Where do we go?

The image below is a representation of the flights of one competition pilot (this year’s Competition Director) in a year.

Gliders fly with extensive navigation equipment and take great care not to fly in restricted airspace.

The distance flown on any day is determined by the glider performance and the weather conditions.
Directors will try to set a task that takes the fastest glider at least 3 hours (assuming that the weather looks good enough for long enough). This means that the following task lengths might be typical;

Soaring Day length Weather Task Distance Places
2hrs Poor 150-200km Aston Down to Banbury to Evesham and back to Aston Down
3-4hrs Good 300-400km Aston Down to Cambridge and back to Aston Down
4+hrs Excellent 500-600km Aston Down to Cambridge to Banbury returning to Cambridge and back to Aston Down

How gliders travel across country

Put simply we climb in thermals (pockets of rising warm air) and then try to glide efficiently between them.

We don’t always get to travel in straight lines as we try to pick the best line through the air staying in the rising air. In a competition the aim is to take the minimum deviation from your track neccesary to remain competitive. Sometimes you can end up quite far from the expected route