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By Mike Woolley photos Josh Davis

The annual Gloucester ridge soaring camp ended earlier this month with a record number of flights and durations – but little evidence of the sought-after westerly winds.
The eight-day NSW event recorded 168 flights with a total of 124 hours flown by the 12 aircraft and 37 pilots registered. An average of 25 pilots attended daily briefings. Mark Bland and his son Adam flew the longest flight in their K21m GVS – a four-hour flight helped a little by an iron thermal.

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Grant Nicaud after achieving his Level 1 Instructor rating with Pat Barfield.

For the first time, the designated Gloucester air space was kept open for the duration, thanks to co-operation from RAAF Williamtown. However, the desired westerly winds, the big attraction of flying at Gloucester, failed to perform with the exception of a two-and-a-half hour slot on one afternoon.

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Adam Bland took his mum for a flight in Bill Barltett's Cessna 180.

The winter westerlies, which flow down from the Barrington and Gloucester Tops over the Bucketts and cross the Avon Valley to rise over the 10km long Mogranis range, were fickle and blew the week before and the week following the camp.

But, with afternoon temperatures in the low to mid 20s, thermal activity reached a maximum 6,000ft.
The Gloucester event has been organized for the past 40 years by Central Coast Soaring Camp although the last three were cancelled due to Covid-19 or the unserviceable condition of the airstrip.

Camp organizer was Michael Vince, CFI of CCSC and clubs attending were from the Hunter Valley, Camden, Mt Beauty, Narromine and Richmond areas.
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Julio Morales.

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Josh Davis (right) took his IFR commercial pilot friend Ricky for an aerobatic flight.

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Norm Dennison flying HVGC Duo Discus with Mike Woolley.

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