March 5th to May 20th 2016

I thought I had some text on hand, but it seems to have disappeared into digital oblivion.  Not only that but during the interim the gliding website has been undergoing transformation at the hands of Dougal Wickham and will be hosted by his own website server.  It will also be more compatible with the current cell technology and will appear in a much congenial format therein.  Very soon I’ll be able to resume updating material in a more timely fashion and move things around a bit.

The new kid on the block, the Tullett K6 had its first flight on March 3rd and thus encouraged, joined the ranks of the other gliders on the grid on the 5th.  Two flights for John during the day, 1hr 27m & 40m.  Two hours thirty-seven for the Ventus and 3 hours 17m for the Hardwick-Smith Discus.  Peter Williams got 58 minutes in his K6e.  The PW5 was away for one hour 40 minutes in two flights for John Spence and 38 minutes for Will Hopkirk.  A welcome return to single seat flying for John Spence –see the story further on.

The 12th was a different sort of day.  A couple of trial flights taken by Tim Hardwick-Smith, three circuits for Dennis Green, now applying himself to mastering the circuit intracies, PW5 flights for John Tullett and Dougal Wickham accounted for the day.  Times are a-changing and the thermals not very present if at all.  The previous Recent News had referred to a Taumarunui trip.  That didn’t happen.  Better luck next time.

A gap until the 27th.  Can’t remember if inclement weather was the cause.  A couple of Trial Flights, two circuits for Dennis and John and Tim grabbed what was left of the day with 62m and 57m respectively.  I think John is finding that the K6 goes further in the direction of along than the K7 does.  Not surprisingly the K7 is up for sale to a willing buyer.

There has been some debate about how to properly register Temporary Members, they being ones who have flown a trial flight.  They need to have names, addresses and contact numbers entered in the book kept at the launch-point and to be formally admitted into the club.  The membership lasts for six months after the first flight and their flying is at club rates.

Now here is a story from Will Hopkirk.  My efforts to prise the photos away from his story so I could process them were unsuccessful in spite of several attempts since he sent it to me.  So, sorry Will for the delay but here is your story.

Libby's Flight

As my children have grown to a size when they could see out of a glider and enjoy a flight I have tried to introduce them to gliding with a memorable flight, Maddy  flew with me on a great mountain convergence day a straight flight to Fanthams peak and Mitchell ( Iron guts) flew a classic thermals day  along Beaconsfield Road, over Midhurst and York road. As soon as Mitch had completed his first flight Libby informed me she was next .The next week our tow plane was declared u/s and the great wait began for Libby.  The various explanations - we don’t have a tow plane, I don’t have a winch rating yet, today won’t be a very good day, were all taken well for a 8/9 year old. However last weekend when I announced that today (29/11) was the day, Libby was a little sceptical that it was going to happen.

We towed out west over the town, released into good lift then worked our way up to the bush line - north of Pembroke Road.  The cloud street petered out at this point so we gained height working our way back to Pembroke school then crossed to the southern cloud street and flew this all the way up to the mountain over Dawson Falls. There was extreme lift on the southern side of the cloud street, close to the mountain but it was pretty turbulent so we turned and flew out over Toko and the Waiwiri road then back to the airfield  for some chandelles and a landing.

In summary I would say sharing the thing you love with the people you love is fantastic.

Will Hopkirk.

April 9th turned out to be a better day.  Trial flights for Daniel Parker, Alan and Marlene Merriman, more circuits for Dennis Green, Dougal Wickham had one hour 43m in the PW5 and John Spence had 25m.  There might have been a misunderstanding there for John was a bit late in the day for his flight.  Whatever the reason, they were good flights.  Tim took the Discus away for three hours 28m to parts yet unknown.

Time for another story, this time from John Spence:


It was in November 2015 when there was a nagging desire to have a particular item ticked off the bucket list. This was to return to Gliding after a lay-off of nearly 20 years with 570 hours logged, during this time I constructed and learnt to fly many Radio Controlled aircraft. As a new-comer it was not an easy task, learning not to crash, but the instructors were always nearby initially to take over the controls if required.

The Twin Astir (WZ) or (Whale Zulu) was found to have a mind of its own at times initially, but during the re-training phase not one instructor took over the controls other than to demonstrate a manoeuvre. Some instructors would talk during the flight but one particular instructor would only say ‘Use more %#@$*&^% rudder’ and on flying the downwind leg ‘Keep the airspeed on the yellow triangle’.  The sound of snoring coming from the back seat was common…………………………….

It was interesting to have a range of instructors as they all had slightly different slants on various actions, but the main point emphasised by them all was that WZ requires boot loads of rudder in turns. It was a while before this was appreciated and implemented as it was nothing like flying a Blanik or any other glider for that matter.

Thanks to Peter W, Peter C, Les, John T and CFI Tim for their patience and after 13 dual flights a solo was deemed to be a safe option after a check flight circuit. On take-off WZ leapt into the air without the weight of an instructor in the back, the handling was like a heavy single seater and ‘sort of’ a joy to fly and was delighted in clocking 33 min on the first flight.

The ultimate joy in gliding is to fly a single seater and on Saturday 5th March Tim offered up the PW5.  (a Discus would have been preferred though!)  It (the PW5) was grabbed with both hands as 22 years had passed since the last flight in a single - Std Astir NG out of German Hill.  Jim towed with TGC, the acceleration on the ground roll was surprisingly rapid and the ailerons very responsive. Managed to stay aloft for an hour in strong lift with equally strong sink in places which was why the flight was cut short. A later flight under the convergence was not as prolonged as the system appeared to be decaying.

Looking forward to many more jaunts in TE.

John Spence.

Sunday, April 10th saw two Trial Flighters turn up and have flights with Peter Cook and one for Dougal in TE achieving 54m.

Glyn has been busy taking an axe to the constitution, it is not as bad as that though but there are going to be some changes with clarification to some clauses and removal of one or two.  A Special AGM is to be held next Tuesday (24/5) to validate last year’s proceedings which were held without a full quorum.  As well, there will be a Special Meeting to validate the changes to the Constitution.  Notice of these meetings and information pertaining thereto is contained in the meeting notices already forwarded.

A variable day for pilots on the 14th of April.  Four circuits for Dennis, four for the PW5 with two each for John Spence and Dougal Wickham, two for the Tullett K6 and two for Peter Williams’ K6e.  The longest flight was 33m for Tim who’d hijacked Peter’s glider.

The next day was April 20th.  Four flights for Dennis who is doing well.  Circuit bashing just the caper.  Sam Tullett back from the deep South (well, Christchurch) and had two flights of 18m and 31m in the family K6.  A couple of flights for Dougal Wickham in TE ( 22m & 29m).  One for Peter in his K6E for 22m and then Tim grabbed the glider and ad the best flight of the day at 33m.  Jim Finer did all the towing and a good time had by all.

The next day was May the 8th.  A Trial Flight for Tony Parker, a return visit for Connor Johnson, two flights for Dennis Green and one for John Spence.  Les Sharp & Peter Cook doing the instruction bit, Jim Finer did the towing apart from one by Les.

A mention here of the Parker family who have enjoyed Trial Flights this autumn.  Tony Parker’s father was Gordon Parker who, together with brother Clarry, played a major part in club aviation pre- and post-war in Taranaki.  Gordon Parker was an instructor at Wigram during the war and Clarry went on to be a Ventura squadron leader in the Pacific during WW2.  Both were inimitable story tellers.  Gordon would tell of hawk-graunching exploits during otherwise training flights.  Clarry one of a few pilots who, having ditched a Ventura, got all his crew safely off – he had been most insistent on his crew practicing their safety drill.  He was the President of this club when I joined in 1967 and was most helpful to me in getting to grips with aero-towing, All my previous flying having been off a winch.  Gordon was right in there with our working bees, helping with the club-house.  I remember Clarry talking of using the lift off the coast north of the White Cliffs.  That effect used long before there were gliders effective enough to make use of it.

And that appears to be that Mike Strathern is now at the hangar doing annuals on our club and private gliders and, I suppose, any repairs needed.


Papa Mike