Past year's flying reports June 2007 to June 2008

Sunday 8th June 2008
QBday weather was crook, no flying, and the following weekend didn't look great. We woke on Sunday to several cm of snow and another dodgy forecast. However there were some fine lennies up in the sky and the winds were billowing snow off the tops, a wave day for sure.
It took till early afternoon before we had a quorum for soaring. Russell towed Doug and Al (JW) into the wave, then Pete in LP. They had a good run south to Ettrick in stong lift from the Old Man. The wind was NW low down but very SW at height. There was extreme turbulence experienced during decent, perhaps caused by a combination of rotor and wind shear. It took quite a while to decend from 13000'. Roger Sparks took off in RLS to check out the wave but sensibly turned back when it got real rough. Although late (4:30p) Phil and John snuck in another JW wave flight before dusk. They released in rotor at 2500' and quickly climbed to 13000' then opened the brakes to descend before dark. The whole flight was just 35 mins! The averager on the vario indicated 1600 fpm climb much of the time. Phil's new GPS indicaded a ground speed of just 15 kts, but the track was 180 degs out....hmmm backwards perhaps! NOAA were predicting 73 Kts SW at 10,000' so I guess they were right.
Thanks to Russell for dragging all of us up through the rotor. Take a look at some of the pics taken by Al, Pete,Phil+JR at the following link:

Just use our members password to access the area.

Sunday 25th May 2008
A dull winters day...but at least we got airbourne! We started late but managed 10 winch launches. Patrik had 5 flights with John. Pete then instructed our visitors from Dunedin (Uni students Peter and Charles). Thanks to Phil for driving the winch.

Sunday 18th May 2008
ERW was busy with Roger Bennett instructing Dion, Stuart, and doing a BFR review for Gary. Roger Sparks's Tecnam RLS was busy too. Geoff flew circuits and turns, Roger flew a friend, then John flew Leigh and also Collin Bryan for some local sightseeing. Collin is a glider pilot visiting from Auckland. He never got a glider flight but enjoyed his tecnam flight and helping with the day's gliding.
The gliding wasn't great but Vivienne managed 1.5hrs in weak wave on the Old Man range in JW. Pete and John took a winch launch each early in the day but were back within 10mins. Phil also towed over to the OM but the wave proved elusive.
Thanks to all the helpers of the day including Gary for the tows.

Sunday 11th May 2008
In between Sth Westerly squalls John flew KG, Patrik, Vivenne, Al, two visiting Australian gilder pilots from WA and Pete managed a few flights in JW. Not a lot of soaring but a good day had by all. Thanks to Pete for instructing and to Phil for driving the winch.

Sunday 4th May 2008
It was late clearing but we got quite a bit of aviation done. The big flight was Geoff and Steve heading to Hokitika and back for the day in Tecnam RLS. They choose a nice day as it was clear west of Cromwell gorge and their pics looked wonderful. Also burning gas was Dion and Roger (ERW) and John also Tecnaming later in the day.
Gliding consisted of a lot of short training flights off the winch. Doug was instructing, flying were Peter+Jenny from Dunedin, Clinton from Qtown and Al Forbes.

ANAC weekend 2008
Sunday was wet. No flying.

Sunday 20th April 2008
A cool and fairly stable day. Roger B did some instruction in ERW and RLS. Peter Mc chain-sawed more wilding pines, making the eastern side of the grass runway a safer place. Patrik had two instruction flights with John and is making good progress. Phil and Pete flew but lift was scarce. The only soaring was the last flight of the day when Vivienne + John took a high tow to chase wisps on wave cloud above the Old Man range. They released at 5000' and slowly climbed up in weak wave to 10,000'.

Sunday 13th April 2008
Another balmy Autumn day. Mostly stable, just a little bit of thermal activity but not enough to stay in the air for long. Vivenne and Al flew circuits in JW with Pete. Phil got KJ out and did likewise. Pete & John did a passenger flight each. Roger was instrucitng early morning in ERW. John took RLS for a couple of crcuits later in the day. Mainland visited with a contingent of overseas student pilots in four or five aircraft, looked like they were on a cross country course. We bid farewell to John's OQ motorglider, apparently headed back to the chap he bought it off. Thanks to John and Phil for driving the winch and to Pete for instructing.

Sunday April 6th
Another balmy Autumn day. Mostly stable, just a little bit of thermal activity but not enough to stay in the air for long. Vivenne and Al flew circuits in JW with Pete. Phil got KJ out and did likewise. Pete & John did a passenger flight each. Rodger was instrucitng early morning in ERW. John took RLS for a couple of crcuits later in the day. Mainland visited with a contingent of overseas student pilots in four or five aircraft, looked like they were on a cross country course. We bid farewell to John's OQ motorglider, apparently headed back to the chap he bought it off. Thanks to John and Phil for driving the winch and to Pete for instructing.

Sunday 6th April 2008
A busy day with 12 ATC cadets flown by Doug and John, with towing by Garry and Russell. The day started nicely, then turned a cool southerly later in the afternoon. Vivienne had a solo in JW and Phil flew KJ. Unfortunately there was no lift about when they launched.
Late in the day Pete did his BFR, discovering an interesting low-level southerly wave in the process. This lift was used by Patrik and Doug for the last flight. They reached 4000' which was high above the low level southerly crud.
They landed late, by which stage we had the fire going in the clubrooms...winter is not far way! Many thanks to all the workers who helped on the day.

Sunday 31st March 2008
A beaut clear day, which looked stable but still delivered enough thermals to keep the gliders airbourne. ERW was busy AM with Roger Bennett instructing. Roger Sparks flew RLS to Omarama for the day, and the gliding folk got organised around mid day. John proved the thermals worked with an hour or so in OQ. This encouraged the singles to launch (Phil KJ, Brian KD and Pete LP). Everyone got soaring although 3400' was the top of the inversion. John instructed in JW, first Vivienne, then Patrik. Both flights where an hour or so soaring. Patrik made good progress even managing to climb nicely in the poor thermals while John dozed backseat. That was only Patrik's 3rd or 4th flight.
Thanks to Russell for towing us all up.

Tuesday 25th March 2008
Sunday was Warbirds Airshow, but we flew Tues. The day was late clearing but as soon as the clouds parted John buzzed off in OQ to check the thermics. It was soarable from 800' so Pete got rigged and Phil winched him up. The inversion was firmly clamped on 3500' but there was heaps of soaring below. Pete had a couple of hours fun. John motored-on again to check the Cu's above the inversion on the Old Man and Dunstans. These were working OK with 7500' cloudbases. South of Alex was socked-in all day. Also flying was Steve Whitren in ERW and it was a good day for his pax scenics.

Sunday 16th March 2008
A Hazy atmosphere but plenty of flying happening. Roger Bennett instructed in ERW (Stewart, Dion and Brian). John flew RLS. ERW was also busy with Brian and Dion doing circuits afterwards.
Gliding started about 1pm. John and Patrik had an hours soaring in JW. Phil (KJ), and Brian (KD), and later John all had pleasant local soaring beneath the inversion at 5000'. Thanks to Gary for towing.
Easter ideas? There was some interest in making the tuesday our gliding day (holidays and Warbirds makes sunday difficult). Contact Doug on the Monday night.

Sat/Sun 8/9th March 2008 (Clubs visit)
Visiting us were Bob and Alex (Five Rivers), Terry and Karen (South Otago), and John Eggers from South Canty. Saturday was a thermal/wave day with good flights had by all. Best news was a re-solo by Vivienne. She had a long soaring flight in JW. Pete had an interesting flight out east to the Rock and Pillar range. He took a while getting home as each thermal climb drifted him further away,,,but he eventually found wave to get him home.
Dinner was a BBQ at Pete's house in Cromwell.

Sunday was a blow-out. Very strong southerlies forced a de-rig around mid day. The only flight was Terry's BFR with John backseat. Russell very bravely towed them up to 3500 before they all dropped back to 3000 in heavy sink (undertow under tow?). Needless to say they landed shortly after ERW into a howling gale and we all packed up.
Many thanks to Pete for organising the weekend, and to Gary and Russell for towing.

Sunday 24th February 2008
A day of very strong winds, gusting up to 25 knots down the strip. Vivenne and Alastair flew with Doug. Vivenne did a couple of shorter flights. While Alastair did a check and he and Doug then managed to hook into the wave (13 up on the averager) and head towards the Remarkables. Didn't quite get high enough to make it all the way when jumping forward, but good enough for an 80 min flight. Extra hands on the ground in the strong conditions were very useful in putting the aircrfat away. Thanks to Doug for instructing, Pete and Phil for driving the winch and Leigh and freind for motoring up and down. The Gliding weekend at Alex 8 and 9th March is all go. Tow plane ERW both days and winching for the early starters. Dinner on Saturday night (finer details to be sorted). Contact Pete for full details.

Sunday 17th February 2008
The Gliding folk set up on 32 end and mucked about just long long enough for the wind to pick up and turn SW, forcing us to move to the other end.
Pete did one half hour flight with Vivienne's son Leigh. They climbed slowly in fast drifting thermals, and found a general area of 2 up. By the time they landed the wind had picked up and was gusting 20Knts across the strip, so we opened the bar early.
Thank to Phil for winching and Brian for the other bits like wing runnery things etc.

In other flying news... Brian was flying with Roger in ERW in the morning. Barry Cardno took some friends for a flight to Glenorchy etc in ERW, arrived back as the gliding folk were leaving.

10th February 2008
Rain showers on and off. It's not often we get rain affecting our soaring in Alex! However we did get flying. Doug was instructing and Brian driving the winch...thanks guys! Vivienne did several winch launches between rain showers. The sun came out again. John and Leigh in JW stole a weak thermal from the local hawks. This encouraged John to crank-up OQ to find more. Later in the day OQ and JW shared the one local thermal climbing slowly togther. Finally Doug had a blat in OQ but by now the cloud had returned and the day was finished.

3rd February 2008
Phil and John cleaned the club gliders on Friday afternoon, in preparation for the 6-monthly Engineering inspection on Saturday. Phil and John were at the hanger early Sat but our Engineer (Kerry) was a delayed with weather issues (he was flying in). However all got done in time for the club flying on Sunday.

On Sunday the wave down our way was weak but there were OK thermals from low level. John instructed and Roger Bennett flew the towplane. Frank Paulin used his glider flight voucher and enjoyed a nice soaring flight. Also flying JW was new member Martin (1 aero and a winch launch), and returning member Vivienne (2hr wave flight).
Brian (KD) and Phil (KJ) had good soaring flights. Also visiting overhead from Omarama were Pete (LP) and Roger Sparks (VT). Both found it a lot harder getting home northwards than it was flying south.

Steve Whitren was flying the Cherokee over the weekend, and Dion and others flew ERW on Sunday morning with Roger. John McArthur was active in his Cub.

27th January 2008
Good thermals and lots of gliding with 4 single seaters and JW busy. It was a little tricky getting away off the winch, requiring some patience and luck to break through the local inversion.
Doug was instructing and we had two new members join: Martin and Patrik, both had good long soaring flights. Pete was first to launch and last to land (7hrs flying without a pee!). His long flight was into Aspiring, Shotover and Remarkables. John joined Pete on Mt Aspiring after flying a different route.

Click on the links below to see pics from the day's flying: (Aspiring NW ridge) (Lochnagar) (Glaciers on Aspiring) (Ready to launch)

Brian and Phil also had good soaring, Phil winch-launching KJ for the first time.

After 6pm we fired up the gas for an enjoyable BBQ. Pete entertained us with some loops before landing. Later that evening he showed us his flight-trace in 3D software on his laptop
Many thanks to Doug, and everybody else who helped with the winch launching tasks. Thanks too to the partners who provided some lovely food at the BBQ.

20th January 2008
Despite encroaching high cloud we had OK local thermals. Both Brian and Pete had friends to fly so JW got good use, and most passengers experienced some soaring. John (having no friends) flew off in KG to St Bathans, returning via the OM range before the sun was extinguished by the cloud. Brian and John did a quick hop in JW around 5pm but by now the southerly was in and the local lift scarce.

13th January 2008
Most members still away but we did a little flying. Phil drove the winch and John Instructed Amber + John from Wanaka. No sun so only weak thermals and the wave remained high above. Brian flew at Wardells in wave.

Xmas-New Year Gliding
There's been little gliding at Alex over the holiday period due to folk being away. However Pete's been having good flying at Wardells and was joined by John and Brian on occaisions. Last Sunday saw all the Wardell-based gliders, along with Kerry Jackson, plus our members John, Brian and Pete all soaring the Ben Ohau range together.
Remember if you've got a spare day during the week you're all welcome to join the S. Canty club at Wardells over January. Towing is via Piper Cub, there's camping on site and the flying is great.

Friday 21st Dec 2007
Pete + John where winched up by Doug mid afternoon. An local inversion at 3-4000 slowed them down but after an hour they reached the good clouds on the Dunstans and from there it was on to the head of the Dingleburn and back home.

Sunday 16th December 2007
Looked like a good soarable sky and it was till about 3:30 when the lift seemed to die off. We got in about eight areotows for the day with John, Al, Brian and Johns friend Patrick.

December 2nd-9th
Pete, John+Brian where away much of this period flying in Te Anau so there was no club gliding scheduled. They had fantastic gliding weather and flew most days. Flights were had south to Monowai/Hauroko, west to the main divide at the heads of lakes Te Anau/Manapouri, east to the Takitimus, and north to Eglinton etc. On the one stable day we cranked up Cessnas ETL, MAV, and PCJ and did a good sight-seeing trip over a large part of Fiordland.
Back in Alex on the 9th saw a bit of action with flight training in ERW and Geoff and Steve taking RLS to Sam Greer's strip near Ranfurly.

Sunday 18th November
Lots happening at the airport today. ERW busy training, plus Tecnam RLS flying about with Geoff, Steve + John. HQD in and out, plus OQ testing the air, plus a heap of car filming happening. The day was quite soarable for gliders. Brian flew JW (pax) and KD, and Phil and John flew JW having a nice trip up the Dunstans.
Thanks to Gary for towing.

Sunday 4th November
Flying out of Lowburn...
On the weather front,(no pun intended) had a couple of Spring showers to start, but the day improved from there. Good sunny day and plenty of clouds in the sky with W to SW wind.
Doug took three young fellas from Alexandra for a circuit flight each (birthday treat for one I think). They were all suitably impressed, perhaps we'll see them back a couple of years down the track when they can reach the pedals!
Alastair had a couple of flights as did Steve, the lift proved ellusive, though the sky seemed to say that it was there.
Thanks to Doug and Pete for instructing and Pete for driving the winch.

Thurs 1st November
Roger launched Pete about 5PM last night. Climbed OK up to 4,500ft where the thermals fell off. The southerly was pouring over the end of the Dunstans so he tried to climb in the valley again. Still couldn't get over 4,500. All lift died suddenly just after 6PM. JW is still on the ground at Lowburn. Thanks to Roger for stopping planting his new vineyard to do the launch. There is a party at Bob Martins place in Mandeville Saturday night if you're down that way.

Labour weekend, October 2007
Pete flew Saturday, very cross-wind. A bit more action Monday with Pete, Bob Martin ('IC) and Brian ('KD) all getting some soaring.

Saturday 13th October 2007
Lowburn again. Another crap forecast but Kerry was kindly coming down to do a quick inspection on JW (recent mandatory AD...all OK). It was blowing a miserable and very strong northerly on the ground but we did a few flights. John and Pete shared the instruction. Pete found a little soaring on the higher terrace just downwind of the field but that was about all. The day changed fast as the front approached and Sunday was washed out.

Tuesday 9th October 2007
John sampled the thermals in 'OQ tuesday afternoon. He reported good lift and an 8000' cloudbase.

Sunday 7th October 2007
No gliding (folk away) but ERW was kept busy flying saturday and sunday. Gary Wilson also flew ERW over to the "new" lake up the Young river near Makarora over the weekend.

Sunday 30th September 2007, Lowburn
Just a small crew, I guess the forecast wasn't up to much. However the day was nicely sandwiched between fronts and the flying was good. Three winch launches and three good flights. John was away early in KG and thermalled into the Pisa wave, then the Hawea wave to The Neck and back. Pete (LP) also had a good flight in the other direction (Dunstans and then OM wave). Finally Doug flew JW taking Steve (the airstrip owner) for a fly. They started a bit later in the day and unfortunately missed the wave, but still managed a nice 2 hour flight on the Dunstans.
Many thanks to Phil and Hamish for launching and helping out.

Sunday 23rd September 2007
Flying off the Lowburn strip; the rain held off and the clouds hung around the hills. We did 9 winch launches. Circuit flights, for Peter, Michaela, Doug, Alastair and Pete M. There wasn't much lift about, maybe a hint of ridge lift off the terrace at the 36 end with the light Southerly blowing. The strip appears to be in good "nick", and they've installed a couple of wind socks. Pete has filled in a few holes. Steve (brother of the landowner), came along later in the day and had a couple of flights and a couple more 1/2 flights as we had rope breaks (some wear at the joins Pete reckoned). Figured that we would leave JW and the winch at Lowburn for at least next weekend, possibly a while longer. Thanks to Pete & Doug for instructing.

Friday 21st September 2007
Late afty Pete+John tried to get JW across to Lowburn (drag races at the airfield Sunday so we escape!). The sky looked hopeless and thick smoke obscured the sun but we thought we'd have a go anyway. John found weak therms in OQ so he then winched Pete in JW. No luck as expected. Fortunately Roger B. was able to aerotow Pete down the gorge late in the day. John followed later in Tecnam RLS to return Pete to Alex.

Sunday 16th September 2007
ERW had a busy day, with Roger instructing in the morning and nine glider tows in the afternoon.
On the Gliding front, there was a bit of lift about, but not really strong enough to get soaring. Phil in KJ found it (a bit higher) on a second attempt later in the day, for a couple of hours. John instructed Peter, Michaela, Alastair and Karl in JW but didn't really get established. Alastair had a short flight in SJ too.
Thanks to John for instructing and Russell for towing.

Sunday 9th September 2007
A nice day with lots of aviation happening. Early AM saw Dion training with Roger in ERW. Dion helped John rig OQ which got a short airing soon after. Steve W exercised his new PPL (congrats!) and Geoff Campbell flew Tecnam RLS.
On the gliding front it was an OK day with variable thermals to the cloudbase of 4500'. Pete M and Doug instructed Michaela Robinson in JW with some soaring being had. Brian (KD) and John (KG) soared about for a couple of hours reacquainting themselves with thermals (instead of wave).

Sunday 2nd September 2007
A great wave day. Doug was instructing, first a flight with Peter R, then with Mesa in JW. This flight was about 2.5hrs long hooking the SW wave off a winch launch and then travelling way south towards Tapanui then up north to Omarama saddle and back (with a squeaky moment battling the head wind on the way back).

Also having found his wings was Brian in KD. Again into wave off the winch and he was away the whole day down south and up north. Peter R had a brief flight in SJ, and at the end of the day Phil and Doug did another soaring flight in JW.

Sunday 26th August 2007
Westerly wave day (wave didn't organise itself as well as the day before, usually the way though). Pete, Peter and Brian made the most of it though. Brian in KD was away first, but didn't quite make it, with similar results for Pete and Peter in JW. After a relight for both they hooked into the rotor and with a bit of work they were last seen at about 6000' over Earnscleugh playing in the wave.

Sunday 19th August 2007
Turned out not a bad day after all with a bit of sun making some soaring possible. Seven launches for the day (I think) in calm conditions. Pete and Peter and Brian did a few circuits and managed to stay up for a little longer on a couple. Thank goodness it's getting a bit warmer (Summers coming... even if you're reading this in Antartica, John)
Thanks to Pete for instructing.

Sunday 12th August 2007
Just not enough folk to get flying on Sunday. Phil D and John when for a walk in the snow showers instead!

Sunday 5th August 2007
Annual glider inspections and maint work, but some flying too.
Phil D and Brigitte flew JW, John and Pete have a couple of winch flights each. There was a little soaring but it was a pity the sun only came out at the end of the day. Thanks to Doug+John for instructing, and Phil S, John and Kerry for maintenance during the weekend and the days leading up to it.

Sunday 22nd July
The first sunny day after 2 weeks of freezing fog! The southerly airstream cleared out the Alex basin and also gave us a day of wave. Al winched John+Carl for a circuit before Russell arrived to aerotow. Russell towed Brian (KD) into the wave over the Fraser. Next up was Chris Streat and Carl in JW, and after a check circuit Al took SJ up. John buzzed off to the wave in OQ. Al found the wave illusive but the others trucked down to Roxburgh in the usual Old Man wave. KD+JW moved forward to wave over the Umbrella range. But it was too damn cold cold at 13000' and we were all lasted about 2 hours before descending to land and thaw out.

Sunday 15th July
The hottest day of the week (+1 deg C). Like the rest of the week it was foggy and freezing. We agreed to meet late and do a few chores. Al swept out the hanger, and Phil worked on JW. Roger S arrived hoping to fly to Chch but it never really cleared. John did a cloudbase measurement in GOQ (300'). We huddled around the clubhouse fire to warm up and looked forward to seeing the sun next week.

Sunday 8th July
A damn cold morning...hence the late start. Blue + still, nil soaring likely, however we got quite a bit done. Pete Mc, John, and Brian did blanked-instrument circuits in JW, and Pete R, Brian, and Athol had winch driver training. Also flying were Pete R and Athol. We quit before sunset and tried to warm up around the fire with a beer.

Sunday 1st July
Low cloud and fog in the valleys but a moderate NW'er was forecast above (with wave). John was up mid morning to find the wave in OQ. He reported 8Kts lift in bright sunshine at 13,000 feet in the Dunstan wave. See pic below and note the fog still shrouding Cromwell to Wanaka. More members turned up early afternoon and after some maintence we got a few JW flights in. John instructed Debbie and Phil D in JW, then Phil D did his 3rd-ever solo flight in JW.
Gary, Adam, and Greg flew ERW, and Roger reacquainted himself with his Tecnam by flying to Omarama and back.
Thanks to Phil + Phil for working on JW, and Al for driving the winch.

Sunday 24th June
The airport road was impassable til about mid day when the thaw set-in. We started late. John launched Pete + Sarah (JW) for a quick circuit, then Pete and Athol. They climbed away into the terrific-looking SW wave and disappeared down to Roxburgh. Doug arrived and launched John for a circuit at the end of the day.

Sunday 17th June
Very similar day to the previous Sunday. John flew some circuits in RLS. Roger B did some training circuits with Dion in ERW. Athol and Pete did circuits in JW. Al did a circuits with John and Pete and a solo circuit to finish up. Brian came over for the day too and kept his hand in with a few more circuits in KD. Brian let John have the last circuit of the day to check out if KD flies as good as it looks!

Previous years flying.....