During the 5-13th Dec 2014 I was in Narromine at Joey Glide flying high in the skies with renowned coaches across Australia learning cross country skills. As a junior this event was extremely worthwhile as you will be able to see below in my report.
To catch a glimpse of some experiences attained at Joey Glide 2014- check out my video at- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OXrYJJwtIk or visit the Joey Glide webpage http://joeyglide.juniorsoaring.com.au
If any junior wants to find out more information about Joey Glide, feel free to contact me!
Joey Glide 2014
A Coachees Perspective
In early 2014 my local gliding club (Hunter Valley, NSW) hosted a cross-country lecture for junior gliders, where Joey Glide ambassadors Adam Webb, Nick and Andy Maddocks and David Stewart dressed in their long robes, provided an entertaining introduction on the opportunities available for junior pilots. Their previous experiences in Joey Glide events was inspiring and from that moment I was determined to attend Joey Glide in December 2014. I had never flown cross country before so enrolled as a “coachee” where I was able to learn first-hand from experienced coaches. No matter how much gossip you may hear about Joey Glide, you really need to attend to see just how much fun and educational it actually is!
After driving for the majority of the day to reach Narromine the car received a decent wash as we entered the town and drove through a storm front. I was not only concerned that we may not be able to fly the next day but also worried about my tent and camping during stormy weather. On the first night my tent mates and I scurried in the dark and pouring rain to tarp and tie down our tent in an attempt to secure a hole in the roof that was leaking while being photographed and laughed at by onlookers.
The following day all coachees met in designated hangars at 8:00am to DI (daily inspection) the gliders with our coaches. My first coach was Shinzo who has over 10,000 gliding hours and is an absolute legend! Each morning began with a briefing at 9:30am covering items such as safety matters, fines and the most in-depth weather forecast I have heard. On the first day the weather wasn’t looking favorable so the coachees assisted the competition pilots launch their gliders. Everyone was so nice and willing to have a chat even though this was their first day of competition – if that was me, I would be stressing!
After all the gliders had been launched we headed back to the clubhouse for an in-depth lecture on map reading. Later that day became interesting as an approaching storm front forced many competition pilots to land quickly and tie down, with coachees assisting wherever they could to secure aircraft.
The following day was a reattempt of the first day’s task. Airborne for the first time, seeing Narromine and the patchwork paddock layout of surrounding farmland in a Duo Discus was truly amazing. During the 200 km task with Shinzo and with sufficient height gained through thermalling we travelled northwest leaving the comfort of knowing where the airstrip was and relying on our map and soaring skills. After a big day of flying, the night was wrapped up with a game of trivia, which was good opportunity to interact with the competition pilots.
My second flight was with coach Derek Spencer in a Twin Astair to consolidate and put into practice what Shinzo had taught me yesterday and to include Derek’s knowledge on top.
The following morning I helped Andy Maddocks prepare his Arcus glider for a 1,000km task. Just thinking about this distance is astonishing and regrettable Andy missed out on completing the task by a mere 20kms. My flight today was with Larz in his Arcus M, one of the newest gliders I have come across and the first to fly with flaps. We managed to reach 10,000 ft +, hovering below and skimming the cloud base, covering a total distance of 250kms.
During the week we were all treated with an aerobatic display from a Roulette which was astonishing. To top this off, we also had access to an F/A 18 Super Hornet Simulator and since I wasn’t listed to fly today this was my opportunity to try my flying skills in a fast jet. These guys were probably expecting that we could handle the simulator considering we were well-trained glider pilots! In the afternoon, storms started to develop and I had a feeling there were going to be some out-landings so I waited around the clubhouse hoping to assist with a retrieve. We travelled for quite some time passing many road trains to retrieve the grateful pilot, Michael Conway from a stubble paddock.
I was looking forward to getting back and having one of Beryl’s great dinners. By 10pm that night several people were still out retrieving others from outlandings and one party were trying to work out how to retrieve a glider on the opposite side of a creek to the trailer.
During the briefing the next morning we discussed some outlandings, discovering that one pilot had landed in a paddock only 200m away from an airstrip. Funnily a British pilot was fined $2 when he quoted during his outlanding that he “met some wild Australians in their natural habitat!” With poor weather for soaring, the day was cancelled allowing us some time to chill out and relax with some lawn bowls in the afternoon.
During our morning briefing NSW National Party Leader and member for Dubbo Troy Grant visited. Today provided excellent weather for soaring and with Larz in his Arcus M we completed a task covering 300kms. During the evening we sat in on the Australian Junior Gliding Club annual meeting, which was a good opportunity to hear about the progress of junior gliding in Australia.
My final flight of Joey Glide was one of the best and a perfect note to end on. It was time to consolidate everything I had learnt into one flight and to have fun! During the evening everyone was de-rigging, saddened that the competition had come to an end. I assisted a pilot from Sweden, David Gustavsson and his girlfriend Elin, who were rapt with our tremendous flying conditions we have in Australia. After a fly-past by a RAAF Globemaster - the elephant of the sky, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, Chief of Air Force joined us for the evening with dinner and an awards presentation.
Joey Glide was a truly memorable experience and one that I thoroughly enjoyed – so much that I cannot wait until the next event next year! I would like to sincerely thank the organisers, the coaches who provided tuition and their gliders, the owner of Narromine clubhouse, and many others that assisted in the running of this event. I am extremely grateful for the support the Uncles Foundation and the Australian Junior Gliding Club provide to young pilots to attend Joey Glide.
To catch a glimpse of more experiences attained at Joey Glide 2014- check out my video at- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OXrYJJwtIk