Adelaide Hills Soaring Group Inc.

Gliding - our overview

 Different people want different things from gliding. And so over many decades a range of distinctly individual gliding clubs have developed. Each one is structured to meet the needs of a particular group of people.

 If you want to access gliding at your convenience, you will be looking for one of the clubs which has facilities, fleet and support to help you. 
If instead you want your gliding to emphasise the day spent with likeminded people, you will then be attracted by the clubs where the current members form a 'family'. Where every generation interacts in their common goals. 
Or you may find that the club you want has been developed to serve a particular 'community', be that Scouts, ATC or University.

 The choice of the right club for you is critical to you getting the enjoyment that the sport offers.

 You are encouraged to visit several clubs in your region to meet and get the 'feel' for each individual club, which differ markedly from one another. 
Not just explore on web, by phone or glossy pamphlet.

 These differing clubs together form the broad range of experience that the sport of gliding overall has to offer. Often glider pilots move from one club to another during their lives as the needs of the individual change during each phase of living.

 Some clubs have well developed facilities, sailplane fleets emphasising modern equipment, powerful launch capacity, and the capacity for providing flying on demand.

 In other clubs the emphasis is more on enjoyment at a relaxed pace and with less complex equipment. You need to choose what works for you.

 It is not productive to expect an individual club to metamorphise into the club of your dreams. These diverse clubs have all been in existence for a long time, their long term operation is testament to their success in meeting the needs of a particular part of society. 
It is more than likely that the club that suits you already exists. Your understanding of what you want out of gliding is key to getting that match right.

Where we are

 The club's location is at Monarto South, South Australia, about 60km east of Adelaide. We are accessible from the Monarto interchange on the South Eastern Freeway. 
On site we have a display centre open 7 days a week during daytime hours to the public.

 see photo

 The display centre houses items of public interest, historical items and projects in gliding. The oldest airframe on display was built in 1924. Other displays cover home building projects, kits, instruments, vintage events. An accessible display cockpit is provided.

 There is no access charge. Takeaway information packs are provided, for which a donation is requested.


 The club suits access from the Lower Murray area, Southern Adelaide Hills townships and South and Eastern Adelaide suburbs. Approach can be via the South Eastern Freeway, or from main roads via Strathalbyn and Murray Bridge. 

The Monarto interchange from the South Eastern Freeway is open for access. Turn right from the off ramp from Adelaide, travel 5km, we are the third entry after the Monarto Conservation Park. 
Return to the freeway must be via Monarto township and Callington as there are no southern ramps on the freeway interchange. 

The Adelaide Hills Soaring Group Inc. in that context

 This gliding club was formed to fulfill some goals in both local and broader contexts. That breadth of interests will appeal to you for you to mesh with the pilots and activities in this club. 

From this policy have developed the diverse activities by this club beyond just individual glider pilot flying. The philosophy is to be involved in key activities that contribute to the sport of gliding more broadly.

 Indicative is the display centre noted above, and the library and workshop projects noted below. Participating pilots tend to be experienced rated pilots, and they generally hold at least a share in a sailplane of their own.

 The club underpins solo flying from the site, trips away to flying camp sites and contests. Dual flights are limited to the interest of individual pilots, with rare air experience flights and flight training. Therefore this club does not emphasise the presentation of its site, facilities and fleet as being core in what its members need.

 Contact: phone (08) 85 344011 Email:


 Through its small size, the gliding club offers a personable atmosphere where all members know and can actively collaborate with one another for mutual advantage. 

The gliding activities and operating site is located within a land revegetation project landholding situated between the Monarto and Ferries-McDonald Conservation Parks; resulting in the natural landscape appearance of the area and characterised by the site with both the flowering local desert vegetation in season and local wildlife including mobs of kangaroos. (1990 LandCare SA certificate recipient). 


 A line of facilities exist and are developing by the gliding club along the southern edge of the airstrip, which is 1600 metres long and aligned east-west. The strip surface is grass with a gravel centre line suitable for glider launch winches. The site has not been developed with power plane use in mind. 

Facilities include storage carports and sheds, workshop, a number of sailplane hangarages and a rudimentary clubroom with ablutions with camping area alongside. Sequentially the facilities align with:- 

display centre / gliding museum
E  1, 2 & 3hangarage
F  1, 2 & 3hangarage, workshop

Sites B, G, & K are solar powered. Rain water is collected at buildings for domestic and fire fighting uses.
Separate buildings are developed for some specialist facilities noted below and elsewhere in the Australian Soaring web site.


Sailplanes operated at this gliding club are primarily private equipment with shared use arrangements made.
Blanik VH-GYD 2 seat training sailplane private ownership 
Group Metal construction, L/D 1:28, built in Czech republic
Motorfalke VH-FQW 2 seat motorglider private ownership Wood and steel tube construction, L/D 1:22, built in Germany
IS32A VH-HND 2 seat performance sailplane, built in Rumania, L/D 1:43.  Private ownership, fitted with performance equipment, including winglets.
Boomerang VH-GQG single seat sailplane private ownership wood construction, L/D 1:30, built in Adelaide prototype aircraft of this series production type
Super Arrow VH-GTJ single seat sailplane private ownership wood construction, L/D 1:30, originally a Boomerang - revised to Super Arrow layout
H-111 'Hippie'   single seat primary glider private ownership mixed fibreglass, wood, metal construction, L/D 1:12, built in Germany 


 Apart from self launch sailplanes, sailplanes on the site are launched by winch. 

The site operates a V8 7 litre 2 drum mobile winch with 4mm stranded wire rope. 
A second V8 4.2 litre 2 drum mobile winch is also on site. 
Dedicated vehicles are provided on-site for movement on the airstrip, for glider movement and personnel transport. 


 In concert with the sporting activities conducted by the gliding club, the club additionally functions as the focus of a rolling program of projects initiated by both club members and others from other organisations. 

Some of these are noted below and elsewhere on the Australian Soaring website. 

Ferries-McDonald Technical Library

 This facility is described in more detail accessible here.

 Physically, the library is located at the Adelaide Hills Soaring Group gliding site in a separate building D, where the resource stocks are stored. Members of the gliding club participate in the search and compilation activities of the library in response to requests for information. The Library began in 1977, and has been located here since 1983. There are also projects to prepare promotional hand out materials and posters. Museum displays draw on the photograph collection, texts and information from the library. 

Educational Mobile Unit (EMU)

 This is a collaborative project built in 1994. This project encompasses a trailer made available by the Adelaide University Gliding Club, a remnant cockpit of a Pik-20 sailplane from the Sunraysia Gliding Club, with development work carried out by club members as well as Noel and Beverley Matthews; and provision of components including instruments from a number of other sources. 

The unit is used as a static display public information stand on gliding by the South Australian Gliding Association and some of its member clubs. The unit is stored in the museum and maintained by the Adelaide Hills Soaring Group. 

Further development under consideration for the existing unit into the future include :- 

  •  fitting a flight simulator to the static cockpit for public use 
  • a cockpit shell of a 2 seat sailplane has been secured with a view to fitting it out for public display use.
Static airframe displays

 The museum project arose after a number of individual airframe projects had been completed.

 In 1992 the club resurrected the remains of a 1924 body shift hang glider originally built at Loxton, with the remnant airframe pieces had been in storage for many years at Waikerie. 
The completed assembly was first displayed at the Lincoln Nitschke aviation museum at Greenock, and is now hung in the roof of the Monarto museum. 

Also in the museum is the partly completed airframe of a 'Miller Tern' originally built by Trevor Smart at Tailem Bend, and by several subsequent syndicates. 
All this is integrated with the activities of the S.A. Gliding History Trust, which is described elsewhere in Australian Soaring. 

The ES-54 'Gnome' glider was originally built by the factory of Edmund Schneider P/L in Adelaide in the early 1950's. In 1995 the remnant airframe pieces were returned to South Australia through the efforts of Ray Ash and Cathy Conway. The fuselage was refurbished and a mock up wing was constructed by the club for eventual display in the S.A. Historical Aviation Museum at Port Adelaide. 

Other airframes held for the future include partial airframes for a German Ka6 Rhonsegler and an ES52 Australian Kookaburra.

 Airframe refurbishments

 The following sailplanes have been refurbished by members of the club over the years:- 
  • Longwing Kookaburra VH-GLZ 
  • Boomerang VH-GTI 
  • Sagitta VH-GQS 
  • Boomerang VH-GQG 
  • Hippie 

This site - created and maintained by Beverley Matthews ( since March 1995
as a service to the gliding movement.

The Australian Soaring web site server is provided by a dedicated enthusiast of the activity,
Simon Hackett of Internode Systems Pty Ltd

 Please address any comments or corrections to