January 2nd, 2010 - and it's time for some serious Grand Prix sailplane racing. Sailplane racing is one of the most visually spectacular events in air sports. It demands the strategy of a chess master and the tactics of a fighter pilot - and at this level of competition, real courage.
The technology used to present FAI Grand Prix racing in real-time on the Internet is astounding. Each glider will telemeter its GPS location and altitude to Santiago in real time so the relative standing of the pilots can be seen in 3D computer graphics. Highly experienced pilots will provide color commentary as the races progress.
15 pilots from 8 countries will line up on the starting grid at the Club de Planeadores de Vitacura in suburban Santiago for the 3rd World Sailplane Grand Prix Championship. You can watch the action by pointing your browser at: www.grandprixchile.org The races will begin at 19:00Z (3PM local) each day from January 2 - 9 and last several hours each depending on the weather. Join us for some of the best "edge-of-your-seat" nail biting air racing drama available.
It would be hard to pick a more dramatic backdrop for sailplane racing than Chile's Andean "Cordillera" which boasts the highest peaks in the Andes Mountains, including the 22,841ft Cerro Aconcagua. The Cordillera of the Andes is a vast expanse of soaring peaks - many of them smoking volcanoes. This is what glider pilots call "Tiger Country" for it's unforgiving terrain and few opportunities for landouts.
The betting will be on Poland's Sebastian Kawa in a Polish Diana 2 however Germany's Uli Schwenk and his countryman Tilo Holighaus have an excellent chance. Both Uli's and Tilo's gliders were built by Tilo's company, Shempp- Hirth of Germany.
All sailplanes are closely matched so the outcome will depend more on a pilots skill and daring than their equipment. Any of these pilots can win.
3rd World Sailplane Grand Prix Championship Competitors:
"QZ" Rene Vidal, a Chilean mechanical engineer - Ventus 2cT
"QV" Carlos Rocca, a Chilean Civil engineer - Ventus 2b
"OF" Heimo Demmerer, an Austrian Airlines 777 Captain - Ventus 2b
"KT" Thomas Gostner, an Italian businessman - Diana 2
"WO" Wolfgang Janowitsch, an Austrian Airlines A320 Captain - Ventus 2cxa
"RP" Sebastian Kawa, a Czech Medical Doctor - Diana 2
"DE" Mario Kiessling, a German Software Project Manager - Ventus 2ax
"AX" Petr Krejcirik, a Czech Aeroclub manager - Ventus 2ax
(TBD) Graham Parker, an Australian Anaesthetist - ASG29E
"ALB" Patrick Puskeiler, a German "Sports Soldier" - Discus 2a
"EI" Uli Schwenk, A German manufacturer - Ventus 2a
"M3" Eduard Supersperger, an Austrian engineer - Ventus 2b
"BO" Olli Teronen, a Finnish Surgeon - ASG29E
"PL" Stanislaw Wujczak, a Polish airline pilot (LOT) - ASG29