The Belgian championship of gliding 2019 – Saint–Hubert aerodrome


The Centre National de Vol à Voile (CNVV) is ideally located in the splendid region of Saint-Hubert (Belgian Ardennes) and once again it organised the Belgian Championship from May 18th to 26th.

I would like to thank the whole team of the Centre National de Vol à Voile (CNVV) and also namely Bernard Debauche and all parties involved who supported me in writing this report.

Background information:

The Centre National de Vol à Voile also known as CNVV:

Created in 1952, it is a real institution in the Belgian aeronautical world. Its goal is to democratise access to aviation and pilot training. It is also the most important gliding structure in Wallonia.

Here are some features and figures:

  • 20 instructors,
  • many tug pilots,
  • also 18 gliders (9 two-seaters and 9 single-seaters),
  • two motor-gliders and three tug planes.

Every year, 3,000 towings are carried out and about 100 pilots (beginners, or for further training) will be housed at the centre.

Having had the opportunity to fly with them, I can say that it is really the passion of flying and the transmission of it which animates all the members of the CNVV and all this in a very warm atmosphere and full of camaraderie.”

Gliding is a sport of concentration and self-control that is accessible from 14 years and without age limit. This sport, which consists of prolonging the gliding flight onboard a glider by exploiting the ascending movements of the air, can be approached at any time of life. “Many civilian and military pilots who had a busy aeronautical career told me: it’s the best school to start flying.”

The Championship

This year, 40 machines took part in the events with more than 40 pilots.

Every day at 08:00, a team, including the race judge, local pilots and airspace manager, draw the competition of the day with the main influence of the weather. The day of my visit, it was a challenge of nearly 300 km partly in Germany, which was on the programme of pilots.

Regarding the weather point, throughout the duration of the championship, a meteorologist provided, among other things, the general weather situation, the height of the cloud base, or the evolution of possible fronts during the day. This is the key element of this competition and some days in 2019, events had to be cancelled.

Thanks to the software containing the turning points and the prohibited areas, an event is built and it was provided to each competitor.

The goal is, of course, to finish the course in minimum time. Sometimes you have to deduct possible penalty points and handicap points. The Belgian championship uses the English classification system for this purpose: for example, in the open class, a glider of 25 meters will have a handicap of 117 while the smallest handicap of the class is 106, which means that the glider of 25 m will have to fly 11% faster to recover his disability.

At the end of the flight, each competitor gives, on a USB key, the files containing all the details of the flight provided by the transponder, such as the speed of movement, altitude, or any passages in a prohibited area. All these data will be read by the judge of the event for the final classification.

What a change compared to the not-so-distant era when competitors had to shoot the turning points with a camera, and where the films were developed by the judges during the night …

The gliders are dropped 600 meters above the ground, after which the pilot must pass the entrance gate of the event before a fixed time and then continue towards the turning points using the best ascents.

A gliding pilot generally has a much more developed sense of air than a motor-driven pilot. The whole environment has an influence on the flight and the experience of the pilot is very important. This one constantly follows the cumulus which is formed or which seems sunny on the good side, or takes advantage of the dust rising from the field of well-heated yellow wheat, or follows the bird which will turn in a bubble …

Gliders can also be filled with water used as ballast. This ballast makes it possible to go faster in a straight line but slows down the glider uphill; if the “pumps” are good, the pilot tends to load his glider with water and vice versa, if the ascending currents are not good. Nevertheless, weighing the glider too much, this ballast must be dropped before landing.

For the organisers, the management of the airspace is an important fact and is made more complicated every year with a sky that is more and more congested. In the month of September preceding the event, applications for authorisations to use the airspace (up to 7500 feet) are sent to the civil and military authorities. Each morning of the event, a request for information (NOTAM: notice to airman) is made, for example for possible military aircraft exercises or drone use. At the same time, the complete information of the test is sent to the authorities of control of the civil and military airspace, including foreign countries overflown. For France, a flight plan must also be filed.

The Results:

Class 18m / Open

Contestant                               Club            Glider           Handicap          Total

  • Bert Jr. Schmelzer                KACK        ASG 29            111               4215
  • Tijl Schmelzer                      KACK         Ventus 3T         111,5           3899
  • François Delfosse                 ACUL         ASG 29 E          111              3594
  • Baumgartl & Bruning(D)       LSV            Arcus T           107              3290
  • Geert Van Duyse                                   ASH 26 E          110              3212
  • Bert Sr. Schmelzer               KACK        Ventus 2cxT      110              3104
  • Bielen & Snyers                   KACK        Arcus T             107               2922
  • Olivier Sevrin                      BVGC        ASG 29             111               2306
  • Pierre Roumet (F)                Romo         DG 800              110              2158
  • Walter Geenen                     KACK        Ventus 2CM      110              2070
  • Dupont & De Coninck            ACRA       ASG 32MI        107             1962
  • Bruno Pieraerts                    BVGC       Arcus T             107               290

Class Standard / 15m / 20m

  • Robbie Seton (NL)               KACK        LS 8a                100              3456
  • Dennis Huybreckx               AAPCA      LS 8                  100              3419
  • Jeroen Jennen                     KACK        LS 8                  100              3392
  • Daan Spruyt                        VZP            ASW 27            104              3238
  • Manu Litt                            CNVV/RVA Ventus 2BX         104              3217
  • Tim Huybreckx                    KACK        Discus 2T          100              3082
  • Wim Akkermans                  KACK        Ventus CA        101              3015
  • Jeff Kell                              KACK        Discus 2T         100              3003
  • Pieter Daems                      KACK        Discus 2T         100              2997
  • Team Vandebeeck/Bertels    BZC        Ventus CT         101              2972
  • José Jaime                          RVA        LS 8a                100              2894
  • Geert De Palmenaer             VZP         Ventus C           101             2880
  • Nick Fremau                        BZC         LS 8                  100              2845
  • Emiel De Wachter                KACK         LS 8                  100             2708
  • Pieter Lievens                      VZP         Duo Discus       101             2440
  • Eddy De Coninck                  KAC       Duo Discus T    101             2440
  • Timo Stoven (D)                  Airbus        Discus B            98,5            2414
  • Nick Redant                         Lille Planeur  DG400              97               2401
  • Thomas De Bruyn                 BZC        Janus CT           100             2317
  • Yves Ruymen                       K V.De Wouw  Duo Duscus   101             2248
  • Maxim Alexandre                  ACRA        LS 8                  100             2103
  • Thibaud Husson                    ACUL        Discus b             98              1832
  • Selfslagh&Guelenne              ACRA       Janus C               100            1798
  • Luc Van Camp                      KAC       Discus 2T           100              465

Class Club

  • Bart Leysen                         KAC       ASW 20F          055           3314
  • Frédéric de Groote               BZC       Libelle 201B      994           2994
  • Philippe Billuart                   ACUL     Discus b             045           2849
  • Robin Motte Dit Falisse         RVA      Cirrus 16m         005           2796
  • Bernard Botman                  VZP       LS 4                   025           2503
  • Peter Bertels                       BZC       Libelle               99             2381




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