This article by Conor Hickey was first publishe in The Wimmera Mail-Times on Feb 13, 2015

DIFFICULT conditions forced glider pilots to test their skills at the Victorian State Gliding Championships in Horsham this week.

Horsham Flying Club president Arnold Niewand said inclement weather affected flying conditions on Tuesday and Wednesday.[/dropcap]

‘‘On Wednesday we had a number of pilots have to land in paddocks because the thermals weren’t keeping them in the air,’’ he said.

‘‘Even though the weather isn’t conducive to excellent flying, the weather is still sorting out who is the best pilot because only the best pilots get around and win.’’

Mr Niewand said pilots flew from the Horsham Aerodrome to Cope Cope and Lascelles, before returning to Horsham on Tuesday.

‘‘We’ve been out and about, on Wednesday we went north of St Arnaud and didn’t quite get back,’’ he said.

‘‘We had to land just to the east of the Dooen Pub actually.’’

Western Australia pilot John Orton, who spent last week coaching pilots at Horsham Aerodrome, said he had been coming to Horsham since 2009 to coach and fly. 

‘‘When I come across here I get a more concentrated effort at coaching because it is more organised,’’ he said.

‘‘It is a nice place to fly, lots of landable areas, extensive paddocks and very good flying conditions.’’

Orton had wins in the standard class competition on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Orton appears to have sewn up the standard class competition, with wins on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Mr Niewand said Craig Vinall looked set to win the open class, while the club and 15-metre classes were wide open.

He said Chris Thorpe, Peter Buskens, Steve Trone and John Orton won the club, open, 15-metre and standard classes respectively on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Craig Vinall, Gordon Trollip and John Orton won the open, 15-metre and standard classes respectively.

Noel Vagg and Duncan Robertson won the club class in a twin pilot glider.