Recent news. September 7th 2014.
September 7th 2014:
Another winching day. Would have been more flights but some time spent trying to rectify WZ mike problems. Don't know what the result was but it must have been fixed. Will Hopkirk seems to have dominated/monopolised the flying. Took two of his children for flights and then a young German couple who have been working on the Hopkirk ranch, stapling battens onto a fence. Dennis Green took two flights accompanied by Glyn Jackson who also did a trial flight for Julie Vickers who enjoyed the experience so much she is bringing her husband along for a flight as well. Right on Julie! Way to go! This weekend (I'm writing this on Saturday 13th) was supposed to be an ATC weekend for the NP and Stratford squadrons but cancelled for their flying and our flying too. Too late to alter for Sunday and at this stage, next weekend looks a bit murky. Too early to say whether the ATC job gets carried on further. Our sympathy to Steve and Debra and the extended Barham family on the recent passing of Steve's mother. So nice that they enjoyed their sailing holiday in Tonga a while ago.
And now, a bit about what has been happening over the past few months. Eurofox story to date:
Most of you may have heard by now that the TGC is getting a new towplane – a Eurofox – made in Slovakia. Powered by a 100hp Rotax engine. Adequate for our needs but probably not for a big glider full of water. This was sparked by the Pawnee's engine being declared u/s last September. Well over the 2000 hours life and leaking oil here and there. One gliding club is possibly interested in the airframe which is in good nick, recently cleaned up, a cluster crack found, (John Carter's firm), repaired by a chap skilled in that sort of thing and rebagged and repainted. The engine still makes good noise and probably could still do a tow or two. However the cost of getting a zero time motor could easily be more than half the cost of the new Eurofox which is c. $108,000. We have already paid some 30,000 Euros for the first 50% of the cost of the Eurofox and the remainder is payable on completion. We have a contract to buy the remaining Euros at a fixed rate which will protect us in the event of a NZ$ drop. Then there is transport cost, assembly and some other costs before we can get our hands on it. There will be cargo insurance for the transit from the factory to Ardmore. The Pawnee has served the club well, providing safe, no nonsense tows. Sic tranit gloria. The construction of the aircraft was to have begun on or about August 1st and would be wheeled out the door about mid-November. Then into a container, arriving at Auckland about the end of December. Whatever variables about that might be I don't know, but it should be towing gliders by mid-February.
We have received a grant of $75,000 from the Taranaki Electricity Trust, $3,000 from the NZ Community Trust for the radio and there may be another grant pending. We have received a loan of $60,000 (5 years) from the GNZ Umbrella Trust (Club Loans). This helped cover the 50% down payment paid mid-August. The final payment is due on completion and of course, GST when it hits the wharf in December. We have already paid about Eu 1500 to cover the aircraft's number plate prior to anything else. The registration TGC has been reserved (and paid for). The aircraft colour will be yellow. We have been fortunate to have had free legal work done for us by Robert England of Thomson/O'Neil of Eltham. He acts for Tim and for Will Hopkirk and doing pro bono work is no problem for him Our customary legal people, Till Henderson King well have charged us so probably a big saving there! The project has been driven principally by Glyn Jackson, our keen and capable Club Captain who got himself a Ventus 2 glider last spring. He and Tim Hardwick-Smith (Discus B) are keen competition pilots and will probably be down at Omarama for the regionals this spring. We have Steve Barham’s Nimbus 2 glider in the hangar and Peter Cook having sold his Libelle is on the lookout for a replacement. Various committee members have critiqued the process so some robustness should result. Since 1999/2000, this cub has been extraordinarily fortunate in gaining grants, principally from the TET and the TSB Trust. Both have stringent criteria and terms and any application needs to be very carefully crafted. Many members of yester-year have been involved in fundraising for this club over many years. Cars, hot dog stalls, pub raffles, you name it, we've done it. That a brother-in-law of mine (John Blundell) won a Ford Cortina that we raffled one year (1972 or 1973) was, I assure you quite above board! Nonetheless that work those years ago was the only game in town. As a matter of interest, the debentures that financed the Rhonlerche were finally declared written off last AGM. The cost though of that aircraft in 1960 at 5000 pounds apparently equates to nearly $300,000 today. So there is always relativity there.
A couple of raffle stories – Bob Struthers got a call from the local cop to ask if he could rein in his team a bit. Apparently some were going door to door flogging off car raffle tickets, which were at that time quite illegal. Another chap went off to ask the Stratford cop for permission to run a Crown & Anchor School, also highly illegal. Says a lot though, for the pragmatic tolerance of the men in blue.
The club has been doing quite a lot of winching this past season interrupted by winch gearbox failure in late March. Repaired, the winch failed again so we'll see if it holds together this time. Club members are no sluggards when it comes down to work and what needs to be done, gets done. So that's about it, an interesting time and all we now do, is wait upon time and events.
Not the actual one, but it's yellow and imagine the TGC rego.
Don't forget the Annual Meeting on Tuesday 16th.