Tuesday, August 21, 2012

1976 World Gliding Championships 13.1.1976

This FDC postmarked 13.1.1976 commemorates the 1976 World Gliding Championship held in Finland was given to me by Merja. 
According to me this is one of the most exillarating sports. Mainly because you are all alone with the elements. I’ve had a few flights in a glider when I was a member of the gliding club in my younger days. 
The World Gliding Championships is a gliding competition held every two years or so by the FAI Gliding Commission. The dates are not always exactly two years apart, often because the contests are sometimes held in the summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Gliding had been a demonstration sport at the 1936 Summer Olympics and was due to become an official Olympic sport in the Helsinki Games in 1940. However since the Second World War, gliding has not featured in the Olympics, and so the World Championships are the highest level in the sport. There are now contests for six classes of glider and so in recent years the Championships have been divided between two locations. The women's, junior, grand prix and aerobatic events are also held separately. The Open Class Winner was George Lee of the United Kingdom in his Glider: Schleicher ASW 17. And in the Standard Class the Winner was Ingo Renner, Australia in his Glider Eiri PIK-20B.
The 1976 World Gliding Championships were held at Räyskälä Airfield, Loppi, Finland. The airfield is about 23 kilometres west of Loppi centre and 37 kilometres east of Forssa town centre. It is the largest sports aviation centre in the Nordic countries. and one of the busiest general aviation airfields in Finland. It is also home to the Finnish Sports Aviation Academy. Räyskälä Airfield besides hosting the World Gliding Championships in 1976 also played host to the Junior World Gliding Championships in 2009, and the European Gliding Championships in 1996 and 2005. It will host World Gliding Championships again in 2014.
Just as an aside for aviation buffs The Finnish Aeronautical Association (FAA) was founded in 1919. It is the national and central organization of sport aviation in Finland. The sphere of activity of FAA includes ten different air sport disciplines: powered flying, gliding, experimental flying, ultra light flying, hang gliding, paragliding, parachuting, ballooning, ascending parachutes and aeromodelling. FAA has over 260 member organizations (clubs) and about 10 000 members. The clubs are fairly evenly distributed over the whole of Finland from Hanko to Ivalo and from Vaasa to Joensuu.

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