Rockettes Rock the WAC

Brie Russell shares her experiences from the recent WAC in Benalla.

What’s a WAC, you ask? Why, a Women’s Airworthiness Course, naturally…in fact, the very first one in Australia, as far as I know. Let me tell you a little more.

For me, the Course lead up was great…the online training gave me the opportunity to meet my coursemates (in 2D), as well as gain some great insights and workshop techniques from the CAD (thanks, Anthony!), even though going back to homework was a bit of a drag for this old girl!

I was therefore really looking forward to getting into the hangar (yes, Anthony, and the classroom!) at Benalla. An easy flight to Sydney, then Albury, followed by an hour or so in a hire car is easy, right? Well, it would have been if June 29th wasn’t the day that a lack of controllers closed airspace between Brisbane and Sydney, resulting in a well after dark arrival to GCV. Thanks for the welcome, Harbans, but you’ll likely always be cold if you’re out after dark with no shoes in Benalla at that time of year!


And so we gathered the next morning, women from different parts of the country with a common goal…learnings in sailplane airworthiness. By now, I think many of you will be asking “Why a Women’s course?” Well, why not? As the statistics will no doubt tell you, there aren’t that many ladies with airworthiness qualifications, so anything we can do to attract more qualified people has to be a good thing for all of us and our Clubs, right? For any of us with an interest, it’s surely better for our sport than sweeping the hangar floor and providing lunch…we really want to learn and help with the work ourselves, in company with the other airworthiness practitioners in our Clubs. To be brutally honest, the course also provided a learning environment more conducive to questions, both smart and silly, without fear of being seen as the “silly woman” on the course. Sorry, guys, but there it is, with no apologies!

I think it’s fair to say that we all learned a lot, laughed a lot and generally enjoyed each others company as well as that of our GCV hosts, who looked after us very well. I’m about to embark on a new panel for my personal aircraft, with some help from others in my Club, and I have to say I wouldn’t have even thought of attempting this prior to the Course. I’m also looking forward to helping my Club in Form 2s and other maintenance activities and I’m proud to say that Club members will now speak more readily to me about airworthiness issues or questions, so that’s great too! I’m now looking forward to future courses where I can hopefully both contribute and learn more, improve my qualifications and catch up with old friends and meet some new ones.


Who to thank? Well, there are so many of you, so if I don’t mention you by name, please forgive me, because it’s in no way intentional. Firstly, GCV and the members for hosting us in a great facility with a warm classroom combined with a very breezy hangar (brrrr!) and great social facilities that made our lives easier. Secondly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t single out Harbans for her great planning and organising, both in the lead up and on the course. Third, to our instructors and mentors – Anthony, Cath John and Jenny, plus the presenters from within the course members…a wonderful job by all, so a great big thank you from all of us. Also, to those that trusted us to pull apart and work on your aircraft, because without you we’d have been lost (I’m actually considering taking my own aircraft to the next one!). The beautiful doggy friends were a wonderful side benefit too!

Lastly, to all of the participants in the course…because not only did we laugh (lots) with each other, but we had the opportunity to benefit from each other’s experiences, which is simply priceless. I’m looking forward to seeing many of you, plus some new faces, at our next Women’s Airworthiness Course. Please come along, even if you’re only remotely considering it…trust me, it’s really such a worthwhile experience and I look forward to seeing you there.

Hope to catch you in the hangar soon!

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