As we look back, at the now recently past financial year, we can see that it has been one of our most eventful years ever.
The year started with some changes to our committee. Scott Rawlings took on the role of Secretary, following on from Peter Davies who stood down from the role. Scott continued to be a major contributor to the Club as Secretary (committee member in the previous year), co-hosting the Australia Day weekend event and for countless SMS messages during the year. Scott also spent much time chasing past members to rejoin the club. We also started the year with a new Treasurer Noel Bear – Noel has immediately made the role his own. He has been on top of all the requirements of the role, acted very timely in all transactions and has managed the membership component of our website diligently. Noel is re-standing for the role of Treasurer again for the coming year and I highly commend supporting him for continuing in the role. Peter Cass joined the committee this year and was a welcomed contributor with championing the concept and artwork for our new club t-shirts.
Glenn Bachelor has again put in a big year as an active committee member. Glenn has been an active committee member for the MHGC for many years now and has always been there for us when we have asked him to help. Glenn also ran an educational night on the usage of GPS and was very active in the development of options and samples for our Club t-shirt. Our continued thanks go to Glenn.
The Years Events
Club Awards were handed to the winners; Peter Holloway received the Club “Peter Bachelor” Award for the third, and unprecedented, year in a row. Peter (call me daddy) Cass won the Encouragement Award. Both are well deserved recipients.
Last year I had reported that we were successful in Peter Holloway’s attempts to obtain endorsement from the HGFA to be able to be insured whilst he instructed members in obtaining their ground tow endorsements. An even greater endeavour was to support Peter Holloway, as our SSO, to gain Club supervised instructor status, so that he may instruct non pilots in obtaining their “Restricted Pilot” rating, as well as the provision of instruction in aero-towing and tandem endorsements. This is a major step forward by any club for many years. As many of you already know, Peter attained his instructor endorsements from the HGFA early in this past financial year. Peter has continued to be an excellent SSO for our Club. Not only has he put the enormous effort in obtaining his instructor endorsement, against the “normal” procedural flow, he has spent much time and money on extremely valuable equipment made available to the club such as; The Dragon Fly tug for aero-towing, Scooter tow for initial steps in Ground-Tow endorsements, Ground-Tow equipment (including his own car). Peter has also forgone much of his own flying time to help all other pilots.
It should be clear to all that Peter has been this Club’s greatest single asset.
Our own ‘new’ and ‘improved’ website at (www.mhgc.asn.au) was well utilised by members. During the year it was extended to be a repository for accidents/incident reporting and more recently a “Learning Centre” tab was included to allow educational content. Our heart felt thanks go to Will Faulkner for setting up the website for us and his continued efforts as our webmaster.
Our relationship with the Landowner of our premier site at Flowerdale – “Three Sisters” was further enhanced when he asked us to organise pilots from both Hang and Paragliding to fly on December 3rd 2010, whilst bicycle riders from the “Great Victorian Bike Ride” were scheduled to ride past the property. Fortunately, the weather was kind enough for this to be successful with Hangies being able to fly over the riders on the Strath Creek to Flowerdale Road.
Once again on the Melbourne Cup weekend, Will Faulkner ran the “Ride the Spiral – Spring Comp” event from Mt. Beauty in the North East region. This event was supported by the MHGC with senior members assisting with the organisation, safety operations and being available at more suitable sites when novice pilots were unable to launch from the designated comp launch for the day. The Event was widely attended and a huge success for Will Faulkner (http://www.ridethespiral.net), the Club and hang gliding.
In November the Club held our “Glider Maintenance” night, run by our Senior Safety Officer Peter Holloway. This was the second time the MHGC has run this critical component of every pilot’s maintenance schedule and this has become an annual event for the Club. Again a huge thank you goes to our tireless SSO, Peter Holloway, for giving up more of his time, equipment, and organisation for providing this valuable training and service experience. This night is a must for all pilots of all rating levels.
Speaking of club events for all pilots, the club once again held and funded our Parachute Repack night in September. This is our chance to swing from the rafters of the school gymnasium in our harnesses and have our buddies spin us around whilst we attempt to deploy our chutes. And with the assistance and training provided by Darren Morgan, from “TroubleChute” we repack our parachutes ready for the season ahead.
During the year we held our monthly club meetings and a few “special” club meetings where we had guest speakers present to us. These nights were well attended and we plan to run as many of these as possible as they have proven to be informative and entertaining. The Club would like to extend our thanks again to Rohan Holtkamp of Dynamic Flight hang gliding school (http://www.dynamicflight.com.au) who provided us with further education, including how to maximise your chances of hooking lift once off the tow line, Stephen Ruffles (www.eagleschool.com.au/) who provided an excellent talk on his experience and efforts in the early years of Hang Gliding and competitions in Australia. Committee member Glenn Bachelor also provided a great talk during our November meeting on the set up and usage of GPS equipment for hang gliding. The newly appointed HGFA Operations Manager, John Olliff spoke to members during our meeting in April 2011 and ex-President Hugh Alexander presented to the club on his adventures during the Mothers day weekend with hang gliding after launching from a Hot Air balloon drop in the May meeting. Thanks again to all our guest speakers.
We have conducted various other flying and non flying events during the year. The club funded various BBQ’s during the year including the annual Christmas BBQ at Wattle Park, The Australia Day event, and the Queens Birthday weekend at Boort.
The Corryong Cup was held again in January 2011, with many MHGC members participating. This annual comp is a “friendly” comp and suitable for most levels of pilots. It is particularly useful for pilots who want a taste of what it may be like in competitive events with many experienced pilots available for imparting knowledge and coaching.
During the Australia Day weekend we had a well attended fly-in at Bright. This was hosted by Scott Rawlings and Nick Abicare who did a great job of organising, not only the event, but we held a Club BBQ at the Outdoor which was held for members and friends. It was a great success both socially and for our tummies. Well done Scott and Nick.
An extra thanks to Nick Abicare who put a lot of effort into drafting a new members welcome pack. We had hoped that we could finalise this in conjunction with an electronic revision of our Club brochure, however this is still outstanding on our to do list.
Randall Clotworthy organised a Goulbourn Valley/Yea fly-in in February. This event went well and hopefully will gain greater participation next year.
During the March Labour Day weekend Peter Holloway ran a Towing (Ground and Aero-tow) skills workshop to assist members in their attainment of relevant endorsements and for others to have a great social weekend of flying. The weekend was hugely successful, held in and around Locksley airfield (80 minutes from Melbourne and also included nearby airfield Wahring.
During Easter 2011 we had our usual split of pilots who attended the Birchip Easter Competition (towing event) and an Alpine free flying group based at Bright. Both were well attended by MHGC pilots and, by all accounts, were productive for the club in that members gained good airtime and experience without major incident. Congratulations to our new member this year, Neale Halsall, who won the novice/floater class at the Flatter than Flatlands comp (Birchip). Reports also indicate the events were great from a social/bonding viewpoint for our members.
Recently on the Queens Birthday weekend we again held our annual fly-in at Boort hosted by Peter Holloway (SSO) who again acted as MHGC Instructor assisting pilots to gain their ground tow endorsements and helping others refresh their ground towing skills. Sixteen pilots attended the fly-in and many pilots had partners attend with them. The Club again supplied food for the BBQ which was held around a bonfire at the property owned by our hosts of the night the Eichers. The Saturday night was also a great club event when we were given exclusive use of the function room at the Railway hotel for our dinner and evening of socialising.
The club, mainly through the efforts of Peter Holloway, continued its focus on pilot safety and development. Focus continued on practical issues in the area of safety, such as launch and landing clinics and practice, parachute repack and glider maintenance nights and the attainment of various endorsements, individual counselling and coaching, etc. Last year we had identified the need to have a “Hill Launch” clinic and the need for an appropriate training hill with multiple launch directions and within close proximity to Melbourne. This year we identified, selected and sought permission to use Como Park near the centre of Melbourne for this purpose. The site is not available to us on weekends during the football season.
Peter Davies has been a major contributor to our club whilst in “official” committee roles and in “non official” roles. Once again this year he has been a major contributor, he attended all committee meetings and managed to produce regular jam packed newsletters during the year. The Newsletter can only be successful with contribution of articles coming from the members. Once again we had various contributors and the club member that provided the most articles, yet again, was Paul Tanner along with the editor Peter Davies himself. Great job guys.
Our Club relies to a large extent on the goodwill of landowners to make our flying sites available. This includes either the T/O or bomb out LZ at each of the sites we sponsor. In December, we provided thanks to some of our landowners with Christmas gifts and certificates of appreciation. Our site contact for Donna Buang (Neil Hooke) provided the owners of the LZ (Mr. & Mrs. Gary Lay) with appropriate gifts. Scott Rawlings (Secretary) provided Terry and Janet Hubbard with gifts for providing the T/O and LZ’s at 3 Sisters to the club. Bob Savill the landowner of SavHill at Gundowring was given free membership of our club as an active pilot himself.
Geoff Tozer, our long term serving Public Officer, will be standing down for the 2012 year. Our club is an incorporated club, as such; we must prepare and lodge annual returns to the department of fair trading. The role of Public Officer has been diligently performed by Geoff Tozer for many years, so please extend thanks to Geoff.
During our first committee meeting this year, Peter Cass raised his strong desire to have the committee provide a new Club T-shirt for members. After much consultation and options provided to members, a design was finally chosen. Various suppliers and print options were considered, but we got there and orders were taken from members, with 50 T-shirts and 4 Polo tops given to the supplier in our final order. With any luck we will have these available prior to the AGM meeting on July 20th 2011.
Over the past year, your Committee (including your SSO, Peter Holloway) have worked tirelessly to deliver on the promise of appropriate stewardship of the Club. Over the past few years our membership numbers have been progressively growing from the low 40’s to (at last count) 59 for 2011. Hopefully, this has been in part, a measure of some growth in the sport, but also as a sign the club has been getting it right with planned events and the nurturing care of our SSO and senior pilots towards newer pilots.
In the previous few years, I had written: “Your committee will aim to deliver the structure for pilots of all ratings to develop and continue flying safely and within a Fun, Club and “mate-ship” environment. We all want to keep flying, have fun with good friends that share this passion of ours whilst avoiding any serious incidents. We hope to facilitate that happening more this year. We aim to have more events, more guest speakers, provide for pilot development and promote our Club and the sport of Hang Gliding.” I hope you believe we have achieved that over this past year.
The Year Ahead
What now for the future of the Club? Well that may well depend upon the aims of the new committee following the AGM later this month.
However, after 3 years in the role as your President, I will be standing down from the position at our next AGM. This is in no way a reflection of the job itself, as it has been an absolute privilege to have been able to help the Club in a leadership role. And the team that I have had help me in each of the past three years have been fantastic to work with. I believe that after 3 years the Club should have, and deserves, a new injection of enthusiasm. My standing down also doesn’t mean I won’t be around to help. I will still be flying and I will remain an active member of the club as well as a Safety Officer, etc.