Vintage Kiwi Easter Rally 2014 Inglewood Taranaki.
Last year the traditional Easter Mini Rally at Inglewood had to be cancelled due to the Wilga tow plane that we use, having an accident at Blenheim and no replacement was available. This year we were once again back at Inglewood for our Easter rally with our host club , the Norfolk Aviation Sports Club using their Wilga ‘2’ replacement. Although Easter was later this year the long range forecasters were still predicting for our ‘Indian Summer ‘to last right through April especially for us. Yeh right! However a Australian tropical cyclone ‘Ita’decided to visit the Tasman sea instead and by pass our western shores over the Easter period, giving us an ‘exciting’ two days out of four, flying on the coat tails of ‘ Ita’ as it progressed south. Normally most of our members are on the road trailering their gliders the day before the Easter Friday .However on this occasion with winds gusting up to 35 knots + on the roads every one left a day later for obvious reasons. However one still had to drive with care dodging downed trees and the rather big branches and other debris that had succumbed to ‘Ita’s ‘ tail lashing as she passed by. Saturday was fine but very windy , so it was thought why not all have a fly in the Vintage Kiwi’s 1955 Kookaburra and see how a 13 metre two seat handled all the major ‘lumps and bumps ‘. And handle it she did, so very well.
Sunday saw the return of some none flying conditions, so in the comfort of the club house VK member Warren Spence gave us all an excellent slide show of some early days of the Nelson Gliding Club, whilst scoffing down some very good VK Easter Eggs that were given out. That night saw us all troop off to the local RSA for an excellent meal and a general catch up with everyone. Local rumour was that because of the effects of Cyclone Ita Monday could well produce the famous Taranaki Wave that we had not seen nor flown in before. The dinner party that night certainly had an air of anticipated excitement. However whilst walking to the RSA the crew ‘chief’ of GEJ somehow managed to trip on something and nosed dived onto the footpath. [Dead sober, they kept saying, but what happens on tour stays on tour] They eventually hobbled the rest of the way and survived the meal, but got driven back to their motel, where in the early hours in the morning, off to the hospital where it was found one had cracked a bone in one’s leg. [Painful] The moral of the story is that it’s obviously much safer to fly in the rough stuff and operate with in a violent cross wind environment than it was to walk a short’ safe’ distance to the local pub.
Monday was in fact THE wave day. Every man [oops sorry Robin] and his / her’s dog was up there. What an amazing day. When one released it was discovered that you had to fly about 20 degrees from where one would have thought they would have been pointing as the lower winds , although producing wave, had not conformed to the more ideal direction for this wave to truly develop, but as one climbed up the winds got stronger and then started backing to that ideal direction and it did not take long for everyone to catch on to what was happening and adjusted their heading as they climbed and were rewarded with a wonderful view of the local terrain. The only down fall was the mountain range that the wave was developing off is right on the coast so at about 8000ft QNH cloud would be streaming off the mountain top, limiting our height to that level. The wave was strong, consistent, and made for an enjoyable last day with our host club the Norfolk Aviation Sports Club who once again showed us what Taranaki Hospitality is all about.
Next year we will be going to a much different site where gliding operations had only had been undertaken in a very limited form there before. Where? The challenge of Taumaruni in the heart of the King country in the middle of our summer when the cloud base should be at its highest. Come join the adventure.
Roger Brown VK Chairman