Gliding

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Gliding

 

a variety of sport flying that includes competitions in gliders—unpowered heavier-than-air aircraft. Contemporary gliding activities include high-speed flights over triangular courses of 100, 200, 300 and 500 km; flights to a goal point and return; and flights with a landing at a goal point. There are also open-course distance flights and distance flights with one or two obligatory turning points. Competitions are conducted in gliders of the standard class, which limits wingspan to 15 m, and the open class, which has no design restrictions.

The emergence of gliding as a sport dates to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In Russia the first glider groups were founded in the early 1900’s. Among those associated with these early groups were N. E. Zhukovskii in Moscow, A. V. Shiukov in Tbilisi, N. B. Delone and G. P. Adler in Kiev, N. A. Rynin and V. A. Lebedev in St. Petersburg, and K. K. Artseulov in the Crimea. The early work of such scientists and aircraft designers as A. N. Tupolev, B. N. Iur’ev, V. P. Vetchinkin, S. P. Korolev, S. V. Il’iushin, A. S. Iakovlev, and O. K. Antonov was concerned with gliding.

In the USSR large-scale development of gliding as a sport began in 1923, when the first all-Union gliding trials were held at Koktebel’, now Planerskoe, in the Crimea. At these trials L. A. Iungmeister established the first national records, in a glider designed by Artseulov. The development of gliding as a sport was connected with the activity of the Society of Friends of the Air Force and Osoaviakhim (Society for Assistance to Defense and Aviation and Chemical Construction, subsequently DOSAAF, All-Union Voluntary Society for Cooperation With the Army, Air Force, and Navy).

In 1934 Osoaviakhim established the title of Master Glider Pilot of the USSR. Among the first masters were L. G. Minov, S. N. Anokhin, I. M. Sukhomlin, V. L. Lisitsyn, V. M. Il’-chenko, V. L. Rastorguev, M. K. Ratsenskaia, I. A. Kartashov, and A. V. Stepanchonok. Glider airfields and schools were opened in various parts of the country, and glider clubs were organized. By 1941, Soviet glider pilots held 13 of the 18 world records registered by the International Aeronautical Federation (FAI). In 1948 the All-Union Glider Section was founded, and in 1960 it joined the Soviet Federation of Aviation Sports. An independent glider federation was established in 1966. In 1949 gliding was included in the Uniform All-Union Sports Classification. Between 1923 and 1974, 36 national championship competitions were held in the USSR. Among the all-around champions of the USSR and world record holders are M. M. Veretennikov, A. P. Samosadova, V. V. Goncharenko, V. I. Chuvikov, E. G. Rudenskii, M. I. Afrikanova, O. A. Manafova, E. V. Laan, S. P. Sudeikite, and V. Iu. Panafutin. In 1964 the DOSAAF Central Glider Sports Club was opened in Orel.

World gliding championships have been held biennially since 1948. In 1950 the FAI established a glider commission to oversee the development of gliding as a sport throughout the world and the organization of major international competitions and world championships. (In 1974, FAI membership included glider pilots from about 60 countries.) In 1974 Soviet glider pilots held nine out of 32 world records. Among these pilots are O. V. Klepikova, whose 749-km flight set a world record for the single-seater class; T. D. Pavlova and Iu. A. Kuznetsov, holders of the distance records for two-seaters at 846 km and 921 km, respectively; T. N. Zagainova, who established the single-seater distance record of 731 km for flight to a goal point; and I. A. Gorokhova, holder of the two-seater record for flight to a goal point at 864 km.

Abroad, gliding as a sport is most highly developed in Poland, the United States, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, the German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia, Great Britain, and Yugoslavia. World champions include E. Makula and J. Wróblewski (Poland), A. Smith and G. Moffat (United States), H. Wödl (Austria), G. Reichmann (FRG), and G. Ax (Sweden).

The techniques of sport gliding are discussed in the journal Kryl’ia Rodiny, published by DOSAAF.

A. D. VINOKUROV

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