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Thanks to the gliders of the Lodz Aero Club news about the European Universities Games Lodz 2022 has reached the OSTRÓW GLIDE International Gliding Competition in Ostrów Wielkopolski. Recently the Lodz Aeroclub has been supporting the EUG 2022, a great celebration of academic sport, which in July next year will make Lodz the arena of competitive rivalry for students from all over Europe.

The European Universities Games is a competition for student sports clubs from all over Europe. Several teams in various disciplines may represent their universities at the European Universities Games. During the Lodz EUG 2022 student-athletes will compete in 13 disciplines. Students will compete for medals in, among others, football, volleyball, handball, and badminton. For a fortnight, the athletes will compete in Lodz – an academic city where more than 65 thousand students study and where the University Sports Association (AZS) has been active for years. It is here where the love for sport starts at university and then stays for life.

It is worth noting that most of the players appointed to the national gliding team come from the academic environment and practice other sports besides gliding.

This year’s gliding competition in Ostrów Wielkopolski is held in two classes: Club A and 18m+15m. The first class includes the most typical gliders that can be seen in the sky – machines with a wingspan of 15 metres, most often with retractable landing gear and usually without wing mechanisation elements such as flaps (although this is not the rule). In the 15m+18m class there are gliders with wingspans of 15 metres and 18 metres, additionally loaded with water ballast. Such gliders can carry up to 200 litres in their wings. Although at first glance this seems like a hindrance, in practice a heavy glider flies faster and descends slower. During flight, it is not uncommon for it to fly at speeds in excess of 220 km/h. In the club A class, cruising speeds usually do not exceed 170 km/h.

June competitions are held in perfect conditions for gliders. The weather then, is characterised by high cloud bases (often over 2000 m) and strong convection, i.e., rising air. And this is the very basis of gliding. These super eco-friendly aircrafts use only the forces of nature to fly. The pilot locates the rising air (they have their own knowledge and the right instrument – the variometer) and circles in it to gain altitude. He can do this up to the cloud base, so the higher it is, the better for the pilot. Then the pilot starts gliding, at the same time looking for the next lift. Such jumps between one lift and another can be as long as 20 kilometres. The amount of altitude lost on such a jump is determined by the state of the air on the route (because the air is very dynamic and as often as it rises it also falls) and so-called glide ratio. The glide ratio tells us how many kilometres the glider will fly in calm air from a height of one kilometre.  In the club A class, the glide ration is usually about 40. 18-meter gliders can fly even 50 kilometres, so they have the glide ratio of 50.

Gliding competitions are dominated by two disciplines: racing and area competition. In the former, everyone flies the same route, and the winning factor is the speed of flying the route. In area competition, the route can be modified in defined areas (usually circles with a radius of 10 – 20 km) and the winning criterion is also speed, but there is one more element: time.  Competitors have a strictly established flying time and an important element of tactics is to arrive as close to the minute as possible. It is worth mentioning that the competitions start and end at the same airport, so they are the so-called closed flights. However, sometimes the weather or the pilot’s disposition does not allow returning to the airport and then gliders land in the fields. They are adapted to this and the so-called “landing out” is nothing special in gliding.

The winner of the competition is determined by the total number of points earned on all days of the competition. At least three competitions must be held to count towards the sporting classification. A maximum of 9 flying days are planned in Ostrow (until Saturday 26th June).

The Lodz Aeroclub is represented by: Piotr Ligwiński, Zbigniew Górecki and Bartłomiej Neroj on gliders: ASW 24WL, Mini Nimbus and Pegase.

We would like to express our gratitude to Aeroclub in Ostrów and its president Karol Skarżyński for the possibility of showcasing the EUG LODZ 2022 during the competition. We wish glider pilots great results, may the winds be always in your favour. We would also like to invite other aeroclubs to promote the largest academic sports event in Europe!