History

The Bendigo Gliding Club was established in November 1979, and with an original membership of 7, operated from a private airfield at Woodvale, near Bendigo. In March 1981 members constructed a hangar and this was subsequently extended on two occasions to accomodate more aircraft. In 1991 the desire for more autonomy saw the Club move to its own airfield at the current site near Raywood, some 20 minutes north of Bendigo..

Since relocating to this site Club has constructed two large hangars and a comfortable clubhouse. The Club operated initially with a winch constructed by its members and also for a time using a winch borrowed from a Grampians Soaring Club member. In July 1983 a winch, designed and constructed by Club members was commissioned.

The Club's first aircraft was a short-wing Kookaburra (VH-GZA) which was purchased for $4,500. In 1982 the Club purchased an Astir CS (VH-WUJ) and in 1984 the Kookaburra was replaced with a Ka7 (VH-GNX) which the Club used until 2007 when a survey revealed glue delamination problems which were beyond economical repair. The Club donated GNX to the Australian Gliding Museum in April 2007 . The Club later purchased a Super Arrow (VH-GYS) from The Gliding Club of Victoria in 1988.

To foster interest in cross-country flying and upgrade the fleet the club decided, in 2004, to purchase a Swidnik PW-6 (VH-GYC). This has been joined by a PW-5 single seat glider for early solo flights as well as a Grob Astir for more advanced solo crosscountry flying. In 2014 the club purchased a Eurofox towplane, bringing the club's fleet to four aircraft.

From the original 7 members the Club has grown steadily and reached a peak of 43 members in 1988-1989. It currently has around 40 members. Of the original 7 members, 4 are still involved with the Club. The club has a progressive policy in advancing the facilities available to the members. We now have a clubroom that is capable of entertaining 50-60 people and are now focusing on mains power, strip restoration and looking toward fleet improvement over the next few years

Safety is of prime importance within our club and here you can see members learning how to use the firefighting equipment that is kept on standby over the summer months.

Chronology

1979      17 November - Inaugural meeting. Present:- Phil Slocombe, Colin Campbell, Graeme Sargeant, Keith Evans Jeff Penna, Bob Brodie and Don Taylor. Early members included Graham Sheckelton, Jeff Penna, Bob Brodie and Dete Hasse.

1980      16 March - Purchased ES52 Kookaburra VH-GZA from Doug Vanstan, Bacchus Marsh Aviation Services for $4500, Aircraft previously owned by Federation Soaring Group, Canberra. $2000 loan from North West Country Credit.

27 June - Club Constitution adopted.

21 December - Flying commenced at Woodvale using a winch built by Phil Slocum, Jeff Penna and Bob Brodie. While the winch was very innovative, it proved to be inadequate for Club operation. Hired temporary winch from Harry McInnes.

1981      March - Woodvale hangar completed.

April - Affiliated with GFA.

1982      6 June - First students to solo –Phil Rice, Bernie Fry and Dete Hasse.

26 September - Purchased Astir CS VH-WUJ from Narromine

1983      24 July - Commissioned Bedford based winch.

25 November - Club Incorporated.

1984      Purchased Schleicher Ka 7 VH-GNX from Bundaberg Gliding Club for $12,500.

4 November - Sold Kookaburra VH-GZA to Swan Hill.

1988      15 July 1988 - Purchased ES 60b Super Arrow from Gliding Club of Victoria.

1991      Purchased land at Raywood. for $53,000. 23 November - First flight at Raywood.

Commenced construction of Hangar 1, generator shed, fencing and club house. Commenced tree planting.

1993      27 January - Astir VH-WUJ written off due to a mini tornado at Ararat.

February - Purchased Astir 77 VH-KYQ

 

2000      Constructed Hangar 2.

2002      Constructed Mazda based winch.

2004      8 March - Astir VH-KYQ written off as a result of an accident while being flown by Neil Shearer.

Purchased Swidnik PW 6 VH-GYC from agent John Roake, NZ

December - Purchased SZD Junior VH-XOA from Gliding Club of Victoria

 

2007      Ka 7 VH-GNX retired due to age related defects and donated to the Australian Gliding Museum

4 November - Official opening of the club house extension by President, Jack Lavery, including the unveiling of a painting donated by member Ralph Keller depicting the Club's first Kookaburra and the PW 6.

 

2008      Construction of Hangar 3 completed

 

2009      September - Super Arrow VH-GYS was sold to Andy Heath and will be based at Caboolture.

December - Solar power system installed and operational.

 

2010      November - New Ford Fairmont based winch completed and commissioned.

2013      September - Old winch sold to North Queensland Gliding Club based at Charters Towers.

October - Order placed for Eurofox tug.

 

2014      January - Commenced construction of new sheds.

June - delivery of Eurofox tug and commencement of aerotow operations.

November - Eurofox written off in landing accident. Decision made by members to continue aero-towing and replacement Eurofox ordered.

2015      July - Purchase VH-GLN from club member Mark Kerr.

July - Replacement Eurofox 24-8545 commenced operation.

July - Sale of VH-XOA SZD Junior to Melbourne Gliding.

 

2016      Dec - Club hosted the first Australian Libelle Gathering. 9 Libelles were present on the Raywood Airfield.

 

2018      May - Purchase of Astir CS, VH-WQG.