So what is a gliding competition all about?
|Many glider pilots take part in competitions. Although these usually involve racing sailplanes around pre-planned cross-country tasks, pilots also take part in aerobatic competitions where they are scored for accuracy of flying. Competitions can be great social occasions too, and following the cross country racing action from the ground is getting easier thanks to online tracking. In addition to organised competitions, which can be completed in a day, or in the case of most regional or national competitions over nine days, pilots also compete in online competitions where pilots upload logger traces of their cross-country flights to compare performances. The ‘BGA Ladder‘ is an excellent resource. Each year, a range of trophies is presented for the best performance in the preceding year in a number of categories. Details of competitions are available from the BGA web site.
Clubs sometimes hold their own local competitions, often known as Task Weeks. These are an excellent way to dip a toe into competition flying to see if you like it and to learn from more experienced pilots. Midland Gliding Club holds its own Task Week during the last week in August leading up to and including the Bank Holiday Monday.
This year 2017 the club Task Week dates are:
MGC Task Week 19th August to the 27th August
If you do like it then there are a number of regional and inter-club competitions held over several weekends during the summer season. Most clubs have an Inter Club Captain who will be delighted for you to volunteer to fly or crew.
The Inter-Club League is intended to encourage competitive cross-country flying on a less formal basis than National and Regional competitions, involving pilots at all levels of cross-country competence. In particular, it is an opportunity for novice pilots to experience competition flying before they are eligible to fly a regional competition.
The competition takes the form of a series of weekend ‘Meets’ between the clubs in a local regions. A ‘Meet’ will be hosted by each of the clubs in turn throughout the season, giving pilots and crews an opportunity to visit and fly from other clubs in their area. Races are held in three categories – novice, intermediate and pundit with points awarded to the top finishers in each category. These points are aggregated throughout the season and the winners of each regional competition goes forward to the Inter-Club League final.
Special emphasis is put on the performance of novice pilots and, as well as the trophy for the overall winning club, there is a trophy for the club with the best novices.
The host club for each weekend meet is responsible for providing the organisation for the competition. This provides an an opportunity for people to learn contest direction, task setting, start and finish line control, scoring and other competition-related duties. The host club also provides appropriate launching facilities, although it is intended that there should be minimal interruption to normal club flying.
BGA Competition Calendar
last update: Nov 8 2016