What a week, after I attended the coaching week, an event that’s a “must do” for all pilots proposing to fly cross country…..the next great step in soaring, I found my self sticking around to see how the serious guys do it.
Not only was the experience fascinating, this gave me the opportunity to meet the competitors on a social level around the awesome facilities that Waikerie has to offer, It’s I guess just like a gliding resort if there is such a thing.., offering airconditioned accommodation that steps out onto irrigated mowed green lawn, where in the evening I would sit under the pergola that stretches the full length of the club house looking east onto the tiedown area, with the setting sun behind and in the cool shade, the pastel colors drew a beautiful picture of all the sailplanes lined up on 2 cables across that green lawn, with a vintage red courtesy of Craig Vinall….simply perfect.
The members kitchen is always a hub of activity in the mornings and evenings, I opted for the traditional coffee, where some would make fully cooked breakfast prior to preparing their gliders for the days racing task, everyone could accommodate a section within the 3 large refrigerators and pigeon holes dedicated for dry goods.
Keith (from Bordertown) who clocked up his 583rd 5hr flight that week would always be there super organized and focused, what a gentleman, and what a story he has to tell, I hope he writes an autobiography preserving the gliding adventures he was so privileged to have experienced taking him through America, Europe, England, Australia and Soviet Russia, I believe attended over 23 world comps from everywhere around the globe over the past 50 or so years.
Briefing at 10am everyday gave everyone that extra bit of time to prepare, briefing covered the various tasks both the A task and the B task in the event conditions changed. Brian would cover the meteorological variables that then determined what Craig prepared for the racing day. An urn for coffee and tea was always ready to go and freely available for all. And baskets of fresh fruit available on the bar together with the dinner list to assist with determining the numbers to cater for that evening.
The launches were very well coordinated with Bill Mudge at the helm, his experience managing multiple gliding events together with the tug pilots in the 2 powerful Pawnees, wing runners, cable catchers, timekeepers and crew made every day an efficient start.
I made photos of everything that have been uploaded on the Waikerie Gliding Clubs new website to be published sometime in March, so look out for that one.
Every night the main kitchen provided dinner for around 25 meals including dessert, Nigel and Heather Baker prepared their traditional “pigs in blankets” a sausage mignon served with a creamy gravy laden with mushrooms, Yum, and both Lyn’s provided the best hand made salads and desserts to accompany every main course changing them everyday throughout the Comp. Craig prepared his traditional Paella baby-sitting the risotto until perfectly caramelised while he would Sip a glass of earthy, meaty Châteauneuf-du-Pape alongside. Whereas I opted for the traditional BBQ Lamb and Halloumi Skewers, Pork Mignon, Local lean beef Snags and Field mushrooms, Shirley prepared an awesome lasagna among many more meals, finishing up with the presentation dinner with more than 30 in attendance.
After attending both events back to back, I had clocked 41.3rs over the 2 weeks and was able to meet the likes of David Pietsch who started his Jet engine on his JS 1 Revelation one morning prompting me to scramble for the keys to the golf buggy and shoot over to his hangar and check it out.
I managed to chat with Peter Temple on several occasions, and simply put, Peter inspired me, his natural aptitude for soaring both in competitions and cross country is impressive, and congratulations to Peter for his winning 1st place in the comp.
The camaraderie was amazing, and I look forward to catching up once again, my official score as follows:
By Rodney van den Brink VH-IKS