Flying start for the Gliding Championships



Hitachi Information Control Systems Europe is pleased to announce that we are sponsoring the UK National Gliding Championships being held at Cotswold Gliding Club this summer.

Gliding is an exhilarating and challenging adventure sport that is enjoyed by pilots of all ages. It offers anything from basic flying and engineering training, to competing for the national team at the highest level of international events. The sport has something to offer everyone, whether it’s a gateway to a career in aviation or engineering, or simply a way of relaxing after a busy week in the office. It’s also one of the most accessible forms of aviation and the most inexpensive.

The gliding community within the UK places a strong emphasis on providing accessible flying activities for young people, giving them a unique training experience to help them progress into a career in aviation, engineering or technology. Many young glider pilots go onto become professional pilots and highly skilled engineers.

In simple terms, a gliding competition is a series of time trials spread over nine days. Each glider competes to fly the fastest around a task set by the organisers.  The gliders carry secure GPS loggers to record the flights. Flight logs are downloaded at the end of the flight to show when the glider crossed the start/finish line, and to make sure that the pilots successfully flew into all of the control points along the route. Points are scored for the distance flown and achieved speed. At the end of the competition week, the pilot with the most points wins and becomes national champion.

Example of a fixed track task and then overlaid on a map

Competition gliding is a constant test of personal skills, testing your ability to fly accurately, navigate correctly, develop competition strategies, and making critical decisions. These decisions could make the difference between winning the race and landing in a field instead of returning to the airfield. The pilots have to balance all of these demands whilst constantly being pitted against gravity itself, with only an unrivalled understanding of nature keeping them in the air.

Gliders have some of the most advanced aerofoils in aviation, developed specifically to maximise performance using leading-edge design concepts and the latest in carbon composite technology. The gliders flying in the UK National Championships include some of the latest in aviation technology, featuring wingspans in excess of 26m and weighing in excess of 800kg. The aerodynamic technologies and design philosophies used in gliding are decades ahead of other forms of aviation, and even those in Formula 1. Inside the glider, the pilots have to manage electronic instrumentation which undertakes the complex calculations for glide performance, global positioning, moving maps displays, airspace awareness, and advanced collision avoidance technology beyond that used in general aviation.

HICSE is excited to be sponsoring the UK National Championships. As a leading employer in engineering and technology, gliding presents a unique opportunity to promote these sectors, as well as Hitachi’s core values of harmony, sincerity and pioneering spirit.

We look forward to keeping you up to date on the progress of the competition and will be posting more details about the event in the coming weeks.


The UK National Championships in the Standard, Open, 15m and 20m Multi-Seat classes (four of the six national competition classes in the UK) will be held at Aston Down Airfield, home of the Cotswold Gliding Club, between 22nd and 30th July 2017. Aston Down is an ex-RAF airfield, first established during the First World War serving as a base for the Australian Flying Corps. During the Second World War the hard runways and hangars were built and the airfield was used as a ferry and training base.

The Cotswold Gliding Club was formed in 1964 and in 1967 moved to its current home at Aston Down, which at that time was a military airfield. In 1981 the airfield became surplus to requirements and was sold by the MoD. With the help of Sports Council grants and other loans, the club purchased a large part of the airfield, making the club one of the largest and most well-equipped clubs in the UK.

The club is hosting the championships on behalf of the British Gliding Association (BGA), the sport’s national governing body. The BGA is responsible for gliding competition in the UK and for the British Gliding Team, one of the most successful teams in international gliding competition.


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