Electric Flight in Australia


Sailplane Expo Main Page

How to Order

 Peter Pine
1/40 Kellehers Road
Pottsville Beach 2489
Phone (02) 6676 1437
Mobile (0407) 732 440

E-mail: ppine@northnet.com.au

The Sailplane Expo, held each Australia Day long weekend in Armidale NSW, commenced in 1980 and has become embedded in the glider fliers' annual program. It is now one of the largest thermal flying event in Australia attracting more than 60 entrants in 2008.

This page has been created to give you information about the Sailplane Expo and encourage you to mark your diary for the Australia Day long weekend each year, to take in the Expo and all the activity.

In the beginning, the Expo was a jamboree of gliding events including, over the years, Open Thermal Glider (winch launch of a variety of rules - including a 2.0m class), F3B, F3E (later called F5B), scale glider, 7-cell electric glider, big electric glider and so on. In recent years the event has turned to the internationally popular F5J electric thermal glider event - for the rules, consult the AEFA web site.

Early events included seminars by expert glider fliers and included over the years people like Ralph Learmont, John Borrill, John Tidey, Phil Bird, John Haren, David Hobby, Garry Jordan, Joe Wurts and Mike O'Reilly.

2020 Sailplane Expo was the 40th time the event was held and was celebrated with a commenerative shirt and a dinner at the Deer Park Inn Motel where a Power Point presentation of the history of the event was screened. If you are interested in viewing the Power Point, send an e-mail to the address in the side bar and it can be sent to you on Dropbox (it is a large file).

2021 Sailplane Expo was successfully staged despite COVID restrictions. 29 fliers turned up for the F5J main event, including three Queenslanders. Unfortunately, no Victorians or South Aussies were able to attend. 14 rounds of F5J were completed in a very busy schedule employing the international "Safety Corridor" strategy with 10 launch points. Some very professional thermal flights were executed in a weekend of amazingly good weather! The header image shows the F5J complement of competitors in 2021.

In 2021 a new, upcoming, popular and simpler event called E-RES (for 2.0m gliders with rudder-elevator-spoiler controls only) was introduced - the image above shows 22 fliers who competed in this new event and it was very successful.

Mark your diary for the Australia Day long weekend and make sure you do not miss the Sailplane Expo! Join with some of the top electric glider fliers in the country and learn a great deal from joining in.

The field is on Warrane Road, Dumaresq. Travel west along Donnelly Street/ Queen Elizabeth Drive/ Handel Street in Armidale (this long road changes names along its length) on to Booralong Road and travel out of town some distance to Warrane Road on the left. Turn left in to Warrane Road and travel about 3.5km and on to the dirt until you see a Sailplane Expo sign on a gate on the left. Please close the gate after entering. The field is usually available for set-up and practice on the day before the event - camping is possible, but only Port-A-Loos on site.

The GPS coordinates for the field are -30.444252, 151.518692

The New England Model Aircraft Club (commenced in the 1970s by some of the original Expo organisers) hosts the event and provides the catering. Over the years a vast number of people have contributed to running the Expo; in the early days it was kicked off by David Morgan, Tony Hall and myself. Tony passed away at a young age and the 2.0m glider event was run in his name for some years. At one stage, David Morgan was the only local organiser and he carried the load by himself. When there was no-one in Armidale to run the event, the Sailplane Expo Trust was set up and people like Garry Jordan, Phil Crandon, Jeff Green, Warwick Paynter, Des Kingdom and myself ran the event from a distance. Hutton Oddy was a local glider enthusiast and joined the Trust, and in the end Hutton has carried the load for many years supported by Kevin Smeaton from Brisbane. Hutton continues to do a great job with the Expo - thank you Hutton!

For further information contact Hutton Oddy (0425) 285 758 or vhoddy@gmail.com

Images below show: F5J Winners 2021, long time event computer director, Kevin Smeaton and David Hobby sharing his experiences from an F3J World Championships.