From December 26 to 30, 2023, the Gliding Coaching Week unfolded as an enriching experience for pilots eager to push their boundaries in gliding. Aimed at helping pilots fly further and faster away from the airfield, the event combined practical tasks with insightful lectures by seasoned experts.
Advanced Task Setting and Lectures
The week was structured to provide both theoretical knowledge and practical application. President Craig Vinall led the sessions on task setting and weather predictions, utilising various tools including Skysight to provide a comprehensive understanding of how to anticipate and respond to weather changes.
Peter Temple’s session on preparation for pilots, gliders, and trailers, along with lookout techniques when flying, was particularly enlightening, emphasising the importance of thorough preparation for safe and efficient flying.
Another key session was led by Brink van Schalkwyk, focusing on thermal entering and centering. Brink’s lecture was crucial for pilots aiming to refine their skills in efficiently locating and utilising thermals, a fundamental aspect of cross-country gliding.
Participants also benefited from the collective wisdom of various seasoned pilots who contributed their knowledge gained from years of experience, making the event a rich tapestry of shared knowledge.
During the event, dual training was significantly enhanced by the generous contribution of five twin-seat gliders, facilitating an immersive cross-country flying experience. The lineup included an ASH30MI, graciously provided by Bernard Eckey, adding a touch of sophistication to the fleet. The Adelaide Soaring Club made a valuable contribution with its DG 1000, known for their versatility and performance. The Balaklava Gliding Club also participated in the training efforts, providing an additional DG 1000 to the mix. Complementing this array were Waikerie’s Duo and an ASK 21, making them ideal for training purposes. And we thank the instructors and pilots mentoring this diverse collection of gliders, playing a crucial role in enhancing the learning experience for pilots during coaching week.
Weather Challenges and Soaring Success
The week wasn’t without its weather challenges. Day 3 witnessed thunderstorms, marked by an impressive display of lightning. The storms brought little rain and fortunately no damaging winds.
Despite the low weather conditions, the skies were quite soarable, with cumulus clouds ranging from 3,500 to 6,500 feet. This led to a successful week with minimal outlandings, proving the skill and adaptability of the participating pilots.
Gourmet food and Team Efforts
The event was also marked by the exceptional culinary skills of Jason and Sandy Goldup, who manned the kitchen throughout the week. Their generous and delicious meals were a highlight, with Friday’s meal earning a round of applause. The meals were perfectly paired with selections from Craig’s wine club, with the Grenache and Mourvèdre blend being particularly noteworthy.
Acknowledging the Support Team
The successful running of the event was also thanks to the dedicated efforts of the support team. Towing duties were handled by Lloyd, David, Pete, and Andrew, whose efforts were greatly appreciated.
The grounds and housekeeping were managed exceptionally by Gail and Doug, ensuring a comfortable and well-maintained environment for all participants.
Coaching Week incorporates the spirit of learning and fellowship. Combining expert knowledge, practical tasks, and a supportive environment, the event not only enhanced the skills of the participating pilots but also strengthened the bonds within the gliding community. As the week concluded, pilots left not just with improved flying skills, but with memories and friendships that would endure long after the gliders were packed away.
Author: Rodney van den Brink