From recycled oddments to a world class launch…
(Click the thumbnails for a better image)
It was in Jan 2008 that the NE Vic HG Club began the big job of changing the Mystic launch from a traditional ‘cheap as possible’ launch to the professionally carpeted, smooth launch it is today.
This is largely thanks to the club committee of the era, with Karl Texler as President, taking a brave decision that would eventually eat up all the club savings and a bit more. This ran to over $60,000 and the ‘bit more’ was covered by borrowings from the HGFA and VHPA and would eventually to be paid off over the next five years.
The heavy job to initially clear the old carpet remnants was undertaken by club members in a weekend working bee that saw several tonnes of rotting carpet material carted to the tip. The site was then clear for the professionals to move in with graders and tonnes of gravel to profile and compact the launch.
To secure the new surface a concrete foundation was laid below ground to act as an anchor for all the new carpet edges and then the new carpet was rolled out, tarred to the new gravel surface, glued together at all the joints and the edges secured. This was undertaken by a company that normally does this job on flat tennis courts.
After the top section was completed it was decided to improve the profile by extending two more widths of carpet down the slope and the result is the smoothly progressive steepening of the take-off that is there today.
In 2018, the carpet has worn very little in the 10 years it has been on site and other than replacing some gravel around the edge to protect the corners and repairing some vandalism on the surface, little maintenance has been needed.
Interestingly, one of the most destructive activities we seem to have encouraged is golfers launching balls off the mat and a mistimed swing can badly cut the carpet and be quite damaging!
Mystic is now a renowned world class launch and the arrival in 2018 of the PWC testifies to this. Being in a location where cross country flying is available at all levels of proficiency and throughout most of the year also helps.
It should be many years before it this carpet needs replacing and in the meantime it continues to attract pilots from all over Australia and the world.