Potchefstroom has pretty much become the home of the Glider Nationals over the last few years and 2018 was no exception with the National Championships being held between 30 September and 6 October. The weather couldn’t have been scripted better with excellent flying weather on all but one of the competition days. The bad weather caused one of the day’s tasks to be cancelled but that would have no effect on the overall competition as only four days of results will constitute a successful competition.
The governing body of international gliding the International Gliding Commission (IGC) a subsidiary of Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) has strict rules that have to adhered to for the competition to be internationally recognised, these rules differ for each class and at this year’s nationals four classes were contested.
15 meter class, where the wingspan of the glider may not exceed 15 meters and as Standard Class with lift-enhancing devices allowed maximum all-up mass 525 kg
Club Class, allows a wide range of older small gliders within a specified range of performances, with the scores being adjusted by handicapping, disposable ballast may be installed but must not be used in this class.
18 Meter Class, where the wingspan of the glider may not exceed 18 meters lift-enhancing devices as well as disposable ballast is allowed to maximum all-up mass of 600kg.
Double Seater Class, places no restrictions except a limit of 800 kg to the maximum all-up mass, disposable ballast is permitted in this class.
On Sunday 30 September the competition got underway with Task 1, the flying for the day was all to the South West of Potchefstroom. The 15 Meter Class were given a task of 325.7 km, the Club Class and the Double Seater were both tasked with a route of 272.94 km and the 18 Meter Class had to complete 387.11 km.
On day two the tasks got a bit longer with the 15 Meter Class having to cover 412.66 km, Club and Double Seaters 359.89 km and the 18 Meter guys covering 424.39km. All routes were to the South West of home base.
Task 3 on Tuesday was slightly shorter and to the North West of Potch, once again the Club and Double Seater Classes were given the same task 258.14 km with the 15 Meter at 315.82 km and the 18 Meter at 352.36 km.
The weather did not allow any flying on Wednesday which would have been a much shorter task to the West of Potch but it was not to be.
Day five saw the return of the good flying weather and as a result the tasks were once again a bit longer 15 Meter – 308.47 km, Club and Double Seaters were tasked with a distance of 250.2 km and the 18 Meter had a route of 345.02 km. All tasks were to the West.
The penultimate Task was what is called a Cylinder Task with each turning point having a radius that had to be flown through so the distance can varies depending on how deep the pilot enters the radius. The 15 Meter task was between 341.12 km and 518.01 km which gives an average of 424.53km. Club and Double Seaters ranged between 234.07km and 419.66 km Avg 321 .56km. The 18 Meter class was between 329.54 km and 520.96 km with an average of 421.92 km.
15 Meter task
The final task was the longest of the competition with the 15 Meter Class having to cover 434.92 km, the Club and Double Seaters were tasked with a 394.78 km course and the 18 Meter competitors having to cover a whopping 509.94 km
The 15 Meter Class was a very close affair with only two hundred points separating the first and second places.
1 2T Mark Holliday 5,239
2 EY Wayne Schmidt 5,022
3 E2 Hanno Du Toit 4,405
Club Class also went to wire.
1 96 Jonathan Cross 5,430
2 66 Jason Adriaan 4,912
3 GIG Xavier-André Michalon 4,521
In the 18 Meter Class it was really a very close fought competition with less than 300 points separating the top three competitors.
1 OG Oscar Goudriaan 5,273
2 CI Klaus Kalmbach 5,072
3 BAT John Coutts 5,000
In the Double Seater Class it wasn’t as close as the other classes but it was still a very good competition.
1 FF Jonker & Jonker 4,925
2 AS Taljaard & Schaap 4,401
3 S8 Ireland & Oberhofer 2,287
The standard of gliding in South Africa is amongst the best in the world and I’m hopeful that our top pilots will do the country proud in the World Championships in years to come.
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