Soaring to Success Again
Royal Navy glider pilots retained their title as the Inter Service Gliding Champions at the 2014 Championships and won the Sports Class into the bargain despite stiff opposition from the RAF and Army.
This year's event was held at RAF Cosford nearWolverhamptonand hosted by the RAF and the local Wrekin Gliding Club. The event included strong teams from all three services and a number of local civilian pilots as part of a concurrent British Gliding Association Regional Competition. In total 37 pilots competed in both the Open and Sports Classes.
“We came here to retain our 2013 title”, said Lieutenant Will Ellis, Royal Navy Team Captain. “It’s been a difficult week due to the challenging weather conditions but the team took an early lead and held on throughout a tough competition".
This year there was no Navy glider in the Open Class, however Will Ellis won the Sports Class in his Hornet, Lieutenant Commander Chris Bryning finished 5th, Captain Paul Jessop 7th and Warrant Officer Andy Farr 8th. Their combined total points were more than enough to win the Team Trophy and beating off a particularly strong challenge from the Army. The Goodhart Trophy for best performance at the Championships by a Navy Glider Pilot also went to Will Ellis.
“Once again it has been a real team effort”, said Captain Paul Jessop Chairman RNGSA. “It’s such an excellent result right across the board, from ground crew supporting the team on the ground to the pilots competing up in the sky. I'm already looking forward to next year's competition so we can make it a hat-trick of wins".
Results like this can only point to a promising future for Navy Gliding. Inspiring the next generation who for this year were helping out as ground crew, to get qualified as soon as possible and compete in next year's Championships.
Able Seaman Bobby Ball from the Seahawk Gliding Club said, “I recently went solo for the first time and can’t wait to be able to compete with the big boys”.
WO Andy Farr of Heron GC, RNAS Yeovilton hopes this triumph will encourage others to come along and have a go at one of the three Royal Naval Gliding clubs. Seahawk GC at RNAS Culdrose, Portsmouth GC based on the old HMS Daedalus airfield and Heron Club at RNAS Yeovilton. “Gliding in the Navy is looking good at all levels. We run annual expeditions, which over the past couple of years have included Germany, France and South Africa, are open to novices and experts. We’re getting very competitive at the top end of competitions and even at grass roots for Adventurous Training (AT) there are plenty of opportunities, giving us a greater selection of people to choose from.”
Inter Services Regional Gliding Competition Results for 2014.
Club Class Winner (John Martin Memorial Trophy) - Lt Will Ellis
Best Navy Pilot (Goodhart Trophy) - Lt Will Ellis
Inter-service Gliding Team Champions (Roderick Salmon Memorial Trophy) - Royal Navy (Capt Paul Jessop, Lt Will Ellis, WO2 Andy Farr, Lt Cdr Chris Bryning)