9th - 12th June 2014
News Article by Nick Sheahon from the Caboolture Gliding Club. Photographs by Nick Sheahon, Peter Freeman and Richard Faint
It had been quite some time since the Caboolture Gliding Club has made the short hop from the coast, across the dam, and after a false start earlier in the year, they returned to Watts Bridge over the June long weekend.
The daily operations consisted of a group of about 15-20 members, many of whom were making the trip for the first time. They brought their fleet of two Blaniks, an IS-28 and the single seat Club Libelle, all of which were towed from Caboolture by the Club’s Pawnee tug. There were also a number of private gliders (and one powered glider) which included the vintage K6 and two-seat Kookaburra.
Some members were lucky enough to make the trip during the dual tows performed on the Friday and Saturday morning however, to be expected, most drove and brought the additional equipment and trailers required on a gliding club fly away. Some of these members took the opportunity to camp at the airfield while others stayed in Toogoolawah among the Ramblers Skydivers also in town that weekend.
While the conditions were unfortunately not favourable to generate the lift they were all hoping for, they still enjoyed three days of very busy shorter flights which were very productive, especially for the first time visitors.
Rodger Connolly from Kilcoy recently dropped into Watts Bridge as he flies off the hours in his beautifully built Waiex. The Waiex (pronounced Y-EX) is a kit built aircraft from Sonex Aircraft, designed by experimental aviation legends John Monnett and Pete Buck. Rodger's aircraft is one of only 2 Waiex's currently registered in Australia, though there are several others under construction.
The Waiex sports a distinctive "V" Tail configuration with a small rudder (which makes the rear end of the aircraft look like a "Y") giving it its name, and is powered by a variety of engines including the Aerovee 2.1, Jabiru 2200 and Jabiru 3300. The Waiex is a comfortable though cozy 2 place aircraft which can be registered as either VH or RA-Aus. Cruise performance is 130 Knots at 8,000ft with a full flap stall speed of 34 Knots.
Six students from the Toogoolawah State High School have been partaking in a wide ranging work experience programme lead by Watts Bridge President Bruce Clarke who is ably assisted by a team of volunteers.
With the workshop programme approaching completion, Captain Phillip Cooper gave an inspirational insight into careers in professional aviation. The students were then treated to a flight in Captain Phill's superb Morava L200D.
Local newspaper the Gatton Star was there to report on the morning's activities.
Click here to read the Gatton Star's report.
31st May 2014
The early morning saw just a little fog hovering over the Brisbane River with only minimal cloud. There was however, a "red sky in the morning", and we all know how that one goes. And true enough, the weather took a turn for the worse becoming quite overcast with intermittent showers skittering across the airfield. However that did not deter the many pilots who flew in or dampen the spirits of those in attendance.
Watts Bridge is the home base for the Queensland Vintage Aeroplane Group, the Brisbane Valley Sport Aviation Club and the Queensland Chapter of the Australian Aerobatics Club. This ensures a great diversity of aircraft types and 2014 was no exception. Many rare and noteworthy aircraft attended including a Grumman G-73 Mallard, the de Havilland Dove, a U.S. Air Force T-34A Mentor, a fine example of the Mignet HM290 Flying Flea and the amazing scale Grumman F9F Panther jet which is always a show stopper!
The aim of the All-In Fly-In is to celebrate and promote recreational aviation regardless of aircraft type. Through the day we saw gyroplanes, aerobatics specialists, warbirds, homebuilts, trikes, recreational, classic and vintage aircraft as well as a large contingent of general aviation types. All in all in excess of 90 aircraft attended the single day fly-in with many more folk electing to drive in.
Local community group “Beyond Limits – Supporting Youth through Education” did a fantastic job with the on-field catering. By any measure the fly-in was a great success. It was obvious that everyone who made the effort to come had a good fun day out.
For those who could not make it on the day, or if you would simply like to relive the experience, we have assembled a Photo Gallery which captures the airplanes and the atmosphere of the day. Click to enjoy!!
Watts Bridge submitted a feature article and photographs for inclusion in the Recreational Aviation Australia's monthly magazine - Sport Pilot. RAAus printed a great two page spread which helps enormously with the promotion of the airfield and next year's All-In Fly-In.
The local newspaper the Gatton Star provides news coverage of Gatton, Lockyer and the Brisbane Valley.
The Star sent a journalist and photographer to the All-In Fly-In and we got front page coverage! As if that were not enough there were additional reports and photo spreads featured within the newspaper.
Read the Gatton Star's full coverage of the All-In Fly-In 2014.
Chances are most weekend visitors to Watts Bridge would be totally unaware of the world class Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) research that is being conducted on the airfield. Project ResQu, which is a two-year project funded by the Queensland Government, Queensland University of Technology, CSIRO, Boeing Research & Technology - Australia and Boeing company Insitu Pacific, aims to fast-track the development of smart technologies that will enable unmanned aircraft to fly safely in the civil airspace
Queensland Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) researchers have made what's believed to be a world-first breakthrough for small Unmanned Aircraft (UA), developing an on board system that has enabled a UA to detect another aircraft using vision while in flight. During the flight, the onboard system provided real time warnings back to the ground control station, resulting in a successful manual collision avoidance manoeuvre - a critical point for allowing UAs to fly in commercial airspace. The flight trial was carried out in unsegregated, class G airspace.
For more information the QUT's FULL MEDIA RELEASE is available online for all to read.
Watts Bridge Memorial Airfield is strongly committed to a "Fly Neighbourly" policy ensuring good working relationships with other land owners in the district.
Pilots are requested to download the Fly Neighbourly Chart to be aware of and avoid where operationally possible, noise and over-fly sensitive locations adjacent to the airfield.
Watts Bridge Memorial Airfield requests that all members and visitors using the airfield's internal roads adhere to the signposted maximum Speed Limit of 20kph.
The Speed Limit maximises safety for all motorists and pedestrians, significantly reduces damage to the airfield's roadways and minimises the generation of dust which has an adverse affect on aircraft, buildings and human health.