|Les Sharp reports on the winch training day:
The plan was to get more of our instructors rated on the winch, and to refine our operation with the winch to optimise our turnaround. It was fine with around 15 knots from the southwest. With the winch out, and the gliders DI’d, the first glitch was more petrol on the outside of the winch carburettor than on the inside. Some slick work by Glyn rectified that and first up in WZ (Twin Astir) was Tim with me in the back seat. We did 3 flights and the final approaches onto 27 were quite exciting with quite a lot of airbrake activation. Next was Glyn in the back seat with Tim for two flights. John Tullett went next in the front seat with Tim for one flight then John went solo. Thinking that we needed a break on the ground, he showed us where the lift was and enjoyed it for most of the 27 minutes that he was
Taking the opportunity, I took TE (PW5) up but only achieved a brief climb before I had to join the circuit and landed as short as possible with WZ close behind. I’m not sure of the order of the next few flights, although Peter Williams did some with Tim. Tim went up with me for a practise winch power failure which didn’t present any issues, but on the next flight with me solo there was a fairly loud bang just after the glider had started dropping the nose and I thought that it had back released but it seemed premature, however I did the double tow release routine and carried on. I heard some garbled message on the radio, and it was only when I landed that I found that it was a wire break. After the repair, everyone got another turn. Then everything was put away by just after 6pm with a total of 20 flights for the day. Thanks to John, Peter and Glyn who shared the winch driving and running the wire out, and Glyn for getting TE out.
As Glyn has commented, we are able to achieve four launches per hour when the glider stays in the circuit and we don’t suffer wire breaks. A big day for Tim in the back seat.
The Twin Astir heads skywards on the wire at Stratford on Sunday. The mountain and ranges in the background show evidence of a SW airflow. Seemed to be a good and busy day.
Now Tim reports from Omarama:
Glyn and I set off on Friday 8th Nov in two vehicles towing two gliders. Got to Springfield just after midnight where I slept in my glider trailer and Glyn in the back of his vehicle.
Had a look at Canterbury’s new Eurofox tug next morning which unfortunately was not flying yet. Had afternoon tea with my father-in -aw in Geraldine before driving to Omarama and claiming the best bed in the Gliding Omarama caravan before Glyn got there the next morning!
Nearly every morning Glyn and I went for a drive to check out local airstrips before getting back in time for a weather briefing from Lemmy Tanner. Then we continued with Jerry O’Neill’s cross country course followed by glider preparation, lunch and a glider flight with a task set by Jerry. Jerry has an amazing amount of gliding experience around the South Island and we were very lucky to be able to learn from him. It was also nice to able to work gently into the flying, the first tasks being easy and getting more challenging as the week went on.
Glyn started very conservatively and sensibly going a little further each day and managed to do some quite long and difficult flights without getting anyone concerned about him. We did have one wave day with Glyn and I getting enough height to claim our 10,000 ft Gold height gains. Otherwise the wind was remarkably calm which suited us but not the locals so much. After 6 days of that we took a day off gliding on the official practice day for the SI regionals and went for a mountain bike ride up the Hopkins river valley.
Two new toys to play with – a Flarm and a Spot. In my opinion these are both very good investments for flying around Omarama. Thanks Glyn for getting my Spot sorted. Spots are compulsory for competitions this year and flarms will be next year as well.
Now feeling a little more confident I changed my entry form to compete in the Standard/15m class instead of the club class. My aim being to complete the tasks and not come last. It also meant I would be flying with Phil Penny and Steve Evans again which would make it interesting. Also carrying water was going to be a new experience for me. There were 30 entries altogether.
Day 1: Cotters (an airstrip in the Dingle), Thomson’s track, Stewarts (up the Dobson river valley). All familiar turnpoints by now except the glide from the Dingle to Thomson’s Track across a big valley was new. This was a 3 hour AAT and I finished 15 minutes early which cost me. Got 7/11. Alex McCaw landed out which he was soon to make up for. Nick Oakley won the day.
Day 2: Dingle, Cromwell, Stewarts. A variation on yesterday going to the Southern end of the Dunstans to Cromwell instead of halfway to Thompsons track. Been to Cromwell twice last week on Jerry’s course so not a problem. Watched Nick Oakley whizz past underneath me low on the Dunstans. That looked fun. By the time I got to Stewarts the sea breeze was pouring over the Ohaus. I had to go and look at the Ohaus twice before I figured this out (slow learner) which cost a lot of height. I still had enough height to cross Lake Ohau and land on the Maitland strip (to make the retrieve easier) but ran into an invisible convergence caused by the sea breeze pouring over the Ohaus – obvious really. Three landouts today but not me. Came 6/11.
Day 3: Goodgers, Makaroa, Avonburn (Lower Ahuriri valley), Huxley (convergence of the Huxley and Hopkins rivers). Had a bad start trying to climb up the Lindis ridge and then falling out of a thermal that had two paragliders in it. My sink rate is better than theirs but I can’t sit in one place like they can. Went back to Horrible and restarted. This time got on top of the Lindis ridge but fell off into the Lindis Pass into sink all the way to Goodgers which luckily is an airstrip south of Lindis Pass. If you get low you, ”see rabbits”. Well I saw those but managed to ridge soar on a low ridge next to the airstrip, worked my way along it and then out to a promising looking knob which worked. Two thermals and twenty minutes later I was at 10,000ft – unbelievable. Still managed 7/11 after all that.
Day 4: Thompsons track, Cotters, Two thumbs. Never been to the Two Thumbs range before. It is the range that runs north from Burkes Pass and the turnpoint is Round Hill skifield half way up the east side of Lake Tekapo. Northwest wind and wave today. Rough trip under extensive cloud to Thomson’s Track and Cotters so was pleased to have the water. Watched Nick Oakley doing his thing low on the Dunstans again. After rounding Cotters I made straight for the Maitland where there was a fohn gap and where I had caught wave the week before. That worked and it was really nice to fly over the top of all that rough air at 12,000ft. Not everyone got the wave. Did a long glide from the wave to the Two Thumb range keeping Tekapo airfield as my way out. Leaving the Two Thumb range near Burkes Pass at 7000ft I was flying along with Grae Harrison in his Ventus 2ct. He just headed straight for the north end of Big Ben across 40km of McKenzie basin. Watching that 18m wingspan head off didn’t inspire me with confidence so I took the scenic route to the east and arrived back far too high. Later found out that Grae’s route is pretty standard and Alex McCaw even did it in Hugh Turner’s Jantar (Jam jar). Came 3/11 today and it could have been better. Also my first flight over 300km – not sure if I can claim it though.
Day 5a: Rain in the morning – needed a break. Went for a 4 wheel drive trip over the Omarama saddle and back by a different route. The afternoon cleared into an impressive gliding day – this place never lets up.
Day 5b: Dingle, Hunter ,Stewarts, Cotters, Clearburn. This was task B. Task A was to go over to the Shotover river valley so was relieved not to have to do that. The Hunter turnpoint was the new one today so going from the Dingle meant starting at the low end of the Hunter ridge and working your way up to Mt Huxley. Since there was no wind and weaker thermals this was fairly hard work – it being important to stay above the ridge but the thermals weren’t going very far above it. Because of the late start I didn’t land until 7.30 after another 4 and half hour and 300+ km flight. Came 8/10. Too slow, too high, not enough water, too conservative.
Day 6: AAT Dingle, Thompsons track, Stewarts with 20km circles around TT and Stewarts. The idea is to go as far as you dare in a minimum time of 2.75 hours. Getting away from the start was difficult and nearly landed out. Roland Van Der Waal did and so did Alex McCaw. Alex got a relight. After that there were 5 to 8 knot thermals up to 11,000ft. Thought I had romped around this one quite well but most of the others romped around further and faster. Didn’t spend enough time going straight. Came 7/10.
So I came 6/11 overall. Can’t complain about that. John Gorringe from the UK came first as expected – it was awesome to have him flying with us to show us what could really be done. Nick Oakley came 2nd – we will be seeing more of him in future, Steve Evans came third which was a good effort as he managed to push it without landing out like last year. He was carrying 120 litres in his Discus compared to my wimpy 50 litres. Bill Walker 4th and with a pretty good comeback after his landouts, Alex McCaw came 5th. We will be seeing more of him too.
Prize giving dinner and then a night in Geraldine with my father-in-law and another in Wellington with my brother and then home.
Flew 12 days out of 14 and did 45 hours. All 14 days were flyable.
What a great effort Tim. You are really showing the flag for us down there. Some pictures to come.
We await Glyn's idea of how things went for him and to cap it all off, Melissa Jenkins stopped by Matamata after collecting her glider from the boat and cleaned up the Club Class in the Auckland Regionals. Great stuff. We a await a Howidunnit from her as well.
Some photos from Tim. Said he was too busy to get any shots from the air.
People on the back of the ute are Alex McCaw, Nick Oakley, Jono ? Daisy?, Mark Aldridge, Abby Delore, Rob McCaw.(kneeling), Lex (on the ground) Alex and Nick both flew very well in the comps, Jono is an instructor at 19 years old and Abby also glides - all particapants in youth glide. Mark flys a DG400 and was at Canturbury uni with me. Lex was the comp scorer.
||The evening sun shining on the Omarama hills.