more on Project 32

We thank the availability of the designer of flying wings Jim Marske, who has responded to our email enquiries as we continue to delve into the Pioneer 11 VH-UIX originally built by the late John Lynch.

He has provided such supporting information as he was able, considering he is busy with further evolutions of the design series through to the Genesis type.

On 27th October we rigged for the first time, with glider pilots from 3 clubs present. Left to right: John Kennett, Erik Sherwin, Noel Matthews, Susanne Jones and in cockpit Tim Svenson. Behind the camera Ian Johnson.

The rigged airframe enables the next steps to proceed in terms of control deflections, instrument functionality and cockpit fit out.

The tasks help us understand the thinking behind flying wing/nurflugel aircraft. Where centre of gravity is identifiable by the way the fuselage sits on the ground, on its main wheel and teeter between front and tail skids. The aerodynamic work where fences moderate the airflow between wing trailing edge and control surface.

As noted before, UIX is the only functional flying wing sailplane in Australia. Other exemplars of earlier design types are static in museums, or regrettably have been lost/destroyed in previous decades.



David Easterbrook, Baylee Roberts, Erik Sherwin, Noel Matthews and Ted & Kathy Bowden are regular contributors to the on-going evolution of the museum. Including the housing of artefacts, and the work on airframes. Visible here is hangar J which now houses a number of trailers (for Ka6e, ULF, ES52 and Blanik) and airframes (Super Arrow, Kookaburra, Kingfisher and most recently the parts [at left] for the Marske Pioneer VH-UIX – the latest project underway).

Harry Schneider

This museum holds a number of the 120 sailplanes constructed by E.Schneider Ltd in their 4 decades of operation in South Australia. Harry Schneider was the last member of the original family. He passed on recently, and a wake was held at Rowland Flat on the anniversary of his birthday  – 28th October. About 100 of his friends attended, with his ashes scattered over Kaiser Stuhl the hill in the Barossa Valley. Thanks to his extended family, the MC for the day Noel Roediger, and the many other contributors making the day both memorable and a fitting tribute.

display cabinet

Three decades ago Beverley Matthews constructed scale models of a primary glider as built by early South Australian pioneer glider pilots and to the same scale the ‘Popular Mechanics’ style body shift glider. The former reflects the work by Harold Bottrill at Saddleworth (the rudder of that primary is in our museum); the latter the Air Scouts of Australia (Loxton) (that airframe is in our museum). Noel Matthews has now completed and installed the display cabinet so that the relative technologies about a decade apart (1930s primary vs 1924 body shift) can be viewed. We think it pertinent that glider pilots of today, with its sophisticated technologies, can reach back and see where gliding has evolved from. In the same way that we anticipate our current methods will seem antiquated a century hence.


2019 projects

The refurbishment work on airframes is on-going, drawing on a widening network of enthusiasts. The pleasure of the work is the seamless mix of individual and group tasks, their planning, with chat and coffees consumed throughout.

The Kookaburra airframe work discussed last year has continued – with a plywood mould fabricated, from which an acrylic canopy was ‘blown’ (thanks to Aviation Acrylic Mouldings) and fitted to the cockpit steel tube frame.

Effort has then moved on to the Kingfisher airframe, with structural timber work, cable run controls, cockpit fitout and instruments, and finish up to ‘underware’ stage of lacquered dacron external covering. This airframe is now rigged and hangared.

– seen at rigging above are Baylee Roberts, Erik Sherwin, with Emilis at the tail – photo by Noel Matthews (who was until then on the port tip). These participants extend onward from others including David Easterbrook, Ted & Kathy Bowden, Steve Burgess and crew who have contributed to ground resources and airframes.

Current work is on a Ka6e survey, with other projects waiting their turn.

The waiting list includes Pioneer, the second Kingfisher, a Mark IV Kookaburra, and several ULF-1.

site protection

Some years back, the Country Fire Service via its Air Wing ground surveyed the airstrip with a view to its possible use by Air Tractors during fire fighting operations. Where the location and the 1300 metre strip accessed from the main road could be an asset.

The site has always had some on-site capability, with tank and pump on some buildings, and a 400 litre trailer mounted fire unit. As this gear has aged, the issue of its replacement has been front of mind.

This year, a farm fire unit has been added to the property tray top vehicle, to become the current primary response to bushfire in the area.

monarto fire fighting

2018 projects

During 2017 the museum’s workshop resembled ‘mens’ shed’ activity with group working days. The emphasis was to both repair and refurbish the 2 seat ES52 Kookaburra VH-GHN. Works included plywood, dacron, instruments, control runs and painting. Toward the end of the year the completed airframe was assembled.

During 2018 a new perspex canopy made by Ian Linke has been installed.


To complete the work prior the airframe is to be weighed and certified.


For 2018 the same work team has swung into the counterpart single seat ES57 Kingfisher VH-GRH, with similar repair and refurbishment tasks planned. The early work is on individual parts, to be mated together on the boards shown above.




Integral to collecting the ‘fleet’ are on-going tasks in servicing, maintenance and repair of individual airframes. The airframes cross the spectrum from aluminium alloy construction, glass fibre resin mould constructed airframes, and the traditional ‘stick&string’ build in Sitka spruce.


Collected together in the shed in this photograph are from rear forward: the aluminium alloy L-13, an ES57 wing in timber construction, the moulds for the DM-12M; and the fuselage of the Es-52 being worked on by owners Ted, Noel, Beverley and Emilis.

Beverley Matthews

A contributor routinely noted in the texts below is Beverley. She instigated the South Australian Gliding History Trust from which arose the concept for this museum, and to which she provides artefacts and content.

Beverley is seen below in company with Simon Hackett, to which her artefacts from her early (1960s onward) IT work are now transferring to his computer hardware archive collection. Simon & Beverley share receipt of the GFA Muller Award for their publishing/promotion of the sport of gliding in the virtual world.


Beverley previously received a Merit Award through Sport SA for her contributions to gliding. Husband Noel Matthews was a long term editor of the sport’s national ‘Australian Gliding’ magazine while it operated with an independent committee in the 1980s. They have extensive archives about the sport.

Through such private collections, the sport’s evolution is collected and preserved as well as being integrated with museums such as this one.

cross media

After reading through the offerings on this site, you are also welcome to visit this sister site:

where you can get a feel for other things we do in other parts of our lives.