Guest speaker, glider pilot Tim Shirley, gave a fascinating presentation on changes over time in the devices used to track the position and performance of gliders, particularly during competitions.
Certainly the gliders coming to Benalla in January - which carry price tags from about $150,000 to $500,000 - will have the latest tracking equipment. Perhaps more importantly they are much lighter than previously because they are made of kevlar and carbon fibre and travel 50 metres forward while only descending one metre.
Tim’s session clearly provided rich ground for reminiscing by those with past experience of gliding. It also provided us all with a more informed base on which to understand the experiences of those who will be flying over Benalla in January.
During question time Tim, an experienced competitor, was asked if he would be gliding during the competition. He jokingly set us straight saying there are teams of six pilots from each country, and he’s not exactly the Michael Schumacher of Australian Gliding.
An intriguing answer resulted from the question ‘Why have so many of the advances in gliding technology taken place in Germany’? It seems that after World War I the Treaty of Versailles contained provisions restricting the production of powered aircraft in Germany. The result - the attention of German aviators changed direction - to gliding.
Our final session will be on November 9th when Bill Parris will introduce his extensive watch collection as part of a ‘Show and Tell’ session in which we will all bring along an item or two which demonstrate changes in technology over time. This will be followed by time for working groups ‘Tech Savvies’ to discuss incorporating the Internet of Things in next year’s sessions and ‘Mentors’ to begin planning the Tech Savvy Drop In for 2017.