10th Junior World Gliding Championships
Pociunai, Kaunas (Lithuania), 27 Jul to 13 Aug 2017
Fernando Silva – US Team Captain
Fernando Silva transitioned to gliders in 1978 and started racing in 1996. He has served as Competition Director for the Georgia-Tennessee-Alabama club race series as well as Weatherman at Regional and National contests. He is the 2015 US National Champion in the 15-meter Class.
Fernando recently retired as a partner of a global management-consulting firm where he led strategic planning and corporate finance teams in North America. Since retiring, he served as Team Captain of the US Team for the 2014 World Gliding Championship in Finland, and currently serves as Team Captain for the 2016 WGC in Lithuania. He is a member of the Mid-Georgia Soaring Association
Daniel Sazhin: Club Class
Daniel Sazhin is an Aero Club Albatross pudknocker and 1-26 association member, flying out of Blairstown, NJ. Soaring is his passion, flying for the first time when he turned 11, soloing at 15 and getting his Private Pilot Rating at 16. He was always interested in cross country soaring and was delighted to complete his Silver Badge in 2011. Thereafter, he began to actively pursue badge flying, over time earning a Gold Badge, Two Diamonds and 750km Diploma, all in the club Schweizer 1-26E. In 2012, Daniel was introduced to competition flying by Ron Schwartz, imbuing the competitive desire that drove him to pursue contest flying further. In 2013, he won the 1-26 Championship in Moriarty. Following this contest, thanks to Bill Thar's generosity and patronage, he flew the Duckhawk for the first time. In 2014 and 2015, he actively flew the Duckhawk and his club's LS4, competing in three highly competitive Nationals contests. Daniel is currently a Senior at Pace University. Daniel set a North American and World Record for the 13.5 meter class with a flight exceeding 1000km in a Schweizer 1-26E.
JP Stewart: Club Class
JP has been hooked on aviation for nearly 10 years. Beginning with radio control aircraft he flew competitive giant-scale aerobatics before moving into full-scale flying. He joined the Blue Ridge Soaring Society (BRSS) 6 years ago and fell in love with soaring. He is now in his third year studying Aerospace Engineering at Virginia Tech, spends his weekends instructing at BRSS, and racing gliders in the summer.
Noah Reitter: Club Class
Noah Reitter took a demonstration ride in the fall of 2012 at Harris Hill. Next spring, he joined Harris Hill’s junior organization, soloed later that summer and completed his B and C badges. During the 2014 soaring season, Noah attained his Private Glider, Commercial Pilot and Silver badge. He also crewed at the Region 5 North and Region 2 contests. In the spring of 2015, Noah crewed in the 1st FAI Pan American Gliding Championships and soon after completed his Flight Instructor Glider. Noah flew as a guest/sniffer in the 2015 Standard Nationals and place 2nd on one of the competition days! In the summer he was a flight instructor at Harris Hill. This past season Noah again instructed at HH and soloed 5 of HH Junior members. Noah placed 2nd at the 2016 Region 2 contest and 2nd at the 2016 club Class Nationals. During this time Noah completed his Private Pilot airplane rating and got checked out as a tow pilot. Noah’s accomplished much in a short time and his enthusiasm and dedication make him an ideal team member.
Junior Class Background
The Junior category is a relatively new addition to the growing roster of FAI Championships. A first international "student" meet was held by the Dutch at Terlet in 1985, as a way for young glider pilots to fly competitively among peers. Further contests established a tradition of European competition every two years.
The idea of a fully sanctioned youth contest grew with each event until the first FAI World Junior Gliding Championships were held in 1999, once again in Holland. The USA has not missed a chance to compete on this international stage since 1989. There are typically two Classes (Standard and Club) but adding Classes has been discussed frequently. The Junior Soaring Team is made up of pilots all under age 26. Team candidates are selected based upon their performance in any U.S. national competition. To be eligible for the Junior Soaring Team and international competition candidates should have achieved a score equal to at least 60% of the national winners score.
Many people have been instrumental to the USA Junior Team effort including most notably Rick Nelson, John Campbell, Eric Mozer, Rudy Mozer, George Wiederkehr, Tim Hanke, Ken Sorenson, Garrett Willat, and Sean Franke.