For the third time since their inauguration in 1937, the World Gliding Championships are taking place in France.

The international air sports authorities, the IGC (International Gliding Commission) and the FAI (International Aeronautical Federation) have entrusted us with this mission in recognition of the long tradition of air sports in France, the excellent conditions prevailing in the southern Alps and the proven qualities of the gliding movement in our country.

This exceptional event, which only comes round every 20 years or so, has called upon much energy and many different skills during the two-year preparation period and fired the enthusiasm of Franceıs own 15,000 glider pilots, many of whom have been quick to volunteer their help in the organization.

The FFVV (French Gliding Federation) has two challenges to take up :

  • to attain the same level of excellence in the organization of the competition as when it previously took place on French soil - in St Yan in 1956 and Chateauroux in 1978
  • and to select, equip and train a team to represent France and enhance her reputation.
  • Situated at the heart of a region which is truly blessed by the "gods of gliding", favourite playground of a great number of pilots of all nationalities, the 25th World Gliding Championships benefit from the generous involvement of several ministries and important institutions : the French Ministries of Youth and Sport,of Civil Aviation and of the Environment; the local and regional authorities and let us not forget the assistance offered by many various firms, large and small .To all of these, we extend our warmest thanks.

    The airfield of CHÂTEAU-ARNOUX/SAINT-AUBAN has been dedicated to gliding for more than half a century. The experts of SEFA (The Civil Aviation Authority Flight Training Centre) and CFHN (The French Gliding Federationıs Advanced Training Centre) have been working together for a long time on all the technical aspects of these Championships and, most importantly, on the best ways to ensure the safety of the pilots and their gliders.

    I have every confidence in their competence and in their incomparable experience.

    The competition will be very open among the contestants - selected by their own countries, they represent the elite in world gliding and each of them will be going all out to win, yet without for a moment infringing, even in the heat of battle, the highest standards of airmanship, sport and safety. But, Pilots, remember - you have come here to enjoy yourselves and to try to win but... NO GAME in the world is worth the cost of one human life.

    In less high profile, the engineers and scientists who advance the knowledge, the techniques and the possibilities of our sport will be gathering here for the OSTIV Congress. Our thanks to them for all they have contributed to the creation of these marvellous gliders.

    In the name of the French gliding movement, I welcome you all to this great festival of world gliding in an atmosphere of friendship and good sport; I wish you a happy stay in Provence and to each and every competitor,

    Good luck and good results !

    André Monet,
    President, FFVV.


    France will be welcoming around a hundred pilots chosen by their national aeroclubs to contest the World Gliding Championships in St-Auban. The objective of every team and of each pilot is to win or at least to gain a place on the podium ; that is what the team captains and their accompanying ground crews will be working towards.

    The Director of the World Championships must provide, through the organization, every opportunity for each national team to achieve that objective ; that is to say, to have exactly the same chance of winning as all the other teams.

    The organizers will be scrupulous about giving identical information to all participants. Tasks will be tailored so that the average competitor can complete them successfully.They will avoid routes which are tricky from the point of view of the air conditions, new distance tasks will not necessarily be launched in unfavourable weather, departure height will be limited on wave days.

    The level of pilotsı previous mountain-flying experience will be taken into account , with safety, the number one criterion , the centre of all our preoccupations.

    Take-off and landing procedures have been simplified compared to last yearıs Lavender Glide. St. Auban airfield is marvellously well-situated from the point of view of the conditions but it is a difficult field demanding the utmost care from pilots.

    The Championships Director will keep all these points in the forefront of his mind and do everything in his power to ensure that the 25th World Gliding Championships will be a wonderful celebration of the sport of soaring flight and remembered as a truly great Championships.

    Michel Fache
    Championships Director


    I offer my greetings and a warm welcome to the world's best pilots, here assembled once again for the World Gliding Championship, that great festival of aviation and friendly competition. You have come to a country that is well known throughout the world for its great contribution to the sport of gliding. This is already the third time that the World Championship has been held on French soil, and I am quite sure that this event will turn out to be just as successful as those in St Yan in 1956 and Chateauroux in 1978. All the ingredients for success are present: superb soaring conditions, an efficient and well-practised team of organisers, and the best gliders in the world. To that can be added the many other pleasures traditionally associated with France such as gastronomy, and superb scenery.

    I would like to extend my warmest thanks to all those who have worked hard for many months to prepare this Championship. Without their efforts, none of you would be able to fly.

    Finally, I would like to remind you that the main aim of the FAI is to bring together the peoples of the world through air sport. I know that this Championship will be conducted in a fair, friendly and sporting manner, and remind every pilot to follow strictly the rules of flight safety.

    May the best pilots win!

    Eilif Ness
    FAI President


    It is a geat pleasure for me to welcome all participants - and I hope many visitors - to the 25th World Gliding Champinships in Saint-Auban. This is the highest sporting event in the gliding world, and the organisers have worked hard to provide all the facilities for a top class competition. Nearly one hundred pilots from 25 countries will be competing for the titles in the three FAI classes, amongst them many well-known names, including former world champions, but also many young and up-coming challengers.

    Being the most important event in our sporting calendar, the World Gliding Championships attract not only the top pilots and their crews, but also gliding enthusiasts from all over the world, who come to share the excitment of the competition and also to renew old friendships and make new ones. Saint-Auban, situated in the beautiful scenery of the Haute Provence, provides an ideal background also for this aspect of the world event.

    The stage is set, and I wish all concerned a successful, fair and safe competition.

    Peter Ryder,
    President of IGC.


  • Official Training Period 22 - 28 June
  • First Team Captains' Briefing 28 June (18.00 h)
  • Reception by the Mayor of CHÂTEAU-ARNOUX 28 June (20.00 h)
  • Opening Ceremony 29 June (10.30 h)
  • Air Show 29 June (15.00 - 18.00 h)
  • Contest Flying Begins 30 June
  • OSTIV Congress Opening Ceremony 3 July (15.00 h)
  • OSTIV Reception 3 July (19.00 h)
  • OSTIV Tour 7 July
  • OSTIV Closing Dinner 10 July (20.00 h)
  • Last Contest Day 12 July
  • Closing Ceremony and Prizegiving 13 July (11.00 h)
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    Visit Philippe de Péchy's "Vol à Voile" (Soaring) server : infos, ad's, glider pictures, GPS turnpoints coordinates, competitions results and an unofficial ranking of all glider pilots in the world.

    Other sites of soaring interest :
  • World Gliding Championships 1997, Saint-Auban, France (championnats du monde de vol à voile)
  • L'aéro-club du Bas-Armagnac, Nogaro (Gers, France) Aeroclub of Bas-Armagnac
  • Classement Vuillemot - French Soaring Pilots Permanent Ranking
  • Classement International - Results and Ranking
  • Fédération française de vol à voile - French Soaring Association
  • Les cumulus vus par satellite (Université de Strasbourg) - See cumuluses via satellite
  • NOAA visible

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    updated : 13-June-97