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Horsham offered back-to-back World Sailplane Grand Prix legs

READY SET GO: Max Hedt hooks up Brian Durieu of Sydney, to a tow rope at the Sailplane Grand Prix in Horsham.

READY SET GO: Max Hedt hooks up Brian Durieu of Sydney, to a tow rope at the Sailplane Grand Prix in Horsham.

Accolades are flowing as Horsham Flying Club officials tally final scores to determine the two glider pilots who will qualify to head to Chile in November for the eighth World Sailplane Grand Prix final.
The Federation Aerionautique Internationale, FAI, the world’s premier air sports organisation, has offered the Horsham club a back-to-back opportunity – to again run the sole Australian leg in the next world grand prix.
Earlier this year Horsham won the right to run this year’s Australian leg.
FAI officials, the Gliding Federation of Australia and competitors have heaped praise on the small club for its administration of the week-long event.
Fourteen elite glider pilots from the United States, New Zealand and Australia took to the sky over the Wimmera during seven days of competition to determine two representatives for the Chile final.
Pilots included multi-winning state gliding champions, F-111 pilots, a former Qantas pilot and the former head of the RAAF.
Real-time internet coverage of daily competition allowed people worldwide to log in to view progress.
Organisers set the course each day according to weather conditions with events varying from 180 to 300 kilometres.
Competition director Tim Shirley of Benalla said a lack of cumulus clouds on most days meant the pilots’ skills were tested to the limit
Mr Shirley, experienced at running competitions in Australia and overseas, said the pilots were ‘very’ experienced in all aspects – from understanding the FAI rules to reading weather conditions and making best use of thermals, or rising columns of hot air.
He added there had been few issues to adjudicate.
“And the lack of cumulus clouds failed to deter those in this competition,’’ he said.
“The pilots are the elite of Australia and the world and thrive on problem-solving to achieve their targets.’’
At the end of counting before the final day of competition, New Zealand lawyer Mark Tingey was in the lead, one point ahead of former RAAF Air Marshall Geoff Brown of Canberra and Sean Fidler.
Mr Fidler, from the Great Lakes area in Michigan, ran the US leg of the grand prix with wife Tiffany as scorer. She is crewing with him in Horsham.
Event referee Mandy Temple from Adelaide, also Gliding Federation of Australia president, said the daily routine to prepare aircraft took several hours and included washing the plane, adding water ballast, setting instruments for the day and many other tasks. Most team members had a partner or family member crewing for them.
A daily briefing by Mr Shirley and competition operations manager Selwyn Ellis kept pilots informed about the day’s route and expected weather conditions.
• Six of the 14 pilots who flew in Horsham have also qualified for another world event at Benalla early next year.

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Posted on Dec 21 2016

Posted by on Dec 21 2016. Filed under FEATURED, Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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