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News Release                                                12 June 2016

Italy - Coming to Benalla in Style


Team Captain Luciano Avanzini

 Luciano Avanzini

Although he won’t be flying at Benalla, Luciano brings a great deal of experience to the championships with his current IGC ranking at No. 98.

I started gliding in 1976 and flew my first competition in 1979,” Luciano said. “I am 15 times Italian Champion. My last victory was in May 2016 when I won in 18m Class. In 2014, I achieved the 1,250km FAI Diploma over the Alps and I’m now the Team Captain and Trainer of the Italian gliding team.”

At the recent Italian qualifying SGP at Varese, he finished in 3rd position. He has represented Italy many times at WGCs, in which his best result was Bronze at Sweden in 2006 in 18m. He is a member of member of ACAO Varese.

18m Class - Giorgio Galetto and Davide Schiavotto

 Giorgio Galetto

Giorgio Galetto has won two World Gliding Championships, the first in 15m Class at Bayreuth 1999. In 2011 he took Gold in the World Grand Prix Championships at the ‘home’ of gliding at Wasseruppe. His current IGC ranking is No. 81.

With over 8,000 hours in gliders, he has been Italian Champion 24 times and has been flying competitions since 1979. He flew for Italy at the 1997 WGC in Saint-Auban where he took the Bronze Medal. He also won Silver Medal in 2009 at the World Air Games in Turin.

Giorgio said, “Flying has always been my second nature. I went to the airport with my father during my childhood and had my first flight in 1962. I received my glider license in 1975 and PPL in 1976. I represent the third generation of pilots in my family - my grandfather got his licence in 1915 and my father is still an active pilot at 92 years old.

“I began to participate in competitions to learn to fly with the most experienced pilots and with professional weather support. Now, after more than 100 competitions, I still learn something new on every task. Every flight is different and it still makes me happy. I get satisfaction from all my flights, but the results that I remember with the most pleasure are the two world championships that I won in 1999 and 2011 and a couple of flights of about 1,300km.

“To me gliding is passion, physical and mental training, discipline, technical knowledge of gliders and computers, but I never forget to have fun!”

Giorgio’s teammate Davide is 36 years old and started gliding when he was 18, thanks to the Italian Aeronautica Militare, who introduced him to ‘our beloved discipline’.

Davide Schiavotto

Davide started competing a few years later and flew the JWGC at Husbands Bosworth in England in 2005. He was greatly influenced by the famous Italian pilot Leonardo Brigliadori who was the team captain.

He has gone on to fly three more World Championships, two in Club Class, 2010 in Slovakia and 2013 in Argentina, and in 18m Class in Poland 2014.

He will now add two more WGCs to his total, flying a ‘magic combo’ of the Worlds in Lithuania in Club Class this August and WGC 2017 Benalla.


Open Class - Alberto Sironi and Riccardo Brigliadori

Alberto Sironi

Alberto is 50 years old and lives in Milan. He has competed in many Italian Nationals, winning several times. Alberto’s first WGC was Eskilstuna, Sweden in 2006 where he came 5th. Since then he represented Italy in numerous WGCs and European GCs including Poland in 2014 and Lithuania in 2015 where he took 6th place in 13.5m Class.

Alberto loves racing, but he also likes long distance flying and chasing records. Since 2011 he has set two European continental records and 20 national records. In 2014 he achieved more 1,600km on a flight across the Alps. He is a member of ACAO Varese and he is currently in IGC ranking position 115.

Riccardo Brigliadori

Riccardo Brigliadori is a scion of his uncle Riccardo who introduced his younger brother, Ricky junior’s father Leonardo, to gliding when he was 14 years old. Leonardo went on to become Italy’s first World Gliding Champion at Rieti in 1985.

Riccardo started flying when he was 16 years old. He is the owner of Piloapersempre FlyingSchool. He is 12 times Italian champion. He placed 2nd in the European Champs in 1991, 1992, 2004, 3rd in 2000, 2007 and 4th in 2015. He has racked up seven WGCs, placing 5th three times. His most recent Worlds was Poland 2014 where he flew in 18m Class.

With his father Leonardo, he is the co-author of, ‘Competing in Gliders – Winning With Your Mind’. He is ranked No.75 in the world.


15m Class - Thomas Gostner

Thomas Gostner

Thomas is no stranger to Australia having competed in several Australian Nationals winning 18m in 2004 at Dalby. He also flew in the Australian Qualifying Grand Prix in 2008. In January this year he took part in the pre-worlds at Benalla in 18m Class.

Thomas said, “Flying has been my dream since I was a young child. I was with my father every weekend at an airfield flying remote controlled airplanes. I got my glider license in 1976 and have about 5,500 hours in gliders. I have won the Italian championships many times. Since 1995 I have flown in numerous WGCs. My best result was Bronze place in Hungary 2010 in 15m Class. In 2007 I made a new world record flying 2,129 km around three declared turn points in Argentina. I am sure that Benalla will be a great race for everyone.”



WGC are held every two years in several classes. Club, Standard and Two seater, 15 metre, 18 metre and Open classes. Attracting pilots from over 30 countries, the sport is keenly competitive.


The sport of gliding is an exhilarating, spectacular and serene flying experience. Gliders take to the air like birds with wings outstretched, soaring on rising air currents, immersed in three-dimensional space and flying silently with an eagle’s view of the world.

Men and women of all ages can learn to fly gliders. In Australia you can fly solo from the age of 15 and some pilots continue gliding into their eighties. It is never too late to learn to glide and many pilots take up the sport in their 40s, 50s or even 70s. 

The modern glider is a sophisticated, highly aerodynamic aircraft without an engine, designed to travel at speeds approaching 300 kph and capable of heights in excess of 10,000 metres.


The 34th FAI World Gliding Championships will be held in Benalla, Victoria, on 8 - 21 January 2017. Over 100 competitors from 30 nations are expected to compete in one of the greatest sport aviation events in the world.

** Multiclass - 15 metre, 18 metre and Open classes


Benalla, Victoria, 8 - 21 January 2017

Visitors welcome - Gliders - Simulators - Family friendly - Great day out


World Gliding Championships wgc2017.com/ Facebook .facebook.com/WGCBenalla

Twitter  twitter.com/WGC2017 GFA glidingaustralia.org

Sean Young

Media Relations


T + 61 02 9332 2822

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World Gliding Championships wgc2017.com/ Facebook .facebook.com/WGCBenalla

Twitter  twitter.com/WGC2017 GFA glidingaustralia.org