October 2020

South Gippsland Gliding Club

What we did

The South Gippsland Gliding Club has initiated a number of non-flying activities since COVID-19 has shut down all of our flying and airborne instruction activities. The major driving force has been to maintain some form of recency in gliding flying proficiency. If we can't fly, how can we best maintain our general proficiency?

Begun in March, and still ongoing, and ready to fly when COVID allows, under the umbrella of maintaining proficiency the Club has:

  1. built a gliding simulator using a two-seat cockpit with state-of-the-art gliding computer simulation for basic flying training. This started in February 2020 and is due for practical completion in July and commissioning likely in September 2020.
  2. sought and been approved for Youth Glide Accreditation.
  3. begun regular monthly newsletters with safety, health, member contributions and general flying information.
  4. carried out a very comprehensive refurbishment of all aircraft, purchased a second training aircraft (critical to Youth Glide training), and
  5. upgraded our launching equipment with an engine change-over from 302 to a reworked 351cu.in. V8 engine to drive our winch.

Why we did it

The Club was not sure we could obtain another suitable training aircraft to fulfil our training obligations. We had been looking for a number of years. An alternative method of training is simulation. It's been in the aviation and space industry since the moon landings. So converting one of our life-expired (ancient) gliders was the ideal choice for modification to a static platform fitted with realistic control Inputs. This has been achieved and we now have our simulator with three 50 inch monitors that can be flown over the actual scenery of our South Gippsland region.Gliding Club

The Youth Glide approval came because the Club has had a very long commitment to fair play and youth development. All our Instructors have working with children accreditation, member protection policies (equity and diversity) and for any who visit to fly with us.

When the second training aircraft became a possibility, while our financial resources are nearly at rock bottom, members clubbed in with personal contributions to make it a reality. We purchased this second trainer of the same type as our other glider in July, 2020. Our whole fleet is based now on the one glider type giving greater ease for all members to fly any glider with minimal conversion training.

How we know it worked

As glider pilots we are subject to a number of formal checks, flying currency and proficiency for the pilots and another set for the instructors. The Club has safety audits independently carried out against our Safety Management Plan.

Much of what we have done and are continuing to do is ongoing and all being done within existing Club resources, manpower, skills and so on. Weather and COVID have restricted our flying but if success is measured in participation, then our Club is kicking goals.

So many members from the most junior to the most senior are doing their bit to keep the Club not just surviving but growing in an environment where financially there has been no income for over six months.