Australian Air League cadets from as far as the Sunshine Coast took to the Bundaberg sky this weekend for the organisation’s annual event to see how high they could fly with the Bundaberg Gliding Club.
Some cadets were lucky enough to hit a thermal and fly to an altitude of 4000 feet.
Queensland’s Group Education Commissioner Di Ballard said there were 14 Air League cadets at the camp, and a number of officers and parents who joined in the annual flying event that will have cadets seeing for miles as they flew through the air.
Di said half of the cadets were new to Air League after only joining the club this year; the youngest cadet to take to the sky was eight years old and the oldest was 17.
Bundaberg Air League Cadet Riley Kroning was strapped in and ready to take off in the light aircraft that flies without a motor, but there wasn’t a sign of fear on his face as he knew he was in the safe hands glider pilot Petrus Van Seker.
“I flew for the first time last year, I really like,” Cadet Kroning said.
Decades of love for gliding
Pilot Van Seker has been gliding for 40 or more years. He's now based in Gladstone but travels down to help the Bundaberg Gliding Club with the cadets.
“I have been gliding about 600 to 700 times, there is nothing to be scared about,” he said.
“Because we don’t have a motor we count on the thermal air, rising warm air, to keep us up there in the air.
“Same thing for eagles – they look for the air and stay up there circling.
“You can easily go away on a nice warm day and take your lunch and stay up there for four or five hours and you never want to come down.”
Bundaberg is perfect for flying
Di said this time of year had the perfect weather for flying and they always took advantage of it at the Bundaberg Gliding Club, which has been established in the region for 55 years.
“The gliding club out here always looks after us – they are absolutely awesome and we really appreciate them,” Di said.
Coming in to land the gliders seamlessly touch down and the smiles on the cadets faces are priceless.
Cadet Coen Adams-Williams said there were a few bumpy moments, but it was always nice to be up in the air.
“It is very fun going up and I could see The Hummock,” he said.
“It’s a little bumpy and you get a little bit of a feeling in your stomach but it’s nice.”
The Air League cadets earnt their gliding and soaring class badges, their physical activity class 3 badge and the astronomy class 4 badge over the weekend.
Di said the Group Executive Commissioner, Lieutenant Commissioner Todd Oakley attended the weekend to instruct the gliding and soaring badge as he is also the Acting Air Activities Commissioner.
“Kids from eight years can join Air League and adults from 18 can join, all they need is a Blue Card and we always need more members,” Di said.
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