The Balaklava Gliding Club was founded in 1953 and was originally known as the “Clare Soaring Club”. After operating for 10 years near the country towns of Clare and Blyth, some 100 kms north of the City of Adelaide, the club moved to Whitwarta, 10 km north-west of the township of Balaklava in 1963. In 1968, the club became the first in Australia to own its airfield with the purchase of 153 acres of land.
The club has since progressed, with a huge effort made by members, many of whom have been involved in gliding for over 25-30 years. Several large hangars, a club-house, bunkhouse and caravan park have been built. Two winches were also built. All of this work, and the continuing maintenance of aircraft, airfield and facilities, is carried out “in-house” by members.
Other projects include running gliding competitions and the club’s own Regatta. Members have assisted at World Gliding competitions held in Australia and helped crew for local pilots competing overseas. Several State Championships have also been held at Balaklava over the years.
The club at present owns 5 gliders, all fibreglass, two of them 2-seaters. There are a number of privately owned gliders and power planes based at the airfield. Club pilots regularly compete in various contests, or aim for long cross country flights. The first 500 km triangle flown by a 2-seater in Australia was in the club’s “Blanik”. Another pilot set a record for speed around a 750 km triangle in a Standard Class glider.
Flying operations are normally on every weekend or by prior arrangement. Visitors are always welcome.
|Location||Balaklava Airfield, Balaklava, South Australia.|
|Position||34° 05′ S, 138° 20′ E, Elevation 150ft AMSL.|
|Telephone||(08) 8864 5062|
|Days of operation||Weekends and by prior arrangement.|
|Membership||Around 45 -50 flying members.|
|Fleet (Club)||ASK21 (ZBG); Flight Manual
ASK21 (BXC); Flight Manual
Astir CS (WQH); Flight Manual
Astir CS 77 (KYS); Flight Manual
Mini Nimbus (FQB); Flight Manual
|Launch method||Winch launch; 2 dual drum winches.|
|Accommodation||Bunkhouse, Caravan Park, Camping Ground.|
|Facilities||Clubhouse, Bar, Canteen, Toilet, Showers, Barbeques, Hangars,Aircraft Maintenance Workshop, Tie-down Areas.
Club owned airfield.
Club Facilities for members and visiting glider pilots
As owners of the airfield, the Balaklava Gliding Club has established permanent facilities around the airfield. Various hangars for both private club use and equipment storage sheds. During the early history of the Whitwarta Airfield a large tree planting programme was undertaken to enhance the appearance of the location and provide a pleasant surrounding. The plantations also provide good growth for an annual Bonfire night.
Majority of the clubhouse is open plan with tables, chairs and plenty of room to host club functions; dinners, presentations and of course day-to-day pre flight briefings and post flight debriefings. There are also kitchen/canteen and bar facilities within the clubhouse. The canteen is run on an “honour” system. Various items are available for purchase such as pies, pasties, ice creams, and a range of cool drinks. Prices are clearly displayed. Payment for those items taken from the canteen should be made as soon purchase is made.
The licensed bar is usually opened at the end of flying operations. Club Committee Members and Instructors have access to the bar.