Beaufort Gliding Club

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Membership


 

Membership is open to men and women of any age with no special qualifications required. In Australia, the minimum age for solo is 15 years. 

Flying members join as probationary members for a period of three months. A probationary joining fee (half the joining fee) plus pro-rata annual fee and short-term (3 month) Gliding Federation of Australia fee applies initially.  The Gliding Federation of Australia fee includes subscription to the "Soaring Australia" magazine which is published monthly. 

Upon attaining full membership status after 3 months, the balance of the joining fee plus pro-rata Gliding Federation of Australia fee will be due and payable.  A similar calculation applies for all categories of membership with the exception of Associate Members.  The Joining Fee is levied in the first year of membership only.  Club and GFA Annual Fees are subject to change during the period of membership.  Aerotow and glider costs are charged by the minute. 

Full details of the fees applicable are detailed on the Fees & Charges page.

  • Click here for a membership application form (155KB pdf).

Categories of Membership

Flying Members

This is the primary category of membership and provides access to all facilities and flight training.

Student Members

Student membership is available to those who have not yet attained 18 years of age.  Student members have the same access to facilities and flight training as Flying members but pay reduced annual fees to both the Club and the Gliding Federation of Australia.  Student members cannot fly solo until they have reached 15 years of age.

Family Group Members

When two or more from a family take up membership, the annual fees to both the Club and the Gliding Federation of Australia are reduced.  There is a further reduction in fees for family members under the age of 18 years. 

Associate Members

This category of membership caters for those who would like to be affiliated with the club.  Associate members can fly with Flying Members at club rates but cannot receive flight training. 

About Club Membership

These notes will give you some background to the club and how it runs.  It will explain the roles of the club officials, the duties shared by members and the opportunities that membership provides.

Most importantly, gliding should be fun.  This is the club’s highest priority, but achieving that goal means ensuring that flying remains safe, affordable and relaxed.  Much of this document is about how Beaufort builds these elements into its operations.

You’ll find answers to lots of questions here, but no doubt you’ll think of others.  Beaufort has an experienced team of instructors you can contact, and we recommend that you call an instructor a few days before the weekend to notify them that you’re planning to fly.

In addition to the instructor team, every member has a club contact person.  The contact people are there to answer queries about procedures, to bring members’ concerns to the club committee, to assist new members in progressing their flying and to remind members about upcoming events such as camps and working bees.

Safety

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. In the air, in the hangar and on the airfield there are basic safety requirements to be observed.  The best way to learn is by being around gliders, talking to more experienced pilots, asking questions and listening to the answers.

Safety starts when the hangar doors open, and it continues until the last glider is packed away.  There isn’t time while you’re in the air to become familiar with all the risks, so new pilots need to put aside the time to be at the airfield early, talking with instructors and preparing for their day’s flying.  You will learn as much on the ground as you do in the air, and it is important to understand that the time you spend talking is as valuable as the time you spend flying.  Whether you arrive early to help get the gliders out to the flight line, or stay late to put them away, the extra time will pay off in a better understanding of flying and safety.

Staying safe requires regular practice.  Long breaks in your training will slow your progress and take the edge of your skills.  Regular practice will give you the chance to fly in a range of conditions and ensure that each flight builds on the previous one.  The best time for your first training flights is early in the day – when the air is calm and there are fewer other gliders waiting to be towed.  Fly early, fly often!

Maintaining a fleet of safe aircraft is the responsibility of the Club Technical Officer, Airworthiness .  This Officer coordinates maintenance of the club’s gliders and schedules the inspections and modifications required under the Civil Air Regulations.  Read on to find out about club maintenance and the chance to use your current skills and develop new ones.

Affordable

The club works hard to keep its fees low.  At about $40 for an afternoon’s flying, gliding remains the most cost-effective way to get airborne.  There is no charge for tuition, so learning to fly needn’t cost a fortune.

Beaufort is a club that relies on its volunteers.  The low fees and free tuition are available because the expertise of members keeps the operation running.  Volunteer instructors, electronics technicians, mechanics, project managers, engineers, book-keepers, computer programmers, editors and safety officers contribute to a pool of skills that ensures that Beaufort can offer affordable flying.

Tuition is provided by experienced members who’ve completed advanced training and undertake regular proficiency checks.  They operate under the direction of the club’s Chief Flying Instructor.  The CFI is responsible for the safe conduct of the gliding operation and training program, for ensuring that members are aware of current safety issues, and for co-ordinating the training syllabus.  Many members choose to train as Instructors, passing on the skills they’ve learned to new members.

Tuition at Beaufort goes beyond “learning to fly”. You’ll get the opportunity to develop advanced skills – like cross-country flying – that will equip you to compete in local, state, national and international gliding competitions.  Club camps and coaching clinics are a great opportunity to take your skills beyond local soaring, moving toward that first flight where you leave the airfield behind, heading cross-country to a goal over the horizon.

Ever wondered how an aircraft is constructed?  With a fleet of wood and fibreglass aircraft, Beaufort offers an opportunity to get a hands-on understanding of the mechanics of aviation engineering.  A Daily Inspection (DI) is carried out on every glider before it is first flown – this is a great opportunity to learn about how they are built and maintained, so ask a member to take you through a DI.

But airworthiness doesn’t stop with the daily inspection.  For the most part, club members maintain the club’s fleet of gliders. Servicing is scheduled and managed by the Club Technical Officer Airworthiness, with project management delegated to club members with experience in aircraft service and repair.  Basic repairs, routine cleaning and servicing are undertaken by members, either on their own or under the direction of a more experienced member.

Each glider has a major annual examination, and joining a project team for the annual check provides a chance to get to know the gliders you’ll be relying upon in the air. Maintaining a glider is a chance to pick up new skills – metalwork, woodwork, fibre-glassing, painting and electronics are just a few. Understanding how the glider is built and the decisions the designer has made will help you appreciate the machine’s characteristics, and this in turn will make your flying more enjoyable.

Relaxed

Gliding is different from many other types of flying. It mixes the relaxation of silent flight with the challenge of getting the best out of the air around you, your glider and yourself.

Being relaxed in the air means being confident in your own skills and your aircraft, and we’ve already discussed how you can develop that confidence – regular practice and an understanding of the design, construction and capabilities of each glider you fly.

Keeping ground operations relaxed is just as important. Any flying day, two key club members share the tasks that keep each flying day running smoothly.  The Duty Instructor maintains safe operations and co-ordinates students, while the Duty Pilot manages the administrative tasks.  Being an Instructor is a longer term goal, but Duty Pilot is something that everyone can take on.  Arranging the weekly roster is the job of the Chief Duty Pilot.  Members take turns – roughly every two months – to manage the day’s flying operations.

Duty Pilot tasks include co-ordinating the movement of aircraft from the hangar to the airstrip, ensuring that aircraft are move on and off the flight line promptly and maintaining the day’s flight log – recording take off and landing times, pilots' in command and aircraft in use.

We often fly alone, but gliding is a team sport and a smooth running operation needs many hands.  Supporting the duty pilot are all the other members present on the day.  Over the course of the day, they will tow aircraft to the flight line, help move gliders of the landing area onto the take-off strip, collect the tow rope, hook waiting gliders on the tow and run the wingtip of a launching glider.

These skills are just as important as smooth turns and spin recovery, and, without them, no-one is going to get airborne.  Relaxed flying requires low-stress ground operations, and Beaufort Gliding Club values the efforts of club members in keeping the flying operation running smoothly.

Keeping things relaxed is also the responsibility of every pilot.  Having your equipment in order, being ready to take over your aircraft when the previous pilot lands, completing your pre-flight checks and briefing your instructor before every flight are important steps in making sure that you get the most out of every flying day.  Make use of time on the ground between flights to ask questions or prepare for your next flight, and you’ll go home feeling that the day was put to good use.  Your confidence will be higher, your skills will improve and your time will have been well used – all of which contribute to enjoyable, relaxing flying.

Beaufort Gliding Club offers members fun flying in a fleet of aircraft to suit all skill levels, but the club relies on the involvement of its members.  Maintenance, training, ground crewing – every flying day is a full day.  The reward is a sport with no equal.

 

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Last modified: 24 July 2008