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Caboolture Week @ DDSC







So, what do frauleins, Taylor Swift, old vineyards and bell ringing have to do with a week of amazing ups on the Downs during the past week? Well, all will be revealed as you grab a glass of your favourite grappa and settle into a comfy chair as you prepare to self-launch and soar high into the CGC gaggle that was Caboolture Week 2016.

 Each year, under an amicable agreement between Caboolture Gliding Club

( CGC ) and Darling Downs Soaring Club ( DDSC ), CGC members are given the opportunity to fly out of the DDSC home base at McCaffrey Field ( YMCF ) located between the Oakey Army Aviation field ( YBOK ) and Dalby airfield ( YDAY ) for an entire week.


This arrangement permits suitably qualified CGC pilots to fly cross country ( XC ) tasks with greater lateral and vertical freedom than is readily available around YCAB. Pilots who are not yet XC endorsed are offered training by the very qualified DDSC instructor corps in the club’s fleet of modern two seat trainers and single seat gliders. These include the Duo Discus, ASK 21 ( twins ) as well as the Astir CS Jeans and Discus B ( single seaters ).


Successful conversions onto the twins, which includes comprehensive XC training and practical outlanding checks, result in endorsements on the single seaters at the discretion of the CFI and his rostered Duty Instructors. Declared solo FAI Badge flights are available at the member’s leisure following successful flight checks. 


So, this year, Caboolture Week was run from 14 to 18 November inclusive.  Amazing soaring weather prevailed throughout and many personal goals were achieved by the compact crew of committed CGC pilots present during the week.




Soaring at 8500’ AMSL in the Duo Discus VH-GRL

 ( B2 and Denis Lambert )


First Cab off the CGC rank, was Barry Collins ( B2 )  who travelled to YMCF early on the Saturday morning to fly the Duo Discus with DDSC instructor, Denis Lambert. A flight of 3 hours 25 minutes followed, during which B2 was comprehensively introduced to a significant section of the local XC soaring area and military restricted airspace boundaries between YMCF, YDAY, the Broadwater west of Dalby and further north past Jimbour towards Jandowae. Extended flights of this nature were typical of the dual flights flown by all CGC pilots undergoing their initial XC conversion.



The Broadwater west of Dalby from

around 7500’ AMSL in the Duo Discus.


Jimbour ( no point outlanding there these days as the winery is now closed! ) is a significant waypoint in the area located some 54 km northwest of YMCF as the cockatoo flies, and which would be reached during the week by several CGC solo pilots in their quests for the Silver C Distance and Height claims. More on that later!



Thermalling 8500’ AMSL towards YMCF

In the Duo Discus


On the Sunday, B2 flew the ASK 21 with Peter Bell, DDSC rostered Duty Instructor, which included an outlanding check on a short cross runway ‘strip’ designated for the exercise. He was then released to fly the Astir Jeans single seater the same afternoon on a short familiarisation flight ( ASK 21 dual flights included outlanding checks on the home airfield, and prepared the pilot for the Astir Jeans endorsement ).


Sunday afternoon was significant in that three more CGC crew turned up; John Nestor in his pop-up camper and Kevin Rodda in his camper van combined to set up ‘Camp Caboolture’ along the onsite caravan line. B2 was already comfortably domicile in the DDSC bunkhouse accommodation. Jim Thompson, who had opted for digs in Oakey, turned up just in time to attend to a flat tailwheel tyre on the Jeans! Stone the crows and starve the lizards, you would think he’d had enough of that chore back home at YCAB! He and Denis sweated and strained to get the tyre off, finally conceding to the pressure – or lack thereof – in favour of a welcome ale or two amongst the DDSC and CGC members already firming up plans for the following day.


Dinner followed at the Bowenville Pub where the faithful enjoyed fine country cuisine along the lines of bangers and mash, crumbed steak, spag bog….yes, bog! Either a blackboard typo or a local creation in the western plains cuchina Italiano style. One of the dusty diners selected the bangers and mash, requesting no additional vegies, just mash. The subsequent arrival of the plate revealed a small platoon of bangers lounging in the foothills of a mountain of mash so high that it required a concerted attack on the spud slopes along with a few wiffs of oxygen to finish it off!




The upshot of this particular challenge was that on the following evening the same ravenous rabble of gaggling gentlemen (? ) descended on the pub hell bent on ordering their own Mt Everest of mash and bangers. Well, the orders were duly taken only for the young German backpacker waitress to return with the news that “..Nein, zere ist no more bangers unt mash…ve haf no more mashed potato. “ Amidst the roar of disappointment and heavy sink that followed, the young fraulein then cheerfully solved the problem by announcing in quiet Prussian politeness that “ You can haf der sausages mit frites! “. Problem solved. 


So, next morning, with the weekend now in their 6 o’clock position, the CGC team, now numbering five flyers with the arrival of that soon to be long distance soaring legend, Mick Moloney, got down to work and started flying. All except an unfortunate Kevin Rodda, who was feeling somewhat poorly and departed for homeplate after succumbing to altitude sickness no doubt brought on by the previous night’s mash mountain quest.


More flying in the Duo followed for B2 as Jim and John shared the ASK 21 for their XC training. All three shared uplifting conditions in the perfect soaring sky as the idea of declaring Silver goals began to take root in their eager minds and souls. The promise of even better sky conditions the following day fuelled those ideals to even greater heights. And soar higher and further on the next couple of days they did!


On Tuesday B2 declared the Silver distance and height claims as his goals and was airborne in the Jeans at 1125 with the sky providing seemingly endless streets of Cu radiating out in all directions. After releasing at 3100’ AMSL ( 1900’ AGL ) into a vario screaming thermal that provided lift all the way to the cloudbase of 6500’ AMSL, the Jeans was soon tracking NW towards Dalby. These were thermalling conditions to die for as far as this little black duck was concerned.  With a gradually rising cloudbase Dalby was soon overflown at around 7500’ AMSL as the sleek little bird graciously and gratefully carried her XC newbie rapturously on towards Jimbour. What a high! Literally and figuratively!


Returning via overflying George Lee’s airfield and around the SW corner of the YBOK active airspace, the little Astir followed the cloudstreets back home to YMCF , arriving overhead at 6500’. The next 15-20 minutes were spent thermalling between 6500’ and 8500’ between two perfectly positioned clouds, swooping and soaring in the pure rapture and joy of flight.


Landing after 2 hrs 33 mins, the newly baptised XC glider jock handed the reins of the Jeans over to John Nestor…who launched and flew to Dalby and return. In hindsight perhaps B2 should have remained airborne for a further 2 hours in order to claim the Silver C badge. But that appeared a little selfish at the time. No sweat; the extraordinary soaring conditions available then will always be available in the future.





Astir Jeans  KYT resting after flight in some

incredible soaring conditions.


Lots of celebrating and bell ringing in the club bar that evening! And by now, John Ashford had arrived in time to expand the size of the CGC crew as well as profit from the liberal libations in the lounge.



Jim, Mick, Scrubby, John and B2 in celebratory formation

at the DDSC bar…For Whom The Bell Tolls!


The next day, 16 November, saw a plethora of achievements shared among this motley mob of marauding mates.

Scrubby’s email to me describing his flight is worth publishing verbatim here as it typifies perfectly the atmosphere that surrounded the whole week of CGC achievements, viz:



My flight (16/11) was far from a long haul being only 240km after a hiatus of 3yrs.  However interestingly enough I achieved my fastest xcountry speed of 97km/hr which is largely due to the short course and excellent weather rather than my rusty flying. I was more pleased at being able to fly my old Mosquito GQD for a couple of days and she is even sweeter to fly than I remembered.  Other than that it was good catching up with old friends at DDSC and enjoying some fellowship with the CGC crew.



How good was that! Awesome soaring by a pilot also known for his fuel induced lift producing club work at YCAB.


And if that wasn’t enough, Jim Thompson and John Nestor launched over the next couple of days on what turned out to be successful badge claim flights for both intrepid aviators. Jim achieved his Silver distance and height with a great piece of flying out past Jimbour and return in GVJ the ASK 21 – wait for it – to YDAY instead of YMCF. Jim had worked very, very hard to regain sufficient height for the return to YMCF base but finally accepted the decision of the soaring Gods to withhold his lift whereupon, showing great airmanship and piloting prowess, he wisely and skillfully decided to outland on the runway a couple of thousand feet beneath him. An aerotow retrieve back to YMCF from YDAY with Jeremy Thompson at the controls of the Pawnee soon had Jim back within gliding range of the DDSC base. And to his great joy he was informed that he had in fact achieved the two Silver claims. Big smiles from the CGC wheels and tyres expert upon receipt of that news. More bell ringing was to echo through the evening air over McCaffrey Field that night! And the morning briefing WW1 flying helmet presented for outstanding effort was duly presented to Jim for his efforts in retyring the Jeans, as well as checking out the YDAY runway surface as a suitable outlanding paddock.



Gentleman of Adventure - Jim


John Nestor, meanwhile, had launched chasing the somewhat daunting 5 hours flight duration to complete his Silver C achievements. Well, let me tell you that 5 hours later he returned with an enormous Cheshire cat grin spread from wingtip to wingtip, whereupon he was prised from the cockpit by his ever helpful gliding buddies. Later at the club bar the same helpful club members also prised his wallet open as he too rang the bell in harmony with Jim, Scrubby and Mick for the obligatory libation fuelled celebration.


So, Mick! The most recent member of the 300km distance club after patiently waiting a decade for the opportunity. CGC’s very own longhaul legend completed the CGC hat trick for the day as the tolling of the bell continued to ring loudly and clearly across the sky, heralding the camaraderie in gliding being enjoyed by all.


More soaring was to come over the next couple of days as the final member of the CGC team, Ken Mitchell, turned up for some XC coaching in the ASK 21 while the others continued to practice their XC thermalling skills in the now blue sky. B2, Mick and John flew the two racy little single seaters as the sun descended over the Darling Downs on what may have come close to being the most productive Caboolture Week experienced for some time.


Oh, I almost forgot the two Gympie Gliding Club dudes, Milan and Kevin, who dragged their own gliders out to YMCF for some really impressive long distance and long duration flights in the company of several DDSC members. Several 500km flights were achieved by these experienced XC soarers.


This amazing opportunity could not have occurred without the combined efforts of many fine folk both at CGC and, especially, at DDSC.


Thanks to Mick for acting as the CGC liaison contact.


Special thanks to all the DDSC instructors, tuggies and club members, in particular Jenny and Jeremy Thompson, Bob Flood, Denis Lambert, Peter Bell, Davis Nash, Alain, Richard and Jo, Tex, Kerry, Fran, John, Geoff et al. I apologise for any I have not mentioned here. We thank you all for your hospitality, your patience and tolerance, your training expertise and squadron camaraderie.


And Taylor Swift? Where did she fit in? She was the publican’ s dog at the Jondaryan Pub perched on her own bar stool eyeing suspiciously the thirsty and ravenous flyers arriving a few minutes before the kitchen closed for dinner.


But that’s another story.


Barry ( B2 ) Collins

For Cab Week CGC Crew

Nov 2016



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