A friend of mine today pointed me at some video clips on Youtube. I'm always looking for interesting gliding videos, but to date I hadn't seen what has been happening in the world of competitive gliding... Have a look at these videos and see if you are as excited as I am about the possibilities. (Click Read More for videos)
Grand Prix Gliding really is a four dimentional chess match combining speed, agility and seat of the pants flying. I would love for Eurosport or ESPN to pick up on this. Not only are the aircraft exciting and the locations stunning, but the combination of skill and risk should offer a good show. Maybe even more importantly compared to many racing series, Gliding Grand Prix success is much more about the pilot than the aircraft.
As a side note, what you are looking at here is the highest end of Gliding. The gliders cost upwards of £100,000, not to mention shipping them half way around the world to compete in some exotic locations.
At the lower end of the scale, learning to glide can cost far less than learning to fly powered aircraft, and once you have 'gone solo', you can easily have a flight for £30 - £40 instead of the £140 per hour most powered clubs charge.
Buying a glider can cost as little as £1,000 - £2,000 for wood construction single seater, or from £5,000 upwards for fibreglass, with maintenance costs in the region of £1,000 or less per year.
If you are interested in trying gliding for yourself, visit www.gliding.co.uk and look for a club near you, virtually all operate a trial lesson scheme and would be happy to hear from you. Who knows? Maybe when Grand Prix Gliding becomes the next big thing, you might be sat in one of those gliders!