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Leeton Gliding Club


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A special general meeting was held last Sunday to vote on a proposed change to the constitution of the club.


The proposal was to delete references to the G.F.A. in the constitution and generally make the club accessible to all forms of aviation.


The motion was passed unanimously on the voices by the members and then the meeting was closed.


The meeting had lasted about three minutes.



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Guest Juliette Lima

Hi Ross,




I presume the gliding guys would still function under the GFA policies and procedures relating to their general operations, training requirements and CFI's etc.?


Another question...


So in essence, the gliding club has extended its membership to us lesser mortals......If so, could the option of genuine spin training and real 'engine outs' be offered to pilots who know the theory but have yet to learn what to do in a real life situation ?


Sounds like a good move all round.







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In answer to the previous post it should not affect the opertion of any gliding activity at Leeton either by the Leeton Aviators or by any visiting gliding organisations. They will just operate under their GFA rules and provide the required people.


At present Leeton does not have any current gliding instructors or any other type of instructor that I know of..


This has been a long process with the club being threatened with being wound up a couple of years ago and loosing the assets from the local community. Like many gliding clubs the membership and activity had peaked in the late seventies or early eighties and then gradually declined as members had "been there done that" and the pressure from family of competing activities etc. There were only about two or three members at this critical stage.


So we had a meeting of "all interested in aviation" two years ago to save the club and make it more friendly to all types of aviators. So about forty people joined up which included a number of original members (non active flyers) plus probably at least twenty non gliding pilots who were generally younger.


We thought we would make changes in one or two special meetings to change the constitution which we did not even have a copy of at that stage. After staightening out the books and obtaining a copy of the constitution we eventually discovered that due to the way the original constitution was framed all the non GFA members that joined the club could not be part of any committee unless they joined the GFA and probably could not vote on changing the constitution. Many of the new members had been elected to the committees at that original rejuvination meeting two years ago . So most of those new members had to vacate their committee positions and subsequently left the club due to the slow progress.


The intention of the successful change to the constitution last Sunday is to provide an organisation for any type of legal flying activity with the only proviso being that a member of the club has to be a member of their particular organisation like GFA, RAAus, HGFA etc and adhere to the rules of their respective parent organisation.


I don't know how that could be overseen or enforced or even if the club should really concern itself with those details but I guess it is trying to make all pilots responsiblle for their own actions.


This is a contrast from how the club operated under GFA rules where normal operations could not take place unless there was an instructor on site who controlled the operation and essentially had to approve every flight athough there was provision for endorsement as an "independent operator" for all appropriately qualified GFA pilots.


It is a bit like the subtle change in my log book last Saturday. I asked Wally, CFI at Narranera, if I should put his name as PIC during the BFR flight in his Jabiru J230c. He said NO, he was only there to check me and was not responsible for what I did as the pilot of the A/C. He still endorsed the log book for the BFR with his name and instructor number though.



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Guest airsick
The intention of the successful change to the constitution last Sunday is to provide an organisation for any type of legal flying activity with the only proviso being that a member of the club has to be a member of their particular organisation like GFA, RAAus, HGFA etc and adhere to the rules of their respective parent organisation.

What about GA pilots? They have no 'parent' organisation...



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Are not they blessed with CASA direct?


As far as I am aware all the parent organisations operate under delegated authority from CASA which could be revoked at a moments notice if the minister thought fit to do so.


We already have a few GA pilot members including the local AG pilots and a couple of others who have been long term members for a number of years.



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Guest Juliette Lima

Hi Ross,


My First great love lived in Leeton, on a farm in Wamoon.....but that was a looong time ago.


Hav'nt flown (gliders) in Leeton, mostly Mangrove Mtn., Hunter Valley (an eight hour flight....still could'nt pee for an hour afterwards), and the delightful Lake Keepit....(during Ian Mc Phee's time).


Miss 'pulling the bung' at 1200' and fluffing around for hours at between 5000'-10000'.


Never got involved in comps ....just fun.


Do you soar ?...I imagine Leeton would be a glider pilots delight....the lass from Wamoon was!


Its looking delightful outside, got to choose between going for a row or flying a drifter.


Best wishes.





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I only remember one female club member off a farm in Wamoon!


I used to fly club sail-planes but basically around Ltn. Plenty of good outlanding sites. Finished up with about 200 hours with only two forced outlandings but a number of other outlandings for training with aerotows etc.


I did not compete solo in the state or international competitions but did so once as a team member club pilot sharing one of the club two seaters usually with a novice in the passenger seat in the state comps.


Longest flight was in a Club Libelle for a 300k Diamond Goal LTN, Junee, West Wyalong, Ltn for a duration of 6 hours. Must have been the slowest 300 k on record but the time was not important then, just getting around as that was my only major achievement after the Silver C.


A test flight and solo in a visiting Nimbus and Janus showed me what a near top performance Sailplane was like to fly - just incredible compared to our main club gliders the Club Libelle 1/32, L13 Blanik 1/28, Es52 Mk IV Kookaburra maybe 1/25. Although we eventually bought others which I flew as well plus a number of visiting sailplanes.


Gave it away with pressure fom family and health.


The empty nest and retirement fixed the family pressure eventually and a couple of St Vincents sessions has fixed the health bit.


So then took up RAAus flying in a Jab at YGTH followed by purchasing J160 kit a year or so later which I am still in the process of assembling.



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Guest Juliette Lima

Hi Ross,


Good for you building a J160....bit beyond me I'm afraid.


Never did get to fly any high performance ships like the Nimbus and Janus....must have been special for you. I was never up to that level.


Did however own a club Libelle, Slingsby Dart and a Bergfalke 3, and loved each of them.


The love of my life from Wamoon was'nt a pilot, and I'm talking early to mid sixties...


1965 I think....Last I heard she had married a school tercher and had five kids, or was it six???


Best of luck with your project .....Keep us posted.







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G'd evening, Ross.


Wimmera Soaring Club at Horsham went through much the same mill as you have done.


We were lucky as we got the chance about 4 years ago and chance it was, to amalgamate with a very small group of aspiring ultra light pilots who were also in trouble and trying to stay viable.


We agreed to buy a second hand 55 series Jab and our activity picked up very rapidly.


We have since changed our constitution and our name to the "Horsham Flying Club" to cover all flying activities and types and incorporated with the Vic incorporation set up instead of with ASIC which was getting impossible to operate under for a small club.


We might have done better with numbers but the local aero club saw us really pulling new members and that little Jab was being worked pretty hard so they got off their GA horse and brought two Tecnams which they have worked pretty hard due to a very active RAA instructor in the aero club.


"We fly real aeroplanes" was actually written in a letter about and denigrating Ultralight / LSA's by another of the aero clubs in the regional group, not our locals, although the regional group have since acquired a GA registered LSA so technically this regional group are still flying GA.


We actually have a good relationship with and some cross membership with our local across the taxiway aeroclub so some friendly rivalry keeps us all on our toes.


Horsham Flying Club is doing quite OK though and now own a J230 used for aerotowing, a J120 which is a gem and real popular plus a Janus CM, Twin Astir and a single seat Pegase and money in the bank.


Plus we have had an Esqual and J230 and a J170 kits completed and flying plus two Lightnings under construction by our guys and more kits a possibility if we ever get some decent seasons around here and some money back into the rural areas.


Providing there is give and take between the power and gliding guys there is no problems but this is not always the case as I believe a big city club may be splitting after going down the ultralight route as the power side as a bloc apparently refused to purchase a new glider.


And it's not all one sided either I hear.


In our case, nearly all the glider pilots including returnees have now got their RAA ticket and a couple of the RAA pilots have taken up the gliding side of things with a few more looking at the gliding both as a skill and because of the much lower per hour cost of flying.


We had trouble sorting out a number of things with our J230 tug's towing abilities but the problems have now been fixed by Jabiru and now there is always a bit of a competition by the gliding / RAA tug pilots as to who will get to tow with the J230 tows averaging around the 9 to 10 minutes for the chock to chock standard 2000 ft tow with the heavy two seat Twin Astir.


There is actually a very good overlap as the glider / GFA pilots have one hell of a lot of knowledge on weather and flying techniques and a certain flying discipline from operating as interdependent and peer pressure group whereas the RAA plots can just go off and do their own thing and it is very easy that sometimes the individual RAA pilot discipline falls by the wayside.


The RAA pilots in turn have navigation and much tighter radio discipline and other skills to pass onto the glider pilots.


The amalgamation has worked extremely well for us but we also work at keeping it that way as well.


A small and insignificant thing can often make the difference.


In our case we only have a small club room in the back of our hangars.


A small room where everybody has to sit around the same table after flying or just to swap lies stops the two different groups going off into their separate corners and thats when trouble starts.


It also allows for a free flow of ideas and info [and bull dust !] back and forth between the pilots of all disciplines


Sorry for the long discourse.


The best of luck and Cheers from the HFC.



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For JL I was not really up to the Nimbus or Janus either only having one flight in each but I can still vividly remember the flights as being absolutely magical compared to what I was used to flying at the time. The only trouble is that the vivid memory of two flights is becoming like the "not so vivid" memory of one flight being unable to distinguish between the check flight in the two seater and the flight in the Nimbus.


The scale of the operation here at LEETON nowadays is nothing like that at Horsham at this stage of the game but I am envious of the situation you are mostly enjoying there.


After letting my GFA ticket lapse, I did my RAAus conversion at Griffith with the Griffith Aero Club which had just started to cross hire a Jab LSA at the time. Griffith Aero Club was basically a GA club owning a number of GA planes with a number of others available for hire. As my GFA tickets had lapsed I did not get credit for the 8 hours and 192 hours flying experience that I had respectively in GA and gliders


I had driven over there 60 km to start and waited around for most of the day to get a flight and after signing away the first $2,000 if I stacked the plane, joined the club paying all the RAAus stuff at the time and was eventually asked if I wanted a TIF. I said NO. Start the instructional flights now, today! So I got my first flight in a Jab with the instructor eventually telling me quite a few months later not to keep landing on the numbers! I must have been missing them most of the time up 'till then!


I was surprised to find out later that I was the first student in that factory built Jab which had about five hours on the clock when I started. I think that I might also have been the first RAAus (ctually AUF) student of that instructor, Ben Jones, at the time. Ben has since been hired by REX and joined their training program which I think he has now completed. After being used to aircraft like L13 Blaniks and Is 28s flying the Jab at a stable speed was difficult and took me a quite while to be happy with it - hence the eventual J160 kit decision supposedly a longer A/C but it did have larger tail feathers than the earlier Jabs.


After getting my Certificate and the establishment of Wally Rudin in Narrandera only about 25 km away, I now do my flying, at least until I complete my J160, at Narrandera in Wally's J230c. I found the J230c much nicer to fly than the smaller Jab LSA. I still have my $2,000.


The Griffith club gained from many of the local GA pilots wanting to get their RAAus conversions but this also resulted in a loss of utilisation of the GA fleet. So the Griffith Aero Club was on the verge of extinction early this year with the loss of the CFI and two other Intructors to other more lucrative aerial pursuits. The local economy was and is still drastically affected by very large reductions in the annual water allocations to the local irrigation farmers who are the backbone of the local economy in Griffith as well as Leeton. These reductions have been getting worse each year for the last five or six years.


I think the Griffith Aero Club has rationalised it's A/C fleet, now has a Tecnam available for students and the original Jabiru owner now has a RAAus instructor rating and one of the local AG plane operators has returned to be GA CFI at the club. The CFI is the one who has built the fishing boat that occupied a hanger at YGTH for many years - the boat is still on the field and will eventually be based in Port Fairy.


Murrumbidgee (Narrandera) Aero Club has the advantage of not owning anything except a small Club house that was destroyed in a storm and rebuilt with the insurance money. A number of the members own their own A/C GA and mostly RAAus which are parked in the council owned hanger a legacy of the RAAF training program during WWII. The Club also gets the advantage of most of Wally's students at Narrandera as members during their training at least.


Long enough





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One point I do remember of that first and only winch launched solo flight in the Nimbus with it's 18 or 19 metre wing span was thinking about three quarters of the way up the launch that the seat was too far back.


I spotted the seat adjustment on the RHS which you unclip and allow the seat to slide forward - the only trouble was that I was foregetting that the attitude was about a thirty degree climb or felt like it so as soon as I released the catch the seat with me on it immediately slid to it's most rearward setting.


Now I could not even touch the rudder pedals!


Shortly afterwards I released the winch cable after I had pushed the nose over releasing some tension on the winch wire and immediately heard the sound of the audible rising air indicator VSI so banked into a left turn then watched the ball on the slip and skid indicator slide from one side to the other without making any pauses near the middle. I eventually got the seat back in the right place and gave myself a rapid lesson in coordinating the rudder and aileron and eventually could keep the ball close to the middle.


I must have been extremely lucky that day because at the end of each 360 degree turn in that thermal (no matter where the ball was residing) which the aircraft had encountered as soon as we released from the winch despite my flying the a/c had gained about 1,000 feet in altitude. Four turns was enough to fly to Yanco and return and land after a very large circuit at over 100 knots with height to spare - there was a line up of members waiting to fly it!


There were many flights in less efficient a/c where I had to tap the altimeter lightly to see if we were gaining any height - as all glider pilots know basically a glider is always descending (loosing energy) when not being towed or pushed by an engine, a tug or a winch so the trick is to find air that is going up faster than your sink rate in that air.


Normally engine vibration in GA or RAAus A/c is enough to keep an altimeter moving that would stick for 20 feet or more in a glider w/o some encouragement.





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Good Onya Ross


have enjoyed very much reading this thread, brings back some memories, learnt in a Blanik and then a C172 at Tumut, did a ground school at Brobenah in84 or 5, went for a fly in the Kooka at the end of the week and came away with a form 2 inspection authority.


My now wife learnt to fly at Griffith and got to know some of the lads there ! Usually refuel there on the way to Mittagong when visiting family, haven't been for a while. No rain No Work No Fuel money, gets us all!


Now train in the Jamestown Flying Group's J230, what a great ship, what do I have to do to get my glider tow rating back, used to have a GA one many years ago, mostly in a C182. Would love to revisit some spin training etc sounds like Horsham is the place!


Lovin It


Cheers Guy



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