UK 1st and 2nd in Junior World Gliding Championships

Finn Sleigh

British glider pilot Finn Sleigh is the 2022 Junior World Gliding Champion. He won a gold medal at the Junior World Gliding Championship held at Tábor in the Czech Republic over the first two weeks of August.

Fellow British pilot Toby Freeland was second with the silver medal. Both pilots have worked incredibly hard developing their gliding skills from learning to fly at an early age, with both becoming fully qualified glider pilots by the age of 16.

The Junior World Gliding Championship brings together the best young pilots from across the globe, most of who are aged between 21 and the maximum age of 25.

British Gliding Association CEO Pete Stratten said, “We couldn’t be more delighted with the British Gliding Team’s success in the Junior World Gliding Championship at Tabor.

“We’re incredibly proud of all the team members. New World Champion Finn’s Gold medal and Toby’s Silver medal are an incredible achievement for them, the team, and British Gliding.”

British juniuor gliuding team

The full British team at the Junior World Gliding Championships with Finn holding the championship cup and Silver medal winner Toby on the right

Competitive glider racing at the top level sees the world’s best pilots race around courses of similar length to and at similar speeds to Formula 1 motor racing Grand Prix events.

A major gliding competition, such as the World Championships, will involve racing over a number of days, typically around 10.  Each day will start with a briefing, at which the day’s racing task will be unveiled.  Depending on the weather conditions expected, this will involve flying a course of anything between 250 and 600km, rounding various checkpoints on the way.  The exact route taken is left to the individual pilot.

The field will line up in grid order and the gliders will be launched using a fleet of tug aircraft. Ten minutes after the last glider has been launched, the start line is declared open and the pilots are free to start on the task. Each pilot can choose to cross the start line when they determine conditions to be optimal.

From then on, it is a matter of completing the course in the fastest possible time. On occasions, when conditions deteriorate, pilots may not manage to return to the finish point and may have to land out at another airstrip or in a field.  In these situations, the pilot that manages to go the furthest wins the day.

British Gliding Association


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