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Australian Gliding team member Queenslander Andrew Georgeson ready for Sailplane Grand Prix at Horsham

In the lead-up to the World Gliding Championships (WGC) at Benalla, 2 - 22 January 2017, Horsham, Victoria is hosting the Australian round of the World Sailplane Grand Prix from 14 to 20 December.

The World Sailplane Grand Prix takes place at major gliding centres around the world during the year. The World Champions are decided in a grand finale race. A Sailplane Grand Prix is a race around a circuit grand prix style, with the winner being the first glider across the finish line.

“Some of the best pilots from Australia and around the world will be testing themselves against each other and the Wimmera conditions in intense competition,” said Championship Committee Chairman Arnold Niewand. “It’s the first time this event has been staged in Victoria.

“The pilot who can navigate the course in the fastest possible time, usually over a 200 kilometre distance in a two-and-a-half hour time frame, will win.

“All sailplanes launch within one hour. Once everyone is in the air, a virtual start gate will open above the aerodrome and the race will be on. All pilots will be trying to go flat-out. Their gliders include some of the most technologically advanced sailplanes in the world, capable of speeds up to 300kmh.

“The course will run over the Wimmera plains, but if conditions allow we will task the pilots with a course that also includes the Grampians, adding an extra dimension to the competition. At the time of the race we expect the pilots to be confronted with a vast landscape of cereal crops. With all of the harvest activity going on below them, we suspect it will create a spectacular sight for pilots.  
“Depending on conditions, pilots might reach altitudes of between 12,000 and 14,000 feet. This provides the competitors with an opportunity to exploit their height and generate speed around the course,” Arnold said.

Competitors from World Gliding Championships Benalla, 2 - 22 January 2017

Australian Gliding team members Peter Temple and Andrew Georgeson, Bill Gawthrop and Sean Fidler from Team USA, and New Zealand team members Brett Hunter and Mark Tingey will all be hoping to have a Grand Prix win under their belts before heading to WGC Benalla.

ABOUT Gliding
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 - 22 January 2017. Over 115 competitors from 29 nations will  compete in one of the greatest sport aviation events in the world.
Add to Calendar
Benalla, Victoria, 8 - 22 January 2017
World Gliding Championships wgc2017.com/ Facebook .facebook.com/WGCBenalla
Twitter  twitter.com/WGC2017 GFA  glidingaustralia.org


Sean Young
Media Relations
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