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Classification

FAI AND CLASSIFICATION


  All-world federation FAI (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale). It was founded in 1905, non-state, non-commercial. There are 100 countries of the world which are members of FAI and Russia is among them. The tasks of FAI is promotion os aviation kinds of sport “to people”, organizing international competitions, registration of world records. The international FAI commission – IGC (International Gliding Comission) deals with glidin g kinds of sport. According to the FAI classification all gliders are divided into so called championship class and record class. In the framework of championship class international and national competitions are held., in the framework of record class the records are registrated.

The championship classes of FAI are mentioned below in order of popularity:

Club
Dtandard
15 metres
18 metres
Opened
20 metres 2 seats
World
13 metres


Let’s get aquainted with classes in details. It will be useful, because all serial made gliders and a part of individually made gliders are designed and built with FAI class rules.


CLUB CLASS

It combines mostly all the gliders – new and old fashioned , one seat and two seats, private those which belong to airclubs. The matter is that all the competitions due to the club class are held with using correction coefficient to the results – handicap. Handicap allows to expel a part of technique from the results and keep only the part of pilot skills. That is why a pilot who comes to finish the last in an old wooden lider can beat a lot of other pilots in top-modern gliders and take quite a valuable (if not the first) place. Recently the manufacturers are working out special gliders of a club class destined for every day intensive expluatation by different pilots in conditions of air clubs.

STANDARD CLASS

It was worked out in 1960-s of the last century for increasing of glider sport popularity among people. A standard class glider can’t have wingspread more than 15 metres. Mechanization of a wing is banned. Only air brakes are allowed, which don’t produce additional lifting power. Nowadays the standard class is mostly popular. Gliders of standard class are quite light, easy in driving and service. Flight measures are also very good.

15 METRES CLASS

It’s derivated from a standard one. Mechanization of a wing is allowed, but with wing flaps. Flaps which are put down increase lifting power of a wing in low speeds, so a glider is taking height faster in an ascending stream. Ina crossing of ascending streams the flaps are lifted up from the neutral position which increase speed of flight in minimum speed of descending and allows using less height in crossing.

18 METRES CLASS

The only restriction – wingspread can’t be more than 18 meters. I think this class of gliders is for weak weather. In the conditions of seldom and weak streams the descending of MSD has the essential meaning. That is why a lot of companies issue gliders of standard class with changeable edge lines of wings. Short edges of wings during strong weather give us a glider with 15 meters wingspread. During weak weather we put long edge lines, so we get a glider with 18 meters wingspread, a little bit increased AQ and small load on a wing. So MSD is decreasing and decreasing of a wing load is compensated by increasing of AQ.

OPENED CLASS

Has no any restrictions. No special rules as it is written in a document FAI. Gliders of an opened class differ the highest AK, the smallest MCC , the greatest scope of a wing and the greatest take-off weight among single gliders. Their price doesn't lag behind characteristics - it too the highest.

20 METRES 2 SEATS

As appears from the name, the class unites double gliders in a wingspread cover no more than 20 meters. Other restrictions aren't present. The class is created for educational gliders of
aeroclubs. The are educational gliders in each aeroclub, they have quite good (often rather high) characteristics and, in general, it is possible for them to reach rather impressing results in competitions.
 
Each class from listed competitions can be held both with a handicap, and without a handicap. More often competitions are held with a handicap because of the big difference in characteristics of gliders even inside one class. There is another approach in organization of competitions, which became possible with creation of a world class.

WORLD CLASS

It consists of one model of strictly identical gliders. It is PW-5 the Polish manufacture. Before the competitions gliders of participants are lead up to strictly identical condition - even take-off weight is done identical by means of a non-dumped ballast in flight. Competitions are held, naturally, without a handicap that should raise their staginess, involve new participants etc., etc. In practice this idea completely failed. The glider turned out to have rather mediocre characteristics, the manufacturer behaved with customers impudently, gliders were let out a little amount. A world class, somehow existed thirteen years, it is banned since January, 1st, 2010.

However instead of untimely “dead” a world class competition from the same January, 1st, 2010the new championship class of gliders was established which probably will use much more popular - a class of 13 meters.

13 METRES CLASS

It is planned as a class for beginning sportsmen and for the rest. In general, there are such gliders who have already shown quite good flight data for the sizes. And there are designs as industrial production, and for independent manufacturing.
In general, 13 meters class is our size. Below we will consider its advantages in detail. I assure you, they are not small.
 
There are only 4 Record classes FAI now, one of them (world) is banned since January, 1st, 2010:
 
The opened
15 meters
The extra light
Micro lifted

OPENED RECORD CLASS

It includes gliders of championship classes of the opened class and 18 meters, a record class - gliders of club and  standard classes, and also a championship class of 15 meters, the world class is banned, and with a class of extra light gliders we will get acquainted more in detail.

CLASS OF EXTRALIGHT GLIDERS

As it has been written in advertizing of Ford cars in the thirties: "you can get from us the car of any colour, provided that it will black". And so, the glider of any size and a kind provided that the maximum take-off weight doesn't exceed 220 kg can be extra light. To design and construct such glider - absolutely uneasy problem. The matter is that useful loading of a glider should be at least 120 - 130 kg, therefore on an empty glider it remains 90 - 100 kg. To reach such weight of a design at the set of durability and rigidity it is necessary to apply expensive materials and technologies.

In a class of extra light gliders there is a subclass micro lifted glider. Records on micro lifted gliders separately aren't registered, but the subclass exists officially.

SUBCLASS OF MICROLIFTED GLIDERS

These are extra light gliders with maximum loading on a wing no more than 18 kg/m2. Such parameters allow using the so-called micro lift for ascent. The micro lift - so small in the sizes and speed ascending streams of air that usual gliders can't "process" them. Creation of such glider - rather uncommon, but a solvable problem. As a result of its decision we receive a glider, capable to fly in conditions where only hang-gliders and paraplanes can fly.