Bernie glides over Toc.

By Daniel Hughes

The 2020 National Australian Gliding Multi Class Competition at Tocumwal officially came to its end last week.

Competition competitor Bernie Sizer, who grew up in Cobram and currently houses his glider in Tocumwal, competed in the two week long competition.

Mr Sizer flew in the 15m glider category inside his Pik 20 a/b/e.

He left to work in Melbourne in the 80's and after his interest in model gliding planes grew, he decided to make the jump to full size in 2007.

“I grew up in Cobram and moved down to Melbourne for work in 1982,” he said.

“About 12 years ago I moved from model gliders into the full size 15m gliding circuit and learnt I could store my glider in the Tocumwal hanger so I've been doing it ever since.

“My first competition day was during the 2007 Grand Final day between Geelong and Adelaide.

“My first national competition was in January 2012.

“I spend a lot of time practicing on simulators which are very realistic with the technique and methodology of gliding, obviously you don't get the exact feel as being in the cockpit but it is pretty close.

“It's easy for me to store it at Tocumwal since I'm familiar to the area from growing up around here.”

The national competition had 47 gliders pitted against each other for the two weeks and engaged in multiple scenarios from speed to precision flying, which Mr Sizer was able to capitalise on early.

“I got off to a really good start coming first in day one's competition, then followed up with fourth and dropped a sixth position after day three,” Mr Sizer said.

“As the competition advances, the competition will get much more difficult but I'm hoping I can stay competitive.

“At any given time there could be 44 in the air so you have to concentrate the whole time, it's not like cricket where you have to concentrate as a batter for those moments before they bowl and you can switch off.

“With gliding you need to maintain that level of concentration the whole time”

Mr Sizer tries to compete in as many competitions a year as possible but for him, it's more then just winning.

“I will try and get to as many events as I can but it ends up being two or three a year depending on where I am for them.

“I enjoy gliding, it's a passion of mine that I want to continue doing.”

Bernie Sizer was sitting on top of the ladder on 3,714 points with one day of competition left, above Michael Durrant of the Geelong Gliding Club, on 3,657.