STEP ONE - Get registered
Have a look at civlcomps.org or airtribune.com, choose your comp and register yourself. It’s as easy as signing up to Netflix. For your first comps you might want to choose Sports Class (up to EN-C) competitions – tasks are more achievable for less experienced pilots and you’ll have a chance to fly in leading gaggles and learn more. There is plenty of options this season.
STEP TWO - Deal with your fears
The most common concerns constraining pilots from entering the world of competitions:
- ‘Am I good enough?’ If you’ve been flying a few seasons and are able to fly a 50km cross country then you are. You can assume that you will not win your first comp, anyway. You are there to learn.
- ‘I’m afraid of crowds.’ Yes, it might get crowded in starting cylinder. But collisions are extremely rare. In reality it’s safer than over any popular hill on a good day. Crowd will not be the problem en-route – the field will spread and you end up flying in small groups which makes things just easier.
- ‘Navigating the task is too complicated for me. I would need to buy a new device.' Although there are some state-of-the art devices on the market your smartphone is perfectly enough! Free apps like XC Track or SeeYou Navigator are user friendly and really easy to use!
STEP THREE - Get your papers sorted
You will need:
- Your national licence - you most probably already have one.
- IPPI level 4 or 5 card - it’s issued by your National Air Club.
- FAI Sporting licence - it may require joining a sport club (which can be beneficiary for you, anyway). If you have troubles with getting FAI licence contact the organizers to find a solution.
- Third Party Liability and medical insurance – you just buy it.
STEP FOUR - Check your equipment
You will need:
- certified glider
- certified harness (most of them are certified)
- recently repacked rescue parachute
- 2m band VHF radio
- mobile phone
- vario and navigation device e.g. mobile app (ideally two, as a backup)
STEP FIVE - Go and have fun!
Remember not to get frustrated by your results! Focus on learning and fun! Competitions (especially the lower level ones) are a perfect environment to do so. Flying in comps is actually safer than a lonely XC flight - you are being watched by many pilots and thanks to live tracking organizers know where you are at any moment. Also a retrieve is not a hassle anymore – just report your landing and wait for the van to pick you up. Enjoy!