonderful location of Villa Recalcati , headquarter of the Province of Varese, where thecompetitors enjoyed a nice party at the end of the official briefing.
After a beginning with difficult weather conditions, the meteo has turned to be very good, I would say exceptional for the month of June , and pilots were able to fly even quite long tasks and always at very high speed average.
Tuesday, 24 June 2014 15:05
The FAI has released a new video featuring all air sports activities under the umbrella of the Federation. The 3-minute film succinctly presents the FAI sports and includes footage of FAI international records from Charles Lindbergh to Felix Baumgartner.
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 17:12
The minimum performances required for Continental Records have been published in the Documents section, with an effective date of 14 May 2014.
Thursday, 13 March 2014 10:08
The 2014 Annual Meeting of the FAI Gliding Commission (IGC) was held on 7 and 8 March 2014 in Varese, Italy.
The Commission presented the improvements that were made to the training of the IGC Stewards: new training guides and documents, new communication platform, overall improved support.
Famous Italian glider pilot and current FAI Sailplane Grand Prix Champion Giorgio Galetto gave a speech to the Delegates about his views on the future of gliding competitions in IGC competitions such as World Championships and the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix series.
Here are the main decisions that were taken during the meeting:
Friday, 28 February 2014 16:28
The Aero Club of Poland is very active in promoting the idea of "olympic gliding". The Polish foundation "Smyki na start" whose main goal is promoting engineering and technology among youngsters together with Aero Club of Poland and Warsaw University of Technology are co-operting in order to convince the organisers of the IWG in Wroclaw to include gliding in the World games.
They are collecting words of support from all around the world on dedicated webpage: http://www.smykinastart.pl/in-english/41.html
If you can spread this info among gliding enthusiasts in your countries it will surely help the idea.
Don't delay send your support today.