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Tidbits - Frouwke Kuijpers the Dutch Team Captain about Roland Termaat

Frouwke Kuijpers Dutch Team Captain
Roland Termaat

Roland Termaat, XTC flying a Ventus 2cxa has been the leading pilot in the 18m class for the last three competition days. He’s currently about one hundred points ahead of EW, Olivier Darroze, FRA (after comp. Day 5, that is).

Roland is the current European Champion in the 18m class. He gained his title in Issoudun, France in 2007. He exclusively flies in the 18m class and has been among the first ten pilots in many championships.

Asked about how much gliding Roland does every year Frouwke tells us, that it isn’t all that much. This year he’s only flown the Hahnweide competition, which he won. Besides that he flies at his home base, Terlet in Holland, a well known gliding center. There the first Junior Championships took place in ’99.

According to Frouwke Roland isn’t one of the daring pilots. Although he aims to be number one, he isn’t forcing himself to be first every day. She rather describes him as the smart fox, who gathers all available information and makes best use of it. He practices loose team flying with 10, Hadriaan van Ness.

Asked about her role as team captain – she’s been the Dutch TC since 2000 and the national coach in 2001 – Frouwke explains, that she sees her main task in keeping up the good spirits of everyone, keeping the stress away and making sure that they continue to enjoy the game, so the atmosphere stays positive a bit like in a club camp. Areas she concentrates on are the mental an physical aspects of flying including passing on her knowledge about nutrition. In addition to her as team captain there is the technical coach, Baer Selen. He’s the one that gives the tactical advice and does the reviewing of flights/igc-files, if necessary. Frouwke flies about 50 hours every year and participates in one or two contests to keep in touch.

She reminds tidbits to also look out for other successful Dutch pilots and refers especially to Mark Leeuwenburgh, who is hopefully climbing up the ladder of the overall scores and came in first the other day.

Tidbits wishes best luck to all Dutch team members!




Tidbits - Carol Clifford - Team Captain South Africa

Meating of the South African Team, Team Captain Carol Clifford, to the right Laurens Goudriaan leading pilot in the open class,
Carol Clifford

Tidbits talks to Carol Clifford, Team Captain Republic of South Africa, about Laurens Goudriaan – currently leading pilot in the Open Class

Carol, how come  Laurens is such a successful pilot?
Carol: Behind every successful man there stands a good woman.

Susie, Laurens wife standing nearby, nods firmly and tells us, that her recipe is letting her husband do the flying and her the talking. She prefers to stay on the ground or occasionally fly along on the rear seat. Besides going gliding the two regularly enjoy skiing in the Austrian alps, where they visit friends.

Carol tells us, that Laurens grew up in a gliding family, he was a pilot in the South African Airforce and has been flying for over 40 years. His first international competition was at the World Championships in Paderborn. He’s been listed amongst the top ten pilots several times. His brother Oscar, who unfortunately was prevented from flying in the WGC2008 because of work problems, became World Champion in 2001 in South Africa. Laurens assisted him with team flying. Normally the two do a lot of loose team flying.

For the South Africans the long trip to Lüsse/Germany is a pretty expensive one. The exchange rate of the African Rand isn’t favorable these days. That’s why quite a few reserve pilots dropped out, and there was no one left, when Oscar had to cancel his participation. The South African Soaring Society pays the entrance fees for their participants. The other costs the pilots have to cover  themselves. They try to do swap deals, flying the glider of someone in Europe and offering him to use their gliders in South Africa in return. An attractive bargain for both sides.

Tidbits keeps the fingers crossed for Laurens and the other South African team members. Of course we're all curious on how the JS1 built by Jonker will perform. Attie Jonker, the constructor is flying her himself. The JS1 has already won the US nationals earlier on this year.



Championship Gliding - The Sporting Aspect

Each morning the gliders line up on the grid and launch after the thermals set in, using either tug planes or their own retractable engines. They all release or retract their engines at a predefined altitude. This is known as the release height, and from here on the gliders can only rely on the thermal energy supplied by nature to stay aloft.

The gliders taking part in a competition are divided into classes. These relate to differences in geometry and design, which also determine a plane’s performance. The 15-meter class and the 18-meter class have wingspans as indicated by their names. Their maximum take off weight is 525 kilos and 600 kilos respectively, including the pilot. The open class is free of wingspan limitations and thus open to innovation. In this class gliders may not exceed a take-off weight of 850 kilos. Now it is easy to understand why the gliders must pass over scales every morning in order to insure that everyone has a fair chance.

Every morning at the daily briefing each class is given its own task in accordance with the weather conditions. Pilots may have to cover a distance of up to 700 kilometers on a good day. After the last glider in a class has reached the release height, a virtual starting line in the air is declared open and each pilot must cross it within a certain period of time. From that moment on the race has begun for that pilot. Now it depends on tactical skill and the correct appraisal of the weather to complete the task with the greatest possible speed. The flight is over when the sailplane crosses the goal line which is visibly laid out on the airfield. Whoever completes the task the fastest and thus with the highest average speed (speedscore) is the daily victor and receives 1000 points. A special evaluation formula takes into account the different average speeds of the other competitors and calculates their respective points for the day.

Sometime the weather turns bad. Some pilots are able to make it home to the airfield, while others have to land out safely in a meadow or field. These out-landings are part of every pilot's training and are quite normal. In this case the distance covered counts (distance score). Long slender trailers are towed to the places the gliders have landed and they are stowed away and returned to the airfield. The following morning a new competition day begins.
Every glider is equipped with a small black box – a GPS tracking system similar to those used for navigation in cars. It records the flight path, noting coordinates and altitude accurately to within ten meters. After landing, the recorded data is transferred to a small chip and then entered into the scoring program. Now the competition directors can rapidly and accurately ascertain whether the pilot has flown around all turn-points correctly. With lightning speed the scoring program also calculates average speeds and distances flown and determines the daily scores. At the end of the competition the pilot in each class, who has accumulated the greatest number of points over all, is the winner and becomes world champion.

Soaring conducted in this manor is a fascinating and attractive sport, combining human beings, nature, and technology.