Over the last 35 years Competition Enterprise has established its niche in the British gliding calendar, thus proving the validity of its original concept. We regularly field 30 or more entrants, including younger pilots. Juniors are encouraged via John Fielden scholarships.
yet I still suspect that the views of the general gliding
my father wrote in 1974,
- to fly as much as possible whenever possible;
- to enable a wide range of gliders to participate meaningfully;
- to provide a reasonable measure of each pilots relative success;
- to provide the maximum fun and interest for pilots and their crews.
To achieve these objectives John Fieldens genius produced the following basic structure:
1) Tasks are set to maximise the days potential, with sufficient flexibility to enable the pilots to adapt their flights to changing weather, their aircraft, their imagination, and their ability. In general the tasks are designed around closed circuits except where the weather makes this improbable. Flights through Class D and other restricted airspace are allowed, provided conducted legally.
2) Take off times are pilot selected. The start sector (usually a 5km circle) and finish line are always open, with no height restrictions. Gaggle and team flying are virtually non existent.
3) The scoring system is simple and absolute: no one pilots flight affects anothers score, there is no x and y, nor any day factor. Simple handicapping is applied, but no windicapping: the slower older gliders can use this to their advantage although we have sometimes increased the points per kilometre for into wind legs. The speed formula/bonus for getting back is significant but not over-riding if a more enterprising flight results in a landout.
4) There is often a debrief after the task at which pilots and crews can share their experiences and learn from each other. Relights following outlandings are permitted so crews can play an important role.
believe it has worked outstandingly well. In addition to
conventional tasks (John Fielden set a 540 km 28% triangle in
1978 which was the largest task set and completed in any
the last four years we have used every form of lift, rounding
turning points that included the Lighthouse at
Despite our enthusiasm to fly whenever possible our accidents have been thankfully few, and only one involved any injury.
rated contests provide superb training for those with
International Championships aspirations and it is always
interesting to fly against top pilots and observe their
techniques in a tightly regulated environment. But regulation
inevitably reduces scope: twice during Enterprise 2009 we flew
over a rated Regionals 100 km distant where launching had not yet
commenced. Regulation can also curb pilots imagination and
initiative. At another contest in 2009 the task was cancelled at
2 pm due to poor conditions overhead and eastwards on track.
However, it was clearly better to the west and those that
aerotowed that way had enjoyable flights along a convergence line
lying the length of the
Postscript: Competition Enterprise 2010
By Justin Wills November 2009