This article by Nick Duxson was first publishe in The Wimmera Mail-Times on Feb 10, 2014
THE 48th annual Horsham Week Gliding Competition wrapped up on Saturday with presentations at the Horsham Flying Club.
Almost 40 glider pilots returned to the skies from Wednesday to Saturday, after they had been grounded due to weather conditions on Monday and Tuesday.
Waikerie pilot Craig Vinall won the overall open class, Grampians’ Gary Stevenson took out both the standard and 15M classes and Noel Vagg and Duncan Robertson combined for the club class win.
Horsham Flying Club president Arnold Niewand said it was great to finish the week on a high note.
"Overall the competition was quite a success, and we had a couple of very good days on Friday and Saturday,” he said.
"There were some very fast times recorded on Saturday over the course."
While hot weather led to most sports being abandoned, Niewand said it provided magnificent soaring conditions.
"During the eight days, we had three days of exceptional soaring – pilots were getting 14,000 to 15,000 feet off the ground," he said.
"Some pilots commented they had never been in thermals that high around Horsham."
He said Vinall in particular had set a lightning-fast time.
"His average speed over I think a 500-kilometre course was 166 kilometres per hour – that’s quite an exceptional speed," Niewand said.
Niewand was one of two Horsham members who competed, and he flew all six days, collecting a third-place finish in Saturday’s club class event.
While the competition is over, there is still plenty of action at Horsham Aerodrome, and Niewand encouraged anyone interested to pay the club a visit at weekends.
"Anyone can come out and request a flight over the weekend, it’s open to the public to come out a have a joy flight," he said.