Welcome to Gliding
Gliding and Soaring in Australia
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
GLIDING is the original form of manned flight where primary glider trainers were transported to the top of a hill and launched with the aid of a large rubber band or bungee. On occasions, with the advent of the motor vehicle, gliders were towed across a field at a speed sufficient to launch them into the air for an equally hasty 'downhill' glide to earth. It was many years before two-seater, dual-control gliders were made by gliding enthusiasts. In those early days the instructor rode a bicycle and shouted instructions from the ground as speed increased.
As time passed the art of SOARING evolved. Pilots were launched by tow vehicles to a height of hundreds of feet, allowing them to circle in rising warm air, or thermals.
In Australia, clubs are commonly named either 'GLIDING' or 'SOARING' CLUBS.
Modern gliders, or more correctly SAILPLANES, are capable of flying great distances and heights, and at speeds which can exceed that of light powered aircraft. The latest innovation is to fit small motors to gliders so that they can be launched independently of any other system. Some high performance gliders have a sustainer motor which is just powerful enough to maintain height, thus allowing the pilot to return to the base airfield without having to call for a retrieve by car and trailer or an expensive aerotow.
By now you will have realised that the sport of gliding is highly technical. As with all other sports, it carries an element of risk. The sport thus takes a lot of administration and supervision by specialists, yet is relatively free from bureaucratic restriction.
HOW THE GFA WAS FORMED
The Gliding Federation of Australia (the 'GFA') was founded in 1949 when the government moved to regulate, and dominate the sport. To counter that move, the then scattered, almost fragmented, gliding community united to form a self regulating national body which was offered to the Department of Civil Aviation as an alternative to government control.
The GFA was established from the fundamental concept:-
"We have a philosophical, moral and ethical right to a very considerable degree of freedom, from the modern trend to extend the powers to the State.
"We have an absolute duty to fight for the freedom to be adventurous individuals in an age of dull conformity if we so wish.
"We can plough our own furrow and if we make it straight enough the lack of any need for interference will be so obvious that people who might feel a duty to control such a thing will not bother with it".
(J.M. Iggulden, 1960)
This is still valid today.