22 Nov 2012

European soaring through Polish skies

From 20th to 29 July 2012 the 2012 Ostrow Glide, which was also the pre-European Gliding Championships, took place in Ostrów Wielkopolski, Poland. The event was organised by the Ostrów Aero Club. 93 pilots took part in the competition in 4 different classes: 19 pilots in Open Class, 20 in Standard Class, 40 in Club A and 14 in Club B. A lot of foreign teams also participated in the competition taking place at the Michałków Airfield (EPOM). For the competitors from France, Finland, Germany, Romania, Czech Republic, Sweden, Russia, Lithuania, this competition was a good training ahead of the 17th European Gliding Championships in Ostrow next year.

That bad weather that struck the Ostrow region at the beginning of July caused concern for the smooth running of the competition. Some of the pilots had planned to train before the start of the competition and arrived in Ostrów a bit earlier. For the Lithuanian pilot Darius Liaugaudas and a Romanian Team the trip to Michałków lasted almost 24 hours! However, all of them had to wait until 20 July to be able to fly, which was the day when a large group of 30 gliders took off to get acquainted with the competition region.

The opening ceremony took place the next day on 21 July. It was cut short to take advantage of the good weather. Competition Director Maciej Całka held the first briefing at 10:00 am. The first racing tasks were a 260 km flight for Club B class and up to 405 km for Open Class. All of the competitors were airborne after less than 1.5 hour of towing flights (for which 10 towing planes were used). What was very remarkable was the fact that there were no Wilgas– the plane that was an inseparable part of glider competitions in the past. The winners of the first day were: Open class – Marek Szumski (POL) 114.5 km/h , Standard class – Baptiste Innocent (FRA) 119.1 km/h, Club A – Jędrzej Skłodowski (POL) 101.5 km/h , Club B – Arkady Zapolski (POL) 65.8 km/h.

During the following days the weather improved – until the culmination on Monday 23 July. Sport Director Artur Rutkowski set the tasks to 604 km for Open class, 507 km for Standard class, 399 km for Club A and 305 km for Club B. Gorgeous cumulus weather with cloud base above 1.800 m and good evening thermals allowed the majority of competitors to finalise the tasks without major problems. For the less experienced competitors in Club B class this flight offered one diamond for the Golden Gliding Badge. A competitor flying a Pirat J2 in Club B class spent 8 hours and 12 minutes in the air!   

During the championships 7 tasks in all classes were flown. Only on the fifth day the weather front prevented competitors from flying, giving them one day of rest. During the last competition day organisers prepared ambitious racing tasks, however it was not sure whether they would be flown: thermals began very late – a glider sent for checking the thermals almost outlanded, which made Artur Rutkowski change the tasks. The decision turned out to be good and allowed all of the competitors to fly the task without major problems.

The winners in each class were as follows:

Open Class


Krzysztof Łuniewski

Poland \ Warmińsko-MazurskiASG 29 E5879 p. 


Tomasz DulPoland \ WrocławskiASG 29 E5785 p. 
3Köstermann OliverGermany \ LSV GifbornArcus T 5742 p. 

Standard Class


Felipe Levin

Germany \ LSV HombergDiscus 2 a5783 p 


Christophe CousseauFranceDiscus 2 a5588 p. 
3Darius Liaugaudas Lithuania\ KaunasLs 8 a    5412 p. 

 Club A Class


Łukasz Błaszczyk

Poland \ Ostrowski

Jantar std35556 p 


Jakub Barszcz Poland \ Orląt DęblinJantar std35534 p. 
3Ivan HarastaCzech Republic\ TouzimnASW 15 B 5517 p.

Club B Class


Arkady Zapolski

Poland \ Ziemi JarosławskiejPhoebus B5190 p.


Norbert Gulczyński  Poland \ OstrowskiAstir CS 775125 p.
3Jakub E KurpasPoland \ ŚląskiJunior4401 p. 


Briefings were held in English every day at fixed hours. Despite the shortened briefings, additional events also took place: Awards for each day’s winners, Adam Biały’s birthday’s and Stanisław Całka’s anniversary of 50 years in aviation! To allow good information flow organisers set up an SMS system which worked well. Tasks for the competitors were ambitious yet appropriate to the weather conditions and skills in each class, thus limiting the number of outlandings.

It was possible to follow the championships’ progress from each part of the globe, thanks to the efficient scorers’ work, the daily website updates, the announcements of winners, the information on take-offs and landings, the most up-to-date photos, the live reports, and the interviews for the internet TV. 10 towing planes enabled all the gliders to be airborne in little more than 1 hour.  Volunteers, whether they be teenagers and/or young pilots, worked hard during the whole competition (especially for the take-offs) and their help greatly contributed to the success of the competition.

See you next year in Ostrów for the 17th FAI European Gliding Championships !