Vintage Kiwi Rally
Fifteen sailplanes supported the Taupo 2019 Vintage Kiwi Rally. The weather was generally fine and hot, with a confused mixture of wind, thermals, wave, and some ridge lift all thrown together, resulting in no consistent winner. However, it was soarable and such challenging conditions are nothing new for Vintage Kiwi veterans with everyone enjoying the highly variable non text-book type flying. Kevin Clark led the pack, clocking up some 20 hours over the six days flown. If you persevere you can get the rewards, it would seem. The rest of the team were not far behind Kevin’s effort, everyone achieving some good flying hours. One member said it was the most flying hours he had achieved on a rally yet; a very good result overall. Late afternoon starts seemed to be the order of the day, dictated by the weather conditions, which allowed plenty of time to drive into Taupo and ‘do-over’ the shops. The delayed starts 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. Both are involved with the organization of the next Vintage Rally in the U.K. later this year. Both also enjoyed a couple of flights in the Taupo ASK21 and were pleasantly surprised by the magnificent views that Taupo and the volcanic plateau offer. Yes, we are spoilt and the outstanding scenery is something that we perhaps take for granted.
Vintage Kiwi member Peter Layne became the most current out-landing pilot of the V.K. group having been ‘dumped‘ onto the ground by some very confused wind conditions. While flying the Taupo ASK21 with an instructor, a small rotor cloud that had sat quite happily a mile or so slightly upwind decided to change frequency and re-establish itself just over the airfield, giving the circuit area a ‘real going over’ just as the pair started their circuit. A rather incredible safe precautionary outlanding was made in a small triangular shaped paddock, resulting in a very good story to tell.
A group of scale modelers (led by Bill De Renzy of Matamata) joined the Vintage Kiwi Camp, flying their incredible scale model sailplanes. 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, an immaculate model K8 was destroyed due to a control servo malfunction. It’s large size portrayed a truly haunting look as it spiraled gracefully, uncontrollably and inexorably from height into the ground. Would it get rebuilt? Of course! That is what modelers do.
The Vintage Kiwi rally ran through to Friday when some of the upcoming Club Class Nationals and the M.S.C. Contest competitors began to arrive. One of those early arrivals was the current World Gliding Champion, Sebastian Kawa (of Poland) who was touring parts of NZ. Some of Vintage Kiwi team met him personally, (remind me not to wash my hand after surviving a reasonable firm hand shake from him.) I have to say he is a nice, genuine person and it was a real privilege meeting him.
Friday was the best day, with everyone stretching their flying legs with flights to Arapuni and Atiamuri dams, Broadlands high country and to various points up the valley towards Reporoa.
Naturally, as always, there were some very hilarious moments during the rally. However, as they say, what happens on camp, stays on camp, tempting as it is to tell all. All that can be revealed is that we promised the TEST team that nothing would be placed in print…it’s the old story of – you just had to be there!