Lloyd Robert Borrett

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Soaring Highlights

In late November 1980, I returned to Waikerie for three weeks. I did a "Silver C" duration flight of 5 hours 19 minutes on 24-Nov-1980. The next day I backed up for a "Silver C" height, distance and duration flight by flying to Loxton and landing. On Friday 5th December 1980, at the end of a great three weeks, I succeeded on my first attempt at a 300 km goal flight to qualify for the "Gold Distance" and "Diamond Goal".

From then on, most of my annual leave plus long weekends were spent at Waikerie. I was hooked. In June 1992, I put pen to paper and wrote an item "Plane Sailing" for BHP's Grapevine magazine, describing my feelings about gliding.

   Hornet at Benella
In a Hornet at Benella, Victoria
(July 1982)

In July 1982 I accompanied Gene Baddonas, a BHP work colleague, to the Benella Gliding Club, Victoria. Gene had just recently flown solo for the first time and was being allowed to fly solo in the club's IS28B2 two seat trainers. I had flights in the club's Hornet and Mosquito gliders. Some weeks later I took Gene to Waikerie where he flew in a Grob Astir CS, his first single seater, plus joined me on a brief cross-country flight.

On 31-Jan-1983 I did my "Gold Height" flight: 1600 ft launch, 12,600 ft max height, for an 11,000 ft height gain. Flight time: 1 hour 21 minutes.

In February 1983, I entered my first contest. Amazingly I managed to win it flying a Twin Astir, even with a strong field of international and Australian competitors. My first and last competition — why ruin a perfect record!

Competition line-up at WGC
Lining up on the pad for a day of competition at Waikerie
(February 1983)

I turned my focus to becoming an instructor. In April 1986, I qualified as an Assistant Instructor after completing the week course at Gawler, South Australia. Memorable and testing flying with senior instructors: Reg Moore, Geoff Howard, Mike Vallentine and Rob Moore.

On the June long weekend the Waikerie Gliding Club goes to Black Springs in the Flinders Ranges for its annual ridge soaring camp. June 1986 was my first exposure to this and I loved it. I was fortunate to be one of the pilots participating in a dual tow to the ridge, plus a ferry flight back from the ridge. I vividly remember a great one hour flight on the Monday playing chase the squalls with Maurie Bradney (in a second glider) as everyone else stayed on the ground.

High at Black Springs (June 1986)
Heading South at Black Springs,
ridge on left, high and slow
(June 1986)
Low at Black Springs (June 1986)
Wing skimming the ridge,
ridge on right, low and fast
(June 1986)
Camping at Black Springs (June 1987)
Camping at Black Springs
(June 1987)

I was honoured to be chosen to participate in a fly past for Ron Thayne's funeral on 30-Mar-1987. Ron was a great human being and a stalwart of the Waikerie Gliding Club. The next day I sent my first student, Paul Donnovan, solo. Ron would have loved that synergy.

Jock Barratt and the Pelican
Jock Barratt and the Pelican
(Nov 1981)

I was also honoured to be chosen by Jock Barratt to be one of five people allowed to become part owners of the Pelican, a side-by-side, two seat, wood and fabric glider that is a part of Australian aviation history. Jock was a founding member of the Waikerie Gliding Club. He designed and built the Pelican which I think had its maiden flight in the late 1940s.

The Pelican syndicate all but banned Jock and myself from flying together. We had a habit of doing an aerobatics routine which the others thought was too much for the old girl! I remember with delight the wink Jock would give me and the twinkle in his eye as we prepared for our flights together. To fly with someone with so much integrity, knowledge and experience was just so very, very special.

Pelican on the launch pad
Jock Barratt getting ready to take someone up in the Pelican.
In his 80's and still soaring in the glider he designed and built!
(November 1981)
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Last modified: Monday, 01 April 2013



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