My first thoughts about bringring the Page up to date were rudely interrupted but I have a concrete reason/excuse for that!  The result though, provided interesting and varied experiences. Perforce, I will but provide a brief summary of what happened each day.  From May/June, all the gliders had their annuals.  Peter Williams was presented with work to do on the wings of his K6e.  Couldn't find out where to get the rquired glue, then found out that one of our members, Trent Lochhead, worked for the firm which made the stuff.  Problem solved!

4th July:  Four instruction flights.  Annual inspection of gliders underway.

12th Sept: Ten flights - instruction and checks. 

18th Sept:  A 50km triangle set.  Not sure who actually completed it.  Maybe Tim.  Clinton Steele had his first flight in his Discus PV.  Says it goes "OK.  He would later find out just how well it went.

2nd Oct:  A 50km triangle set.  Tim completed the task.  Six flights for the day.

16th Oct:  Eight flights for the day.  Instruction, a BFR and private owners.

23rd Oct:   Seven flights.  Six instruction and one a solo flight in WZ for Peter Williams.

Central Plateau Contest:   30th October to November 2nd.  Variable weather meant the contest was somewhat truncated.  John Tullett 1st in the Sports Class and Dennis Green came 2nd.  Peter Cook was 1st in the Racing Class.  Ross Perry and John Carter unplaced, I think.

7th Nov:  Eight flights.  John Carter converted to the Janus NN.

9th Nov:  A couple of flights for Clinton in his new (to him) Discus.  Gravity won.

20th Nov:  New member Simon Craddock welcomed with a 1:21hr flight in WZ with Tim.  Eight flights for the day, including 2.5hrs for John Tullett in his K6e and 1:5hrs for Clinton Steele in PV.    

27th Nov:  An hour for Will Hopkirk in TE.  Trent Lochhead busy again.  Dennis Green and John Carter enjoying of more that 1:30 in TE and NN.  Bylan Miller"s flight followed by an excellent debriefing from Peter Williams.  Seven flights for the day.

1st Dec:  A new tow pilot!!  Nathan Busby put through the hoops by Tim Hardwick - Smith and Glyn Jackson.  Nathan did a couple tows solo after having done a few tows at the glider end of the rope.  Everyone happy as was Trent Lochhead who finished off the day.  Six tows for the day.

22nd Dec:  John Carter gave himself a Christmas present in the form of a DG100 -GUY- as his ASW15 had been grounded.  Two flights

Now here follows the second of three stories by Rod Smith.  He captures well, the experience of a trip to Benalla, all of thirty-two years ago.


Rod Smith - At Benalla

His account of a Taranaki Gliding Club group that went to Benalla in January 1990.

                        A Day In The Life Of a Cross-Country Pilot

After the checks and spins in the IS 28 which goes into a spin like greased lightning, (the circuits in this glider was full flaps and minimum circuit speed of 55 knots), a check flight in their Motor Falke(which flies like a brick), and a paddock landing in the IS 28, we then went into the cross-country course with enthusiasm. Briefings in the morning and flying in the afternoon..


Friday the 2nd.

One of the most memorable flights was the Lead and Follow. John Williamson in the Janus (his call-sign was Magpie). Magpie launched first, aerotowed to 800ft, released and proceeded to climb in lift. After Rangi launched and whilst I waited for my aerotow, everyone heard "Golf Tango, wheel up!". A few moments later, "Ranjee! Put your wheel up!"

After we had established ourselves in lift, Magpie would call us up. "Ranjee, where are you?" The reply "I'm at 5000ft." "Rod, where are you?" I replied, "I'm at 4500ft." "Well I'm at 1500ft, should be with you soon." Fifteen minutes later, "Ranjee, where are you?" "I'm at 6000ft." "Rod, where are you?" "I'm at 5500ft." "Well I'm at 1700ft and I will be with you in a moment." John Williamson, who was the manager of The Gliding Club of Victoria at Benalla, is, by our terms, a professional glider pilot who has represented the homeland a few times, not to mention the speed to fly calculator and other sundry items.

We were under way on our first cross-country, which took us up to Yarrawonga, across to the Warbys, (a range of scrubby hills) then back to Benalla. The interesting part of the flight was that the range of height we worked was between three to four thousand feet. When flying behind the other two gliders you got a real perspective of what was happening. You could see the leader sinking, then Rangi's glider would follow through the air mass and go downwards and then my glider would do the same. Whilst I was in the sinking air the first glider would fly through rising air and gain height of two or three hundred feet and then we would do the same.
Magpie would ignore thermals and you would see your height winding off the altimeter and you would be thinking we must climb this thermal. Straight through we flew until our height was down to 3000ft. Then to our relief, "Magpie turning right, I've got a boomer." We would gain maybe 500ft in four turns. You then heard, "Magpie pressing on."

Like a big streamer flying through the sky you would follow. It was magic. The whole exercise was 120km long and all we had to do was follow the leader. He found the thermals, he told us when to turn and when to press on. Just pure bloody magic. It showed us that we could do it.

We had our gliders booked from Monday to Friday and we had the weekends free. Saturday was boring, so on Sunday the 4th, we hauled out four gliders and D. I 'ed them. Ranjee, John and myself knocked off our fifty clicks Km) out to Katamatite and back to Benalla, a round trip of 120kms. Bob flew to Katamatite, Euroa and home. The next day, the three of us knocked off our 300 clicks, Balldale/Jerilderie/Benalla. A distance of 318kms.

On Tuesday 6th:   Rangi knocked off his 500 clicks while I went to the Rock and back, 360kms. John Tullett was the official observer for John Williamson who was attempting to break the British speed record for a 750km triangle. He missed by six minutes! On Wednesday, John and I tried for our 500km triangle but encountered twentyfive knot headwinds on our way to The Rock, which slowed our progress. We terminated the attempt at Lake Urana and headed for home. This left us about 120km short of our target.

The weather packed a real sad on the last three days, preventing us from trying to complete our last task. CB's and lightning, the likes that you've never seen before.


Well, does it take guts to fly cross-country? Not really, most pilots can hack it, I suppose some can't. This cross-country experience would never have happened if it hadn't have been for one mild mannered gentleman. Thankyou "Sir Bob!"

Rod Smith

March 1990

Those taking part in this trip were- Bob Struthers
                                                               John Tullett
                                                               Rodney Smith
                                                               Rangi de Abaffy




That should do though I hope I've not missed too much bout.

Papa Mike