Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Waikerie Happenings, December 2010/January 2011

Following the successful 2010 SA State Comps in November, the Waikerie Gliding Club was preparing to send a small contingent of members to Narromine for Joeyglide 2010, accompanied by the Club’s AS K21. A problem existed in as much as the AS K21 trailer construction was complete – including the fittings for the glider – but the glider had not actually been fitted to the trailer.

With only a few days before the scheduled departure for Narromine, a small band of Club members were at Waikerie completing the fitting on Sunday 5th December. Progress advanced until late in the afternoon when a thunderstorm arrived – with heavy rain and wind, resulting in a localized power failure – which stopped work – no welder, grinder, lights.

Later on Sunday evening Terry Cubley called to inquire whether the Waikerie Club could host Joeyglide 2010 – scheduled to start in less than a week on 11 December.
A few phone calls were made to secure the necessary help – and the commitment was made to host the Junior Nationals. Here we are now in mid January 2011 – and the trailer still isn’t finished.

The first Junior entrants arrived on Wednesday 8th December.
Joeyglide was a memorable event – we had the opportunity to meet a great bunch of people, including Gus Stewart (CD), Grant Johnson (Safety Officer) and Neville Donald, Paul Mander – and all of the contestants. After 2 practice days there were six straight days of competition.

The thoughts of the group at Waikerie were regularly refocused back onto the eastern States – where continued heavy rain and flooding was taking an increasing impact on people, property and infra-structure – not to mention gliding activity.

After a great week, Andrew Maddocks was declared the contest winner in a tightly fought race. Congratulations to Matthew Scutter and Laim Donald who got so close.
Our congratulations to all the Joeyglide entrants for a great week. Around 65 people attended the Presentation Dinner on Saturday evening.

With a few days break for Christmas, the SA Coaching Week commenced on 27th December. A group of around 12 sailplanes entered this event under the direction of Cath Conway.

Many pilots achieved their established goals during the period – with some :first” cross-countries, attainment of 50 Km flights and C Certificates. Coaches for the event included Bernard Eckey, Cath Conway, Swanje Geyer, Derek Spencer and Terry Cubley.

The Waikerie Gliding Club has a large number of Japanese members, who arrived on 26th or 27th December for their annual pilgrimage to Waikerie. These members, who largely do their own thing in respect of the flying, participated in the discussions and briefings.

After a week of variable weather, Coaching Week wound up on Saturday 1st January – after a great New Years Eve celebration.

Sunday 2nd January was scheduled as a “practice day” for the 2011 SA State Comps – yes, soon after the 2010 SA State Comps.
Monday 3rd saw the Competition get underway in earnest, with the following entrants / sailplanes,
Graeme Parker (AS G29), Craig Vinall (AS G29), Colin Stauss (Mosquito), Bjorn Rechinger (LS-3), Grant Hudson (LS-4), Greg Jackson (LS-4), Peter Paine (LS-7), Tom Leach (DG1000), Matthew Scutter (LS-4), Michael Scutter (Discus).

The weather conditions for the competition ranged from mediocre to excellent – resulting in some memorable flights. The last day was abandoned due to a shower or two of rain. In the eastern states, and particularly Queensland, the rains continued to fall in unimaginable volumes across large areas.

The impact of the earlier eastern states’ rain is now evident in the River Murray at Waikerie and the towns downstream – all the way to the Murray mouth. Water now lies in areas where water has not been seen for 15 – 20 years.

The scoring was again very capably undertaken by Joy and Tim Shirley, to whom we extend our sincere thanks.

Graeme Parker won the Competition and received the Winners Trophy. Colin Stauss from the Balaklava Gliding Club was awarded the most Meritorious Effort Trophy.

There were a number of important Visitors to Waikerie during this period

  • Simon Hackett (Internode), the major sponsor of Joeyglide visited during the Junior Nationals.
  • Nev Donald and Grant Johnson with the Joeyglide organization.
  • Paul Mander, also with the Joeyglide group.
  • All the Joeyglide entrants, plus Nick Gilbert, Adam Wooley, and those who attended in support.
  • Mrs Lee Badcock (whose father assisted with the construction of the Pelican in years passed) visited and donated photographs, press cuttings and various items of memorabilia to the Club.
  • Werner Van Euw and Dean Ward visited for a week with their DG500 from Camden.
  • Pam & Gerrit Kerstjens
  • John & Pam Buchanan
  • Mac McTainsh called from New Zealand. Mac is a past member of the Club.
  • Rob and Reg Moore.

As we headed home after a busy few weeks, our thoughts and concerns returned to Queensland. On behalf of all Waikerie Gliding Club members – and all of the South Australian gliding community, I extend our best wishes for a speedy recovery from what must be a very traumatic period.

John Hudson

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