What is a Soaring Competition?
From local intra-club contests to world championships, and gliding contests, Canada sports a range of competitions annually. Some provinces hold provincial and regional contests which are accessible to a variety of experience levels, while the Canadian Nationals are held annually uniting pilots for ten days of racing.
Typically held between several days to several weeks for national and international tournaments, contests consist of flying courses designated by turnpoints between 100 - 500 kilometers, with the fastest pilot to complete the course receiving the highest points. The other pilots are ranked for the day and receive points in accordance with their percentage of the winner's speed. At the conclusion of the contest, the pilot with the highest number of points is declared the winner.
A good milestone to consider if you are interested in flying in a Provincial or regional contest is the completion of your Silver Badge along with the ability to comfortably fly OLC flights of 100 to 200 kilometers. If you are unsure whether your experience is adequate for a given contests, the best thing to do is to inquire with the organizer of the contest.
Even if you don't yet have the experience required to fly in a contest, you can still get involved. A soaring contest requires a significant number of volunteers to be successful and there's no better way to experience a soaring contest than to volunteer. Whether you participate by flying in a contest or by volunteering, you'll come away from the contest with a new perspective on soaring, a ton of new experiences and you'll be officially embraced into the contest family.