The German soaring community has established this nice tradition for the youngest glider pilots (ages 14 to 24): A fun contest at the end of the season, where they get together and compare their skills. No, they do not go cross country but get a chance to demonstrate precision gliding in front of a jury: a proper winch launch, some perfectly flown circles, a side slip and a precision landing. Everybody demonstrates up to three flights and hopefully does not receive too many penalty points for the best pattern flight. Fewer points mean better performance.
The competition is first held in each state. After the local events the winners from each Bundesland (state) are then invited to compete at a central competition, which this year will be held on the last September weekend in Laucha at the German youth training center. A great way to connect young pilots and teach them that soaring can be more than simply flying around the home airfield! This year, seven youngsters from my club derigged their Ka 8 and towed it almost to the Danish border to participate at the contest called “Jugendvergleichsfliegen” in Leck.
Four girls and three boys. Two young ladies (Luca and Elina) had signed up to compete, two of the elder boys were asked to help with the jury. The rest of the gang crewed and enjoyed an exciting weekend with soaring students and glider friends. A number of northern German glider clubs had sent teams mostly flying on Ka 8s. An ASK 23, a Discus and a DG 1001M were also available for use. Participants do not need to have a glider pilot license yet. The minimum requirement is the c-badge. Of course instructors are giving field checks and help the young pilots to feel comfortable flying at a new airfield.
A week ago near the Danish border, the first 2013-September weekend was a little rough. Saturday morning started with light rain which was fortunately soon followed by blue skies. Later in the day some nice looking cloud streets developed behind a cold front. Unfortunately, as the contest day had a late start, thermaling was not part of the program... Maybe a good idea, because the winds were pretty strong not too far away from the coastline. However landing into a good headwind can be very helpful!
As usual the day ended sitting around the campfire, exchanging heroic tales. After an award ceremony, Sunday afternoon the gliders were put back onto trailers and when our team arrived back home, they were all smiles. No champions for the club but everybody felt like a winner. Jonas and Jackie, thank you very much for the pictures. Enjoy:
Meanwhile, she has traveled a bit, flown a lot, and lived in the US.She is happy to now know glider pilots from the US too and says, “they are as amiable as everywhere on the world.” She feels fortunate to have found a temporary soaring home in Boulder, surely one of the best and most scenic places to fly on Earth!
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