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Gliders. The FAI World Championships 2017 in Australia

Benalla, Australia - The opening ceremony took place on 8 January. Yesterday competitions annulled due to bad weather

The 34th FAI World Gliding Championships 2017 kicks-off in Australia on 9 January 2017 and will last two weeks. An opening marked by the bad weather for which the competitions of this first day have been suspended and then cancelled. A championship with some 116 pilots from 27 countries, all converged on the small city of Benalla, Victoria to compete for the title of FAI Gliding World Champion in three separate classes. Among them are two current FAI Gliding World Champions, as well as a “raring-to-go” home nation team of highly experienced Australians. The races will be a test of stamina and mental fortitude as much as skill, for two weeks and for four or five hours per day. This kind of event held every two years. There are three classes: 15m, 18m and Open Class. Poland’s Sebastian Kawa is reigning FAI World Champion in the 15m class, and Germany’s Michael Sommer is reigning FAI World Champion in Open Class. Tasks are flown and scored every day. Pilots must make their way around a pre-determined course –different each day depending on specific factors. Many pilots have been in the area since Christmas on a pre-competition training week. The season has reportedly been wet so far, which means weaker thermals and harder conditions – which may in fact favour the European and visiting pilots rather than the hosts, but obviously it is all to play still. Much curiosity comes from the presence of two Chinese pilots (Andrew Peng Du and Shang Guangwei), Nation absolutely new to air sports. Peng Du is in the Open Class. A gliding pioneer in China he established the China Loong Flying Club and is helping to develop the sport in China. Guangwei meanwhile is competing in the 18m class. He is also at the forefront of developing gliding in China. The Opening Ceremony took place last January 8.

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