Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
3:23 pm EST
Monday, January 24, 2022

Groveland airport to host 2020 hang gliding world championships

From left, Groveland Councilman Mike Smith, Lake County Commissioner Tim Sullivan, co-organizer Davis Straub, Wilotree Field co-owner Eric Williams, co-organizer Belinda Boulter, and Groveland Mayor Evelyn Wilson announce plans Thursday for the hang-gliding championships. // City of Groveland photo

A global event has fallen from the sky to benefit the city of Groveland.

The 2020 World Hang Gliding Championships will be hosted by Paradise Air Sports at Wilotree Field, 6548 Groveland Airport Road. The world championships are scheduled for April 19-May 1, 2020. The airport also will host this year’s pre-world trials from April 13-19.

Co-organizer Belinda Boulter made the announcement Thursday on behalf of Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), or the World Air Sports Federation, which is the governing body of hang gliding, according to a news release. She is guiding the event with her husband, Davis Straub, who has set numerous hang-gliding world records and publishes “The Oz Report,” an online publication for hang-gliding enthusiasts.

They will organize four competitions: FAI World Hang Gliding Sports Class Championship, FAI Women’s World Hang Gliding Class 1 Championship, and FAI World Hang Gliding Class 5 and Class 2 Championships.

About 125 pilots from 20 countries, including Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Italy, and the United Kingdom, will compete in the pre-world trials.

“Hang-glider pilots from all over the world love to come and fly in the Florida conditions of smooth thermals and long distances over open pastures,” Davis says in the release.

Officials from Lake County and Groveland wrote letters of support that helped secure the bid.

“Lake County is proud to add this event to a growing number of sports championships that have found a home here in ‘Real Florida,’” says Lake County Commissioner Tim Sullivan, who also serves as chairman of the Tourist Development Council.

“The city of Groveland looks forward to welcoming these competitors and fans from around the world,” Groveland Mayor Evelyn Wilson says in the release.