Smoke On Go

Update: South Africa gliding its way to the top

On Monday 8 August the SA Gliding Team returned to warm and joyous welcome with some of the best news around.

After participating in the 37th FAI World Gliding Championships in Szeged, Hungary, Team South Africa finished in second place overall.

South African gliding legend, Oscar Goudriaan finished in 2nd place in Open Class, and is now officially ranked number two in the FAI world gliding standings.

The South African team finished with 11 daily podium finishes.

“This is the best result ever achieved for Team SA,” said Team Manager Jason Adriaan. “Gliding is one of the best aviation sports where pilots can learn the real art of flying, ” he concluded.

Here are the final official results:

  1. France
  2. South Africa
  3. Italy
  4. Netherlands
  5. Germany
  6. Poland
  7. Czech Republic
  8. Austria
  9. Belgium
  10. United Kingdom

Gliders fly by use of rising air known as thermals. This is caused by the sun heating the ground, which in turn heats the air above it causing the air to rise. Using an instrument called a ‘vario’, pilots will locate a thermal and circle within this column of rising air to gain height. Other types of lift that glider pilots use include ridge lift, mountain waves and convergences of different air masses.  

In competitions pilots are given daily tasks to fly, often completing hundreds of kilometres. The fastest pilots over a given course receive maximum points.

The FAI World Gliding Championships are held every two years, with the competition held this year in Hungary. The next FAI World Championships will take place in August 2024 in Texas, USA.

All members of the SA team belong to the Soaring Society of South Africa.

The 37th FAI World Gliding Championships 2022 started on Sunday 24th July in Szeged, Hungary, and the SA team is making good progress amongst the competitors.

Currently Team SA is ranked fourth with 870.38 points average over the seven tasks flown. Leading the competition is France with 899.83 points average, followed by Italy and the Netherlands. Seventeen countries are registered and taking part in this competition.

Tasks are set out each day by the organisers, depending on weather and terrain, with distances often exceeding 700 kilometres. This takes a few hours to cover, with gliders climbing in lift and then racing losing height as they cover the terrain. This process is repeated time and again until they cross the finishing line. The fastest competitors receive the highest points for each task.

The SA teams are racing in three different classes namely:  20 metre multi-seat Class, the 18 metre Class and the Open Class.  South African competing pilots are Oscar Goudriaan, Uys Jonker, Attie Jonker, Dawid Pretorius and Nico le Roux.

South Africa has so far achieved 6 podium finishes, flying the South African designed Jonker JS3 Raptor glider, a Binder EB-29 DR and a Schemp-Hirth Arcus 20m two-seater glider.

The championships end on Friday 5th August, with final results and prize giving taking place on Saturday 6th August.




Subscribe to our newsletter for new blog posts, tips and news