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Photo #14258 | 2ndPanAm GC Logo

 15m Class (only ASW 20 sailplanes)

Phil Gaisford - 15m Class 

Photo #14259 | Phil Gaisford

Phil learned to glide in the United Kingdom while at high school using things like abandoned WWII runways, home-made launch vehicles, piano wire, and Skylarks. When one asks Phil about flying he says "I soon got interested in competition flying, making the UK team in 1992, and was Swiss national champion in 1993. I have flown contests the UK, France, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Argentina, Finland, Lithuania and since relocating to the US in 1994, most sections of this country". Phil is a three-time US national champion in standard class. He owns a Discus 2, which he flies with Greater Boston Soaring Club, and where he also gives flight instruction. 

 Robin Clark - 15m Class 

Photo #14260 | Robin Clark

Robin read the Joy of Soaring before seeing a glider and thermaled successfully on his first ride. He joined the North Florida Soaring Society in 1978 and has served as secretary, president and tow pilot. His cross country mentor, Bill Clarke, helped Robin get going across a region where the principal crop is pine trees. Robin built HP-18 wings for an RS-15 and campaigned annually at Cordele. He eventually bought an LS6 to match Bill’s and flew it for 18 years. At the Sports Class Nationals in 2010 he was the top Club Class pilot and in 2015, he participated in the first Pan-American Gliding Championships in Chilhowee, Tennessee, placing second in the handicap class. He purchased an ASG 29 later that year and in 2016 he was National Champion in the18 meter class. Robin retired as Business Editor of the Florida Times-Union newspaper, earned a Certified Financial Planner designation and served as president of the Financial Planning Association of Northeast Florida. His wife Evelyn shares his loves of boating and photography. They have a daughter Erika who is a sophomore at Florida State University 

Juan Mandelbaum - 15m Class 

Photo #14261 | Juan Mandelbaum

Juan Mandelbaum got his power license in his native Argentina in 1972. When fuel prices got prohibitive he found gliders. His first demo ride was in a beat up 2-22 towing behind a Stearman biplane. Knowing he was a pilot, the instructor let Juan do the tow, but didn’t explain any particular technique. After thrashing about low in the Stearman propwash (akin to a nasty rotor) the release was a huge relief. Enough to motivate him to get his glider license. After moving to the US he kept current and in 1986 bought his first glider, a 1964 Oberlerchner MG23-SL. Juan started flying contests in Vermont in Region 1 and has since participated in many regional and national contests. Juan got his three diamonds in New England and likes to explore soaring in other parts of the world. He has flown in South Africa, France and Tunisia (!) and twice has gone wave flying in the majestic Andes mountains. He represented Argentina in the 1st Panamerican Gliding Championship in Chilhowee and was Region 1 champion in 2016. He flies a Ventus 2CX with the Greater Boston Soaring Club and is a partner in a Duo Discus (which he used to make “A Fine Week of Soaring”, starring Karl Striedieck). 

Fernando Silva - 15m Class 

Photo #14262 | Fernando Silva

Fernando Silva recently retired as a partner of a global management-consulting firm where he led the strategic planning and corporate finance teams for North America.  He transitioned to gliders in 1978 and started racing in 1996. Fernando has served as the US Team Captain at the 2014 WGC in Finland and the 2016 WGC in Lithuania and the 2017 Junior WGC in Lithuania.  As a US Team pilot, he flew in the 1st PanAmerican Gliding Championship in 2015 and will fly as a 15 meter team pilot in the 2nd PanAmerican in Argentina in December 2017 and at the 2018 World Gliding Championship in Poland. He organized and led the 2017 US Team Camp and he serves as a member of the US Team Committee. In the past, he has served as Competition Director for the Georgia-Tennessee-Alabama club race series and as the weatherman at many Regional and National contests. 


Standard Class (only Jantar sailplanes):

Ryszard Krolikowski - Standard Class 

Photo #14263 | Ryszard Krolikowski

Ryszard Krolikowski became a glider pilot 44 years ago in Poland.  Ryszard flew out of a northern Poland glider club in Slupsk. In 1989, he and his family moved to the USA.  Ryszard flew his first Regional Contest 16 years ago in Dansville, NY, and won the event.  He went on to accumulate ten National Contest medals.  His major accomplishments include a 6th place at the 2006 Pre-Worlds in Slovakia and first at the 2009 inaugural Club Class Nationals, flying a Jantar Std 2.  Ryszard was 4th at the first Pan-Am Championship held in TN, 2015.  For most of the last three race seasons, the team of Simmons and Krolikowski has been successfully campaigning an
Arcus M with good finishes including a 2nd at the 2016 Uvalde Sports Class Nationals.  He is an active member of Aero Club Albatross out of Blairstown, NJ.  When Ryszard can get time away from his Petroleum Equipment Engineering Co. and there is not a race, he loves soaring long OLC cross country flights in his SZD-55 with many of them over 1000K.  He genuinely appreciates this opportunity to go to his second Pan-Am and represent the USA. 

 Al Simmons - Standard Class 

Photo #14264 | Al Simmons

Al Simmons grew up in a flying family and earned his own powered license at age 18. He has always been intrigued by non-powered racing. Al and his wife, Susan, met 30 years ago at a Windsurfing Contest. They competed in hundreds of races for over two decades, earning many victories and National Championship status several times. Piloting made travel to races much easier. Susan is a pilot herself. In 2010, Susan and Al earned glider ratings and added a Touring Motorglider to their small fleet of aircraft. That was the first year they flew to the ASA (Aux-Powered Sailplane Assn.) camp in Parowan, UT, and soared the scenic mountains. They have gone every June ever since. This past summer Al and Susan won the ASA Stevenson Trophy based on OLC scoring at the event. Al's first real contest was the 2012 Open Nationals in NV, flying a Duo under the guidance of instructor Russell Holtz. Al then ordered an Arcus M and continued to train in motorgliders and rented sailplanes. The Arcus finally came in 2014. Al races it with
team mate, Ryszard Krolikowski. They have placed well together, most notably getting second at Sports Nationals in 2016 and fifth at Seniors in 2017. Their goal in the beginning was to make it to the US Team and compete at a Worlds. Flying on the Team in the 2017 Argentina Pan-Am Championship is an honor and a giant step in that direction.

Rick Sheppe - Team Captain 

Photo #14265 | Rick Sheppe

Rick has been flying gliders since 1967 and divides his interest between the Open Class and the 13.5 Meter Class. He flies with the Post Mills Soaring Club in Vermont and serves as the US Delegate to the International Gliding Commission.

Contest Dates:  
Official Training: November 30 to December 2, 2017
Competition Days: December 4 to 15, 2017
Contest website: www.pgc2017.org

Posted: 11/27/2017

US Team 

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