The 11th FAI Junior World Gliding Championship 2019 took place between 28th July and 10th August in Szeged, Hungary and we are proud that this year there was a SW 121 towplane in the fleet. Balázs Magyar, the pilot, told us his story.
»There were 2 categories: The FAI Club and Standard. A total more than 80 gliders were competing that the tow planes had to pull up to 600 m AGL on each day of the competition. There were 9 tow planes, including me with the Pipistrel Virus SW 121. The light airframe with the 100hp Rotax did a great job and managed to put almost the same amount of gliders up in the air as the old classic tug planes like the Pawnee, Zlin 326 and Cessna 182. The big difference was at the gas station. While I needed only 20l of car fuel for the day, the others had to put 60l of avgas into their planes.«
»During the competition the plane performed very well. I flew around 20 hours, which included some retrieving from other airfields in the end of the days.«
»In the beginning, some competitors and team captains were skeptical that my little plane had enough power to tow them. After a couple of days they were convinced. Some teams even started to call me in the afternoon to tow back their outlanded planes which couldn’t make it back to the finish line from other airfields. I happily accepted all of those tasks.«
Balázs Magyar smiles as he tells an anecdote:
»One day I was on my way to an airfield 50km away to tow back a Hungarian pilot, when I received a phone call in mid-air from one of the competitors: ‘Hey Balazs, do you remember me? 2 days ago you towed me home from an outlanding. Well, I just did it again and I would like you to tow me back!’«
Glider towing requires not just an experienced pilot, but also a steady and easy to control aircraft.
Balázs emphasizes: »When a 40 meter long rope is hanging from the tail of your aircraft, you really need to make sure not to fly low on final. Otherwise you will get tangled in a fence. Airbrakes make this job much easier, giving you the ability to perform very steep descents.«
“After the competition I didn’t have much time to be bored. During the last day of it day I received an invitation to tow for the Hungarian National Championship as well. So I’m already working for this competition, pulling up more gliders in the air.”
“It’s great to hear all the positive feedback at the end of the day and I feel very fortunate to be a part of all of these competitions. So a big thanks to all the organizers, to Pipistrel for making such wonderful and advanced aircraft and to Pipistrel Hungary for keeping the planes in perfect condition!”
Photos (c) Ákos Burg