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JS3 Rapture, the revolutionary new glider from Jonker Sailplanes, will fly in its first competition at WGC Benalla in January 2017.

The JS3 Rapture is a new high-performance FAI 15-metre Class glider designed and manufactured in South Africa by Jonker Sailplanes.

The JS3 Rapture incorporates bleeding edge design features and is made using revolutionary manufacturing and testing techniques.

Jonkers Brothers to Fly the Rapture at Benalla

Jonkers Sailplanes was started by three brothers. Two of them, Uys and Adriaan, are world class glider pilots and will be flying for South Africa at WGC Benalla.

Until Christmas Eve it was uncertain if the new JS3 gliders would be ready to fly at Benalla, as the maiden flight of the first glider off the production line only took place on 12 December. However, with the help of Qantas, whose team pulled the stops out to get the machines flown to Sydney where they arrived on 26 December, it is now confirmed that WGC Benalla will be the first competition in the world to feature the JS3 Rapture.

Jonkers Sailplanes have emulated the successful German model of working closely with universities to develop new design models. While these methods are responsible for Germany's manufacturing success, Jonkers have demonstrated that this approach can also bring highly sophisticated aviation manufacturing to South Africa.

The 'Rapture' had its maiden flight on 12 December at the Jonkers manufacturing centre at PotchefstroomAirport outside Johannesburg.

Engineers needed to work round the clock to ensure the glider was finished on time for WGC Benalla, amounting to thousands of man hours.

The maiden flight was carried out by Attie Jonker, who said, “Performing the maiden flight was an amazing experience, but to be the Chief Design Engineer and also do the test flight is really special. My heart was beating really fast sitting in the cockpit while the test pilots around me were smiling and having fun.

When rolling, I gained immediate aileron control followed by good elevator response when the tail lifted – this immediately calmed me down. The chase plane followed us right through the clouds and I was sitting on top of the world in a sailplane I designed with our wonderful team of engineers. What a privilege to design and test fly a super glider!”

Uys Jonker flew next and reported, “The JS3 is by far the most amazing glider I have ever flown.”

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Glider manufacturer and competitor Uys Jonker, South Africa, with rival for the world crown Sebastian Kawa, Poland.

Unique Engineering

Above all, Attie and Uys regard the implementation of a new hull as the key to achieving significantly higher performance. Highly effective CFD analysis, using computational fluid dynamics and numerical flow mechanics, replaced the usual wind tunnel tests. This allows a fast and efficient simulation of flows to calculate the effective forces and thus the impact on the performance of the aircraft. The resulting values are extremely impressive. In addition to clearly optimized glideability, uncomplicated flight behaviour independent from the loading state, a high maximum surface load, crash safety and cockpit ergonomics were also on the agenda.


JS3 Rapture tested against the best in the world

The international gliding community is waiting to see how the new glider will perform against the other top class glider models such as German built Ventus 2c and Polish made Diana 2. But it’s not only the glider that counts - the pilot makes a difference as well. The two South Africans Uys and Adriaan Jonker will be racing against current World Champion Sebastian Kawa from Poland in the Diana 2 and many highly accomplished pilots from around the world.


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Will reigning World Gliding Champion 15m Class Sebastian Kawa, Poland be able to keep his crown?

Press Opportunities at WORLD GLIDING CHAMPIONSHIPS Benalla

The World Gliding Championships will be the biggest gliding event ever to come to Australia and the Southern Hemisphere.

WGC Benalla is the Olympics of gliding

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

The event consists of a series of races around courses that vary daily, and can range from 300km to 700km or more.


Video, audio and still photos will be available for download. SPECIAL packages can be prepared for your outlet to cater for specific interests and questions. Please talk to Sean Young to make arrangements.


To conduct your own coverage including interviews and video, please contact Sean.

MEET THE PILOTS - World Champions and gliding heroes

Official Practice

5 - 7 January

During this period immediately prior to the contest, pilots will be available for interviews and photography in a relaxed and unpressured environment.

Opening Ceremony

8 January 5:00pm

Benalla Rose Garden

Olympic style parade of the international teams, starting with the host nation Australia.

Aerial video will be available, plus video and still photos.

Contest Flying

9 - 21 January

Daily Winners - Photo and Video Opportunities

Each day a different course will be set depending on the weather. The day will begin with a weather and task briefing and, after the first day, a prize-giving for the previous day’s winners.

This is a perfect opportunity for interviews with the winners - typically, the day winners become the eventual Gold, Silver and Bronze medal-getters. As the competition reaches its final stages, the excitement and intensity will rapidly build up.

Closing Ceremony and Prize-Giving

22 January 11:00am


Benalla Airfield

The Champions will receive their medals.

TAKE OFFS, LANDINGS and flying action

Launching time on contest days will usually be between 12 and 2pm, and it will take the 10 tow planes over an hour to launch the fleet. From that stage, activity at the airfield will become a bit quieter as the race proceeds over the surrounding countryside. The gliders come in to land in the late afternoon, usually between 5:30 and 6:30pm.



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/WGC2017GFA glidingaustralia.org

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.