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Noland Cockburn at YSDC 17

Age: 16

Club: Melbourne Gliding Club

Hours: 61

YSDC 2017, what an experience to be had by all. With a combination of great people, awesome food, insane flights, brilliant weather and amazing experiences both on and over the ground, I don’t think that you can get any better than this camp anywhere in the world.

I’ve recently moved to Australia with my family, and only just got back into the rhythm of things when I received an e-mail from Roger Read which read “Good evening all. This is a quick note to say I have your registration for the camp,” as soon as I read these words, I jumped up and screamed, super excited to be going back to one of the best soaring locations in the world.

A couple of months passed and then came the day that I got on the plane to head back to Omarama, Heaven on Earth. Once I got there, most of the other YSDC attendees were there already, new faces and old mates. The next day the flying started, and boy did I get reminded what actual flying was! My first flight was one to be remembered, I had the air speed indicator and altimeter covered up and I attempted to fly along and climb up on the nursery ridge, but failed and had to land almost straight away, a common occurrence amongst the gliding community.

A few days passed and then came my time for more type ratings, I got rated for the Standard Libelle (GHN) one day and rated for an LS4 (GMT) the next, two ratings in two days isn’t bad. My best flight of the camp would be in the Libelle, I got towed to 3500′ ASL onto the nursery and climbed up through to 7000′. I attempted to reach the wave which was pumping that day but didn’t quite get there. I blasted up and down Mt Horrible with Allie Thompson, Tim Tarbotton, Sam Tullet, and Callum Fitzsimmons, all of whom were attempting to stay up and to fit in a good soaring flight, we all stayed up for at least an hour and loved flying alongside each other.

The amount of camaraderie and support given by both students and instructors is absolutely amazing and I would like to thank everyone for their support in both getting me to and from Omarama and being supportive of everyone else who is attending the camp. This camp isn’t just about flying (although that’s what brings us together), it’s about making great friendships that’ll last a lifetime, gaining life experience which we otherwise wouldn’t get, having loads of fun, and most importantly, making this camp the experience of a lifetime for all of us who’ve attended.

Opportunities like these don’t come often, and for those who’ve taken a risk and go to a completely different part of the country (or different country in some cases) not knowing anyone, or anything about the place, will be forever grateful they took the opportunity of a lifetime. I highly recommend this camp to everyone who has even just the slightest interest in aviation, trust me, you’ll be hooked by the second day.


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