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Vintage Eyeballing the PW 6

As an active member of the Bendigo Gliding Club and the Australian Gliding Museum, both located outside the Melbourne urban area, it was frustrating to accept that I would be unable either to continue with the restoration of the museum's K8 VH-GMA, or travel to Raywood and fly my Hall Cherokee VH-GPR, until restrictions were lifted.

Vintage Eyeballing the PW 6

Peter Raphael
Bendigo Gliding Club
Photos Frank Van Der Hoeven

2020 probably hasn't been a great year for anyone, anywhere, but for a gliding enthusiast residing in Victoria and in particular Melbourne, the situation has brought its own challenges. This whole saga probably became a little more disappointing when we realised that our gliding club was on the other side of the ring of steel’, a euphemism given to the police blockade put in place to inhibit unnecessary travel.

When the Victorian State Premier announced a full lockdown on 2 August, it meant that no one could travel from metro into regional areas without a valid permit. In fact, in the first instance, and for some time, we could not even travel more than 5km from home, let alone associate with anyone else.

Vintage Cherokee over Neilborough

As an active member of the Bendigo Gliding Club and the Australian Gliding Museum, both located outside the Melbourne urban area, it was frustrating to accept that I would be unable either to continue with the restoration of the museum's K8 VH-GMA, or travel to Raywood and fly my Hall Cherokee VH-GPR, until restrictions were lifted. To make matters worse, an early easing of restrictions in the rural communities meant that limited operations at the club were possible – but without me!

August, September and October floated by like ‘Groundhog Day’ and it wasn't until 8 November that the wall came down and we could venture out of the city – but cautiously, as most of us hadn't driven for a while. With time off for good behaviour, late on a Friday night I was able to sneak out of Melbourne to beat the inevitable Saturday morning mass exodus to places remote or, in my case, the Bendigo Gliding Club.

There, I found the little Cherokee still waiting patiently under her covers. After a thorough clean and inspection she was ready to share the sky for a few hours of soaring in the company of Dave and Jenne Goldsmith's Ka6e, the BGC PW-6 and a smattering of other white gliders. Thanks for the photos, Frank!

Vintage Hall Cherokee GPR

While the spectre of future lockdowns do exist, we are determined to make the most of the rest of the season. Hopefully, our Annual Vintage rally can still happen at Bordertown on 9-16 January. Now where did I leave that Bocian?

Oh, and the Australian Gliding Museum? Well, things are again on the move there, too, with the K8 now in the process of receiving its new coat of colours. But that's a story for another time...

Peter Raphael
Bendigo Gliding Club
Photos Frank Van Der Hoeven