JoeyGlide: A Coachees Perspective
JoeyGlide (7th-14th December 2013) was an amazing week, definitely worth travelling 7 hours from Mount Beauty for and I recommend all Juniors make the journey this year.
In February 2013, I made a commitment to go to JoeyGlide. I focused on entering into the coaching program of it as I wasn’t feeling confident enough to compete. I haven’t done much flying over flat lands and thought I would feel more comfortable going into competition knowing how to fly it, not learning along the way. I heard about JoeyGlide through juniors from my own club and juniors who I met at the Australian Institute of Sport. Even though I was only going to be a coachee, I wanted to prepare as much as possible so I could really make the most out of my time at JoeyGlide. I went across to Benalla often to practice my aero tows, to fly a bit in the flat land, and to learn the difference between flying cross country and ridge soaring. Before JG I had done about 25 aero tows out of my 290 flights and the longest cross country flight was a 2 hour one from Benalla to Yarrawonga and back on a dual flight with Peter Trotter. As part of my preparation I also applied to the Australian Junior Gliding Club for a scholarship which they had advertised early in the year on the Aus Junior Gliding Facebook group and the JG mailing list. To my surprise, I got a $300 scholarship! This not only helped me financially at JG but gave me a chance to do longer flights during the competition. It also helped me learn as much as possible and get as much out of JG as I could.
During my time at JG I not only enjoyed the great flying experiences, I also enjoyed the social experiences. Meeting so many amazing pilots young and old, and hearing about their history in flying and their best flights inspired me as to what I could achieve throughout my life. I caught up with many junior pilots, coaches, and friends and talked to them about flying in competitions. They gave me many tips and techniques for when I start flying competitions. On Monday the 9th of December there was a ‘no flying day’ which gave all us juniors a chance to go out into Narromine and socialise away from the airfield. We first had lunch at a hotel then we went down to the Narromine Lawn Bowls Club and played lawn bowls for a few hours. One of the nights after flying, we had a trivia night based on the History of Flying and things based around some people at JG, run by Lisa Turner. This was a great way to get to know the other juniors, coaches, and helpers at the competition.
During the week I had six flights, one each day, and ran up a total of 14hrs for the week. This included a 300km flight, and my first flight up to 10,000ft. I flew in an ASK-21, a Duo Discus and a Twin Astir. The first flight was with Derek Spencer in the Duo, not the best day but wasn’t a worry seeing it was just a short flight to Trangie and back to get to know the area. The next day I had an extremely short and painful flight with Michael Strathern as I was found to have heat stroke. Michael is no doubt an excellent coach but as the weather was over 35⁰C, I was unprepared to what effect it might have on my body. JG does provide excellent safety briefings but unfortunately I did not hear the warning. Safe to say I will never be making that mistake again. After some excellent care and scolding from my fellow pilots, coaches and helpers at the competition, I did my 300km flight with Lisa Turner in the Twin, which was a pretty good day weather wise with thermals up to 9,000ft. We flew from Narromine to Trangie to Wellington through Dubbo and back to Narromine. As we were flying through Dubbo, we noticed there was a REX jet about to depart to Sydney, so we called him over the radio on the CTAF frequency and kept visual contact with him.
During briefing on the final day, everyone was just busting to get out on the field and into the sky as the Cu’s had finally arrived. All the competitors headed off around 11:30 while the other coachees were getting prepared and planning where they wanted to fly. I also volunteered to do a flight with Bryan Hayhow in the Twin Astir on this great final day. Since he had done not just one but two outlandings during the week, I decided I better show him how to do a long cross county task and complete it. On that flight, the thermals were quite strong at times but they worked well and that’s what kept us happy. I did almost all of the flying and having fun with the thermals while Bryan gave me tips in finding the core of thermals. We flew to Tottenham then to Gilgandra and back to Narromine. This was also the flight that we reached 10,000ft.
Whenever I wasn’t flying, I was out of the field helping launch the white flock by hooking on aircraft, and running wings, which was also very enjoyable. I had a great time at JG learning how to look for thermals on a cross-country field, how to re-adjust the glider to find the core of the thermal again, how to fly a competition task, and how to fly with a Gaggle. When I arrived back home I felt so much more confident than when I left. I went across to Benalla about two weeks after Christmas, and put what I had learnt from JG into use. I did twelve flights over the 5 days I was there, including two attempts in doing my Silver C distance which resulted in my first outlanding. This year my goals are to practice my cross-country flying and stay current, to achieve my Silver C and to compete in this year’s JG. I also plan to get an experienced cross-country pilot to mentor me with flying competition and helping me to understand the tasks a little more.
I would like to thank the Australian Junior Gliding Club Inc. for giving me the scholarship, Derek Spencer, Michael Strathern, Lisa Turner and Bryan Hayhow who gave me a chance to learn what I needed to know for my future in gliding, as well as all the pilots, coaches, helpers and friends who contributed to my amazing time at JoeyGlide 2013. See you December 5-13th for JoeyGlide 2014 – Pre Worlds!