NZ Open HG 2005

NZ Open Hang Gliding Championships – by Grant Tatham
Wellington 2005
The comp was held over a weekend, week, weekend period, allowing 9 task
By Thursday morning, after achieving valid tasks the first five days, the
last Sunday was unanomously voted a non-competitive day to allow those that
travelled time to get home.
We managed to get six out of the eight days as valid tasks, with some of
those days being pretty good quality (for this area!).
Nineteen pilots were entered, with three pilots in the intermediate class.
We also saw a few free flyers. Olaf, from Norway, flying a Wills Wing, Dave
Moore, a Avian topliss, and some of the lesser experienced guys from
Wellington. Incidently James – no way are you freeflying next time! – he
flew on a couple of the days, doing very well. I remember looking up and
watching a couple of gliders go over the Bennetts Hill day, and clearly
remember thinking to myself – that glider profile looks like a recreational
glider – long in the chord. He was too high to identify! Realised later it
was he! Good on you James and also Nigel. Also well done the intermediate
guys, they all managed the days real well for their level of experience.
Task 1, a task from Mt Climie over the back into the Wairarapa Valley,
40.6km. Three pilots into the Wairarapa Valley, the rest in the Hutt or
Kaitoke Valley in front of the range. Trev experienced GPS trouble, and
after a spectacular climbout, flew around and landed at Brian Smiths
paddock. Later launches were pretty interesting (eh Fraser!)Dave Newton the
sole pilot at goal.
Task 2, a bit more wind, so a ridgerace at Bull Hill, 30.2km. The run north
to TP was OK, but back into wind saw most pilots down, with a handful
getting back up the ridge. Again, Dave Newton highest scoring, a few km from
goal at Lake Ferry pub. Rick Hawkeswood and Anton Lawrence not far back.
Task 3, southerly, 8/8 overcast, but bouyant. Downwind task from Bennetts
Hill, 37.5km. Two in goal just short of Eketahuna – Dave Newton and Niall
Mueller. Not far out, Tom Collet and others strung out along the road. James
gets about 25km (not bad for his first cross-country, especially in those
Task 4, Kourarau, light winds, forecast increasing northwesterly in the
afternoon. TP 10km to the SW along the longbush valley, then cross/
downwind to goal at Tinui, 74.5km. Trev led the way, launching first into
something that gave him, Craig Henderson, and myself at times consistant
1400fpm to 5000′. Nice conditions saw 5 in goal – Guy Harding winning the
day with a very good time, Dave Newton, Trevor Leighton, Rick Hawkeswood, and Grant
Tatham also getting there. Latter third of the flight along a convergence
from the east coast seabreeze. (Ask Trev about his feelings on flying close
with others when caught in cloud!). Dave gets scored back to before TP – he
turned away before entering sector. Seems he’s not that familiar with GPS,
and had his unit set on a route (OK so far). Certain models flick to the
next turnpoint when you’re in close proximity to the current TP (not so good
if you don’t realise – Dave’s tracklog showed him turning away 800m out).
Task 5, Lighter winds, from the north. Climie again, this time nicer
conditions, though thermals not very friendly. Most of the field got over
the ranges, into the flats in the Wairarapa. Task was across the Wairarapa
valley, then south to Lake Ferry pub, on the coast, for  69.9km. . Seabreeze
was setting in quite strong. Intention by the task committee was to go with
the increasing northerly, but the wind never eventuated. Thus a moderate
seabreeze from the east and the south. Dave Newton won the day, 19km from
goal, put down by the seabreeze. Anton Lawrence back a couple of km, then
Grant Tatham, 26km from goal. Guy Harding landed back at turnpoint at
Papawai, a bad case of airsickness. The thermals were abit rough! (Makes a
difference flying to Papawai instead of launching from there, eh Guy?).
Task 6, moderate norwesterly, Kourarau the site, and task 42.2km down the
Longbush valley crosswind. Nice launch conditions, everyone gets to have
some airtime, but its quite hard to get much distance with the overcast
conditions, and increasing wind. Dave and Anton take the high road – staying
above the ridge and high, most others opt or are forced forward for safety,
staying within glide of good landing, but getting low in the Longbush
Valley. I eventually climb out to meet up with Dave and Anton, along with a
couple of sailplanes, but lose all the height in the final glide. Dave wins
the day, Anton second, Grant third. Winning distance was about 24km.
Final results –
Dave Newton          Aeros Combat 13           3135
Grant Tatham         Airborne Shark 144         2742
Guy Harding          Moyes Litesport              2542
Anton Lawrence     Aeros Combat L              2504
Trevor Leighton      Airborne Shark                 2263
Rick Hawkeswood  Moyes Litespeed 4           2214
Niall Mueller           Aeros Stealth KPL2         2065
Geoff Green           Freeflight Gas                1863
Neil Howe              Moyes Litespeed 4           1841
Dennis Green         Moyes Litesport               1780
Mark Paton            Aeros Combat 13             1605
Tom Collett            Airborne Climax                1537
Shane Mckay          Aeros Combat 2              1014
Fraser Bull             Moyes Xtralite                   910
Craig Henderson     Enterprise Rage                797 (INT)
Steve Dwyer           Freeflight Gas                   639
Andrew Bridger       Airborne Fun                    591 (INT)
Ian Bowie              Enterprise Rage                 590 (INT)
Dave Austin           Moyes XS4                       179
One of the better days was lost due to topdressing plane activity next to
and almost over launch! One other day lost to strong wind.
Despite Dave losing alot of points one day because of a GPS error, he flew
extremely well, and led the comp start to finish. Good to see a good show of
local pilots. The competition was of a high quality, though some of the more
experienced guys such as Anton, Geoff and Steve hadn’t flown for a year or
more, and may have been abit rusty. Anton would have been in the running
except for an unusual error (for Anton) going down early on day.
The sponsorship by the manufacturers was recognised and much appreciated,
and on behalf of the guys I take this oppurtunity to thank Moyes for all the
spotprizes, Airborne and Bill Degen for a handful of spotprizes and a
voucher worth $2500 off a new Climax, Aeros for a generous similar voucher
worth $2000. I’d also like to thank the Buckhorn Bar and Grill in Carterton,
in conjunction with Dominion Breweries, for a whole pile of spotprizes. If
you’re passing through Carterton call in there and have a beer and some
nachos. Also thanks to those that gave their support, especially Ian Bowie
for the trophy work.
There are a couple of CD’s of photos compiled by Ross Gray available at a
small cost, have a lot of real good shots, just about everyone is there. Also
a couple of other collections may become available in the near future. I’ll
keep you posted.
Grant Tatham