TryGliding Just Go membership Classifieds

Martin Simons


Martin died on 19 January after a short illness at Craigcare Moonee Ponds. He was 93 years old. He was born in England, where he began his gliding career in his teens.

Martin was a tireless supporter of the sport and an author of many books on gliding. He was known for his passion for vintage gliders and, most of all, for his role as editor of the magazine Australian Gliding for much of the 1970s and 1980s. Tim Shirley

The following message has come from his family.
Martin was a member of the Waikerie Gliding Club from 1968 when he arrived in Australia until he gave up solo flying in 2000, serving on the committee for several years. He was an active competition pilot in the 1970s and 80s, owning and flying a Kestrel (XX), a standard Libelle (BV), and later an LS3.

Martin Simons vitage gliders


Warwick Vance Kenny
1948 – December 2023

Warwick passed away on 15 December 2023, at the age of 75. He introduced Brad Edwards to gliding in the mid-1960s when both of them were at school at Armidale.

A third of his working life was spent with the airforce, first at Williamtown and then Laverton, working mostly instruments and RAAF gliding clubs, as well as experimenting with Winjeels for use as tugs in the 1974 Worlds at Waikerie.

Warwick devoted another one-third of his working life to teaching gliding at Lake Keepit in the 1980s and early ‘90s. He taught Bruce Taylor and, before his first solo, took him on a cross country flight to Werris Creek Gap and back. That cross country experience, ahead of going solo, inspired Bruce and perhaps hundreds of other students to pursue gliding.

If it wasn’t cross country weather, he would often take students ridge or wave flying at Kelvin Range from a nearby farmer’s strip. Warwick did his 750km in the early ‘80s in a 15m glider on his first attempt.
The last third of his working life was dedicated to bus driving for Brad Edwards.

Warwick’s former students are scattered between the Whitsundays and Tocumwal, plus some in Tasmania, and many of these have become instructors, or competition pilots up to 30 years later.

His wife Judi, also a solo glider pilot, and son Brendon still live in the Newcastle area. All of us miss his quiet reassurance from the back seat. Warwick was probably one of the best-ever instructors at Keepit for getting students into gliding for the long term.
Ian McPhee

AJ Yeoman
The AAC is sad to learn of the passing of Alan ‘AJ’ Yeomans at the age of 93.
Alan was an active Gilding Federation member and cross country coach in the late 1960s and early ‘70s, competing in several national competitions. He transitioned to power and helicopter flying over the decades and, on his 80th birthday, his wife Christina bought him a Pitts Special!

Alan was active in the AAC until only a few years ago, last competing at the age of 90. We believe this made him the oldest active competition aerobatic pilot in the world at the time.

Alan passed away peacefully in the company of his family at the Gold Coast Private Hospital. He will be remembered as a true gentleman, aviator and sportsman to the end.

Peter Townsend
National President, Australian Aerobatic Club

Mark Tonta
November 1962 - February 2024

Mark started his gliding career at Tocumwal under the watchful eye of Bill Riley and Ingo Renner. He took his first solo soon after his 15th birthday and loved his gliding, achieving his Silver and Gold C within a year.

Mark was always on a mission to become a commercial pilot and towing gliders was the way to get his hours up. He received his restricted PPL at 16 and started towing at Tocumwal shortly after. Every weekend and public holiday was spent in the Scout hustling for hours. At 17 he earned his unrestricted PPL, which meant aero tow retrieves and more hours. Over the following years, Mark became a regular tuggie at regional, state and national gliding competitions flying Peter (Griffo) Griffiths’ Pawnee.

After getting his commercial license, Mark went on to fly for Griffo's Trailco Aviation business in Brisbane flying a Bonanza, Baron, Navaho, 690 Shrike and Super King Air and various other types.
After Trailco, Mark got a job flying for Skywest in Perth followed by a year in Gove doing coast watch.
He was accepted into Ansett and flew Fokker 50s and the Airbus A320 as a first officer before the demise of that company. The next few years were spent travelling the world chasing jobs in Europe, the Middle East and Asia before getting a position as a first officer on A320s with Dragon in Hong Kong. He also flew A330s for Jetstar out of Singapore.

Mark joined Narrogin Gliding Club with his daughter Kate. Both were members from 2007.

Paul Rodger