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Press Release                        30 August 2016

2 Countries to Compete at the


Entries to the World Gliding Championship at Benalla 2017 officially close on 31 August 2016. A total of 1 competitors have entered from 26 countries. As the competition draws closer, the Australian team is pulling together to maximize their strengths and meet the challenges ahead.

The pilots met at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra for a team preparation session on the weekend of 27 – 29 August. All six team members attended – Bruce Taylor and Andrew Georgeson in Open Class, Tom Claffey and Peter Temple in 18m Class and Matthew Scutter and Steve O’Donnell in 15m Class – joined by their coaches Peter Trotter and Ingo Renner, and by other team support members. Discussions focused on logistics and tactics, making use of the facilities and guest lecturers from the AIS.

The team members are feeling confident in light of their home turf advantage and the associated knowledge of the local gliding conditions, and all agree that they have a true secret weapon in their champion coach - four times WGC winner Ingo Renner. His experience in championship flying and terrain of all types – especially Australian – and encouragement will prove invaluable to the pilots as the competition heats up next January.

Many of the international teams have sent in descriptions and photos of their members and coaches, which can be read on the www.wgc2017.com website. Whether the individual pilots have experienced Australian flying conditions before or not, all of them are looking forward to the gathering next January in Benalla. As Team Captain Darko Gagula from Slovenia says, “The Slovenian WGC team is small but I'm honoured to be a part of it. I'm looking forward to meeting old friends and making new ones. See you in Benalla.”


Australia’s successful bid for the World Gliding championships will give a major boost to Benalla and Northern Victoria with competitors and their teams flying in from all around the world. In addition, visitors from across Australia will visit Benalla to watch the drama of the contest and soak up the championship atmosphere.

Benalla in Victoria previously hosted the 1987 world championships. Benalla’s greatest advantages are the facilities available to host such a large event - a full-sized airfield with access to cultural services and easy walking distance from a large town.


The World Gliding Championships for Open, 18m and 15m classes is the most prestigious and competitive gliding competition in the world.

This event is organised by the GFA (Gliding Federation of Australia) under the auspices of the FAI (Federation Aeronautique Internationale) which is the worldwide body for sport aviation.


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 GFA (Gliding Federation of Australia) is the national body for the coordination, management and promotion of gliding.

CONTACT for more information and photographs and video

Sean Young

Media Relations


T + 61 02 9332 2822

M + 61 0490 502 323

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

Twitter  twitter.com/WGC2017 GFA glidingaustralia.org

Team Lineup 2 SY

ABOVE: The Australian Gliding Team - Steve O’Donnell, Bruce Taylor, Tom Claffey, Andrew Georgeson, Peter Temple, Matthew Scutter

  Bruce Taylor SY   Andrew Georgeson SY

Bruce Taylor                                                         Andrew Georgeson

 Tom Clafey SY         Peter Temple

Tom Claffey                                           Peter Temple

 Matthew Scutter SY      Steve ODonnell SY

Matthew Scutter                                                Steve O’Donnell

Add to Calendar


Benalla, Victoria, on 8 - 22 January 2017


Sean Young
Media Relations
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