Monday, October 25, 2010




GLIDING CLUB EXPANDS ACCOMODATION CHOICES




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Monday, October 11, 2010

Beryl Reports on the Nationals at Dalby

Another championship - Another Caravan -

Following a disappointing season in Europe our pilots were looking forward to a booming gliding season at home. The national championships are being held in Dalby over the first two weeks in October. This is usually a very reliable time for gliding in the state of Queensland and Dalby has produced some memorable racing days in previous championships.

However in keeping with many events in the northern hemisphere during this last summer,  Australia is also experiencing very unusual rain events in many regions. The Queensland state championships planned for Kingaroy were cancelled in September due to a week of rain. The organisers of the Dalby nationals were optimistic that the worst was over and they would be ready for some hot and drier conditions.

We are now mid way through the National Championships and have flown two days for Open and 18 Metre class and three days for Standard and 15 Metre Racing Class. An extensive rain system has now settled over the task area and Dalby airport has turned into a slippery black morass.

My role as steward for the championships was planned to be an easy and enjoyable task and a time to catch up with gliding friends without the hard work associated with being part of an organising group or gliding team. I was very fortunate to be able to arrange for my sister-in-law to bring her very comfortable caravan to the airport and set up on a green and pleasant spot in the camping grounds. Our little dog Tom and I were well settled and enjoying a restful time.

What a few inches of rain can do to spoil this pleasant plan. My caravan is now an island in a sea of sticky black mud and three inches of settled water.  My near camping neighbour moved from his tent to a camp on the roof of his 4 wheel drive. My car was rescued by kind Rolf and Peter just moments before it was not possible to move vehicles from the camp ground.

Some pilots have gone home but there is a small chance that it may be possible to still achieve the 4 flying days required to declare a valid championships. The weather stations are now reporting the rain as a “major weather event”. Not good news for gliding championships. It certainly seems that we will not fly tomorrow but there is a chance for Wednesday and Thursday before the next rain pattern. Pilots from the southern states are checking the roads home and wistfully looking to the north for some sign of clearing skies.

I have decamped with the dog to Kingaroy and my sister-in-laws warm and dry house to wait out the worst of the weather and will paddle back to the caravan when the water over the road goes down to allow safe passage. All the pilots who do not have engines are fearful of outlanding as it will be a major rescue if they end up in a wet field with no bitumen access.

Stand by for a further report on the wettest nationals ever.