Lloyd Robert Borrett

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Waikerie Gliding Club

I was introduced to soaring at the Waikerie Gliding Club and it remained my spiritual base for soaring activities throughout the time I was active in the sport. Excellent gliders. Great location. Top instructors. First-class facilities. Warm and friendly people. What more could you desire!

I visited many other Australian clubs over the years and even became a member at the Grampians Gliding Club near Ararat, Victoria. But Waikerie was always by far and away the best in my mind.

If you are thinking of taking up the sport, I'd strongly recommend you contact the Waikerie Gliding Club and book for a two week course. If you do go solo during the first week, you'll be a reasonably good pilot by the time you finish the second week. And if you don't go solo the first week, you most certainly will by the end of the second.

WGC club room bar
Reliving a day's soaring in the WGC club room bar

One of the best things for me about Waikerie was the great range of people you'd meet there. People from all walks of life sharing a common passion. People from overseas, other parts of Australia, plus the WGC instructors and locals.

Influential Instructors

Hayden Dunn, pictured above right at the bar, was the instructor that taught me to soar. On my second week at Waikerie, Hayden set an Australian record in the new Grob Twin Astir. Then handed the glider over to me for a memorable 100 km flight in 51 minutes with a max height of 7800 ft. It was a good day.

Warrick McIntosh who pushed me to achieve much more than I thought I could. It was Warrick that suggested I try for a 300 km Diamond Goal task when I had less than thirty hours total flying time. However, my most memorable flight with him was when we set out on a cross-country task together and everyone else outlanded short of the first turn! We were going poorly too, so Warrick suggested we should go around the turn, outland and thus win the day. We hadn't been able to raise anyone back at Waikerie on the radio, so I was keen to abandon the task and head back. "You'll never make it," said Warrick, full of support! But I surprised us both.

Maurie Bradney
Maurie Bradney
(July 1982)

Maurie Bradney, the Chief Flying Instructor and manager of WGC during my time flying there, taught me about cross-country competition soaring. So many memorable flights with Maurie as he tried to pass on to me some of the skills that enabled him to win multiple Australian championships.

Jock Barratt taught me how to truly enjoy soaring. Jock was in his 70s and 80s when I flew with him. The joy and delight he still got from flying was infectious and inspirational.

Great Facilities

Waikerie Gliding Club had a great fleet of gliders and gliding facilities. But the club house, swimming pool, accommodation block and caravan and camping area made WGC a great social club as well.

I still have an 18 ft caravan onsite at Waikerie. Being able to leave everything there, set up and ready to go, is ideal.

Car & Caravan - circa 1986
Car and caravan at WGC (circa 1986)

Many a long weekend I'd organise to take friends and/or work colleagues to Waikerie and introduce them to soaring. Mostly we'd drive the 750 km from Melbourne to Waikerie, but sometimes we'd hire a light aircraft and fly. In November 1985, a large group of us flew to Waikerie and ended up stranded there. We were supposed to be back in Melbourne on the Monday afternoon, but the weather down south prevented us from making it. Thankfully the weather in Waikerie was great so we were still soaring and enjoying ourselves. We didn't get back until midday on the Friday! 

Competition time at WGC
WGC hosts a major competition
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Last modified: Monday, 01 April 2013

 


 

 
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