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Mark Newton’s Farewell

I joined AUGC due to bad weather.

In mid-2000. Cath Conway and I flew to Hawker to install a dialup POP for Internode. On the way back we had stupidly strong headwinds, meaning that we had to choose between diverting to Port Pirie for fuel and not getting back to Parafield by last light, or pushing on and eating into our reserve fuel. We took the sensible course by taking on fuel at Pirie, then dropped in to Lochiel to spend the night. Here’s Cath DI’ing Echo Tango Tango the following morning. And here’s the Lochiel clubhouse circa July 2000.

I joined AUGC on 27 July 2000, after being introduced to gliding by spending 1h 30m on the ridge with Bradley Gould in the Puchatek, followed by an aerobatic hangar run with Dennis Medlow. I was instantly hooked. I soloed on the 22nd of September that same year, a tad under two months. I was pretty happy with that, even though Raj and Cath had both made that last pre-solo day miserable by giving me a succession of simulated cable breaks: The only flight I had that day which went above decision-height was my solo.

I attended the field on almost every weekend after that, until relatively recently. Continuity, currency and recency meant I went quickly through the fleet; GNF on 21 October, a bit under a month from solo; GMI on 25th November, a month after that; C cert finished in April 2001, just in time for the soaring season to shut down and the ridge season to open; 50 hours during my first twelve months of solo time; and my 100th hour 9 months after that.

And that was before my 2004 instructor rating, which really started clocking up the air time.

Since then I’ve been contact person, newsletter editor, CFI for 3 years, I’ve done airworthiness, flown hundreds of AEFs and helped to train some of them to successful aviation careers. I’ve written software for the instructors database. I’ve edited a club promotional video for Channel 31 community TV. According to volume 3 of my logbook I’ve accumulated about 650 hours in SA, Vic, NSW, Qld, two states of the USA and New Zealand, and I’ve enjoyed every last one of them.

My longest cross country has been with Adam Stott in a Land Cruiser to recover the Puchatek from Camden after a repair 🙂

Most memorable flights have included my first solo discovery of wave at the Flinders (haha, just watch everyone zot-in underneath when you make a radio call about that!), first time at 10,000′ with Simon Hackett in his motorfalke a couple of months after I went solo, flying in wave at 11,500 over snow-capped mountains 90 miles north of Los Angeles, and final glide in the Pik on a 320km task at Waikerie which was so nail biting that the onlookers at Waikerie thought my straight-in final was a beat-up.

AUGC is one of the things I’ll miss the most when I leave Adelaide.  I owe the club and its members so much for the opportunities and experiences they’ve given me, 

friendships formed, and the way that gliding has been the “gateway drug” for so many other things.

So, uh, thanks. And farewell. I’ll be off in mid/late May, but I’ll maintain my memberships and will be back occasionally, and I’ll look forward to dropping in from time to time as a visitor rather than a local.