Balaklava’s glide pride

Dene Newton in the cockpit of a glider at Balaklava Gliding Club. Photo: Supplied
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Balaklava Gliding Club began life as the Clare Soaring Club with its first flight in a paddock in the foothills west of Clare in February 1954.

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A move to a field between Blyth and Snowtown saw the club grow in aircraft numbers and members.

The year 1963 saw the club move again to the location it now calls home at Whitwarta, where a name change saw it become the Balaklava Gliding Club.

The club this year is celebrating our 70th year since the club’s humble beginnings with the old Zogling glider, which was flying in its most basic form.

The club can proudly boast being the first club in Australia to buy our own land, thus ensuring a great future.

The gradual purchase of modern sailplanes has enabled us to claim state and national champions along with national awards for distance flights of up to 500 kilometres.

The first basic glider cost the founding members $200 while the latest high performance aircraft is now valued at $300,000

Our instructors have trained hundreds of people, with many progressing to careers in the Aviation Industry and the RAAF.

Members over the last 70 years have largely come from our surrounding districts.

Gliding is a unique form of flight, with proper training ensuring it as a safe way to fly.

A local Balaklava member, Dene Newton, now in his 90’s joined the club in 1957 and is still one of our top pilots. The club has more than 60 members ranging in age from teenagers to seniors like Dene.

On March 16 this year a dinner will be held at our Whitwarta location to celebrate our club’s first flight 70 years ago.

Our club operates each weekend giving visitors the great opportunity of experiencing motor less flight.

Balaklava can feel justifiably proud of the gliding club’s many achievements.

Come and have a guided tour and find out more about our historic club.

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