James Nugent

Hometown:  Melbourne
Glider:  LS3

How did you get started in gliding?     I was introduced to gliding through my father who was a long time instructor and competition pilot. Much of my youth was spent on the home airfield and at the odd competition. Entering my teenage years, I found myself getting more flying time in the ever-busy club Blanik. I went on to solo on my fifteenth birthday and flew in my first competition six months later. After first attending JoeyGlide as a coaching participant, I came back in subsequent years to compete in Astirs. The friends I met and the network I made through the Australian Junior Gliding scene undoubtedly meant that I stuck with gliding amid other interests including Cricket, Golf and model RC aerobatics.

Who have been your most significant mentors or influences in gliding?   
I have been fortunate to have a number of mentors throughout my gliding ‘career’. Their influence has sometimes very subtle or even vicarious, ranging through to direct coaching and traditional ‘mentorship’.

Adam Woolley has long been a source of motivation and enthusiasm. I was fortunate to have been coached by John Buchanan (QLD) during my first handful of competition outings. I benefited greatly from the time and generosity of Adam Webb within the junior community. In a competitive sense, I’ve been fortunate to fly alongside world champions Matt Scutter, Tom Arscott and Simon Briel, each outing being rather formative and inspirational. Finally, my father was obviously a huge help in telling me how to fly a glider – and how not to!

What are some of the major competitions you’ve participated in, and how did you perform?
This is my third world Championships and second on home soil.
2015 Junior World Championships, Narromine – 5th overall and day winner.
2022 Junior World Championships, CZE – 15th overall.
I have also managed to achieve some reasonable competition results in Australia.
4x Australian Junior Champion
2018 STD Class vice champion
Current Club Class national champion.
In addition to an assortment of other regattas and Grand Prix.

What’s your training routine like? How will you prepare for the upcoming competition?
Being a short selection cycle, and not being able to travel overseas, training for this world championships is more ‘expedited’. Fortunately however, I have a great deal of experience flying at Narromine to rely on during the competition.  Most of my training efforts will be practicing from Benalla with Daniel, tasking north in to terrain and weather which is generally representative of Narromine.
A huge part of my focus is also in small improvements and refinements to my glider – a type of preparation which has both mental and practical benefits.

What are your goals / aims for the upcoming competition at Narromine?
My goal for the competition is to be consistent and take opportunities when the come. If we get long, strong days (and some blue conditions) we should be competitive.

How does it feel to be representing Australia on home soil, and at Narromine?
Generally, it is a proud experience to be a part of. While there are a number of advantages to flying on home soil, there are also a few distractions and additional ‘noise’. My priority will be to focus when the canopy drops.

What’s something interesting most people don’t know about you?
As a teenager, I was involved in a number of sports including Cricket at a representative level and cross-country running.
I was also involved in model RC Aerobatics, where I had the opportunity to fly for Australia in the USA as a 13-year-old.

What advice would they give to someone interested in getting involved in gliding? Gliding has significant barriers to entry that many people are aware of and work within. If a newcomer is able to persist through inclement weather, the reading and the cost, the things they will see and experience are worth it. Gliding is pretty amazing, when you think about it.

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