FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018

Here are some highlights of my time checking out the Australian leg of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix held at the Horsham Aerodrome in Victoria from January 22nd to the 28th, 2018. The event was hosted by the Horsham Flying Club with sunny, hot, blue skies for most of the days (unfortunately a couple of races had to be cancelled due to unsuitable flying conditions).

FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 Horsham Victoria Gliders
Pilots and their gliders assemble in Horsham on 21/1/18 in preparation for the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018
FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 Horsham Victoria Gliders
Pilots and their gliders assemble in Horsham on 21/1/18 in preparation for the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018
Tug Planes FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 Horsham Victoria
Tug planes awaiting the start of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (21/1/18)

In 35-40C+ summer afternoon heat, the gliders were taken up one by one by tug planes to race over the Wimmera region. Some of the race legs are completed over 200+ kilometre distances with scoring speeds of 100+ km/h – for example the Race 1 course was 244.71 km long: Horsham – St. Arnaud – Antwerp – Horsham.

Race 1 Preparation Gliders FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 Horsham Victoria
Preparing to launch the glider competitors for Race 1 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 in Horsham, Victoria (22/1/18)
Race 1 Preparation Gliders FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 Horsham Victoria
The Tug Planes were kept busy towing and launching the gliders competing in Race 1 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (22/1/18)
Intermountain A-9A (1965) tug plane "Isabella" at the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018
“Griffo” at the controls of the Intermountain A-9A (1965) VH-MPO tug plane “Isabella” at the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 (22/1/18)
ASG-29E Glider TF piloted by Graham Parker awaits the start of Race 1 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 Horsham Aerodrome
ASG-29E Glider TF piloted by Graham Parker awaits the start of Race 1 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 (22/1/18)
The clouds over the Wimmera make a stunning backdrop for LQ an LS10st glider flown by Brian DuRieu - Race 1 FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018
The clouds over the Wimmera make a stunning backdrop for LQ an LS10st glider flown by Brian DuRieu – He had to abort his flight and did not start in Race 1 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 (22/1/18)
Briam DuRieu prepares to land LQ an LS10st glider during the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 in Horsham Victori
Briam DuRieu prepares to land LQ an LS10st glider during the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (22/1/18)
Glider N2 a Ventus 2cxt flown by Terry Cubley FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 Horsham Victoria
Glider N2 a Ventus 2cxt flown by Terry Cubley had to return to the aerodrome after he experienced an aborted positioning for the start of Race 1 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 (22/1/18) – he relaunched and competed in the race
The start of Race 1 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (22/1/18)
The start of Race 1 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (22/1/18)
The start of Race 1 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (22/1/18)
The start of Race 1 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (22/1/18)
The start of Race 1 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (22/1/18)
The start of Race 1 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (22/1/18)

It was fun watching the gliders being hooked up, towed, released and getting into position for the start of a race. Watching them coming into land with water ballast being released and just the sound of the air passing over the massive 18 metre wingspan of the gliders as the wing flaps are deployed, and the wings themselves flex before you was quite something to experience too!

N2 a Ventus 2cxt glider flown by Terry Cubley crosses the finish line at the end of Race 1 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (22/1/18)
N2 a Ventus 2cxt glider flown by Terry Cubley crosses the finish line with flaps deployed at the end of Race 1 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (22/1/18)
N2 a Ventus 2cxt glider flown by Terry Cubley crosses the finish line at the end of Race 1 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (22/1/18)
Wing flex!
B1 a JS-1 18m glider flown by Brad Edwards crosses the Race 1 finish line at the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (22/1/18)
B1 a JS-1 18m glider flown by Brad Edwards crosses the Race 1 finish line at the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (22/1/18)
B1 a JS-1 18m glider flown by Brad Edwards crosses the Race 1 finish line at the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (22/1/18)
That 18 metre wingspan is almost bird like!
Graham Parker releases water ballast from TF an ASG-29E glider at the end of Race 1 FAI Sailplane Grand Prix Australia 2018 (22/1/18)
Graham Parker releases water ballast from TF an ASG-29E glider at the end of Race 1 (22/1/18)
Pete Temple pilots PT an ASG-29 Glider over the Race 1 finish line at Horsham Aerodrome with a stunning cloud backdrop (22/1/18) FAI Sailplane GP Australia 2018
Pete Temple pilots PT an ASG-29 Glider over the Race 1 finish line at Horsham Aerodrome with a stunning cloud backdrop (22/1/18)
Pete Temple releasing water ballast from PT an ASG-29 Glider (22/1/18)
UKG a JS-1C glider flown by Geoff Brown coming in at the end of the first race for 4th place in 35C+ heat at the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018! (22/1/18)
Watching these gliders with their big 18 metre wingspan is almost like watching condors
UKG a JS-1C glider flown by Geoff Brown coming in at the end of the first race for 4th place in 35C+ heat at the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018! (22/1/18)
UKG a JS-1C glider flown by Geoff Brown coming in at the end of the first race for 4th place in 35C+ heat at the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018! Other finished competitors can be seen in the background (22/1/18)
UKG a JS-1C glider flown by Geoff Brown coming in at the end of the first race for 4th place in 35C+ heat at the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018! (22/1/18)
Look at those wings!
A good profile of the wingspan of ZZ a JS1B glider flown by David Pietsch - Horsham Aerodrome (22/1/18)
A good profile of the wingspan of ZZ a JS1B glider flown by David Pietsch – Horsham Aerodrome (22/1/18)
LP a JS3 glider FAI Sailplane GP Australia 2018 (22/1/18)
Mark Paterson finished 7th in Race 1 flying LP a JS3 glider (22/1/18)
Catherine Conway comes in high over the Race 1 finish line piloting glider KRJ a Ventus 2cxt (22/1/18) FAI Sailplane GP Australia 18 Horsham Victoria
Catherine Conway comes in high releasing water ballast over the Race 1 finish line piloting glider KRJ a Ventus 2cxt (22/1/18)
KRJ a Ventus 2cxt glider landing after finishing 8th in Race 1 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 (22/1/18)
KRJ a Ventus 2cxt glider landing after finishing 8th in Race 1 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 (22/1/18)
Scott Percival crosses the finish line flying a WP ASG-29E 18m glider for 9th place in Race 1 at the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 at the Horsham Aerodrome (22/1/18)
Scott Percival crosses the finish line flying a WP ASG-29E 18m glider for 9th place in Race 1 at the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 at the Horsham Aerodrome (22/1/18)
Race 2 of the Australian leg of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix Horsham Aerodrome 158.08 km Race 2. B1 a JS-1 18m glider flown by Brad Edwards
I had planned to catch the gliders coming in for the finish of Race 2 of the Australian leg of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix from a different angle opposite the Horsham Aerodrome but got out there a little late (they are quicker than you expect!) and only saw some of the last ones coming in from the 158.08 km race. Here is B1 a JS-1 18m glider flown by Brad Edwards who finished 9th – he is releasing water ballast from the glider as he turns to land. The winner was glider PT flown by Peter Temple (23/1/18)
Race 2 of the Australian leg of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix Horsham Aerodrome 158.08 km Race 2. B1 a JS-1 18m glider flown by Brad Edwards
Brad Edwards brings in his JS-1 18m glider B1, releasing water ballast at the end of Race 2 of the Australian leg of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix at Horsham Aerodrome (23/1/18)
Race 2 of the Australian leg of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix Horsham Aerodrome 158.08 km Race 2. B1 a JS-1 18m glider flown by Brad Edwards
Brad Edwards landing his JS-1 18m glider B1 at the end of Race 2 of the Australian leg of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix at Horsham Aerodrome (23/1/18)

Each afternoon you could also just look up above Horsham and catch a sight of the tug planes towing and releasing the gliders or also see the gliders themselves circling about awaiting to form up, then head to the start line of the race over the aerodrome. It was quite fascinating seeing so many gliders formed up together high above the town. 

The gliders form up high over Horsham in preparation for Race 3 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 (24/1/18)
The gliders form up high over Horsham in preparation for Race 3 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 (24/1/18) – A 207km race leg: Horsham – Nhill – Brim – Horsham
gliders circling about in preparation for the start of Race 3 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria(24/1/18)
It was fascinating watching so many gliders circling about in preparation for the start of Race 3 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (24/1/18)
The gliders circling about in preparation for the start of Race 3 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (24/1/18)
The gliders circling about in preparation for the start of Race 3 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (24/1/18)
Mark Paterson brings LP, a JS3 glider in for 4th place in Race 3 at the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 - A 205.91 km race: Horsham - Nhill - Brim - Horsham (24/1/18)
Mark Paterson brings LP, a JS3 glider in for 4th place in Race 3 at the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 – A 205.91 km race: Horsham – Nhill – Brim – Horsham (24/1/18)
Water ballast streaming from LQ, an LS10st glider flown by Brian DuRieu for 5th place in Race 3 (22/1/18) FAI World Sailplane GP 18 Horsham Victoria Australia
Water ballast streaming from LQ, an LS10st glider flown by Brian DuRieu for 5th place in Race 3 (22/1/18)
Glider LQ streaming water ballast at the finish of Race 3 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix (24/1/18)
Glider LQ streaming water ballast at the finish of Race 3 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix (24/1/18)
UKG a JS-1C glider flown by Geoff Brown coming in with the air whistling over those deployed flaps at the finish of Race 3 to take 5th place (24/1/18)
UKG a JS-1C glider flown by Geoff Brown coming in with the air whistling over those deployed flaps at the finish of Race 3 to take 5th place (24/1/18)
UKG a JS-1C glider flown by Geoff Brown Race 3 5th place FAI Sailplane GP Australia 2018 Horsham Victoria (24/1/18)
Graceful
Geoff Brown is covered up and has a water tube in his mouth to combat the 35C+ heat at the end of Race 3 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (24/1/18)
Geoff Brown is covered up and has a water tube in his mouth to combat the 35C+ heat at the end of Race 3 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 in Horsham Victoria (24/1/18)
Brad Edwards brings in B1 his JS-1 18m glider FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018
Brad Edwards brings in B1 his JS-118m glider for a landing at the end of Race 3 for 7th place (24/1/18)
N2 flown by Terry Cubley comes in for 9th place during Race 3 FAI Sailplane GP Australia 2018 (24/1/18)
N2 flown by Terry Cubley comes in for 9th place during Race 3 (24/1/18)
Scott Percival on landing approach after taking 10th place in Race 3 flying WP his ASG-29E 18m glider (24/1/18) FAI Sailplane GP 18 Horsham Victoria
Scott Percival on landing approach after taking 10th place in Race 3 flying WP his ASG-29E 18m glider (24/1/18)
Glider WP touches down at the Horsham Aerodrome with the Grampians National Park off in the distance (24/1/18)
Glider WP touches down at the Horsham Aerodrome with the Grampians National Park off in the distance (24/1/18)

I headed out on Australia Day (January 26th) to watch the gliders be towed up from a viewpoint near the end of the runway. Three gliders had been taken up but the race was cancelled due to unsuitable flight conditions (a hot day of around 36C but with very overcast grey skies).

Towing gliders begins for Race 4 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 (26/1/18)
Towing gliders begins for Race 4 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 (26/1/18)
Towing gliders begins for Race 4 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 (26/1/18)
That grey sky proved to be a problem for Race 4 (26/1/18)
Towing gliders begins for Race 4 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 (26/1/18)
The sccond glider goes up for Race 4 (26/1/18)
Towing gliders begins for Race 4 of the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 (26/1/18)
Away they go to gain some altitude (26/1/18)
The last glider to be towed up for Race 4 – the flight conditions were not looking good and the race was cancelled (26/1/18)

I was taken by surprise though when two of the gliders, AG a JS-1C and LP a JS-3 soared into the sky low over the runway under their own turbojet engine power! Both gliders are built by Jonkers Sailplanes in South Africa and have a small retractable MD-TJ12 turbojet engine mounted behind the cockpit. It turned out both had been launched earlier by the glider tugs but fired the engines up while they could for a bit of fun by the looks of it!

FAI Sailplane GP Australia 2018 Horsham Victoria JS-3 turbo jet glider
LP a JS-3 Glider flown by Mark Paterson does a surprise turbo-jet powered pass! (26/1/18)
FAI Sailplane GP Australia 2018 Horsham Victoria JS-1C turbo jet glider
AG a JS-1C Glider piloted by Andrew Georgeson makes a turbo-jet powered pass too! (26/1/18)
AG a JS-1C and LP a JS-3 soared into the sky from the runway under their own turbojet engine power! Both gliders are built by Jonkers Sailplanes in South Africa and have a small retractable MD-TJ12 turbojet engine mounted behind the cockpit.
Glider AG a JS-1C and LP a JS-3 soared into the sky low over the runway under their own turbojet engine power! Both gliders are built by Jonkers Sailplanes in South Africa and have a small retractable MD-TJ12 turbojet engine mounted behind the cockpit. (26/1/18)
small retractable MD-TJ12 turbojet engine mounted behind the cockpit. (26/1/18)
The small retractable MD-TJ12 turbojet engine mounted behind the cockpit.= gives these gliders some zip when they need it! (26/1/18)

I missed the last race day due to travel commitments but what a fantastic event the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018 was for a rural city to host and something unique to see up close out at the aerodrome. The local members of the Horsham Flying Club and the glider pilots were more than happy to have a chat about the races, rules and the gliders themselves. which was great too! They all are to be congratulated for a great and well run event!

FAI Sailplane Grand Prix - Australia 2018 Horsham Victoria
Have glider trailer, will travel…

Final overall race event results for the top three places: First – Pete Temple flying PT, an ASG-29 glider (42 points), Second – Graham Parker flying TF, an ASG-29e glider (37 points) and Third – Andrew Georgeson flying AG, a JS-1C glider (32 points).

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6 thoughts on “FAI Sailplane Grand Prix – Australia 2018

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