Saturday, February 5, 2011

Jan 24 to Feb 5 - Waipukurau & Kawhatau

For the past two weeks the Wellington Gliding Club participated in two gliding camps which I was invited to join in.  The first was an air cadet camp in Waipukurau.  We towed two DG1000's up from Paraparaumu, one in a trailer and one behind a towplane piloted by me.  Waipukurau is to the north-east of the north island and is shielded from rain by the mountain ranges making the weather much warmer and drier. On the Monday however, it did rain and we were forced to start Tuesday instead.  From then on the weather cooperated and my four students managed to fly around 9 times each; not enough to solo but enough to give them a good grasp of the basics.  Immediately after the camp I headed up to Kawhatau.  Kawhatau is just north of Palmerston North on the Ruahine ranges.  The camp is hosted by the Manawatu Gliding Club and we stayed in one of the member's family's farm house.  Named 'Te One' it is made of ancient native timber.  The airstrip is on the side of a hill and the runway has a slight downslope making landing interesting at times.  The Manawatu members were short of instructors so I was used in the backseat of their Twin Astir on occasion.  The club also had a nice looking Ka6CR that I had my eye on.  Both of my parents owned a Ka6CR and I have been interested in flying one of them for a long time.  I first had a quick flight at the end of a day in it and was the only one who managed to soar.  The light wing loading helped me squeeze the last of the dying thermals from the mountain tops.  The next day I rigged it in the morning and was invited to join a group of pilots down to the south end of the Ruahine range, a turnpoint named Wharite.  The group I went with consisted of a DG-200, 2x ASW-20 and an ASW-15 so I was quickly left behind.  The cloudbase got lower as the ridge got lower and the lift was not working as well after I turned the turnpoint.  I got a bit nervous at one stage but then connected with the Umutoi ridge and was back up to a comfortable height.  The Manawatu club was happy to see their Ka6CR flying cross-country as it has not done so much recently.  The camp ended with lots of rain but I really enjoyed the experience and the camaraderie after the flying.
Ka6CR flight on OLC

Soaring in New Zealand

1 comment:

smith said...

Hi Chris - really enjoyed looking at your blog, the OLC tracks and the lovely photos.

Brian Smith