The Vintage Kiwi Rally Taupo 2019
Fifteen sailplanes supported the Taupo 2019 Vintage Kiwi Rally. The weather was generally fine and hot, but with a confused mixture of wind, thermals, wave, and some ridge lift all thrown together, resulting in no consistent winner. However, it was soarable, but such challenging conditions are nothing new for these Vintage Kiwi veterans with every one enjoying these highly variable none text-book type of flying. Kevin Clark led the pack by clocking up some 20 hrs over the six days flown. If you persevere you can get the rewards, it would seem. The rest of the team were not far away from Kevin’s effort however, everyone achieving some good flying hours with one member saying it was the most amount of flying he had achieved on a rally yet which was a very good result overall. Late afternoon starts seemed to be the order of the day dictated by the conditions, which allowed plenty of time to drive into Taupo and ‘do-over’ the shops of course. This also allowed for plenty of discussion time back at the airfield putting the gliding world to rights as you do when waiting for the conditions to settle.
Two overseas travelers from the UK arrived whilst visiting family in NZ, to have a bit of look-see on how our NZ Vintage Kiwi Rallies operate here in the colonies. They are both involved with the organization of the next Vintage Rally in the U.K later this year. They both had a couple of flights in the Taupo ASK21 and were somewhat taken by surprise by the magnificent views that Taupo and the volcanic plateau offers. Something that we might just take for granted perhaps. [Yes we are spoilt one has to say]
Vintage Kiwi member Peter Layne become the most current out-landing pilot within the V.K group having been ‘dumped‘ onto the ground by some very confused wind conditions. Flying the Taupo ASK21 with an instructor, a small rotor cloud that had sat quite happily a mile or so just up wind decided to change frequency and re-establish itself just over the airfield giving the circuit area a ‘real going over’ just as they started their circuit. A rather incredible safe precautionary out- landing in a small triangular shaped paddock was made, with a very good story to tell of course.
A group of scale modelers headed by Bill De Renzy of Matamata also flew their incredible scale model sailplanes as part of the Vintage Kiwi camp. They had a great couple of days flying these amazing large-scale models. Believe it or not they would aero tow launch behind one of two scale model Pawnee tow planes. Sadly, they lost an immaculate model K8 due to a control servo locking up. Because of it’s large size it truly had a haunting look as it spiraled from height in to the ground. Would it get rebuilt? Of course. That is what modelers do.
The Vintage Kiwi rally ran through to the Friday which is when some of the upcoming Club Class Nationals and the M.S.C. Contest competitors were starting to arrive. One of those early arrivals was the current World Gliding Champion, Sebastian Kawa from Poland who is touring parts of NZ. Some of Vintage Kiwi team got to personally meet him, (remind me not to wash my hand after surviving a reasonable firm hand shake from him.) A real nice and genuine person one has to say and a real privilege meeting him.
Friday was the best day with everyone stretching their flying legs with flights to Arapuni, and Atiamuri dams, the Broadlands high country and to various points up the valley towards Reparoa.
There were of course some very hilarious moments on the rally. However, what happens on camp stays on camp as they say, tempting as it is to relate all of the stories. But we did promise the TEST team that nothing would be placed in print. It’s the old story of – you just had to be there!