1966: V.S.A. Competition

This article was first published in the Australian Gliding magazine, May 1966.


Victorian pilots continued their touring around Victoria and at Easter went to Horsham to fly with the Wimmera Soaring Club. 0n Friday about 50 pilots and crews arrived with 12 aircraft under excellent cumulus. A violent cold front had passed during the evening but had left winds of up to 40 m.p.h. Great clouds of dust were sweeping off the flat dry paddocks, making the airfield very unpleasant. A no-contest day was declared and most teams retired to Righetti's White Hart Hotel to settle into their accommodation. During the evening members of the International Team showed photographs of their travels in England and Argentina.

Saturday 9th April

Early on Saturday morning the sky had cleared and the ferocious wind of Friday was down to a mild 10-15 m.p.h. By 0900 at briefing the sky clouded over with a complete stratocumulus cloud cover and looked very poor. After being welcomed by Tom Thompson and Leon Righetti, President of Wimmera Soaring Club, pilots were told the task was a 76 km. out and return to Warracknabeal airfield.

With weak and widely spaced thermals, pilots were not eager to push off to the turn point and most stayed near the field for an hour or more. Bill Simpson in a Ka6 was the first to go and the only one to return, completing the task in 1 hour 49 minutes at 42 km/hr.

With maximum heights of 3,000 ft. most pilots had desperate scratches at one time or another. Bob Rowe was down to 200 ft. at Warracknabeal.


League 1
Pilot Distance Sailplane Km.
W. Simpson Ka6 76
R. Rowe ES60 62
L. Rodda Ka6 58
D. Pietsch Ka6 56
G. Sunderland Ka6 14
R. Marfell  ES59 14

League 2
Pilot Distance Sailplane Km.

M. Page Olympia 38
T. Van Alkemade Grunau 15

Sunday 10th April 

Much better weather conditions were experienced with no cloud and light winds, Alan Patching announced the task as a 103 km. triangle via Wallup and Minyip. Launching started at 11.30 and pilots started crossing the line at 12.00. Early in the day along the first leg to Wallup thermals averaged 200 f.p.m. to 2600 ft. Later along the second and third legs the inversion rose to 3200 ft. and some pilots found narrow thermals of 400 f.p.m. With the inversion, most pilots were down to 1000 ft. or less quite often. Landy Rodda led the field all the way and won the day with a time of 2 hours 16 minutes, Bob Martin and Alan Patching with the Boomerangs could not use their high speed potential because of the weak lift and  low altitudes. Chas Suter in a Ka6 rounded both turning points and was observed by the many spectators at atout 600 ft. 200 yards from the finish line. While several sailplanes and the aero-tow Tiger Moth flew around him he had what appeared to be a desperate scratch. Eventually he climbed away and when he landed the other side of Horsham completed the days longest distance. When asked why he did not cross the finish line he stated "I couldn't see the bloody joint".


League 1

Pilot Sailplane  km/hour
L. Rodda Ka6 45.6
R. Martin  ES60 41,2
A. Patching ES60 36.7
I. Cohn ES59 30.8
C. Suter Ka6 114 km
R. Godfrey Bocian 77 km
V. Carson Ka6 45 km

League 2

Pilot Sailplane  km/hour
K. Davies Olynpia 97 km

Monday 11th April

Since all crews were going home this day Tom Thompson farewelled every one at briefing, The task announced by Alan Patching was a race to Stawell  airfield, a distance of 65 km. A higher inversion with stronger thermals led to some fast times, Sue Suter in the Boomerang found one thermal at 700 f.p.m. and won with a time of 43 minutes, With a 2000 ft. finish gate Derk  Reid in his Boomerang flew on and reached Lake Burrumbeet near Ballarat. All aircraft but one in League 1 finished and in League 2 three aircraft including the Grunau completed the course.


League 1
Pilot Sailplane km/hour
S. Suter ES60 86,5
W. Simpson Ka6 67,2
D. Reid ES60 63.8
D. Schenke Ka6 59.8
L. Harrison EZ
L. Harrison ES59 45.8
F, Gascoigne Ka6 42,3
K. Telleson Bocian

League 2
Pilot Sailplane km/hour
M. Page Olympia 73.4
H. Dunn  Grunau 33.0
C. Cullinan Nymph 29.7

VSA66-5_tWith the best day yet experienced the Horsham competition closed and with it the best V.S.A. competition yet held. The following scores have been supplied by Tom Thompson. The scores have been arrived at on a handicap systerm although handicapping only affected the last day.


1. W. Simpson 1000
2. R. Rowe 830
3. L. Rodda 759
4. D. Pietsch 730
5. M. Page 650


1. L. Rodda 1000
2. R. Martin 920
3. A. Patching BB8
4. I. Cohn 700


1. M. Page 1000
2. S. Suter 941
3. w. Simpson 760
4, D. Reid 700
5, D. Schenke 680
6, H. Dunn 640
7, K. Telleson 540
8. L. Harrison 520
9, F. Gascoine 440
10. C. Cullinan 420


1. S. Suter 941
2. R. Martin 920
3. A. Patching 888
4. (L Rodda; W. Simpson) 880
6. R. Rowe 830
7. M. Page 825
8. D. Pietsch 730
9. ( I. Cohn; D. Reid) 700
11. D. Schenke 680
12. H. Dunn 640
13. K. Telleson 540
14. L. Harrison 520
15. F. Gascoine 440
16.  Y. Carson 430
17. C. Cullinan 420

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