08 Aug 2023

HG Worlds 2023 have launched in Krushevo

The 23rd FAI World Hang Gliding Class 1 Championship, 14th FAI Women World Hang Gliding Class 1, and 9th FAI World Hang Gliding Class 5 Championship have launched in Krushevo, North Macedonia. The event is being held from 6 to 19 of August 2023 and 131 pilots from 22 nations have gathered to compete. In Class 1, eight pilots are competing for Women's champion title and all 104 of the pilots are competing for the Champion title overall. In Class 5 there are 27 pilots competing for the title of the world champion in Class 5.

August 6 was planned as the training day but the weather was not flyable so the day was cancelled.  August 7 was dedicated to the registration and opening ceremony. Traditionally the ceremony began with a parade. The pilots were heartily greeted by the local population. Everyone gathered in the centre of the town. 

Mayor of Krushevo Tome Hristovski and event director Ivan Lukanov greeted the participants. The local authorities invest a lot in the development of free-flight sports in the region. They made a new large parking lot and sanitary facilities on the main take-off of Krushevo and now plan to invest in the new road.


The first task was set on August 8, 2023. Class 5 pilots were the first to launch. Their start window opened at 13:30 and they had 87 km ahead to fly.

Class 5 pilots were followed by 10 early birds of Class 1. Early birds are the pilots who venture to launch before the others and have more time in the air. As usual, there were more volunteers than slots so a blind draw was organised to select the lucky 10. Both classes launched according to WPRS  order very quickly. At 13:50 there were no competitors left on the take-off.
Class 1 task was an 81 km race to the goal. The rest of the 95 pilots in Class 1 launched in three lines, the last two being two female pilots: Jessica from the USA and Thaise from Brazil, who are both participating for the first time in an FAI Category 1 competition. 

The goal was set the same for both classes - near the village of Zhabeni not far from the town of Bitola. 
The first pilots to outland were Nikola Barakovski in Class 1 from North Macedonia and Juaki Sanchez on a Class 5 wing from Spain who landed in the valley just in front of the take-off. US pilot Mick Howard also bombed out and was granted a re-flight but it did not help him - he bombed out in the valley again.

In Class 1 on approaching the goal, the leaders divided into 2 groups with 3 pilots in each: Attila Bertok, Balazs Ujhelyi and Glauco Pinto were in one, Marco Laurenzi, Christian Czech, and Alvaro Sandoli in the other.

Only 25 Class 1, and 15 Class 5 pilots made it to the goal. 

The first in Class 5 was Dirk Ripkens GER; it took him 1:45 min to get to the goal. 

Only four pilots of the six leaders in Class 1 arrived at the goal - Christian Chieck and Attilla Bertok got very low and landed about 5 km short of the goal.
The first to land on goal were Marco Laurenzi, Alvaro Figueiredo Sandoli, and Alex Ploner. The last to reach the goal in Class 1 were Damien Zahn, Manuel Revelli, and Freddy Bircher.

Unfortunately, no female pilots managed to get to the goal. The one who managed to fly farthest was Corinna Schwiegershausen of Germany.