This page lists a variety of resources available regarding competition
flying, from the competition calendar, to the national ladder.
And in case you've only just got your license, don't worry - there are lots of different kinds of competition, so you won't be asked to fly against world champions the same week you finish your beginner's course. Many clubs hold really basic challenges that absolutely anybody can enter and win, but they do provide an insight into how competitions are run, and how to learn from other more experienced pilots. At the other end of the scale the top class pilots earn their living from being professional comp pilots, and travel the world doing what they love best while being paid for it. What a life - but you have to be very good!
Competition flying usually asks the pilots to complete a set route, or task. This is either a straight line to a set destination, or a circuit of several points that have to be visited in order. Points are gained by getting there first, by being more accurate flying over the turn points than the other pilots, or by flying farther if that is what the task demands. Generally, competitions are held over several days to allow fluke wins and tricky weather conditions to be evened out over a period of time. So skill will always come out on top. Tasks are checked or validated by using cameras to take photos of the places visited, or by using GPS waypoint marking - but both these obviously demand extra equipment and flying skill the absolute beginner may not have. Once the pilot has done well enough in a number of local competitions, they may be selected represent Australia and to fly overseas and in international competitions.
Club and social competitions are generally less demanding and often include things like spot landing accuracy, glide distance attempts and even fancy dress too. Some bigger clubs hold competitions against each other - these are a good stepping stone to the more serious events if you fancy mixing it with the top gun flyers but don't want to enter a top level competition.
For most competitions, you will need a current model wing (flying in a
really old or ragged out wing won't really prove anything), a camera, and
a vario. Many also stipulate a reserve parachute and a UHF radio, and some
require you to have a retrieve driver and car as well to fetch you from
wherever you end up. All this does mean a bit of extra outlay if you
intend to become a serious competition pilot. But for end of the day talk,
and for hearing endless stories of narrow escapes and amazing flying feats
(sometimes imaginary, sometimes real) there is nothing like a competition.
Give one a try and see how much your flying improves.
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