This year’s QLD Easter Comp was always going to be memorable, a new location at Goondiwindi, a flexible scoring system, shuffling start grid, pre-determined start points and a huge number of entrants to boot no less than 53 gliders!. There was a huge diversity of entrants from the likes of Bruce Taylor and Allan Barnes to the humble club pilots having their go at their first comp. From the start you could see that Phil Southgate and Les Milne and the other Warwick club members had put a lot of effort into making it a fun, safe and well organised comp. It was very slick and minor glitches were tackled early on and put right quickly. The scoring remained an issue for which Mike Ridge was gracious enough to help out with. The support from the local community for a gliding event was fantastic, the local mayor was really enthusiastic about having a comp at their airfield and the local community jumped at the chance to have air experience flights every morning before the comp proper started. The AEF’s were booked out for the entire week!
Boonah GC was well represented by Brian Gilby, Mike Ridge, Ian Perkins, Cameron Coles, Jason Corriea, Dylan Lampard, Stewart Campbell, Ron McLeay, Ray Stewart, Denis Nolan and David Kinlan. The best three scoring system allowed the sharing of gliders so everyone had an even chance. The weather wasn’t too bad with only two days being lost to weather. The area is interesting to fly over and totally different to either Boonah or the Darling Downs, plenty of huge turkey dams and dominated by cotton growing at first it seemed like there was no where to outland but we soon realised that there are decent paddocks dotted around with ag strips everywhere for the crop dusting operations and that if pushed to you can even land on the access roads in the cotton fields themselves as Ray Stewart found out!
As a first comp it is an excellent introduction. The waypoints were generally within 40-60km of the airfield with big cylinder radius so you didn’t have to stay too far from the airfield if you didn’t want to. The first two days had light conditions with fairly low cloudbase so it paid to stay high which suited me. The third day was a classic racing day with good climbs. In latter days the conditions only got better from 2pm onwards so it paid to be on track early to make the most of the conditions whilst out on the course.
Judging by the success of this event it certainly looks like we will be returning to Goondiwindi in 2014.
Results can be seen here