Gliding weekend report Apr 6-21

Gliding weekend report Apr 6-21

Howdy folks. Apologies I’m dragging the chain again. I have the first half of Aprils action recapped. I’ll have the other half updated mid next week for you to make up for the absence lately. Hopefully I won’t make a habit of it.
None the less there’s proper frosts on the way, the mid winter comp is approaching and some historic club milestones looming. I also have enjoyed getting to know all these new faces around the place. Makes a day at the club all the more intriguing. People are really interesting when you truly get to know them.

Sat 6th- Sun 7th Apr
Flight instructor – Mark Aldridge and Rob Campbell(Sat) John McCaw and Nicholas Oakley(Sun)
Tow pilot – Peter Chadwick(Sat) and Tim Duggan/ Luca Ruzzon(Sun)
This years Scouts Aviation camp had some interesting comparisons, impressive mile markers and superb flying to go around. Having been involved with last years successful camp, it was fascinating to see how the operation was going to run considering that the weather left us with very low cloud base sitting low on the surrounding ridges and a winch which was now out of commission.
We all had our theories on how well it would work. We had 2 days to chew through 76 glider flights with only one tow plane available, which was needing an engine change very soon. Could it even keep up within the daylight that we had available.
Although not as exciting as the winch, much to our delight aerotowing was surprisingly easier. Due to the fastidious ground coordinators and crew, our iron willed tow pilots, assistant glider pilots like Mike jumping in to help and the scouts keeping morale up with the lunch rolls and cookies, we blew past our intended flights for the first day with Peter Chadwick our tow pilot pulling off what I believe is a club first of 50 aerotows and 4horus 6.7min in one day. I think that is a record that is going to stand for quite a while! 

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Fundraising for the clubs LS4 Nav upgrade
I must mention the very successful fundraising project that various people assisted with over a working week restoring the paint work on Neil Walkers glider. This was kindly coordinated by Terry Delore. With many hands it did indeed make light work, scratching and scuffing and waxing and buffing, Neil wasn’t the only one who got a quantitative benefit out of it. With a much rejuvenated skin back I hope it noticeably translates to your L/D ratio Neil.

The biggest thanks to everyone who offered their time and skill to tackle this mammoth task. It turned a week long chore into an amusing educational diversion.


Sun 14th Apr
Flight instructor – Jenny Wilkinson
Tow pilot – Peter Chadwick
This cool picture was sent in courtesy of Vern Grant as he ventured close to home in MQ. A prismatic haloed shadow was cast across four large paddocks. Can you guess where this is?

The Bat signal calls


Sat 20th Apr
Flight instructor – Mark Aldridge
Tow pilot – Mike Oakley
What was first anticipated to be an average stable flying day ended up with three cool things happening.
Benny did the most awesome balloon recovery exercise which I unfortunately missed the photo opportunity.

The Farmer down the road was doing a burnoff which actually turned into a very educational meteorology lesson, and a quick trip to Ashburton with Mike in the tow plane to refuel turned out to be a super informative field trip about agriculture and landouts. 

Mike tows Mark and Dana out to explore the Pyrocumulus which had stretched 3/4 of the way to Christchurch just over an hour later.

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This is kind of like using smoke streams in a wind tunnel for turbulence testing.  Very cool to see things instead of having to imagine it in my head.

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Off to Ashvegas for some gogo juice. A jolly ride for most but to a novice glider pilot, an opportunity for X country reconnaissance.
You could see the inversion across the plains really clearly  as well as the braids of the Rakaia river strategically winding their way to the sea. I watched the cows march off to the milking shed as Mike pointed out all the dangers of landout field selection, subtle clues of ground winds around the farms and skillfully interpreting what all the shades of green and brown under the sun meant. I wish I could share all the pearls of wisdom he showed me but I think that would deserve a whole article in itself. 


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  • Craig Keenan

    The club must have made a fortune from all the model aircraft landing fees!

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