The Vintage & Classic Glider Club of New Zealand Inc


  Taumaranunui National Rally - 2017                

What a difference a week makes. One week our from our Taumarunui Rally the weather was fantastic and the long range forecast was indeed promising.  However a day after our arrival the weather gods certainly played a very cruel hand by producing out of nowhere , a ‘ low’ in the Tasman sea  which quickly developed onto a much deeper one.  There it remained semi stationary for some six days whilst it circulated a series of fronts with some very heavy rain that lashed the most of the north island and created all sorts of flooding and wind damage mayhem. However in Taumarunui we stayed in a sort of micro climate just short of its southern tentacles and flew in what thermals could be found under a sky of ever threatening and thickening high cloud.  Thus we achieved only three days actual flying out of the nine planned for. With the forecaster’s consistent threat of this ‘weather Bomb’ moving onto our ‘neck of the woods’, we decided to call it a day, de rig before it all came our way and  go home with our tail between our legs. In summary our NZ summer never did arrive and the hope was that March may have bought the summer we never had. Obviously that was not to be.  

 However on the bonus side we all flew, drank a lot, ate a lot, and talked a lot.  Twelve Sailplanes did turn up including a few ‘newbies’.  A Schleicher KA6e from Stratford, a self-launching Russia from Wellsford, A Standard Cirrus and a two seat TEST self-launcher from Matamata. Aero tow launching was provided by a Wilga based from Inglewood.  One of the main logistic issues was to be able to provide Av. Gas as there are no longer GA refuelling facilities at Taumarunui.  900 litres was ‘trucked in ‘with a mini tanker towed behind a utility vehicle all the way from Inglewood.  Kevin Wisnewski was the key logistics player here by not only delivering the fuel but was back the following day with his Wilga already to tow.  Fantastic commitment one has to say. Thank you so much Kevin.  


The local council held a community open day with a free Dinner at the Domain. They asked if a glider / sailplane could be put on display as an attraction which V.K were more than happy to do so as council were very supportive in our using of their airfield . [Payback time]   A  Libelle was dispatched and was the star attraction it seems.   


Mean time a couple of the attendees did get out and about a little over the king country wilderness.  Kevin Clark in Open Libelle GOS and Tim  Hardwick – Smith Discus b GXC  struck out some 25 kms towards the mountains under a  heavy and increasing   overcast sky.  Honour was done it seems as they slowly made their way back to Taumarunui and landing a few hours later. The TEST team ‘newbies’ however were never on the ground. They only planned to be there for three days as work commitments necessitated that they had to leave Tuesday morning so they made sure they did not waste a minute.  Due to the conditions some had some very good long flights, others however had shorter ones as conditions rapidly changed over the three days. All agreed that one had no control of the weather that was dealt to the rally so a mass de rigging session took place on the Wednesday, the fleet having endured a previous night in the rain. Luckily Wednesday was fine and gave a window of opportunity to dry out and de rig before the really bad weather set its sights in on the King Country and southern areas the following day.

However there were also some ‘on the ground moments’ that could truly not be forgotten. Task. Securely place five single thick plastic panels on the ground to make a gliding signal –the arrow.  Result.‘ What do I do with the spare part ‘Yep. It certainly was one to remember  for sure.

Roger Brown: VK Chairman

Rally Photos

K6e Rigged ready to go

Taumaranuni Airfield looking North

Cirrus JM/Godfrey ready to launch