Originally published April 1996
On March 22, EAA Chapter 1000 member Jim Payne claimed the single place glider World Record for Speed Around a 100 km Triangle. Flying his Discus A sailplane from California City and using the Sierra Wave, he achieved a speed of 235.3 kph (146.1 mph). He bested the old record of 195.3 kph by more than 20%.
The flight was one that he had been planning and dreaming of for a long time. The advent of the GPS Flight Recorder was what made it possible. He used a Cambridge GPS-NAV to verify the flight. The key to the fast speed was aligning the longest leg with the primary wave. He was able to climb at 300 to 800 feet per minute along the leg while flying at 100 to 120 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS). He did not make any circles or zig-zags, and only a couple of times slowed below 100 KIAS.
(Everyone at the Tehachapi and California City airports wanted to know what Jim's turn points were but he's holding that information close until he can try it again in a two place glider and perhaps get another record. Congratulations to Jim! >ed.)
World's Fastest? 1000 Kilometers in a Glider!
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Revised -- 4 October 1997