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VINTAGE GLIDERS AUSTRALIA
The Vintage Glider Association of Australia was formed in October, 1977, after four glider pilots in South Australia realized that a rapid improvement in sailplane technology would leave behind the wood and fabric aircraft of over 50 years. These four were joined by many others. Much pleasure was still to be gained from the outdated aircraft, and a great deal of historical significance was worth preserving.
A rally was organised by Kevin Sedgman, Leo Boin, Cleve Gandy and Martin Simons at Blanchetown, South Australia over the weekend of October 15 and 16, 1977, and the proposal had popular support. Thirteen older gliders attended, and visitors came, not just from South Australia, but Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales as well. The meeting of those present on the Saturday evening, October 15, formed the new group, to be called the Vintage Glider Association of Australia. Since that time, vintage gliding has come a long way.
The Vintage Glider Association of Australia has become Vintage Gliders Australia, and our rallies now attract many visitors from Australia and overseas. Up to 25 vintage sailplanes attend, and annual rallies have been held in South Australia, Victoria or New South Wales every year. In addition, vintage regattas are organised locally, and members with vintage gliders regularly attend such get-togethers as Old Mates Week at Benalla and significant club anniversaries.
Vintage Gliders Australia is an important part of the world-wide interest in preservation of the fun and history of old gliders. Members sometimes attend the European annual rally of the International Vintage Glider Club, where up to 110 vintage gliders and 350 enthusiasts re-invent the past. We even managed to present the Golden Eagle, to the International Vintage Sailplane Meet at Elmira, New York State in 2000. The Golden Eagle, a beautiful gull winged sailplane designed and built by Geoff Richardson, first flew in September, 1937, and flies at Australian rallies to this very day.
Vintage Gliders Australia publishes a comprehensive club newsletter in colour, Vintage Times here every three months.
1 December 2011