April 19th to April 26th 2015:

Turned out to be quite a good day. Glyn began the towing before handing over to Tim and then rushing off somewhere. Peter Cook had a useful day of 37m in his Discus YT but bettered by Steve Barham who got 42 min in the PW5 but he was outclassed by John Tullett who had earlier gotten an hour 23min from a 1200ft tow. Once again proving the low tow rule. Son Sam towed to 1500ft but only did 18min for his troubles. However, the low tow rule is never one that I’ve subscribed to, being always of the view that it is false economy. I must though admit to getting away from 500ft at German Hill. Ian Thompson had towed me off. Me in the Skylark 2 CE and him in the Auster BDW (of lost propeller fame). Straight into a thermal off the end of the N/S and circling furiously. I quickly decided that I’d be better off (and he would too) if I got rid of the rope. Straight up to 3000ft. Them were the days. However I quite unabashedly advise against low down thermalling and never in the circuit. A proven way of getting killed.

Back onto more sublime topics. Jim Finer tried his hand at the other end of the rope. Dennis Green took three circuits during the day and Peter Williams the instructor for the day. Not only that circuits with Tim in the Eurofox for Jim Finer and Peter Miller too who somehow was fitted into the aircraft without obstructing Tim.

Nine flights for the day plus two circuits for TGC.

FAREWELL: End of an epoch if you like on Anzac Day afternoon, when RWS departed our hangar, bound eventually for Hastings I believe. Craig Hunter and team arrived. Checked and inspected the aircraft. Did two or three circuits with it and then headed for Fielding. The aircraft, though costly to run, has provided safe quick and efficient towing over the years. The registration is a tribute to Bob Struthers who was for many years, a prime mover and shaker in this club which as a result enjoyed significant progress under his leadership quite unparalleled in NZ. He was a very good pilot both here and in Australia, achieving his third diamond badge with a height gain appropriately enough, from German Hill.

The 26th was to be a flying day. A good number turned up but so too did the wind and instructor and tow pilot were reluctant to try their luck. And for that matter, any- body else’s. So Peter Cook (and helpers, I hope), got to work and gave the hangar a jolly good clean.

From now on, after a long absence we will operate with a roster and at the moment, next Saturday looks OK enough to start it off.

Off to new adventure, ZK-RWS sets course for Fielding

Papa Mike.

And now a ripping yarn from Peter Cook:

Taranaki Anniversary Weekend

Kms ‘n Cow Pats!

A front had gone through and a Monday holiday for us in Taupo so had a ring around for X-country and had enthusiasm form Brett, Hugh, Trev and me. But surprisingly, others showed up to fly the club fleet. on what was a normal work day.

Arrived, milled around, rigged, prep and planned to launch early as tow pilot Brian was off to work at 2pm. Launching was delayed by a bright Hong Kongesse student Birdy on his first solo set of flights in ASK21 – we decided he may need the full extent of Centennials strip. He did well.

Prepared and tow -out to launch

We launched from half past twelve- Hugh kindly swapped his Ventus for Pawnee launching as an arm twisted Brian became more energised by impending work commitments. Many thanks Hugh, for the launches into the valley.

Gosh, even though first away I couldn’t get out of the valley! Rasp said it wasn’t going to be good there, it was lake breezed and over developing - just got worse but ripping out east. Having spent mega on more performance how could I connect with this lift? Feeling dismayed as most flights in the Discus to date had been shorter and slower than in Libelle IA, just not in the groove yet! Flew YT toward Ohaki chimney, then west, out east a couple of times onto the valley edge whilst Trev and Brett had drifted out toward Matea so thought I’d give the forest cut overs a go and there was enough to catch Brett in the Jantar. Duo Trev was now passing Rangataiki at speed and a commentary to match. Stumbling into a blue thermal I pushed on and the conditions improved from a few knots up to more. Finally connected with real conditions past Rangitaik into Poronui on the SE ranges.

There were black streets running through the ranges, with 7,000 to 7,500ft bases, Trev was in the Kaimanawa’s somewhere , talking about Ngamatea on the Taihape side. I just pushed into Waipunga falls on the Taupo/Napier Road then headed toward the Boyd strip in steep bush covered steep back country terrain. What views and lift. 80 to 90kts and still going up! Jumping streets it was down and the ridge lines appeared quickly ahead along the way some wee diversions were taken. This was great stuff and Trev popped out again in front. We decided to head to Minginui in the NE, a farmed valley surround by bush clad hill on the edge of the Ureweras. Brett was heading back to Taupo by now and Trev meandered in the Matea area whilst I found myself heading off alone over the eastern hill country tracking over more wilds Minginui bound. Fortitude began to wain the further I pushed and Cirus was coming in from the west – still pumping in the wilds. The trip back to Taupo was beginning to look like work and Brett was scratching over the Te Awa Camp locked strip in the middle of the forest.

I drifted to the top end of the Goudies farm block for a final climb for glide home rather than east. Here it was scratchy stuff although Trev arrived lower and tickled toward Taupo, picking scraps of lift over the forest for a glide home after Brett. I hung back for more height to be sure but it didn’t come – conditions were fading.

Below glide slope to Taupo and leaving Goudies good back strip, I opted to glide downhill to Goudies inhabited parts, in search of their HQ strip. On arrival, near circuit height, I couldn’t spot it as seemed to have been subdivided with permanent fences. Little lift here so a paddock landing was inevitable. Trev, now overhead Taupo GC, awaiting my final call and once done a low circuit to slight uphill drilled paddock, near farms houses but downwind by a few knots. Man was the ground hard! Rough and there was a sploshing sound – yep pats, crusty on top and moist under.

Another Taupo land-out

Relieved to be down undamaged and on Chinese territory too, an ex Crafar farm. Agent Birdy was happy to be in attendance, his first LO and derig, astounded by the environment although disoriented and didn’t enjoy the pats or the accompanying bugs. A city lad with a very keen interest in casinos.

This was the second land out in succession in YT and about 30km from Taupo. I had covered a few hundred km in around 3 hours this time. Should figure out my Oudie track records.

Helen, Trev and Birdy to the rescue, another Broadlands story though. A supposed missed turn offs, zip through an under pass, lumpy farm tacks and to finish in a top class restaurant for drinks and dinner.

Many thanks everyone for the good company fun day – beats the office every time! PC.

Way to go, Peter!!