Gliding Hawkes Bay
& Waipukurau hosted the Centralines 2020 Central Districts Gliding
Championships from Waipukurau Airfield from the 22nd to 29th
February inclusive. The aim was to have a friendly, low key contest with tasks
achievable for pilots of all abilities and glider types. Local airspace is
unrestricted to 9,500ft which minimised potential airspace issues.
With almost 30
entrants, even after some last minute withdrawals, word must be getting around
that the event is worth attending. Task setter Graham White did an admirable
job with a field ranging from a PW5 to ASH25M.
Under the aegis of John
Etches the contest director, things got off to an inauspicious start with
practice day seeing just a ferry flight from Bridge Pa and a local area familiarisation
flight by the Auckland Duo Discus. It did, however, allow pilots to arrive and
get rigged and ready. Sunday then proved to be a damp squib with no flying at
With the positive attitude
of the contest director helping the weather, the next seven days were all
soarable even though it looked unlikely on some days. Pilots enjoyed thermals,
convergence and wave at various times. Mike Strathern also reported doing some
ridge soaring in a Libelle.
While there were
just three contest days, local, no stress, flying was possible on other days
with some notable flights. On the Wednesday with local conditions dying just
after the start of the contest launch, conditions looked great on and over the
western ranges. Taking a long tow in the ASH25M, Graham White and Jason Kelly were
joined by Tim Bromhead in his Ventus CT 17.6m to explore the western ranges area
south to in sight of the windmills and northwest past Taihape at heights of
There were only a
few landouts during the contest with Derek Shipley taking the prize for
achieving the most. He has written a separate article about his exploits. A
longer task and the weather bluing out earlier than forecast on the Friday saw
the most landouts in a day.
Youth pilot Kieran
Cassidy, flying a DG 101 in his first contest, impressed with his flying
abilities to finish 2nd on the 3rd day and 4th
overall in the racing class.
A large contingent
of pilots camped on the airfield and they were well fed with club run BBQ’s on
the Sunday and Wednesday nights. The final dinner was held at a local café on
the Friday evening.
With a cold front
approaching with predicted rain mid-afternoon, the contest was declared ended
on the Saturday morning. However, as forecast, there was good, silky smooth,
easy to get into wave ahead of the predicted rain which allowed climbs to
9,500ft (the local airspace limit) without problems. A number of pilots took
advantage of this while most packed up and headed home after prize giving.
must be given to all who helped run the event – contest director and scorer
John Etches, weather man and task setter Graham White, BBQ organiser Brian
Kelly, tow pilots, ground runners, radio operators and flight followers, time keepers
etc. Without your help, contests cannot be run.
The 2021 event is
currently again scheduled for Waipukurau in the last week of February so mark
your diaries now and we look forward to seeing you then.
So with a great looking sky, probably one of the best of the
week, I headed into the foothills of the Ruahine Ranges in ML, all too
confident that the lift would be plentiful. Not so, and the 3,000’ on the
altimeter was barely 1,500’ above the lower slopes. Very quickly the game was
up and I was looking for landout options.
All went reasonably to plan, and although downwind with
about 5 knots behind, the paddock was large and had a body of dry looking grass
which offered a nice bit of drag on the undercarriage, and it was very slightly
up hill. The landing roll was however a rougher ride than expected and went on
a bit longer than I might have hoped.
Canopy off, and expletives out of the way, it was time to
have a look around.
The first thing I noticed was rocks.... everywhere. Most
scattered on the surface some embedded. They varied in size from cricket ball
dimensions up to rugby ball size. They were spread about at approximately one
metre intervals. I had to be grateful that I hadn’t damaged the glider. The
general view is that I had landed in a dried out river bed.
The second thing to notice was this was a very isolated
With sporadic cellular coverage, communication with contest
director John Etches was patchy, but good enough for me to let him know that
the surface was, ignoring the grass, a bit moon like, and for him to let me
know that access for a trailer looked very short on prospects. There followed a
period of no cellular contact while I walked around to see if the rock count
was less in other areas. Meanwhile back at base, pouring over Google maps and
talking with tug pilots, it was decided to send the Citabria out with Ross Kent
and Pawnee pilot Ron Sanders to size up whether the Pawnee could do a retrieve.
They circled overhead, and eventually landed a couple of
paddocks north of me. It was a good choice, with fewer rocks, but enough to
still play on the mind.
Together we sized up the best area to try and tow off and
pushed the glider up to what would be the starting point for the take off. It
was far from perfect, and as Ron and Ross left me, the best thing I could do
was occupy myself with rock clearance. I would have needed all day to get
sufficient rocks moved off to reduce the risks to an acceptable level. It kept
going through my mind, that just one rock could upset the Pawnee or the glider.
I had set up an old fence post to support a wing for takeoff, but I was racked
with doubt that I could keep the wing from dropping. The cellular signal wasn’t
playing ball and so I couldn’t communicate these concerns.
Fortunately, back at base, there was some thought going into
things, and I was very relieved to see the Pawnee approaching in company with
the Citabria. So, assuming they could both land safely, I would have a tow and
a wing runner. I have to say I was uneasy watching the landing roll of both
aircraft, I knew the further into the paddock they ran the more rocks there
were. Both bounced around uncomfortably from a spectator’s view, but thankfully,
Ron Sanders in the Pawnee and Neil Faulkner in the Citabria had made it through
Using a short tow rope, and with a bit of headwind, we
managed to get the combination airborne more quickly than we might have hoped.
Without Neil running the wing though, I just don’t think I would have wanted to
About 10-15 minutes into the tow back towards Waipukurau I
was pleased to see the Citabria come alongside.
Undeterred, the next day I landed out again, which surprised
some people....yeah right. Anyway that’s another story.
In case it is not obvious enough already, I am very grateful
for everyone’s help on the day.
Saturday 22nd February - initial briefing if flyablestarting at 10:30am. If unsoarable, nothing formal will be
arranged. A decision on setting a practice task will be made on the day. All
entrants will be required to fully complete and sign an entry form if they have
not already done so. Limited aerotowing will be available on Saturday.
2. Sunday 23rd
through to Saturday 29th inclusive - contest days. 10:00am daily briefing – every day
Sunday through Saturday inclusive unless otherwise advised.
3. Planned Meals (subject to confirmation):
a. Sunday evening – our Club is running a BBQ
at the airfield
b. Wednesday evening – our Club is running a BBQ
at the airfield
c. Friday evening - at a location yet to be confirmed
or a BBQ at the airfield
Numbers will be requested and
costs confirmed closer to each planned meal.
There are a number of supermarkets, bakeries and cafes
in Waipukurau for other food requirements.
4. Further information will be given at the briefings
5. Glider trailers - the paddock next to the clubhouse
is available for trailer parking. All trailers are to be parked in there or
parked immediately to the north of the gliding hangar rather than scattered
around in aircraft maneuvering and parking areas.
6. Please ensure that the area where aircraft cross
the drive where the concrete pad is remains clear of parked gliders and
vehicles at all times.
7. For those wishing to camp on the airfield at
Waipukurau Airfield, please contact Ross
Macdonald prior to arrival. His cellphone number is 021 262-9550,
e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him you are coming for the gliding
competition. The camping cost charged by the Aeroclub is $15 per night per
person. They normally charge us this and it is added to the pilots competition
account. Please advise Gliding Hawkes Bay & Waipukurau Club Treasurer John
McConville of the number of nights you have camped. A sheet will be provided in
the club house for this.
8. Tow fees, meal costs, camping costs and any
outstanding entry fees will be invoiced by e-mail after the completion of the
contest for prompt payment. Actual tow costs will be charged based on the costs
Enjoy your time in Hawkes Bay and further afield.
Keep the weather gods happy by having some refreshments
for them each evening at the friendly aeroclub bar which is scheduled to be
open at least from 6pm each night. Please note it is a cash only bar (no credit
cards or EFTPOS available).
1. Grid lines will be allocated for Sunday and then
rotated every flying day for fairness. First to arrive in each line is to grid
on the far side of the runway so the next glider can go alongside.
2. Contest Director is John Etches, phone 021 980 610.
Text landout co-ordinates to this number if possible. All co-ordinates are to be in Degrees: Minutes:
3. The Gliding Hawkes Bay & Waipukurau Club
contact phone is 027-288-7522. This is
for general club inquiries only.
4. The Waipukurau Aerodrome phone number is 06
858-8226. Note this is not always manned.
5. Within 5 nautical miles of the airfield all traffic
will use 119.1
Outside this range use 133.55
In Napier Control call 124.8
c. In Hastings CFZ use 125.8
In upper airspace call Ohakea on 126.2
In the Dannevirke/Gorge airspace call Ohakea 125.1
Transponders are mandatory in Napier and Ohakea airspace
Refer to current airways maps
for required frequencies and airspace requirements. These will also be covered
in the briefings.
6. All thermalling within 5 nautical miles of the
airfield will be left hand.
Outside this normal thermal rules apply; first into thermal dictates the
7. Starts are to be given out on only on 133.55 within
15 minutes of starting.
8. Unless being SPOT or otherwise tracked by the
competition director, Ops Normal calls on 133.55 hourly or on request in format
“Yankee Papa, Leg Two, Ops Normal” are
9. Do not taxi or use a motor in rigging or tie down
10. Pilots without a personal crew must have a vehicle
attached to their trailer and keys identified and available on the designated
11. Cloud flying is prohibited.
tracks from a height recording GPS
are the only acceptable soaring mechanism. More than one unit may be accepted
at the discretion of the Contest Director. GPS units shall be handed in as soon
as possible on return to the airfield.
13. Pilots shall announce distance and direction of
finish at 5 nautical miles and at 2
nautical miles on 119.1.
14. Waipukurau Aerodrome is 430ft ASL, radio for circuits 119.1. All circuits (both
left hand [runway 02] and right hand [runway 20]) are to the west of the
aerodrome away from the town.
15. When landing, please consider other aircraft
traffic and land to give maximum room to other aircraft and vacate the runway
and surrounds as soon as possible.
16. Pilots may land straight in as far left as
practical or fly through (High Energy). High Energy finishes must be notified
on 119.1. The minimum altitude for a
High Energy finish is 100ft AGL.
17. Because of poor mobile coverage, pilots should try
to radio the planned out-landing site co-ordinates in degrees, minutes and
18. Pilots shall complete and hand in land out sheets
(see below) that include land out co-ordinates and landowner’s name, address
and phone number when available.
19. All distances are to be given in nautical miles.