Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Finally, finally, finally....

After all the talk I finally got in GVR and went flying.
The day wasn't as blue as forecast, but neither were the thermals as strong or as structured as forecast.
Across the Kaimai's, down to Ohaaki Power station, time to watch GKM land-out near Taupo, home again (as I was the retrieve crew for GKM)...hook up trailer...drive 2 hours, find pilot in very large crop paddock...etc etc.
Home in time for pizza and tea.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

LX S80/Flarm

Finally got the S80, Flarm and Flarm57 installed in the Duo - GYL.
What a great piece of kit. We must rip the old Cambridge GPS-Nav out...it's current use is to fill in an empty hole in the panel.
The vario is as good as the V7 I had installed in GNM plus with heaps of extras.
It's very very readable in all light conditions...and given my slowly receding reading range (not hair line) it should out last my gliding career.
It had detected the wind speed and direction by 600ft on tow...I was a bit sceptical given we were on-tow however it was right on the mark. That was a surprise.

The S80 holds Turn-points and airspace, plus can be used to task. I could enter a task while flying at 100 knots bumping about in ridge lift.

Couldn't test the Flarm as no one else was flying. It's a power flarm so should detect ADS-B in powered aircraft as well...albeit powered traffic is usually of academic interest.
 It did re-enforce how lonely it was out there yesterday with only a PW6 to beat up.

Bog standard ridge day.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Wave day tomorrow

Enough said

This and that.

It seems I'm migrating off blogs and onto Facebook. Even through I vowed I wouldn't...
However while I'm here;
I see Piako Tim is having fun in Omarama in GXP. Today was practise day for the Sth Is Regionals and it appears only 4 or so gliders took to the air.
This looks suspiciously like a wave flight with T/P's in the Omarama Saddle and Tin Shed

Tauranga's Duo is in Oma as well. The one shot I have received so far would suggest lots of wave days.

Rant Alert. However you would little idea what's happening down there!!! For some reason (or words like stubborn, resentful, obstinate, recalcitrant) Sth Is contest news and results are posted on an obscure website usually only known after the contest has finished. Get with the program.
Despite numerous requests, a Nationals CD contest report that specifically pointed out the need to upload to Soaring Spot, and a directive from the SRC, access to the results is by secret handshake.
Perhaps the post is still delivered by pigeon.

Onto to more positive events. Taupo...which you can view on Soaring Spot...well done Robbie... http://www.soaringspot.com/cpnz2014/
Was fun however the weather intervened somewhat. Snow on the mountains, hail, rain etc.
Team Tauranga did OK. Our greatest success was scrapping away from hillsides, forestry blocks, paddocks, valley's and the like.
Tihoi...I think. 

Looking towards a better sky

See that white dot...the other Duo

Karl Barrie...who flew really well on the last day.

The JS1 flotilla is almost here. Ironically they arrived at the Port of Tga only to be trucked to Auckland, to be later delivered to Drury, and to be followed by being towed back to Tauranga. Go figure. Haven't quite formed a plan for this summer. Cancelled a trip to Omarama as Jan got filled by other stuff. Looks like I will only get one day at the North Island regionals (work...my choice I guess) so I'm planning a couple of days in Taupo between Xmas and New Year. A house full of in-laws is a great motivator.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Super Saturday!!!...nah, not really.

The RASP was tempting...possible thermals upto 7000ft all the way down past Taupo.
So time to drag GYL out of the hanger...with the help of one of the syndicate partners.
Arrived at Matamata to find heaps of other gliders being rigged and cleaned. Auckland Aviation Sports had arrived, as well as some other itinerate pilots.

Got a chance to sneak a look inside Glyn's new Ventus GVV. Nice piece of kit...we should now expect big things of this lad...no pressure.

The Duo, on the other hand, has a few instrument problems. No back seat flight computer or vario, and no flight log to upload to the OLC. Unfortunately for me I prefer to fly GYL from the backseat. We are currently holding things together with duck tape (so to speak) until the new LX S80, Power Flarm and screens arrive. We have been waiting a while.

However launch we did...3 knots off tow to 5000ft and away to Morrinsville and the Swamp. Sadly north of the swamp was blue, very blue, so blue it was almost violet. Oh well lets go south....
After a good climb on the Cambridge Hills we set off into deep space...nothing, nada, zippo etc etc.
Push on I said to my partner...something must happen...and it did, we ended up struggling away from over an airstrip. OK that didn't work...but I still want to go somewhere...

The remaining gliding gadget suggested perhaps, maybe, possibility the wind was building from the west. 2 knots at 235 degrees...yeah the ridge will work at that strength...so away we went.
And as sure as Dolly Parton only sleeps on her back...the ridge sorta worked.
Only problem was fighting ridge induced thermals in close to the rocks/trees made my passenger airsick.

Time to go home. However whilst we were aloft we could hear A Cable crowing about huge thermals south of Rotorua...strangely I though I could hear his engine running, and Maurice asking about airstrips east of Galatea, and the Drury boys stuck at Huntly.

So bugger the RASP next time I'll just stick to the tried and true method of forecasting at 6pm rather than 6am.

A slight tinge of violet.

The only clouds in the sky...and a nice halo around my fellow pilot.

A selfie...if Obama can do it, so can I.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


With the season approaching I need to get my weather forecasting skills back up and running.
I think its important to put your forecast on record and then review at the days end. Too often we hear "well I always thought it was going to be crap" at 5pm...what use is that!
So Sunday.
By 2pm things look quite good. Light winds from the South and 18 degrees forecast on the ground. We should see 4-5 knots climbs.

And from the squiggly lines we can see 5500ft bases and no high cloud.

However with recent rain and light winds plus no inversion in the red line I'm guessing over-development will be the focus of the afternoon.
Go early and go fast and watch you can get home.

Update - it was a good day however, no over development...which I'm guessing was due to the wind being slightly stronger than I predicted...or else I'm a crap forecaster.
Lots of locals went flying. The flight of the day goes to PW5 driver...excellent effort.
Me...well I thought I'd help out with an ATC camp.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Saturday, August 2, 2014

GVR in Poland

Who's this cleaning my glider in Poland. She doesn't appear to be completely focused on the task...

But then again this chap looks slightly distracted as well...
In Poland a tow charge includes a complimentary umbrella holder as well..

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A sign of things to come...

Management of our runway comes to mind...
And airspace, and trial flights, and..., and... etc.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Kiwis in a flat land

Team Kiwi is about to goose-step into Poland.
Follow it on Brett's blog site -

We look forward to a Larry Ellison moment.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

As you might have guessed...

I'm not updating this blog at present.
In fact I don't plan on getting going again until next summer.

Why next summer??
Because, in no particular order;

My JS1 gets back from Poland in Oct/Nov...assuming WW3 doesn't brake out in the Ukraine.
As of today, Russia has annexed the Crimea (no surprises here...), the Europeans and US turned off Russia's access to external capital -  a bit like the US turning off Japan's access to oil in 1940...that worked really well...not, pro-Russian thugs are baiting the government in Kiev and Russia is looking for an excuse to defend the local Russian speaking population - like Hitler did in Europe in the run up to WW2, and then the final straw is US depositing troops in Ukraine and Poland...history...we never learn do we...

I'm likely to head down to Omarama this summer...either with the Duo, or a JS1, or both. Not sure yet. Not planning on flying the Nationals as it tends to restrict your flying. Maybe the Club class Nationals in Drury if I can find a Club class glider.

I'm in NZ this summer...rather than freezing my butt off in Canada. Great place, great skiing, but bloody hell its cold.

See ya on the other side of winter...

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A view from afar...

A few observations from chilly Canada;
It's minus 15 outside...just a few degrees colder than home.
However it's not pouring down with rain...I see 55mm's on the farm in the last 24 hours.
In the same time frame we had 20mm's of snow down here in the valley and 100mm's up in the hills.

Good wave off the hills to the west of us yesterday...in fact there are hills in all directions.
Taking off and landing could be a challange...the Banff airstrip is under a foot of snow.
Even Calgary airport could be a challange...I had to drive back into Calgary today to swap cars...it was snowing and blowing...I'd guess 10-20 cms fell on the city overnight.

In the local town I came across an updated Spot Tracker...with a phone attached. In fact its really a Sat Phone with a spot tracker attached.
The monthly cost is high but it does show where the technology might be going.

I'm watching the Nationals from here...not a good start...raining...but what else would you expect for a gliding contest.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

On the morrow

Looks like the forecast was about right...
You are bound to get one right sooner or later....

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A forecast just for Keith

Understandable given he has 17-20 ATC kids to fly tomorrow..

This front should move off the country overnight.
SW winds tomorrow.
Reasonably unstable air.

If you get started at 9am it should be a bit easier than later in the day when the wind and thermals should get up a bit.

The twist will be how much high cloud floats about.
The NOAA sqiggly lines graph shows quite a bit...therefore the RASP will over call the day.

The thermals will be a bit broken but if the high cloud breaks then expect 5-6 knots in good places.

15 knots on the ground at times but straight down 04/22.
Good for managing larger groups.

Good luck young grasshopper....

How to utilise your Saturday to the max....

Doing my duty instructor day.
Turned up first.
No trial flights or instruction booked.
2 members turned up so we rigged all the gliders that no-one else had had the time to do. Thanks Scott, Olly and John.
Taped and DI 'd said gliders...
Washed said gliders...
Went and brought a spade handle...brought a hot sausage...
Read some work papers...
It's now 1 pm and I'd rather be swimming...
And the day looks like this....

and we had this weapon at hand...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Nth Is Regionals

They are underway...how do we know this???
Because the results are being posted on Soaring Spot.
You don't have to navigate through the NZ Gliding main page to find out...and you don't have to wait until some-one else prompts you to go looking...word of mouth really.

I've said it before...and I'll say it again...to my comrades in Omarama...you really really really should move into the 21st century and post your results on the universally accepted central website for contests - here, there and everywhere (except the US of A - where perhaps the Homeland Act requires their results to be posted with the NSA...who would know).

So WHY should the mountain men use Soaring Spot???

Because then other people might find out what's happening down there.
I know you think it's paradise and I know many believe it's the centre of the universe BUT the rest of us do take an interest in what's happening down there...

So to the local contest. 23 entries...not bad.
No South Island contestants however I think 3 or 4 flatlanders travelled down to the Sth Is Regionals.

I see a contestant called Melissa Jenkins won Day 1 in the 15 meter class. I think that's the first time a female pilot has a won a day for some time. Outstanding.
We do have a contest pilot called Tracy Austin...but she's a bloke...who flies one of the best gliders ever built...GNM.

Looking outside I suspect today will be a no fly day.

Monday, November 18, 2013

South Island Regionals

Yes they have started...
You wouldn't know it if used SoaringSpot as means of following gliding contests (as 99.999% of glider pilots do...except those in the Mainland). Oh...actually the Americians don't in many cases either but that's hardly a compelling reason given they still measure distance in inches or pounds or some quaint unit...
I seem to remember that buried in the excellent report that Ralph Henderson wrote after the Nationals held in Omarama last summer...was the comment that the results need to be posted to SoaringSpot.

However if you want to experience the good old days...lets do the timewarp again -

And if some-one could suggest how I turn the "text" tracklogs into a "igc" file so I again re-play them in SeeYou it would be much appreciated. I just got to know how Trev Terry in a Duo beat Grae in a Ventus 2cxt....

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Friday's convergence

As expected a warm day and little opposing wind saw the sea air push inland.
It stalled at about 4pm 20-25 kms inland.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The RASP!!!

It proved rather less than accurate last week.
As did metservice.

However a quick look at this mornings RASP indicates a large convergence from the Waikato all the way down pass Mt Ruapehu.
7-9000ft cloud bases and 7 knot climbs.
Very little over-development.
A converging sea breeze from the west coast colliding with the light S to Se winds.
We will see.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Two poo...or perhaps the Central Plateau Contest

Thanks to Taupo Gliding Club for yet again hosting another fun week.

Points to note;
The weather didn't quite live upto its normal standard.

My older Duo, which is a re-build from various bits and bobs, is clearly much faster than the clubs flash new Duo XLT...and a JS1 as well...

Weather forecasting is a Black Art. I under called one day and over called two others.

On the plus side I had to exit the contest for 2 days as work got in the way and had thought I'd miss at least 1 great day of flying...both days were write offs...good for me...not so for others.

Day 1 saw a pilot of huge experience part with his little Discus, having owned it for 27 years (that's longer than I've had to tolerate children), and drive off with an 18 meter Ventus. It's trend we might see more of as the standard/15 class slowly dwindles away. It could take 20 years to dwindle away all the same. Which provides some lucky club the chance of acquiring a mighty Discus B. In my humble opinion the best single seat glider a club can own. Easy fly, rig and maintain. Still competitive in the standard and club class. Lots of room. No vices in the air.

On a day that was too hard to task due to the uncertainty of holding the fleet up around the start area, the organisers allowed free flying and scored the day on the OLC. What a brilliant idea...especially since yours truely managed to win the day!!!

I was beaten on the last day by my old Discus GNM. Fantastic.

All my Co-pilots were great, none were air-sick (quite the achievement for me), and I hope everyone had fun...I did.

Sleeping in a tent was better than I remember it...although the fireworks on the last night was an added extra we could have done without.

I've decided I'm getting older. The climb up Mt Tauhara took 60 minutes...that's 10 minutes slower than 2 years ago...bugger.

Tauranga is now 4th on the inter-club NZ online contest. I'm finished flying for the meantime (due to a calling to investigate Canada's ski-fields), so it's up to the rest of you...mentioning no names. Remember it's distance that matters, not time in the air.

Its way way cheaper flying in Taupo than Omarama. I paid $420 total for the contest...entry fee, tows etc. That's about one days worth down south. Yes I know the flying in the mountains is really really great but the difference in cost is starting to get out of hand...I think.

It's so hot today I commissioned our pool and went for a swim...a short swim...

Another Duo on task...albeit a much slower one...
See slower...and lower...OK enough showing off...luck played a big part.
A very bad photo of Huka Falls

A nice evening as a thunder storm departs the task area.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tauranga finally on the OLC

After getting a suggestion we keep a spreadsheet of the distances flown from Tauranga (how 2000's is that!!)...I decided it was time to get the local club on the OLC.
Anyone can log a flight...it's really easy. In fact with the SeeYou Recorder App on an iPhone or Android its even easier...however those of us with Microsoft Phone 8 phones (duh) it requires a few extra steps.
So we have a couple of flights up and hopefully more to come.
Remember X-Country soaring is about distance NOT time in the air...
For the record in 2009/10 we flew 11,000kms out of Tga.

Taupo awaits...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hardly a weekend of Labour

Far from it...

My first proper thermal flight since last season.

Given I was taking the Duo I needed ballast and a front seat passenger. Found a delightful young chap from Aviation Sports Auckland. He'd only completed 7 previous flights in his training schedule, and from the look of it he'd be lucky to get any flying during the day due to the level of activity about the airfield.
Are you prepared for a 3 hour flight? Yip.
Do you have to be back by any set time? No...great cos we could land-out...
Do you get air-sick? No...well we fixed that...somewhere in forest between Tokoroa and Mangakino is a big bag of sick.

So off we went...South. Judging from the bleating on the radio North wasn't anywhere as good.

We should have gone further but for a first day out it wasn't too bad.
At one point we had 3 Duo's in the Mangakino area. GTT, GXT and GYL.

The young chap "in-command". Surprising good for a Year 11 student.

Also near Tokoroa


Sunday, October 20, 2013

I haven't forgotten..

Just been a bit distracted...
When some one suggested today that the blog had been taken down by the "dark side" I thought I better get back to it.

Flew today. Even convinced the "better half" to come flying.
I thought it was going to be blue...and it was in the Bay of Plenty...but in the Waikato it was a bit better.
Ran into Team Drury heading for Tirau and home. Really good to see experienced X-country pilots from Auckland being encouraged to take the Duo (GDX) for the day to mentor and coach newer members.
Duo's are made for that.
And I'm increasingly convinced that the best way to retain and encourage "post-solo" pilots is to foster X-country flying. It's distance flown NOT time in the air that is important.

Team NZ are competing in the Ozzie Nationals. Doing OK. Steve Wallace claimed a second today. Well done.
Here's the website if you haven't already found it.
News from the contest is a bit thin on the ground...that or I haven't stumbled across it yet.


Excuse the quality of the photos...it was a phone camera.

See there was thermals in the Waikato...

But it was blue in the BoP.

Who's that lurking in the back seat...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Good golly miss molly...

on Sunday I actually went flying. I could even remember how to rig the Duo. And guess what...when I pushed the stick forward the nose went down...just like last year.
A ridge day but with a nice 5 knot thermal climb that got us out to the Waikato River.

I did take some photos of the JS1 but it looks so so tiny in the photo that I'll need to do some photo-shopping to do it justice.

So I suppose I now have my Duo rating for the summer.

Planning on taking it down to Taupo for the Central Plateau blat.