Interview with Laurens Goudriaan, South Africa, flying JS3 (LG), on 17 July 2019, day 10 of the competition

Laurence, how was your day? Are you satisfied with your flight? 

Yeh.. it was difficult to keep going. We should see what the results will be but my feeling is that I couldn’t get my rhythm to do a good flight today. I am back without using the engine, that is always a good flight (smile).

What was the most difficult decision that you had to make during the flight? 

Because we have only one event start – it is the system they want to try to see if they can stop gaggle flying – if you press the event marker, you have ten minutes when you cannot start and then you have ten minutes where you can start. I thought that the day would die early, so I started fairly early. If you had two or three event starts, you could see how the day progress and then make a better decision. 

This was going to my next question: what is your impression of the new system of declared start? Would you suggest any adjustments to it? 

We tried it in Hahnweide in May. There you had to look at the speed, the height and the event. And the event marker that they used there was a bit more complicated because of a 12-minute window and you could start only two minutes before and two minutes behind the event. So if you press the event, you have eight minutes, then you have four minutes to start, so it is a different scenario. Here it is different because now you have only one event. And you have to make a decision: “Ok, if I start now in 10-20 minutes, what will the weather do?” Then you have to obviously press the event and go on. But with only one event you can’t really make a decision because if you have made a wrong decision, you cannot come back unless you get a fifty point penalty. 

You have flown already a number of competitions this year – in Prievidza, Slovakia, and in Hahnweide. Which one do you find most interesting? 

I was flying the other competitions with ASG 32. We have a 32 that we fly and I bring young and upcoming pilots from South Africa and they fly with me.  I try to teach them how to fly in big gaggles, where there are forty or a hundred gliders. In South Africa we don’t have such big gaggles – maybe only ten or fifteen gliders in a gaggle if you are lucky. Normally it is four or five. So, they must get used to flying in a big gaggle and I am trying to teach them and also to improve their lookout and their competition performance. The other side of it is that I did not do well because it was not my aim to compete or to win the competition, it was more for training purposes.

You have been coming to Europe to fly during African winters for a number of years. Have you also flown before here in the north of Germany? 

I flew in Lüsse in the World Championship in 2008. I also flew in Lüsse in the Europeans [European Gliding Championship in Lüsse in 2000]. The area is like flat like in South Africa, so it is familiar.

Do you prefer flying in the flatlands or in the mountains?

It does not matter to me. At this stage I prefer flatlands but I can fly in the mountains too.

You have flown competitions in various models of gliders. Which model are you going to fly the World Championship next year? 

An open class glider. But if it is not ready, I will fly an 18m class.

What do you mean by ‘not ready’? 

Jonkers are still building it and if it is not ready by January, we will decide for the 18m.


Thank you very much for this interview, Laurence, and good luck! 


This interview was taken by Evgenia Alexeeva.