TryGliding Just Go membership Classifieds

It’s been a little while since I took over this role, but it seems like a lifetime! Many thanks to Jenny Thompson who did a sterling job for more than five years, through particularly difficult times as well.

I feel like I am slowly learning the ropes. A four-year stint as the Soaring Development Manager for SA and the NT helped prepare me for the role, but it has been a difficult and challenging time coming out of Covid. There is much work to be done and many problems to be sorted.

It has been a busy flying season for me with duties at the Waikerie SAGA Coaching Week and helping to run the SAGA State Championships. The year was completed with attendance at both the Benalla Multi-class Comps and Horsham Week. Apart from the enjoyment of flying and competing, hopefully, this flying experience gives me a good grounding in dealing with the issues that present to our group.

For those not familiar with the Soaring Development Panel (SDP), we are the group that has responsibility for developing and promoting the sport of soaring. The roles includes the SDP chair, National Competition Committee (NCC) chair, the National Coaching Manager, the FAI Badge and Records Officer, the International Gliding Commission representative, the International Teams Manager and Soaring Development Managers from each region.

We have been working hard to develop the sport and make it easier for you to achieve your sporting goals. Read below for some of the more recent activities supported by the Soaring Development Panel and how you can expand your participation in our great sport.

For many years the OLC has allowed pilots to share their flights online. OLC still provides this but more recently WeGlide offers enhanced services including the Ingo Renner Cup – the annual Australian decentralised competition. We encourage you to submit your flights to WeGlide – it’s fun to see how and where you flew relative to other pilots on each day and you can learn a lot from analysing your flights and those of other pilots. See how we support WeGlide at

Flying badges
Claiming FAI badges is now simpler with a streamlined online claim system. Simply go to and fill out the form. What is stopping you? Go out, have some fun and claim your badges. You will need an official observer and the list in JustGo under Reports/Customer Reports/Official Observers will help you find one in your club. If you want to help pilots achieve their badges, consider becoming an official observer. That’s simpler now too – see

Coaching to Develop Your Skills and Knowledge
Each region has one or more coaching events, coaching weeks or similar, and I encourage you to participate in these events. You will learn and lot and they are fun.

We have been working hard to improve coaching and train soaring competencies. There are now 130 Silver Coaches to assist with soaring and cross country flying training up to the GPC level. If you want to find coaches in your region, look in JustGo under Reports/Customer Reports/Coaches. Also if you would like to train as a Silver Coach, speak with your Soaring Development Manager.
If you already have a GPC, then Diamond coaches can help you to improve your soaring skills and help you with flying in competitions. On the administrative side we have considerable work to go on developing the Training Manual and we are also working on an Advanced Training Manual with the support of G Dale, that will assist you in reaching your soaring goals.

There are many opportunities to fly in state competitions and other regional competitions. Even if you are not a competitive person, these competitions are enjoyable and a great way to improve your skills and pit yourself against some of the best pilots.

At the top level of our sport in Australia we have our national competitions. It will be apparent to everyone that recent national competitions have been poorly attended. The Benalla Multi-class comps is an example where 18 Metre class was the only fully subscribed class and all classes – Open, 18 Metre, Standard and 15 Metre had to be combined into a single class. Yet many other competitions had participation at the same level as previous years or even more. Horsham Week was well supported, for instance.

Clearly, we need to consider changes to the format of national competitions. Options include a centralised location, shorter competition periods and reducing the number of competitions. The aim will be to attract a larger number of competitors to each competition, which will in turn make it more enjoyable for both the serious contenders as well as those that want to improve their cross-country skills.

Trackers and the Open Glider Network (OGN)
Prior to the OGN, trackers using the mobile phone network were an important means of promoting gliding as a competitive sport. It allowed people to view a competition as it was being flown and share in the excitement. This tracking has generally been somewhat delayed so that it cannot be used for tactical advantage.
In recent years we have seen the growth of live glider tracking through the OGN and the development of many associated apps. This is fantastic for watching your fellow club pilots fly, for safety, and provides live tracking for competitions. For competitions, we are considering the future of using dedicated trackers in the developing OGN environment. How does the coverage compare, which offers the best viewing experience, and what is the fairest for the pilots? Is it appropriate to ask all pilots to ensure they are visible on OGN? We need to balance promotion of the sport, safety, competitive fairness, and the cost and time to maintain a tracking system.
The SDP would be grateful for any guidance and comments from the members.

International Teams
What a fantastic result for our Australian team at the Narromine World Gliding Championship! The result is a testament to the dedication and focus of the whole team.
The teams representing Australia for the coming world championships have been selected with congratulations to the following pilots:

Junior World Championship Ostrow
(Poland) 13-27 July
Club Class – Joshua Geerlings
Team captain Arnold Geerlings

Uvalde (USA) 14-31 August
18 Metre – Matthew Scutter and Lumpy Patterson
Open Class – David Jansen and Geoff Brown
20 Metre Class – Adam Woolley/Keith Gateley

Team captains will be Allan Barnes assisting in Australia and Ron Tabery in the US, leading up to and during the competition. There will be a mountain of work for all of our pilots to get to these competitions, so we wish them the best.

Beryl Hartley Hands in her Badges

In Australian gliding, few names attract as much respect and admiration as Beryl Hartley’s. Known to everyone as the ‘Badge Lady’, there have always been many more strings to her bow. For decades, she and Arnie have been stalwart figures, not just in the gliding community but in aviation as a whole. Now, as she announces her retirement from the position of FAI Officer, it's an opportune moment to celebrate her significant contributions to the sport.


Beryl receiving her Paul Tissander Award at the opening ceremony of WGC Narromine

Beryl’s involvement in gliding has extended far beyond mere participation. She has immersed herself in a great many roles, at state level as well as nationally. Her dedication and expertise have earned her widespread recognition and respect within the gliding community and her local community of Narromine.
Though always a strong advocate for the sport of gliding, in 2009 she was recognised specifically for her eminent services to gliding over a long period of time, when she was awarded the FAI Pelagia Majewska medal.

Other awards include the Bill Iggulden Award in 1996, the Paul Tissandier FAI Diploma in 2022 and is a Life Member of Gliding Australia. She has crewed or captained for Australian teams on numerous international competitions and has most recently been the principal organiser for the 2023 World Championships in Narromine.

In addition to her contributions to the flying side of the sport, Beryl has contributed immensely to gliding administration. She has served as President and Vice President of Gliding Australian and held the position of Treasurer. She has also held administrative roles in NSW Gliding but most importantly, has held the position of FAI Badge Officer since 1995. Her insight and leadership have been instrumental in shaping the direction of the sport and ensuring its continued growth and success.

Tim Shirley has agreed to take over the position of FAI Badge Officer from Beryl. Tim has been part of a small group of volunteers that has assisted Beryl with trace analysis, ideally positioning him to take on the role. Also, while Beryl is retiring from the position of FAI Officer, she will remain a member of the group and act as Records Claims Officer. Peter Brunton, a recent recruit into the group, will mentor under Tim.

In celebrating Beryl’s lifelong involvement with gliding, now more than 50 years, we pay tribute not only to her achievements but to enduring contribution that is so important to our sport. As one chapter ends and another begins, we thank her for her invaluable contributions and wish her all the best for the future.

Craig Vinall
Chair Soaring Development Panel

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