A successful season for the British junior gliding team


This season has been a successful one for the British Junior Gliding Team. Here is a summary of the competitive flying and training accomplishments that the 12 members of the Junior British Development Squad have enjoyed over this fantastic summer. Including competitions in the UK, France and Hungary as well as some of the amazing achievements of some of the squads individual flying.

Sydney Charles Aviation are proud to sponsor The British Junior Gliding Team and are excited for what the future holds for them.

‘A massive thank you to the amazing generosity from all the squad’s sponsors this year. It is pivotal in enabling such great quality training and preparation for the squad to be able to compete at the highest level. With so many great talents coming through the squad ranks over the past few years, it is evident that the continued support of our sponsors is helping to ensure a bright future for British gliding’ – Junior Gliding Team

Easter Training Weekend – 30th March to 2nd April 2018

Over the Easter weekend, Rich Hood, Jez Hood, Howard Jones and Tom Arscott ran a training weekend for the squad. In true UK fashion the weather was far from ideal but the time on the ground was spent very productively. The coaches had prepared lots of team building exercises to see how members of the squad could interact together to complete a task. The coaches then drew comparisons between the team work required to complete these exercises and flying in a team at international level.
The squad also received lectures on competition flying from the coaches and one from G Dale on weather and thermal structure. The coaches covered many topics requested by members of the squad and the lectures were extremely interactive with everyone sharing personal experiences and views.

Squad members during a team building exercise

Issoudun Team Training and Competition – 1st to 15th July 2018
Peter Carter reports:

The beginning of July saw seven members of the Junior Development Squad descend on Issoudun; a gliding club in central France with a reputation for great weather. The development squad were in France for a week of training with current and former British team members Brian Spreckley, David Watt, and Jake Brattle. The weeks training was then followed by a nine day competition – the 43e International Issoudun.

The weather was very varied, putting us through our paces in different conditions. This was a great learning opportunity, and the daily debriefs with Brian continued to help us to develop our skills. Our speeds got faster and faster throughout the week as our confidence in these new conditions improved. At the end of the competition, we had all flown more than 50 hours, 2000kms, and improved our racing dramatically.

A massive thank you must go to the coaches for dedicating so much time and effort to these two weeks, the BGA and Sydney Charles for helping with funding the hire of the two seaters and helping with the squad’s travel costs, and Aerodrome Issoudun for accommodating us again.

Day 8 podium: Olly Metcalfe won the day’s 3hr AAT at 107kph with Jon Pring and Pete Carter 2nd and 3rd respectively

63rd Hungarian National Championship – 6th to 15th July 2018
Finn Sleigh reports:

In July, Jake and I chose to travel to Hungary and fly the Hungarian Club Nationals from Szatymaz. A site that’s located 10km north of Szeged airfield, the venue of the 2019 Junior World Championships. This was a perfect opportunity to learn the local area, conditions and learn as much from the locals as possible. Conditions during the week were described by the locals as very much below average with the first three days rained out! Fortunately, things improved as the week progressed with the final two days being fast racing days with high cloud bases. Jake and I led the competition during the first three flying days but sadly had a bad day 4 which led to us dropping down a few places overall. The geography of soils in Hungary is very complex and has a significant effect on the conditions under what looks like a very uniform sky. This meant Jake and I feel we learnt a massive amount that will be invaluable for the team next year. The country is a beautiful place and the gliding community in Hungary is very close knit and could not have been more welcoming and helpful. We were given great support to break down any language barriers and made to feel very much at home.

UK Club Class Nationals – 4th to 12th August 2018

London Gliding Club hosted the Club Class nationals this year. The 42 competitors were treated to some fantastic and some not-so-fantastic conditions during the week with 6 flying days, in largely beautiful but changeable soaring weather. As had come to be expected this summer, the Junior Squad put in some excellent performances – squad members took 4 of the top 10 places! Jake Brattle flew a great competition to finish in second overall, a result that qualifies him to fly the European Championships in Slovakia next year. This is a testament to the great coaching that he has made the most of over the past few years.

Finn Sleigh, Tom Arscott and Jake Brattle pre-start during day 3 of the Club Class Nationals

UK Junior Nationals – 18th to 26th August 2018
Clement Allen reports:

The UK Junior Nationals were held at Lasham for 2018 and had a 44 strong entry list. It was also held alongside the Lasham Regionals which led to some rather large grids and start gaggles. Unfortunately, the first three days were scrubbed so the first flying competition day was the Tuesday. A challenging 250km task was set with the expectation of cumulus to start and gradually turning blue further through the task. Despite the good climbs under the blue only 13 competitors completed the task.
The next competition day, Thursday, was windy with a lot of top cover making it tricky for the sun to reach the ground and trigger thermals, a 187km racing task was set. The wind and top cover made the last 40 km heading toward the coast and back rather tricky and cost quite a lot of time for most pilots but I and a few others managed to line up the climbs well to get back to Lasham at a decent speed.

The Friday was certainly the most memorable flight of the competition for me with large showers expected in the task area and an even stronger wind than the day before – _25kts at its peak! Shower sectors were set and certainly made use of by most competitors as quite a few showers were very close to the turnpoints. One turnpoint even required flying in and out of a small gap between two closing showers, quite a formidable sight.

Saturday was the final flying day of the competition and was forecast to be the best one yet, so a 300km racing task was set heading up towards Swindon, down to near Exeter and back to Lasham. The cloud base was decent, giving good climbs to above 5000 feet in places. A section of sea air coming off the Bristol Channel slowed progress a little when we were heading down to the South West, but the rest of the task was straight forward and fun, a great end to a week of challenging conditions. Huge thanks to Lasham airfield and the whole competition team for such a well organised and enjoyable week.

Jake Brattle wins the UK Junior Nationals for the second year in a row

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