This week, Harris Hill Gliderport (4NY8) is hosting the Soaring Society of America’s Region 3 competition. I’m lucky enough to fly in it as my first-ever contest, and I’m having a ton of fun so far.
What is a glider competition?
Glider competitions are a type of air race. The goal is to fly the farthest distance around a course without coming in under time. They take about a week, and each day the course, or task as we call it, changes. Pilots receive points based on how well they do compared to everyone else, and the person with the most points at the end of the week wins!
Region 3 includes a couple classes this year — 18-meter, sports, and juniors. The 18-meter class is for gliders with 18-meter wings, the sports class is for gliders with 15-meter wings and allows flaps. The juniors class is combined with sports class, but includes some pilots flying with instructors to get signed off to go cross-country. I’m a junior flying a single-seat glider, so I’m part of the sports class.
You can read more about contests and racing sailplanes here, on the SSA website: https://www.ssa.org/ContestCommittee
What am I flying?
I’m a lucky guy — my club has a Shempp-Hirth Discus CS that I’m able to fly and use for the whole week. The Discus is a high-performance, single-seat fiberglass glider. To cover some of the stats, it stalls at 36 knots, redline is 135 knots, and it gets a best-glide of 42:1 at 54 knots (that means you go 42 feet forward for every 1 foot of altitude you lose — can an A350 do that?). I don’t want to go too into detail, but you can read more about it here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schempp-Hirth_Discus
Here’s a picture of the one I fly:
We’ve had two contests days so far, so I’m a little behind schedule. Stay tuned for write ups about those days, links to the flight traces, and updates on the other days.
Feel free to ask me any questions about soaring here or send me a PM. I’m happy to chat!