Thursday, November 16, 2006

Builder's Corner - Doug & Phil's Jabiru Projects

Work continues apace on Doug Brooke's J170 and Phil C's J230. On Melbourne Cup Day the club's Jabiru was out of the air so the engine could be taken out and fitted to Doug's airframe. Doug hasn't bought his engine yet so needed one to finish the alignment of his cowling's prior to painting. Don't worry we got our motor back. Phil said this was also a good opportunity to have a good look around our engine. Well I believe him and he's the maintenance officer. The work started at 11.00 and everything was back to normal by 8.00PM that evening.

Doug has provided a few photos taken during the day. At the top Joe Luciani is checking the alignment of the cowlings on Doug's J170 after fitting the engine and in the bottom picture 0955 is on the left and Doug's J170 has the engine fitted to prior to aligning the cowls. Meanwhile Phil's J230 is progressing well despite going out and in the workshop as gliders go in and out for their annual inspections. Phil is currently working on the internal fit out of the 230 and last weekend commence wiring up his strobes and navigation lights. One step at a time each aircraft is progressing toward completion.

Club To Order new Jabiru J160

At the General Meeting on the 11th of November the possibility of ordering a new Jabiru J160 to replace 55-0933 was again raised and discussed. This had been discussed at the October meeting and a general agreement was reached to revisit the subject in the future. Well the future came around in four short weeks. After much discussion a formal motion was put to the meeting to place an order for a new Jabiru J160 for possible delivery around June 2007. The motion was carried. Our current Jabiru 55-0933 will be offered for sale at around $48,000. For details on the J160 aircraft visit the Jabiru web site at

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The T31 Has Arrived and Painting Underway

The club's old T31 has arrived at Horsham and is being painted by Joe Luciani.
As of the 11th November the wings (above) had been painted silver and were still in Joe's paint shop. The fuselage (below) was over in the gliding hanger and awaiting its turn to be painted.
So if you are around the club pop in and have a look at the old girl. See what the flew in the "olde days", way back in 1963 when the club first started. More information about the T31 and early club operations can be found in earlier posting 'Memories of the club's first glider' and 'An Old Blokes Memories : Part 2'.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

An Old Bloke's Memories : Part Two

Max Hedt has provided some additional detail on this photo of the club's first glider, the T31 and some early club history.

The people in the T31 photo are Reg Stewart on the wing tip, waving "take up slack" and Tommy Thompson in the back seat. I Can't identify the driver in the front seat.

Judging by the trees and etc the photo was taken at our first "permanent site" at Lower Norton. This was on what was then Bill Walsh's property. This paddock was only used for grazing in those days as it was too wet for cropping. The site is across the Norton Creek, about 2 kilometers up along a bush track called the Smith Reserve Road, the turn off is on the south side of the Noradjuha road, about 5 kilometres from the Wimmera highway. Today there are still a couple of concrete blocks in the ground between the trees where we erected our first hangar. The trusses and materials from this hangar now comprise the middle bays of our small hangar on the airfield.

The club lasted at Walsh's for less than a year as it was a very wet area in winter and we were eventually washed out. We then moved to Alan Natrass's property at Kalkee on a temporary basis. While at Kalkee the club very nearly died as we were completely removed from the publics view and nobody knew we existed.

In mid September 1965 there was another move, this time on to Jim Molyneaux's property at Dooen. We removed the hangar from Lower Norton to Dooen where is was reassembled and extended. Immediately we moved to Molyneaux's we became very prominent along side the Henty Highway (Editors Note: I can remember stopping beside the highway while on a trip from Minyip to Horsham in the mid sixties to watch gliders being launched, I was about 4 at the time) and started to grow very rapidly.

Again we had to move, this time, after a lot of negotiation with the then Department of Civil Aviation, we moved into a permanent home on Horsham Aerodrome. There had been very strong opposition from a small group to us moving onto the aerodrome. But we did have some influential friends. Jimmy Green, the then Deputy Director of Civil Aviation to the Director, D.G. Anderson who was an old Waikerie boy, told me to my face while I was taking him back out to the airport after our negotiations had finished, "The D.G. has told me you are to go onto this bloody aerodrome and you had better make sure you make this bloody well work."

On the 14 October 1967, I have my first recorded glider flight at the Horsham Aerodrome. This was after we had moved from Jim Molyneaux's and again demolished and moved the hangar to it's present location. I often think that if we had similar exposure along the main highway in the years past we would have had much better success in attracting members but this would have been offset by the need to maintain our own field and would have meant much higher costs for any facilities.

I think there were about 3 hangars on the aerodrome when we moved there. Most of our members wanted to put the hangar fronting the taxiway. As there was already only limited room there, I convinced them to put the hangar in the present location. There was lots of room, to get our gliders out and mess around there without interfering with any other power traffic both then or in the foreseeable future. Facing the hangar to the east was also the best direction for our weather conditions. We put in the gate for our own use as the only access to the aerodrome in those days was via the terminal gates. The gate promptly got used as the main entrance by all and sundry around the aerodrome which has caused us a few minor problems. As it does to this day.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

First Solo For Ivan Jackson

Ivan Jackson made his first solo flight in the Jabiru on Sunday 5th November. Ivan has been regularly traveling over from St Arnaud for training under PW guidance. Congratulations Ivan on joining the privileged few who undertake powered flight. Ivan is pictured with PW inspecting the Jabiru last Sunday.

Again well done Ivan. Also well done Peter and Mark, keep up the good work training our next generation of pilots. In other flight training news, Michael Sudholz continues to progress with his gliding training. PW reports that he has a a number of students on the go in both gliders and the Jabiru. And all are progressing well.