Tamás Abranyi prepares for the 19th FAI Glider Aerobatic World Championships
Some of the world’s best Glider Aerobatic pilots are heading to Hungary later this month, for a 10-day competition that will see two world champions crowned. Running in parallel, the 19th FAI Glider Aerobatic World Championship and the seventh Advanced Glider Aerobatic World Championship will take place at Matko Airport in Hungary from 20-30 July. The events are organised by the Hungarian Aeronautical Association and the Hungarian Aerobatic Club.
We caught up with event organiser Tamás Abranyi as he entered the final two weeks of preparation.
Tamas, so, how’s it going? Busy?
The last days are the busiest days, but everyone is working hard to prepare everything as much as possible. We have to pray now for suitable weather too.
For those who don’t know what Glider Aerobatics is all about, can you explain briefly what pilots will be doing?
The Glider Aerobatic aircraft is designed especially for high-G manoeuvres. Gliders are towed into the performance zone – the ‘box’ – at 1,250m above the ground. The box is a 1,000m x 1,000m x 1,000m cube, marked by white stripes on the ground. Two line judges observe the box outs, and a height measuring device checks the altitude.
After release the pilot has to start their sequence below 1,200m and it's compulsory to finish their program at 200m above ground. Altitude infringements mean a penalty, and if a pilot flies lower than 100m, they will be disqualified.
Six programs have to be flown during the championships. Can you run us through those programs?
The first program is the ‘Free Known’ program – each pilot has to design a sequence using five compulsory figures published by CIVA and adding five ‘free’ figures. Pilots can practice this program as much as they want before the competitions.
Programs 2,4,5 and 6 are ‘Unknown’ programs. Teams can propose a maximum of seven figures and one sequence will be created and allowed by the international jury. All the pilots have to fly the same sequence, and nobody can practice it before the contest flight.
The third program is the ‘Free Unknown’ program. Pilots can create their sequence using the compulsory figures proposed by the teams. Each pilot can fly their sequence, if it is safe.
What’s the difference between the two disciplines?
Unlimited involves more difficult figures, and a high total value of the program, called the K-factor. Advanced is less difficult figures, and a lower K-factor.
Hungary has a strong association with Glider Aerobatics, doesn’t it?
Yes it does. The Hungarian Team is current World Champion and Hungary’s Ferenc Toth has been several times Overall Individual Champion. Hungary has seen many medallists many times in both categories.
What is your own background in Glider Aerobatics?
I am the chairman of the Hungarian Aerobatic Club as well as the leader of the Aerobatic Committee of the Hungarian Aeronautical Association, CIVA delegate of Hungary. I am an active Unlimited aerobatic pilot in the Unlimited category.
As organiser you must have faced some challenges so far… what’s been the biggest?
All the details are important, but our goal is to organise a safe, fair event with a lot of fun. The satisfaction and happiness of contestants and officials are the most important for us.
I know you will be impartial, but who are the favourites? What teams are expected to do well?
Of course the Hungarian team and Ferenc Toth in Unlimited are the ones to watch. David Józsa and Miklós Hoós in Advanced categories. But the Polish and Czech teams are strong too.
How can we follow the competition?
We’ll be posting regular updates on social media, with video summaries by FAI partner Quattromedia too.
Finally, what three things are you most looking forward to about the competition, when it starts on 20 July?
Many thanks Tamas, all the best for a great competition.