Recent News. December 31st. 2013

Well, we finished the year with a flying day!  Seven winch launches and for one of these, Les Sharp and Will Hopkirk got away for a 63 minute flight taking them out to near Dawson Falls.  A dash back to the York Road Quarry didn’t find much useful air so they had to get away from there fairly quickly.  Hopefully, Will can write a wee story to explain all this.  Ross Perry from Manawatu had a couple of flights then another two acting as ballast for John Tullett who had swapped seats with Les who then drove the winch.  The last flight that John did and when the wire from that launch was being wound in, one of the guide rollers jammed tight and the wire welded itself against the roller.  The roller was replaced but newer and heavier duty bearings may need to be fitted.  Rishi Pattabhiraman had a couple of launches but the times he, Ross and John were flying were either side of the cloud street occurrence that was so useful to Les and Will.  (………)  This is room for Will’s account which he has promised to write for me.  He has and it is appended.  One lesson he did not mention is to fly fast through sink.
The Saturday prior, was a nice day but not enough hands to make the day possible.  Nonetheless, I had the pleasure of meeting a young lady who had gone solo off the winch at Jury Hill a few years ago and had also enjoyed a winch launch there to 2500 feet.  Now that is talking!  Both she and her partner have winch launch trial flight vouchers and we’ll see them soon but not sure about goodly high winch launches from us!
Meanwhile, Glyn Jackson and his Ventus are up at Matamata, competing in the 15metre class in the Nationals.  A 300km task yesterday but Glyn did not latch onto enough lift to finish the task, so landed back.  No contest day today.  Looks like a contest of few days I guess but some excellent 300km+ flights were made later on by those making good use of the ridge.
Kevin Koch tells me that, due to health reasons, his ASW15 is up for sale.  Sorry to hear that Kevin, time and tide waits for no man.

                                                  Below:    Kevin at Stratford, February 2010, waiting for a launch.

Feb 27th

Right:  Kevin's ASW 15   
Feb 27th

outside our hangar.




This ASW 15 is probably the best value per point of L/D on the market today.

Contact Kevin Koch:                        0274 953 674          


WZ flight


     This is what a cloud street/convergence may look like when you appoach it.

On a sad note, it is with regret that we note the passing recently, of Fritz Stonnell and Bill Groenestein.  When I began gliding in 1967, The Stonnell brothers, Dick and Fritz were enthusiastically learning to fly.  We used Dick's Nash Rambler as a wire retrieve vehicle for the winch at Bell Block.  Both men helped with trips tp Matamata and Upper Valley at Whiteman's Valley, Lower Hutt. Their firm's radios provided comms for the operation at the Bell Block airfield.  The Redimixt smoko room was the committee meeting venue for several years. 
Bill Groenestein came to us from previously owning a light aircraft.  After leaving for Whangarei and taking the Skylark 3 CF with him, he graduated to a Standard Libelle.  Apparently an eye operation helped his sight and too, his flying.  His mother in wartime Holland briefly sheltered a German officer on the run from the Hitler assassination attempt and at the same time a Jewish man.  The implications of that risk we can scarcely comprehend in this day and age.  Bill was very helpful with our Pawnee purchase, providing covering finance for a while.

Papa Mike.

      Will's Story - The One That Got Away.

The chance of a bit of flying ,v8 driving  and talking gliding, had me wagging work on the first  day back from holiday and they say fortune favours the brave, so it was to be.

The strong SW wind had the convergence setting up to the north of the field but for some reason when Les and I had our turn to launch, we pushed forward towards the mountain and caught the first thermal. There was intermittant lift all the way to Midhurst and then whilst I adjusted my parachute, Les gave me a masterclass in centering in the core and we topped out at approximately 5000ft.

There was strong sink between York Road and the bushline at the top of Durham Road  where we topped up on height again, the next move was to Dawson Falls and we flew through strong sink  getting there and didn’t really get established. On the way back to the bushline. we flew through butt clenching sink and as Les flew, I was looking at landout options on the bushline farms above Mahoe. we were still at a good height at this point but the vario needle was on the stop for what seemed like a long time.  We were back into lift at the bushline and by the time we hit the highway we were at 5000 ft again.   We flew upwind west of the highway until we were low enough to proceed east which we then headed towards and then back to the field.

So what did we learn?

Les flew tighter more balanced orbits and climbed better than I did.

We flew through the same sink twice !

Very strong sink in the same place and very strong lift in the same place with rough air around probably means there was wave about somewhere nearby.

We need a towplane so we can use these conditions more readily.

We get to play in a spectacular part of the world.

No camera or GPS increases the chance of a good flight(murphys law of gliding).


Will Hopkirk


















Recent News December 31st 2013
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