Melbourne Gliding Club Camps
The Melbourne Gliding Club has two annual camps away from Bacchus Marsh. Traditionally, at Easter we travel to Mt Beauty, and over the summer holidays the Club travels to Wangaratta. Each camp has a different focus, as outlined below.
All club members from novice to advanced are encouraged to attend camps. The flying that can be done on camps is based on experience and qualifications, as explained later.
Mt Beauty Camp
Mt Beauty is situated in the picturesque alpine region of north-east Victoria. It offers a great scenic and mountain flying experience. The highest mountain in Victoria, Mt Bogong, is situated 5 km from the airfield, though you have to climb 5,000 feet to reach the summit. Mt Buffalo is to the west and Falls Creek is to the south. The camp officially runs from Good Friday until Easter Monday but if the weather looks good and there is enough interest from members then the camp can be extended until the following Saturday. Accommodation options vary from camping and caravan sites, to motel suites and house rentals but book early as Easter is one of Mt Beauty’s busiest tourist periods.
Our excellent host for this camp for over 25 years is the Mt Beauty Gliding Club. They are a friendly mob who hosts an annual Easter barbeque on the airfield. They also offer a winch launching experience. There are no tasks set for this camp; it is very much a social and family orientated event. There are often meals/barbeques hosted at club member’s accommodation. Within the town’s boundaries there are wineries, restaurants, bakeries, and bike hire. For the more adventurists, there are walking tracks to the summit of Mt Bogong. And the tourist town of Bright, just over 30 minutes drive through the Tawonga gap, is renowned for its Easter markets.
What to bring? The family; summer and winter clothing; log book; maps; and enthusiasm.
This camp is again in north-eastern Victoria but the flying is different and a bit more serious as our focus is cross country flying over the northern low country during the hot summer period (30-45oC). The camp is based at the Wangaratta Aerodrome terminal building (air-conditioned!). The camp commences Boxing Day and finishes when the last tug and pilot depart (generally 10 days or so). In the past we have relocated to Benalla after the last Melbourne Gliding Club tug has departed. Club members are encouraged to achieve cross country badge flights, personal-best flights, and record flights.
Each day there are thorough briefings given by experienced cross country pilots for weather, task settings, safety issues, and glider allocation for the next day.
Social activities include meals at local pubs and restaurants and a Melbourne Gliding Club New Years Eve dinner in the Wangaratta aerodrome terminal. From a tourist perspective, nearby is historic Glen Rowan (Ned Kelly country) and wineries.
There is plenty of accommodation in the town from budget motels and house rentals. Plus the airfield has camping and caravan facilities at a low cost - prior booking is required for this option. For more information on the camping option and contacts please contact email@example.com
What to bring: summer clothing - be prepared for hot weather!; log book; maps; and enthusiasm.
Expeditions / Independent operations
Want to fly somewhere different? As a club member if you want to take an aircraft away to a gliding event as private hire there is not a problem. You need to have fulfilled independent operator’s requirements as per the GFA Manual of standard operating procedures (MOSOP) and Melbourne Gliding Club requirements. If you want to organise an expedition at a site and date other than normal club camps involving club aircraft and members, then put the proposal to the ops panel.
Gliding is a labour intensive sport, but the flying rewards are many!
Even with all the technology available – GPS; computer generated weather forecasts; soaring specific analyses of conditions; awesome cockpit technology; aerodynamics etc. - gliders still can’t move on the ground without a bit of old fashioned human effort. This also applies to the moving of equipment and aircraft to the various camps and expeditions. Although at times we ferry a two-seat glider behind a tug to the camp we still require up to four gliders plus the expeditions trailer to be taken to the camp and return by road. There is no sugar coating with this task. Single seat gliders in trailers can weigh up to 1,000 kg; two-seat gliders in trailers can weigh up to 1,500 kg; and the expedition trailer up to 1,000 kg. We do offer several incentives to encourage members to attach a club trailer to the back of their car (taking into account the maximum tow rate of the vehicle). The compensation is having first allocation of the aircraft you towed up to the camp on the day you want, or being reimbursed 0.10 cents per km whilst towing the glider trailer.
Pilot’s requirements for camps and expeditions
To fly as pilot in command in a single seat glider (or in the case of a mutual flight) pilots must be rated and current in the aircraft they will be flying in. As an early pilot, pre-solo, you can still fly and enjoy flying at camps with an experienced pilot. Post-solo pilots who wish to fly at a site other than Bacchus Marsh must have a site check with an instructor. Unless you are cross country endorsed, you are restricted to the local area.There are no annual checks conducted at Club camps, so pilots must ensure they are:
- within the 12 month validity for their annual check;
- current on the aircraft they wish to fly;
- all documents are current including, a cross country check list, charts, and log book.