The 34th FAI World Gliding Championships in Australia ends on a high

Grid 2_croppedHard two-week battle in Australian skies sees three new FAI Gliding World Champions win gold.


34th FAI World Gliding Championships 2017 are declared open

Rick-Sheppe-FAI cropped_3The 34th FAI World Gliding Championships in Benalla (AUS) was officially opened on Sunday, 08 January 2017, by Jaclyn Symes MP, Member for Northern Victoria on behalf of the Victorian Minister for Sport, The Hon. John Eren MP and Rick Sheppe from the FAI (pictured).


Two years ago: Father and son set African Record

Gliding SchmelzerTwo years ago on this day, Tijl Schmelzer and his father Bert were the very first to pass the 200 km/h barrier using thermals rather than mountain waves.


Australia welcomes the world to the FAI World Gliding Championships 2017

34th FAI_WGCThe 34th FAI World Gliding Championships 2017 kicks-off in Australia on 9 January 2017, with two weeks of high profile, high calibre competition to follow.


German Holger Karow wins 7th FAI Sailplane Grand Prix Finale in South Africa!

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Until the last race it was very close at the top and any of the top five pilots still had a chance to win the contest.


The success of the Sailplane Grand Prix

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11 November 2016

The 7th FAI World Sailplane Grand Prix is underway in Potchefstroom, South Africa. This is the culmination of a series of qualifying races that have taken place around the world for the past two years.

The race can be followed on the FAI SGP website.

The Sailplane Grand Prix was created in 1995, and has rapidly developed into FAI's flagship gliding event. The success of the SGP is due in large part to the enthusiasm of the talented pilots drawn to this elite racing circuit. But it takes more than pilots to organise an international race.

As we do not yet know the winner of the 7th series, we can take a moment to acknowledge the FAI event volunteers, several of whom serve on the Bureau of IGC!


L to R: Benjamin Neglais, Rene Vidal, Alexander Georgas, Angel Casado, Shaun Lapworth, Brian Spreckley


The 8th SGP Series will include qualifying races in Australia, USA, South Africa, Spain, Poland, Italy, France, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The first one begins on 14 December 2016, and the Finals will take place in Santiago, Chile in January 2018.

7th FAI Sailplane Grand Prix Final kicked off in Potchefstroom (RSA)!

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The World Championship takes place from 05 to 12 November 2016 in Potchefstroom, Republic of South Africa (RSA).


World FAI Sailplane Grand Prix Final

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Race Preview

Following the contest

The SGP media team will publish on the www.sgp.aero event site interviews with the pilots and highlights of each days racing as well as photos and videos of the action around Potchefstroom during the final.

The first race is on Sunday the 6th of November, to follow live race coverage results and pilot interviews go to the event web site at http://www.sgp.aero/finals2016

For the latest news of race broadcast times, race progress and results follow us:

On Twitter at  https://twitter.com/faisgp

                                                On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/faisgp



Fred Weinholtz

1926 - 2016


Gliding was more than a hobby for him - it was his passion. Fred Weinholtz was one of the most competent and engaged officials of gliding. On Sunday, 21st of August, he died at the age of 90.

Fred Weinholtz was born in the German town Genthin on the 3rd of June, 1926. His love for aviation awoke in his childhood: As a seven-year-old boy he committed himself to model flying, at the age of 14 he sat in a sailplane for the first time. With the onset of the Second World War, flying is not innocent anymore: Weinholtz had to join the army where he was trained in motor flight. While the air force does not make use of his skills towards the end of WW2, the infantry does. In the last days of the war the young man was taken into captivity by US troops. He escaped in 1946. His flight led him to Potsdam and finally to Herford where he became a teacher.

Weinholtz had not forgotten his enthusiasm for gliding at that time - however, the sport was still forbidden. When it's allowed again, the go-getting man rushes into his old passion. In 1950 the "Interessen Gemeinschaft Segelflug" (Herford Gliding Club) was founded in Herford. Later on it became the "Herforder Verein für Luftfahrt" (Herford Association for Aviation) and Weinholtz assumed the chairmanship of the club. In 1955 he began to teach his knowledge about gliding to club members.

From 1965 on the pilot, teacher and official held his office as the chairman of the gliding school of Oerlinghausen, a job he held for two decades. In the 1960's he tried to establish the club class as a new competitive class in gliding. Although the Gliding Commission initially disapproved of his efforts, he succeeded in doing so. Another landmark in those times: "Grundtheorie des modernen Streckenflugs", a book, written by Weinholtz, became an international bestseller for the theory of cross country flying.

In 1967 Weinholtz also joined the gliding commission of the DAeC. For nine years, beginning in 1973, he worked as its chairman. In this time, he attended five world championships. In 1981 he organized the FAI World Gliding Championships in Paderborn and acted as the Championship Director of this event.

Meanwhile, Weinholtz was not only into theory and practice of gliding - he also fought for political ideals. He put himself out for the women gliding movement and brought a women's class into life and organized the first competition in women gliding in Germany in Kassel-Calden. He as well committed himself heavily in negotiations with the ministry of transport to achieve special airspace regulations for the benefit of gliding.

In 1972, Fred Weinholtz entered international circles. In the beginning as a member of the FAI International Gliding Commission (IGC); six years later as its vice president; and from 1987 on as secretary of the IGC (after his resignation in 1997 Weinholtz was appointed the "honorary secretary"). He also remained politically active at the national level: When a parliamentarian group for aviation was brought to life in 1985, Weinholtz was one of its founders. The group became an important political voice for pilots and General Aviation.

Later on Weinholtz was involved in the traditional community of the "Alte Adler" (Old Eagles). In 2004 he moved up in the board; in 2009 he became an honorary member. He was also a committed volunteer for the "Deutsches Segelflugmuseum" (German Gliding Museum at the Wasserkuppe) and acted as a board member for many years.

The gliding enthusiast worked for the International Gliding Commission of FAI at a total of 14 world championships and European championships. Weinholtz, bearer of the Federal Cross of Merit and the Lilienthal medallion of the FAI, remained active for the issues of gliding until his death. The list of honors can still be continued.

Fred Weinholtz was known as a modest and likeable person. Former DAeC president Wolfgang Weinreich says about his friend: "He was a tremendously great companion who sacrificed himself for the sport of glider flying. We all, the whole glider flying community, are very sad about the loss of this wonderful and great Man."

 Fred Weinholtz

125 Years of Flight Testing

Lilienthal OttoIt is generally accepted that Otto Lilienthal (1848-1896) was the “father of gliding experiments.” We remember that during a period of about six years, he made over 2000 well-documented gliding flights, and that he died following a crash in 1896.

What is not as well known is that Lilienthal was a brilliant scientist and a revolutionary engineer. One hundred years after the first manned balloon flight, our understanding of mechanical flight had not advanced very much from the speculative art of Leonardo da Vinci.

It was Lilienthal’s life’s work to understand the mechanical principles that allowed birds to fly.

Through careful observation and experimentation, Lilienthal became convinced that:

  • A wing provides the lifting force that allows sustained flight, and it is not necessary for a wing to flap in order to do this.
  • The lifting force depends directly on the area of the wing, the shape of the wing, and the angle at which the wing meets the air.
  • The retarding force depends on the same quantities.

These truths were first published in his book, Der Vogelflug als Grundlage der Fliegekunst (Birdflight as a Basis for Aviation). This comprehensive treatise, published in 1889, can be considered to be the first book on the subject of aerodynamics, and it included a chapter in which the author made a clear case that the future of aviation belonged to heavier-than-air flight.

With the principles of mechanical flight thus established, the obvious next step would be to discover the design parameters for a machine that would be capable of carrying a man.

Without any help from wind tunnels or computers, Lilienthal began construction of the first aircraft to be used specifically for the purpose of investigating the relationship between lift and drag.

That aircraft first flew on a spring day in 1891, and the rest is history.

In celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Otto Lilienthal’s first manned flights, FAI Member DaeC has organised a fly-in event at Stölln-Rhinow airfield (EDOR), 3-5 August 2016.

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