Gliding contests, quite simply, are races. They are one of the most exciting and rewarding opportunities available to cross-country soaring pilots. There’s opportunity for SOSA pilots to compete in local, national, and even international contests.
Typically a multi-day event, contests pit pilots against each other in a race for distance.
Each day, a specific cross-country task is assigned with a specified route and distance according to the weather. Each pilot is launched sequentially and 15 minutes after the last pilot is airborne, the race starts. It is now up to each pilot to decide when to start and how best to maximize their speed over the assigned task.
How do they work?
From local intra-club contests to the world championships, gliding contests exist in many forms. They are typically held over several days and can be as long as three weeks for larger national and international contests.
During the contest, pilots fly around courses designated by turn-points set at the beginning of each contest day, tasks can vary from as little as 100 kilometers to as long as 500 kilometers or more. Pilots fly around the designated course for the day, with the fastest pilot around the course being declared the winner and receiving the highest points for that day. The other pilots are ranked for the day and receive points in accordance with their percentage of the winner's speed. At the conclusion of the contest, the pilot with the highest number of points is declared the winner.
Each day the sailplanes are weighed (some categories carry water ballast) and then positioned on the starting grid. When thermal conditions are optimal for the day, the sailplanes are launched and towed to a fixed altitude, where they are released. It is then up to the pilot to find thermals to reach higher altitudes that will allow them to fly the course. The competitors are tracked and timed digitally with GPS.
Contests at SOSA
SOSA is proud to have hosted many gliding contests over the decades that the club has been in existence. Recent highlights include the 3rd FAI Pan-American Gliding Competition held in 2019 and the 2018 Canadian National Gliding Contest. SOSA's relatively large airfield and robust campsite facilities make it an excellent contest site. The SOSA task area also allows for varied and challenging contest tasks and soaring conditions.
SOSA pilots representing Canada
SOSA is fortunate to be home to some of Canada’s most accomplished glider pilots and regularly sees many of its pilots competing at the national and international level. Perhaps most notably, the entire Canadian National Team was comprised of SOSA pilots at the 2017 World Gliding Championships held in Benalla, Victoria, Australia.
OLC Competition Results
The OLC is a web-based Worldwide On-line Competition. Pilots upload flights recorded by their GPS to the OLC and are scored based on the distance flown. To see the current season flights uploaded by SOSA pilots, click here.
SOSA pilots will be hosting the following upcoming competitions:
SOSA pilots have competed in the following recent competitions:
The Canadian Soaring Team is selected by the Soaring Association of Canada.
"I would like to express my gratitude for the overwhelming support of the gliding community in Canada. Your kind words of encouragement and support through out the competition were heartfelt and a big boost to morale. I am very proud to have had the opportunity to represent Canada on the international stage, it was a lot of fun to fly with and learn from the best competition pilots in the world."