2026 the Junior Worlds Will Take Place in Germany

Luftsportring Aalen is awarded to host the World Junior Gliding Championships.
2026 the Junior Worlds Will Take Place in Germany

On Saturday, March 2nd, the Luftsportring Aalen was officially awarded the contract by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) to host the 2026 Junior Gliding Championships. The delegates met in Toulouse, France.

The World Junior Gliding Championships will then take place in Elchingen in August 2026. Around 80 pilots with their high-performance gliders and retrieval teams are expected to participate.

Exactly one year ago, the Luftsportring Aalen officially applied to the FAI to host the 2026 Junior Gliding Championships. At that time, the commission had received further bids from Australia and Slovenia. In March 2023, the IGC met in Copenhagen. However, the decision was postponed at that time. This weekend, the delegates met in Toulouse, France. The air sports ring prevailed against a real heavyweight in the international gliding scene. Prievidza in Slovakia. The Slovakian club has already hosted many major international competitions. In contrast to Elchingen, the Slovakians can therefore already boast international experience and the airfield is also somewhat larger than the one in Elchingen. The landscape there is very challenging for air sports. Some of the routes lead through very mountainous terrain in the Fatra and Tatra mountains.

"Right from the start we believed that there is a realistic chance!" is how
Bernd Schmid from Aalen put it immediately after the announcement of the
decision on Saturday morning. He has repeatedly driven the "World Cup in Elchingen" project forward in recent months. Bernd Schmid was in Toulouse together with Tilo Holighaus. Both presented the bid for Elchingen. Together they emphasized the advantages of Aalen. Tilo Holighaus is undisputed internationally. His word carries weight. Insiders reported after the election that LSR Aalen's application, on behalf of the German Aero Club (DAeC), made a very good impression on many officials.

The Team left to right: Timo Elser, Manfred Streicher, Bernd Schmid, Daniel Albrecht, Alfred Rainer, Jonas Schneider, Florian Paul, Michael Kost, Helmut Albrecht.

An international competition is already taking place in Aalen this year

"But since we've never hosted an international competition in Elchingen
before, we should practice a bit. Hold a dress rehearsal, so to speak!" So
Bernd Schmid. That's why the Luftsportring will be hosting a qualifying Grand Prix this year. This means that an international championship will be held in Elchingen for the first time in 2024. The FAI awarded the contract to Elchingen in the fall of 2023. Helmut Albrecht, Chairman of the Luftsportring, adds: "It's basically about conducting the daily events in English. We Swabians can do international too!"

In a Grand Prix, the participants all cross the starting line at the same time. Just like in a sailing regatta. The tasks are completed in approx. 2.5 to 3 hours. The pilot who rounds all the turning points properly and crosses the finish line first is the winner of the day. There will be daily live online coverage via YouTube. "This will be the perfect preparation for hosting a world championship. We are very excited to see who will be coming to Elchingen!" says Albrecht. The reigning world champion in the standard class, Tom Arscott from Great Britain, has already confirmed his attendance. So has the former world champion from Austria, Wolfgang Janowitsch.

A strong signal for the 2026 Junior World Cup

In gliding, pilots up to the age of 25 are considered juniors. It is precisely the junior championships that have become enormously high level in gliding in recent years. The flying style, tactics, and not least the handling of the latest technical possibilities in the cockpit have led to an enormous increase in performance among juniors.

The award of the IGC in Toulouse to LSR Aalen is a highlight in the 70-year history of the Elchingen airfield. Since 1969, major and important gliding championships have been held regularly at the airfield in Elchingen. The first German Gliding Championships took place at Härtsfeld in 1980. The chairman of the LSR Aalen Helmut Albrecht is convinced: "Such an international competition will certainly also be a significant factor for tourism in our area. As the organizer, we can also present the strong economics of East Wuerttemberg with the high-tech sport of gliding!"

As a pilot, Bernd Schmid knows the Ostalb like the back of his hand. As team captain of the German national gliding team, he believes that it will have a positive effect on Germany in general. The FAI and its officials will be able to get a personal impression of the beauty of the Ostalb in Elchingen.

The World Junior Gliding Championships will take place in Elchingen in August 2026. Around 80 pilots with their high-performance gliders and return teams are expected at Härtsfeld. In total, around 450 people. 80 gliders with a large number of highly decorated pilots. On average, participants from 15 nations come to a World Championship.