February 3rd. 2009
Jan 31st 2009
Four flights at Stratford on the 31st January. A flight for myself and Peter Cook in WZ and three trial flights followed. One, for Mr Oakes with Peter Williams in JB was a special one for him and his family whose gratitude at the chance their Dad was able to have a glider flight was heart-warming to see. Ralph Gibson called in on his way to NP and did two or three tows. I suppose he did actually get to NP eventually.
Aircraft Time Flights
WZ 58min (2)
JB 31min (2)
RWS 39min (4)
The Te Wera Gliding Club
Some time back, Will Hopkirk mentioned that a farm that he and Sam are leasing, had an airstrip on it. As a result, a fiendishly clever plot was hatched to have a gliding camp there.
Things were low-key. So low-key in fact that it was not until three days prior, that anyone knew we were going. Those attending were advised to bring all that was necessary for the weekend.
Initially the sky was rather clagged in but by the time people had got themselves and the gear sorted the overcast was burning off. Tim and Richard were off first in WZ followed by John in JB and Steve in TE. Tim had taken John for recce flight in JTA to check out the airstrip which is opposite the former Te Wera Forestry Camp HQ. Les Sharp was on towing duties and Jim Finer also, with JTA looked after getting TE out there.
Whangamomona as seen by Richard & Tim.
In fact, Tim and Richard found things so good that they kept right on flying, landing
Some four hours later, having toured the area, including a sortie out over Whangamomona (of Republic fame). John Tullett did the same having a two-hour flight. Having landed, he and Will took another tow and clocked an hour and sixteen minutes, getting great lift from a basin of cut-over pine tree forest. Steve must have just towed straight there and did not re-launch.
The Te Wera airstrip as seen from the Blanik.
The group were accomodated at the shearers’ quarters and were, I gather, comfortably so. Will cooked eggs and bacon for breakfast next morning. For me, driving in on the Saturday, it was rather a good sight to see a bunch of gliders in a paddock, waiting for the day to get flyable.
Steve had a scheme involving a flight to Hawera which might just have come off but for a thermal absenting itself from where he’d hoped it would be. Sam Hopkirk had a flight in WZ with Tim and her father was treated to a Tiki-tour of the area by Jim in JTA.. I had a couple of flights with Peter Williams in JB. Our GPS units were handy.
The airstrip disappears easily enough with nothing but sharp hill all around. Matthew Connor was ferried in by JTA and so Les was able to have an hour’s flight in TE. Tim and Richard set off on a “short” flight in WZ that ended with them thermalling back home to Stratford. Will did a bit of circuit bashing with John before he and Peter Williams set out with JB for Stratford. The found things much to their liking there as did Les in TE with a cloud street running back onto the plateau and notching up an hour forty-seven and one hour ten, respectively. The Yak squadron was doing a display on behalf of a wedding party. Les squeezed in to land during part of it whilst Will and Peter enjoyed the display from their lofty vantage point.
Two of the Yaks in a power dive over the airfield.
It was a happy bunch that put the gliders away that evening and all agreed the trip was well worthwhile in all aspects. Our thanks to Will and Sam Hopkirk for making the airstrip and accommodation available to us.
Aircraft Time Flights
WZ 6hr 20m (3)
JB 6hr 23m (8)
TE 2hr 58m (4)
RWS 1hr 46m (13)
JTA 30m (2)