Waitangi Winglet!!

Posted 8 years, 10 months ago    0 comments

I just had to write something before turning in tonight and let everyone know what a wonderful day we had at Matamata celebrating Waitangi Day – gliding club style!

28 flights had Iggy spending more time at the fuel pumps than he would on 6 Wednesdays and a little distraught by the fact his maintenance scheds for BZA had been blown to bits by such unexpected activity! A big days flying and huge thanks for the continuous effort delivering us into thermals on a blue day!

It started at 9:30 or so for Geoff Taylor - ever the enthusiast and consummate early-bird that he is – by the time I rolled in at 11 or so he had the entire hangar empty with help from Iggy, Will, Kim & David Muckle. An empty hangar deserved a sweep out so Peter gave me a hand to spoof it up bit – thanks for that.

Will must have seen a big day coming as he turned up with a gazebo so the launch point was looking pretty special. Dave and Bill had the Thermalling contest rules on a blackboard so we could all study them and pretty soon it seemed to those of us that thought we might have a crack, that a strategy needed to be adopted that ensured the really experienced pilots in hot ships (like Bill in RR, Robin Britton in  NV, Alan Belworthy in RY, Bob Gray in YL, Ralph Gore in VC, Morrie Beale in JD needed to be kept occupied or delayed on the grid to ensure their chances were kept slim whilst Will, David, myself could get away and do our thing.

Sure enough plenty of trial flighters turned up meaning Bob was hung out to dry in PC from the get go and he racked up 9 flights for his day with 3hrs 9 mins time – good practice for the coming Taupo comp, and even better for the rest of us because YL never saw the light of day (1 down)! Realising that we were needing a hand in the instructor department to get the grid queue down, Bill was asked to help, and he was still going at 3:00pm and starting to look anxious about his attempt at his own contest, whilst the formally mentioned “lesser lights” had managed to wangle their way to the front of the grid (2 down – nearly)! Poor Morrie nearly wore a hole in the ground pacing around on the grid as the twins kept being dragged to the front of the grid leaving him stranded! Behind him Robin who as smiling and patient as ever, was regretting the fact that her GPS batteries were flat so she couldn’t compete – ha! and she never even suspected us (3 & 4 down)! Meanwhile Alan Belworthy had disappeared eventually turning up more than 4 hours after departure – thankfully it seemed he had no intention of submitting an entry (5 down)!!

While all this was going on, Rob Munn got checked out and went off in NI, Peter Minor snaffled an idle PK (after its TF duties were done), Neil  exercised XP. None of these pilots were competing (6, 7 & 8 down).  Meantime,  Pieter got PC back with Bob for another 3 circuits. However Bob changed that by stepping out for the last one and giving Pieter the “of you go lad”. SOLO!!!!

Congratulations and well done Pieter – It was fitting that his was the last launch of the day, and given the contest and BBQ following, a nice crowd was on hand at the grid to share the moment. It was great to hear the spontaneous applause from the sidelines when he opened the canopy - that’s the way it should be in a supportive and caring group when someone achieves a milestone.

Today also  saw two temporary members return for a second flight and it seems pretty certain that one of them, local farmer Nigel Brinkworth, will join us very soon, I spotted him with Bill ticking some things off on an A syllabus  -  the other is a holidaying English power pilot Robert Osborn who totally loved the his experience thermalling in the valley, having taken his first flight at Raglan. Two others(Justine & Matt) took their first TF and it seems certain they will return too!

After the flying was all over, well nearly - Alan was still out there somewhere having an epic day – the barbecue was lit and 20 or so gathered around the patio for a great get-together! It would have been even better if we had actually announced that, despite our best attempts,  Bill had won the contest with 5 thermal climbs of 1000’ within the 40 min period, but somehow that didn’t happen. I was there however, when Bill stood in front of his bar fridge deciding which bottle of wine he should present himself with!!!!! Well done mate – and more importantly, many thanks for coming up with the idea. The whole day was only conceived last Saturday evening when Dave suggested having a Barbie on Waitangi day, Bill jumped in with let’s have a thermaling contest, and the rest is history!

I don’t have the full results but will get them published next week – I think Dave was second with 4 ( it was fun scheming how to keep Bill out mate, but you can’t keep a good man down – Neil’s idea of letting RR’s tyres down might have been the way to go). Quite where the results went from there I don’t know, but I was given my gps back without comment- clearly 2 didn’t cut it! The best result was the turnout on the day – competing or not!

A fantastic day, and thanks to all the helpers for pitching in when the duty pilot no-showed. Thanks as well  to Dave’s partner Mary for food/kitchen work and anybody I may have missed.

See you for this one next year!

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