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The Olympics of Gliding comes to Benalla January 2017
Benalla tie down

The World Gliding Championships will be the biggest gliding event to come to Benalla for 30 years – since the last one in 1987. It will be the largest gliding event ever held in Australia, and the largest ever in the Southern Hemisphere.

WGC Benalla is the Olympics of gliding

114 competitors from 29 countries will be at the airfield from just after Christmas until the closing ceremony on 22 January.

Visitor boost to Benalla

With support crew and family members, plus all the club members and volunteers needed to run the championships, there will be 400 to 500 extra people in and around Benalla for the three to four weeks following Christmas. That is a temporary 5% increase in population, for nearly a month!

During December, preparations will start in earnest. At least 12 containers carrying gliders will arrive at the airfield, and gliders hired in Australia will also be arriving for the event. Accommodation will start to fill up, and foreign languages will be regularly heard in Bridge Street. We hope that everyone will make our visitors feel welcome.

The event consists of a series of races around courses that are set each day depending on weather, and can range from 300km to 700km or more. Preparations start early each morning, with crews preparing the gliders and organisers planning the tasks for the day. At 10am the competitors assemble at BPACC for the daily briefing on weather conditions and launching times.

Launching time will usually be between 12 and 2pm, and it will take 10 tow planes over an hour to launch the fleet. Then, activity at the airfield will become a bit more quiet as the race proceeds over the surrounding countryside. The gliders return to land in the late afternoon, usually between 5:30 and 6:30pm.

See the Action

The best time to see the action at the airfield will be around the launch period and in the late afternoon when the gliders return after the race.

Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony for the event will be on Sunday 8th January in the Rose Gardens, and the closing ceremony will be on 22nd January at the airfield.

Full details of the event are on the website at http://www.wgc2017.com/

This will be a major event for Benalla and the region. It isn’t only the food outlets and accommodation providers that will benefit – every business in Benalla can expect increased activity in this period.

Benalla locals invited to be involved

There are many ways to get involved - adopting a team, offering accommodation, even simply a shop window decoration – it all helps to show support.

There will be an information session about business opportunities associated with the World Championships at the gliding club on 27th September at 5:30pm. Although this session is promoted by the Benalla Business Network, all interested businesses are invited – but please let the gliding club know you are coming so that we can plan for the correct numbers.

Gliding is part of Benalla’s DNA – the club has been active in Benalla for 64 years, since 1952, we are the largest gliding club in Australia, and we’ll be around for the next 64 years as well. We are not just here for the World Championships - this is an ongoing commitment. We bring international and local visitors to Benalla every summer, and an increasing number of glider pilots have moved permanently to live in Benalla and the region. The gliding club is part of the community and contributes to the growth and prosperity of the town and the region.

29 Countries to Compete at the


Entries to the World Gliding Championship at Benalla 2017 officially close on 31 August 2016. A total of 114 competitors have entered from 29 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.


T + 61 02 9332 2822

M + 61 0490 502 323

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

Twitter  twitter.com/WGC2017GFA glidingaustralia.org



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

Bruce Taylor                                                      Andrew Georgeson

Tom Claffey                                                      Peter Temple

Matthew Scutter                                               Steve O’Donnell

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Benalla, Victoria, on 8 - 22 January 2017