From December 2nd to 16th, it's that (great) time again: a world championship is coming up in South Hemisphere! This time in the small classes and "Down Under" in Narromine, New South Wales, Australia. The best pilots in the Standard class, Club class and 15m class, will be competing against each other for the 37th time for the title of the World Champion.
But first, a general overview: a total of 60 pilots from 21 nations will be taking part. And all the engaged pilots are expecting this journey to be worth it weather wised. Last Junior Worlds held in Narromine made 10 flyable days out of 11, and the Female Worlds held few years after in Lake Keepit (300km north-east), offered again great conditions for the competition. Let’s cross the fingers this 2023 event will come with the same inspiring and beautiful sky from Australia.
Just few words about the area. Narromine is in the Province of Dubbo, in the New South Wales Region of Australia, around 350km north-west of Sidney, East Coast. Anybody who flew this area remind driving from Sidney, then crossing the green hills on the East side (with clear oceanic influence) before entering this large, flat and dry area where Narromine is. A very “far west” taste with dust, Stetson and big trucks, the adventure begins! This, plus the typical play of low and high pressures dancing around Australia will make the “pulse” of this great competition. You will love it!
But before joining the airfield, please pilots, beware the kangaroo on the road sides, especially at dawn and dusk where you think they see you but they only see 2 big lights blowing to them. And remember, they jump! Also be prepared to accept flies all around you without noticing, or you will turn crazy after few days (a net on hat can help). And, sure, it can be very very very hot (and dry), so ensure you carry your 2 litres each day and drink them all, plus protect every bit of your skin from direct sun! Last, don’t put your fingers where you can’t see what’s in… Spiders and, sometimes, snakes, are waiting for you. Oh, and if you need any support there, be confident and ask for Beryl. Beryl is the soul of Narromine airfield, she will always find a good solution for you. Don’t be shy, and drink her special lemon beverage to keep you hydrated. Lastly, always drive fuel tank full, adventure is fun until it isn’t… And always have prepared extra tyres! Some plants there are just tyres killers!
A total of 17 Schempp-Hirth gliders will be competing, six in the Standard class, four in the club class and Seven in the 15m class. In the club class, a team of Discus will be flown by the Americans Mike Westbrook and Tony Condon. George and Diana Schuit from Luxembourg will also be flying, he with a Standard Cirrus and she with a Discus a.
Many familiar faces are flying also Schempp-Hirth gliders in the Standard class too. Right at the front is Maximilian Seis from France, who is flying a Discus-2a with his team mate Julien Duboc. We already know Maximilian well as a world champion from the Grand Prix scene. The American Sarah Arnold, who has already topped several international competitions and became Women's World Champion at the 2020 World Championships in Lake Keepit, will fly again the Discus-2b she won with. World champion Dutchman Sjaak Selen also flies a Discus-2a, as well as the two Poles Tomasz Rubaj and Lukasz Blaszczyk. Nice!
The 15m class is the class in which most Schempp-Hirth gliders are represented. And let’s start with the “locals”, Australian pilot Adam Woolley with his Ventus-3T, who likes to share his experiences and successes on his Facebook channel "Adam Woolley's Gliding Adventures". He will fly with Tobias Geiger on his Ventus-2ax. The British participants Phil Jones (Phil is part of Southern Sailplanes, Schempp-Hirth UK Dealers and repair shop) and Derren Francis (Derren had the first 15m tips for Ventus-3 fitted to his glider few years ago) are no strangers as well. The two of them also fly a Ventus-3T. The German team will also fly Ventus-3T and Ventus-2ax with Henrik Bieler and Steffen Goettler. Henrik will use the German Aeroclub's DAeC glider which is normally awarded to young pilots for junior team development.
Not only our British representative Philip Jones from the 15m class will be there, but also our “in-house” sales representative Simon Schröder. He will be flying an Ls-8 (gosh!) in the standard class as defending champion. We are very excited to follow him and we have prepared buckets of pop-corn and beers here to support him each night the best we can.
But we wish all participants good luck and always happy landings naturally! Enjoy Narromine and its perfume of adventure. And be kind with Beryl’s team who welcome you for this great event!
Facebook page of the event : World Gliding Championship 2023
Official Event web page : Home - Narromine Australia
Follow the results on SoaringSpot : Soaring Spot :: 37th FAI World Gliding Championships
Follow Adam Wooley’s daily reports here : Adam Woolley's Gliding Adventures
Each day, expect the race to begin around 2am CET time and final glide between 7 and 8am.