JoeyGlide 2023Coaching Program

Get involved, have some fun, and take your flying to the next level with the JoeyGlide Coaching Program.

Advanced Training Cross-Country/Competition Coaching Aerobatics Training

JoeyGlide Coaching Program information & FAQ

The JoeyGlide coaching program is the best way for young people to progress from solo flying to cross-country and competitive soaring. Our coaches are there to help you to reach your full potential and achieve your cross-country and competitive soaring goals. We do this by arranging for you to fly with experienced and dedicated gliding coaches who help you to plan flights, navigate, find lift and manage safety aspects - all the ingredients required to competently race a glider and fly cross-country. This practical learning will be complemented by daily briefings and short lectures on topics such as human factors, weather, gliding techniques and technology.

Sounds pretty interesting, but slightly intimidating? No need to worry! The JoeyGlide organisers and your coaches will always respect your 'comfort zone', and you won't have to do anything you don't want to. In other words, this program is not as serious as it sounds, and you can always learn at your own pace. Your fellow coaching participants will be just like you - probably recently solo and keen to learn more while meeting some fantastically like-minded young people.

Who is eligible for coaching at JoeyGlide? In short, everyone under the age of 26 from solo standard through to the experienced cross-country pilot. Generally however, coaching is aimed at the introductory level cross-country flying, as usually the more experienced pilots (silver C or above) will have the confidence and competence to compete. If it is your first time at JoeyGlide, we strongly encourage you to fly coaching first - unless you are a seasoned cross-country pilot. That way, the following year you'll be back at JoeyGlide in a single seater showing us all how it's done, rather than getting frustrated because you may not have the same knowledge basis as your friends who have flown coaching before.

The style of coaching at JoeyGlide is to briefly teach you the relevant theory, and then have you try it for yourself. Your coach will be on-hand (literally behind you) to offer support and encouragement while answering your questions along the way. For those coaching participants who are less experienced, we generally try to pair you with a coach who is also an instructor, so they can help you with some more general training aspects if required.

The GFA, the AJGC and our sponsors all put money towards minimising the cost of the coaching program. This makes coaching at JoeyGlide more affordable, and as a result we do appreciate coaching participants helping out during the competition. This usually includes running wings or ropes on the grid (when you aren't flying), and helping with evening catering efforts, for example.

Coaching at JoeyGlide is a fun and safe way to improve your cross-country and competitive ability, while meeting like-minded junior pilots just like you. It doesn't get any better!

We hope to attract Juniors with an interest in cross-country flying, who are not yet confident to have a go for themselves. If that's you, come along and have some adventure, some challenge and a lot of fun!


Some further frequently asked questions

Q: What are the qualifications of the coaches I will be flying with?

A: The AJGC seeks some of the most experienced and capable coaches in Australia for the JoeyGlide coaching program. At a minimum, you can be assured that your coach will by a GFA accredited Silver coach (meaning that they are a seasoned cross-country pilot and have considerable prior experience as a coach). In most cases, your coach will also be a current GFA instructor.

Q: What type of gliders would I expect to fly?

A: The AJGC seeks capable cross-country two-seat gliders such as the Duo Discus, DG505, DG1000 and others similar. We try to ensure these gliders are well equipped with reliable variometers and basic navigation equipment. In some instances, your glider may even have a sustainer or self-launching engine, reducing the likelihood of a trailer retrieve.

Q: How much does it cost?

A: The coaching program will be cheaper than your normal (aerotow) club flying rates, due to subsidies applied by the GFA, AJGC and sponsors. You will have to pay for aerotow launches (usually about $50 each) and glider hire (usually about $40/hr). Accomodation and food expenses should also be considered - camping is a good option that most people take up. The AJGC also offers CASH SPONSORSHIPS to individuals - watch Facebook or contact us for information about applications.

Q: How long is a typical coaching flight?

A: We aim for coaching flights of about two hours in duration, and each two-seat glider/coach will do two of these flights each day. If you are feeling tired - no problem - you can easily head in and land, just let your coach know how you are feeling.

Q: What if I haven't gone solo yet?

A: We routinely make exceptions for enthusiastic juniors who haven't yet gone solo. Get in touch with us to discuss - we are always happy to help.

Q: What do I need to bring?

A: You will need to bring some basic equipment with you to get the most out of your coaching experience. We recommend you try to bring along the following:

  • Sun protection - sunscreen, bucket hat(s), sunglasses and long sleeve shirts are important for sun protection

  • Enclosed footware

  • A Camelbak or large water bottle, to take with you in the glider. Camelbak's (or similar brands) are best because they can be secured behind you, and you can have the drink tube comfortably accessible whenever you are thirsty

  • Assorted water bottles - for example; one to take to briefing, one to drink on the grid, one to drink after you land

  • Electrolytes - some Gatorade, Powerade or similar. Drink a little each day to maintain your electrolytes and make sure you're feeling your best

  • If air sickness is an issue for you (your coach will try to help with this!), please consider bringing suitable bags

  • NOT ESSENTIAL - An android smartphone running XCSoar navigation software (available free on Google play) or an Oudie device running SeeYou. Your coaches will teach you how to use these programs, to navigate you around the days' small task. A suction cup mount is also a good idea, although please check with your coach before mounting this to the glider's canopy.

  • Yourself!

Q: What does a typical day in the coaching program look like?

A: Each morning, the coaching students are expected to help prepare the two seat aircraft with the coaches. This may be before or after the competition briefing depending on the time arrangements for that day.

After the briefings there is usually a little time for students to prepare their essentials for the day such as lunch, water, maps, and sunscreen. They then help their coach tow out and secure a spot on the competition grid. Normally there will be two pupils to each glider and both will have a turn at flying each day. One will fly in the morning and one in the afternoon. When it isn’t the student’s turn to fly they will be expected to be on the grid helping out the organising team with odd jobs.

After flying, XC students help their coaches clean the glider and tie it down. Usually before dinner there is also a coaching debriefing to discuss and evaluate the day. This is the time for the students to get the answers for all those questions that have been eating away at them all day and for them to compare their experience with the other pupils and coaches. This is also the time when students and coaches evaluate their goals and set plans for the days to come.

Finally, students have a chance to relax and dine with their fellow pilots. Over dinner the banter is both informative and comedic. Pupils have a chance to develop their gliding world contacts and pick the brains of the more experienced pilots and crew. On certain nights after dinner there is usually group activities such as Quiz Nights, the AJGC’s AGM, Competition Debriefs (Maggot Races), Guest Speakers or Informative Lectures.

Example of timetable:

  • 7:30am Wake Up

  • 8:30am Glider Preparation

  • 9:30am Competition Briefing

  • 10am Coaching Briefing

  • 10:30am Student Preparation

  • 11:30am Grid

  • 12:00pm Launch the Fleet – First students Launch

  • 2:30pm Swap Students – Second students Launch

  • 5:00pm Landings – Clean and Pack up Gliders

  • 6:00pm Coaching Debriefing

  • 7:00pm Dinner

  • 8:00pm Group Activity/Hang out

Q: What happens on the days when there is no flying?

A: Unfortunately due to the weather, there will be days when the competition is cancelled for the day. On these days, group activities or trips into town or to other attractions are usually organised to help pilots, participants and crew to get to know each other. Participants are encouraged to join in however it's by no means compulsory.

Q: I'm a parent, and I can not attend JoeyGlide with my child. Is adult supervision available?

A: As the competition is run completely on a volunteer basis, the organising team cannot provide any form of formal supervision for your child. The organisation requires legal guardians' approval to attend the glider championships and an indication of an adult responsible for the minor in writing. With that said, your child will certainly be treated with respect and courtesy at JoeyGlide - so there's no need to worry!