The Vintage & Classic Glider Club of New Zealand Inc


Vintage Kiwi Rally Papawai – Greytown.

This year Vintage Kiwi decided to hold its Annual National Rally at Papawai – Greytown, in support of the Wellington Gliding Club’s move there from Paraparaumu. And of course to support the formation of the new Greytown Soaring Centre at the new site.  The original Bicknell farm site, which is also the home of Gliding Wairarapa, is now owned by the local council.  The airfield section is leased back to the Greytown Soaring Centre comprising at this stage the two clubs and as it is still a working farm, stock control is very successfully managed around the flying operations of the day.  The original main runway is 03-21 but a new cross vector 29-11 has since been developed.  

The club operates a new Sky Launch winch which was imported from the UK, and with some 2 km of runway available, it has been possible to achieve a ‘Silver C height gain’ before one pulls the release at the top of the launch. For the VK Rally a 160 HP Super Cub was also used, loaned to us by the Upper Valley Gliding Club.


Being a farm environment the runways were well grassed but were rough under foot in a number of places.  However, where the main operations were carried out, the runway was relatively smooth.  As time moves on I have no doubt that the overall airfield will be knocked into shape and become a very spectacular site. Care is needed to be taken when moving sailplanes from the picketing area to the main operational  launching site of 03-21 as one had to negotiate a narrow culvet. Unfortunately, a Standard Libelle’s wing dropped into the deep part of the culvert creating enough fuselage stress, as the car was slowly moving forward, to completely crack the fuselage and ruin the pilot’s big day up. A devastating start to anyone’s day.  On the plus  side a lot of good flying was done .  

In conjunction with the Vintage Kiwi arrival,  the Wellington Gliding Club ran a successful Task Week.  The Vintage Kiwi’s group consisted of two Schleicher Ka6cr, one Slingsby Dart 17R, one Standard Libelle, one Open Libelle, one Schleicher K8b, one DG101 and an HP18.  The local Wairarapa Gliding Club also operate an ASK13 which looked right at home mingling with the visitors. It was also a bit of an unintentional  Glasflugel rally it seemed, as along with the locals there were five 201B Libelles and a local Club Libelle variant on site flying.

The airspace requirements are minimal at 9500 QNH  as far south as Cape Palliser and as far north as northern sector of Mount Bruce. On today’s over regulated airspace this is a great chunk of available airspace to play with.     

 The weather was incredibly fine with a couple of 35 degree days which made for an energy sapping day.  In fact one day the locals gave up at 2.00pm, shutting down the winch due to heat exhaustion with the tow plane carrying on until everyone had launched. It was even hot in the air, but one quickly cooled down after climbing through 5000ft or so, whether it be running the sea breeze over the East Coast or just the end result of a good thermal.  Both the Tararua and Rimutaka ranges got ‘discovered’ by some of the ‘Vintage Kiwi’ sailplanes with only one land out.  Russell Jones out landed in the VK Syndicate K8b - GLE and had to prise his crew from a wine trail activity.  Such is life.

The Rally was a great success. Everyone having partaken in some good flying, good food [the on airfield BBQ’s by the local club now have to be classed as ‘World Famous in NZ’] some great beer and good interclub camaraderie. Our many thanks to the Wellington Gliding Club, Gliding Wairarapa and the Greytown Soaring Centre for being our hosts. Not forgetting the Upper Valley Gliding Club for allowing us the use of their tow plane, as not everyone is a winching pilot.  The joint effort by all of these clubs to all help and make our Vintage Kiwi Rally work as well as it did has to be commended. Great interclub cooperation that you rarely see these days rather made the Vintage Kiwi team feel very positive about this new Soaring Centre’s future.