John Smith is at it again, claiming a new New Zealand Open Distance Hang Gliding Record of 202 kilometres.

On Christmas Day 2015 John flew for 5 hours 45 minutes from Coronet Peak to past the northern end of Lake Tekapo, eclipsing his one year old record by 25 km.



There was a successful 1000-point task at the Southern Regional Comp in December, and the ladder has now been updated.

Noteworthy facts:

  • Grant Middendorf reinforces his position at the top, by gaining 14 points for the task. * Derek Divers hops Jeff Ripley and it now in 6th place
  • Thirteen pilots have entered (or re-entered) the ladder 
  • Gert Maren was one of these, scoring 37 points and is now 39th on the ladder
You can download the latest ladder here.


Just over a week until the scheduled Auckland Regional Paragliding Competition – November 2015.

Although the long distance forecast is not looking great it’s now time to start getting ready.

We have a wonderfully large number of pilots registered for this competition, so below are some pointers to help you get organised.

The decision whether we are on or not, and the likely area will be made at 2000hrs on Thursday 26th November 2015 and this will be posted on the Airtribune website.


The meeting point on the Saturday 28th / Sunday 29th will be either:

  • Puhoi Pub – for Auckland area 
  • TBD – for Pukemore area 
  • Corner Ngapouri Road – for Paeroas 
  • Ronnies CafĂ©, Matamata – for Kaimais

Meeting time is 10:00 for most pilots, and 09:30 if it’s your first comp or you need explanations or help.

New waypoint files have been created for both Auckland and Paeroa/Kaimais areas, you should download these from either the Airtribune Competition Page or the NZHGPA website.

http://www.nzhgpa.org.nz/competitions/pg-competitions/downloads http://airtribune.com/auckland2015/info

Maps will be available shortly for download at the same locations.

Unless you have a modern instrument that can hold large numbers of waypoints then you will need to choose which files you upload once the announcement is made as to where the comp will be held.

We STRONGLY recommend practising and doing this in advance of the competition. While help is available in advance – it will be very difficult to provide technical assistance on the weekend itself – so please be ready.

Downloads of IGC files
As usual, we will use Highcloud for scoring.

Please be very familiar with the process of downloading an IGC file from you instrument after your flight.

Again – technical assistance on the weekend itself will be limited so please practise this in advance.

If you have a Flymaster instrument then a computer will be available to assist with downloads, though it’s still better to have your own facility for doing this.

If you have any other type of instrument, particularly Garmin, then the comp organisers expect you to be able to do this yourself. Failure to upload a tracklog after a task results in a zero score.

NZHGPA Membership
Some of those registered for the competition are still not members of the NZHGPA. If you are not a member of the NZHGPA on the weekend of the comp then you will not be allowed to partake (and you shouldn’t actually be flying a paraglider in New Zealand at all). No exceptions.

All wings need to have a valid WOF. All pilots need to have an altimeter, GPS, back protection, reserve parachute and 2-way UHF radio.

Questions and issues? Please don’t wait until the day itself.

Contact Johnny Hopper on 021 056 2275
Or Kyla MacDonald on 021 056 2320

Cheers, Johnny


The overseas league that was held during the Canungra Cup has been rescored.

We accidentally missed Phil Hystek.

He is actually an Aussie but is a full member of the NZHGPA.

Turns out that he actually won it. Well done, Phil.

I've updated the national ladder too, with this correction.
You can download that here.


We woke to beautiful blue skies on the final task day at Canungra, but the blue quickly disappeared until we had full cloud cover.

Oh well, let’s check out Beechmont and see what we can do.

A few free-fliers showed us they could stay up in the ridge lift, but it didn’t look exciting, and certainly not like something you should throw 90 pilots at.

We waited. Our patience was rewarded with reasonable flying conditions. The 58km task was to 36 OVAL in the Kerry Valley, then goal at 25 CROF.

No pilots made goal, but the Kiwis came out strong, with John Smith coming 2nd in the task, Mark Hardman 5th, and Evan Lamberton 6th. Nice work, boys.

We hurried back for the closing ceremony at the Canungra Hotel – plenty of well deserved cold beer and hot food.

The competition was won by Brazilian pilot Felipe Rezende on his Enzo2. John Smith was the highest ranking Kiwi, coming in 19th place, closely followed by Evan in 20th.

Overall the Canungra Cup lived up to its reputation of being an incredibly well-run competition. The organisation is fantastic and retrieves are superb.

The conditions weren’t great for us, but the Task Committee made the most of what we had and turned it into some good flying. With 6 days of flying and close to 90 pilots, there were over 500 launches and landings with no reserve throws, no mid-airs and in fact no accidents to speak of, which in itself is a great result.

We’ll be back.


After 2 rain days, we were ready for more flying on Friday.

The call was made to go to Beechmont, but the usual rush to get wings out and ready was missing. Might have been something to do with the full cloud cover, damp ground & limp windsock.

The 54km task was set to 41 JOSE, with goal at MARG, and once the windsock started moving in the right direction, we were ready to go.

There were several safety calls shared on the radio, due to congestion around launch. It's hard work keeping close to 90 pilots in the air along a small ridge when cloudbase is just a few hundred feet about launch.

A few pilots got up and made their way to the edge of the start cylinder, but the task was thwarted by rain. A few splatters hit pilots flying near launch, then a few more.

The task was stopped 10 minutes after Start - just in time for some & too late for others. The weather came in fast, with pretty steady rain hitting many pilots. I suppose it would have been good if your glider needed a clean.

I heard it made interesting (and confusing) watching on the Live Tracking. In the end it was too short a day to call it a task.

Things did get better though - in the evening, local hang glider pilots Rangi & Shirley hosted a Kiwi barbie, which was a great success. 


On Sunday arvo Rob Gillard a Raglan chipppie did an awesome new PG flight.

His Leonardo XC score 45.95 beat my 2013 score from the same site of 44.53 but his flight was a very ballsie route compared to mine.

He flew from Harry's (Thames) to the sports field in the centre of Whangamata. This is the first unpowered PG crossing of the range by a paraglider in this area of the Coromandel.

As the North Island goes not bad distance but a very inspiring new route that may be hard to copy - or wise to not copy! See Leonardo and congrats Rob for a new site record from Harry's. Bruce Vickerman.


Question: What do you call a gaggle of 90 keen pilots, and not a wing in sight?

Answer: A non-taskable day.


It was another day of marginal looking conditions, with thunderstorms forecast to come in from the south.

We weren’t sure it would be taskable, but headed up to Tambo to check things out.

Task was set to start at North Tamborine, then down in the south west to Laravale, and over Locked Gate Valley to goal at Coulson.

The sea breeze came in shortly after the task started, and everyone kept a good eye on the clouds building to the south & east, but the course line was clear. For a couple of hours, anyway.

Eventually the sea breeze hit the course, as well as rain, and the task was stopped. The timing was probably right to stop the task, because although it seemed fine in the air, there were a lot of vertical landings.

Evan was the lead Kiwi for the day, making it to goal. Unfortunately due to the 5-minute countback from Task Stop time, it’s not scoring that way.

Cameron had another great flight too. Not hearing that the task was stopped, he carried on to goal. Soiling himself all the way, it should be noted, as landing options were few. Had he known that it was Locked Gate Valley he was flying over, he may truly have needed a change of pants. If you hadn’t guessed, Locked Gate Valley is so named because of the big padlocked gates preventing retrieve vehicle access.

All pilots made it back to the pub before the massive thunderstorm & lightshow hit Canungra.


Kris E's 3-day old wing shredded
Monday’s forecast sent us to Mt Tamborine, with mixed views on what the day would bring.

It’s a long glide out to bomb-out at Tambo, and we’re told it’s not uncommon to see pilots kicking trees on the way down, so the Task Committee was apprehensive about the wind picking up.

The task was set to 41 Josephville to the south west, then carrying on in the same direction to goal at Maroon.

Due to the concerns about the conditions, Brooke Whatnall was asked to launch prior to the launch being formally open, to give us an indication of what was happening out there. Brooke went up, and reported that winds were light, so the task was ON.

The famous Australian wedge-tailed eagle paid a visit to at least 6 pilots, and she wasn’t there to give us a warm welcome. Kris was the unfortunate winner of the Eagle Class, having a huge chunk of his brand new wing stolen. Now some lucky wedgie has a very colourful nest made of light-weight but durable material, suitable for hike & fly.

Jean Brossard was the sole Kiwi to make goal, and managed to do it with a leg injury sustained when launching during Task 2 (banged his leg against the carbon foot board on the harness). Good work, Jean. It turned into a great day.


Evan & Mark celebrating GOAL!
The forecast for Sunday was looking more promising, so the pilots headed up to Beechmont for more action.

There appeared to be something wrong with the windsocks though, as they were all blowing backwards. Fortunately we are a patient bunch (Tui ad?), and we started to see puffs coming up the hill.

The task was set to Bord with a 5km radius, then Pale with a 10km radius, and goal at Rath. Dave Gibbs, the Comp Organiser promised us 30% of pilots would be in the bombout, but he got that wrong - turns out about 30% made it to goal.

That included a few Kiwis. John Smith was the first to make it there, followed closely by Evan Lamberton & Mark Hardman. Roy Tingay just missed out, making it to End of Speed but not quite touching the goal cylinder.

Cameron had the most exciting flight of the day though, getting 40km around the track then getting smashed by the sea breeze. Twas a bit strong on landing, and he went for a bit of a roll. Fortunately it was on his left side, and Task 3 will be a right turn day.

Cam about to start a great flight. Photo credit: Uncle Don Kennedy

Nice legs Cam. But the flight made it all worth while. You deserve that beer. Photo credit: Johnny Hopper


The Kiwi team rocked up with high expectations for some great flying in Canungra, especially after seeing one of the Ozzie’s pull out a 247km flight here last week.

Looks like we aren’t the only ones, with 90 pilots registered for the competition.

Those in the know told us the forecast for Saturday was pretty marginal. Ever the optimists, we headed up to Beechmont for a look. The task was set, with a 7.5km start cylinder, and goal at Kalbar, a distance of about 60km.

Launch had to be suspended a few times due to congestion, with 60 to 70 wings fighting to stay in up, but in the end all pilots managed to get off, with a smattering getting away. Dave Snowden managed the furthest distance, just under 23km.

Kris Ericksen is New Zealand’s national hero for the Task, being the top Kiwi & winning the Fun class prize for the day. First flight on his new wing, so let’s hope this is a sign of things to come.

See here for scores:

And check out the Live Tracking – this is quite cool:

 Good team preparation.


Yesterday the Auckland Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club held a site working bee at Bridges.

Read about it here.


Derek Divers, from the Southern Club, is organising the first Southern Regional Paragliding Competition of the season.

Get some points on the NZ Paragliding Ladder early in the season.

The dates are Sat 7th and Sun 8th November 2015
Reserve dates are Sat 14th and Sun 15th November 2015.

This comp has FAI Cat-2 sanction pending.

The Kai Whakapai Cafe in Wanaka will be the headquarters.

The decision on the location of task 1 will be announce on Thursday night.

Please contact Derek at d.divers@xtra.co.nz


You can now register for Round One of the PG Open, which will be held in Manilla, Australia, 8th - 14th February 2016.

Registration is available via this page http://www.kiwiopen.com/entries.php

Registration for Round Two, in Nelson, 27th February - 5th March 2016, has been open for some time, and is available here http://www.pgopen.org.nz/


The latest version (v16) of the NZHGPA Paragliding Competition Rules has been finalised and is available for download here.

The only change since v15 is that CCC class gliders are now permitted at NZ Paragliding Competitions, but only those specifically mentioned and certified as compliant by the FAI.

At the time of writing those gliders are:

2014 - Mercury Sport S - Certificate of Compliance - Measurement File (EN-D glider)
2014 - Mercury Sport M - Certificate of Compliance - Measurement File (EN-D glider)

2015 - GTO2 X Alps XS - Certificate of Compliance - Measurement File
2014 - Boomerang 10 S - Certificate of Compliance - Measurement File
2014 - Boomerang 10 L - Certificate of Compliance - Measurement File
2014 - Gin Boomerang 9 S - Certificate of Compliance - Measurement File (EN-D glider)
2014 - Gin Boomerang 9 M - Certificate of Compliance - Measurement File (EN-D glider)
2014 - Gin Boomerang 9 L - Certificate of Compliance - Measurement File (EN-D glider)

2015 - Triton 2  Light XS - Certificate of Compliance - Measurement file

2014 - Icepeak 8 22 - Certificate of Compliance - Measurement File
2014 - Icepeak 8 24 - Certificate of Compliance - Measurement File
2014 - Icepeak 7 Pro 23 - Certificate of Compliance - Measurement File (EN-D glider)
2014 - Icepeak 7 Pro 24 - Certificate of Compliance - Measurement File (EN-D glider)

2014 - Enzo 2 Certificate of Compliance - Measurement File (EN-D glider)
2014 - Enzo 2 M - Certificate of Compliance - Measurement File (EN-D glider)


2014 - Core 3 22 - Certificate of Compliance - Measurement File (EN-D glider)
2014 - Core 3 23 - Certificate of Compliance - Measurement File (EN-D glider)
2014 - Core 3 24 - Certificate of Compliance - Measurement File (EN-D glider)


Registration is now open for round 2 of the PG Open which will be held in Nelson, 27th Feb - 5th March 2016

You can find details, including the registration form, at www.pgopen.org.nz


An elated Nick! - screen grab from video
Nick has had several excellent days of flying, and has been leap-frogging up the rankings.

As at the end of Monday is now in ninth position, just behind Ferdy van Schelven from the Netherlands (who competed here in NZ several years ago).

Saturday:  203km of flying - greatest distance covered by any of the pilots that day!

Sunday: 366km of flying - four flights, again greatest distance covered!

Monday: 315km of flying - third greatest distance

View on Sunday - just after getting over the 3600m pass - near Zermatt  Photo: Nick Neynens

Redbull article on Nick's "Great Day" - they talk about "understated Kiwis" - however, this video of Nick, shortly after he'd gone over a 3600m pass with ten metres to spare suggests otherwise!

Camping location on Monday night.
On Monday night Nick climbed up to 2200m on the side of Le Cheval Noir.  This puts him in a good position to climb up early in the morning for a long glide down the valley, and to then climb up to another launch site later in the day when the thermals are working.

Ferdy is 21km ahead, and he is camped 650m lower down.  How much advantage will this give Nick as he attempts to catch up to Ferdy?

It will be exciting to watch events unfold from about 4pm (NZ time) on Tuesday!

More photos on the ShareMyJoys and ShareMyPains Facebook pages.

If you want to show your support for Nick, Louis and some of their wonderful supporters go to the Give A Little page, and "buy" one of the excellent offers!


Updates from Louis and Nick.

Here's an excellent little video from Nick and Louis on the first few days of the X-Alps campaign: Share my pains

Blog post: Road to recovery

Watch the X-Alps on Live Tracking: Live Tracking

Nick's view - Share My Joys Facebook page: Nick's view

Louis' view - Share My Pains Facebook page: Louis' view


It’s been a fast paced lap around the 2015 X-Alps route over the last month, with lots of flying and familiarising with the mountains, which will serve us very well for the race (X-Alps Reconnaissance).

Of course the weather is always going to be different but being able to recognize the main geographical features, having a feeling for the valley winds system and what kind of weather to expect were principal aims from my side.

I now feel I can imagine much of the route in my head which will mean I can do most of my navigation in the air without relying on instruments. The other side of the coin is that we have spent lots of time in the Jucy van, getting used to operating in race mode and bit by bit getting everything organised so we are ready to go.

Meeting at the home of our southern Germany based supporter Nils Kretschmer in early June, we headed straight down to turn point 4, under the shadow of the towering limestone cliffs of Germany’s highest mountain the Zugspitze. We weren’t quite organised yet but the weather was good and you have to capitalise – the previous month had been very wet indeed and several teams had struggled with their own route reconnaissances.

I flew every day as we made our way to beautiful Annecy in the northern French Alps. After some rain we had a brief window to fly around Briancon, one of the key points to pass amongst the intricate valley wind system of southern France.

This was arranged through our sail plane (glider) contacts and was really good value, my understanding of this area was consolidated along with previous experience flying here in past years.

With more rain I did some road walking to test the water, we will see but I hope with good management we will be fine during the race. Of course my strategy is to fly whenever possible.

Back to Germany where we made further arrangements to smoothen the operation and we delivered a talk to the local German paragliding club, a small promotion for New Zealand of course.

Finally three amazing days in the region between Zugspitze and the start, before we went to attend the obligatory briefings – and of course the weather became unbelievably epic. Still we managed to get away to fly the first part of the race and the weather will hold for the start of the race.

Yesterday's prologue was quite hot at 30 degrees but over the coming days it is forecast to reach 37! Our additional supporter Dan Meyers (an Australian expat volunteering to drive) has arrived this week and has proven his worth already with his practical knowledge and makes a great addition to the team.

We are feeling well prepared as much as it is possible to be prepared and are looking forward to the start in Salzburg this Sunday (or Monday in NZ) Watch live tracking, but remember that Austria is 10 hours behind NZ - so there may be a few late nights if you’re watching progress! And here's the online Red Bull diary.

Nick and Louis

Photo: Joshua G
Bonus video: Interview with Tom de Dorlodot

Meeting in Annecy in the lead up to Red Bull Xalps 2015 we caught up with Tom de Dorlodot. He certainly is no novice when it comes to vol biv, with the enviable career as a paragliding professional exploring all kinds of exotic locations around the world. So you can imagine that us kiwis were quite chuffed with the high praise he had for New Zealand, reminiscing of his trip before the last X-Alps with fellow competitor Ferdy van Schelven (NED). As an xalps veteran we also got some insight into his tips for newcomers - well worth a listen.


Registration for this FAI Cat-2 Paragliding Competition in Queensland, Australia is now open.
You can register by following this link:

Canungra Cup

As well as being FAI Cat-2 sanctioned, this event has also been declared a New Zealand Overseas Paragliding League Event - so your score may contribute towards your NZ national ladder score.


In 2016 there will be two rounds of the PG Open - the NZ National Paragliding Competition.

Round One will be held in Manilla, NSW, Australia, from Monday 8th February to Sunday 14th February inclusive (registration and competition meeting Sunday 7th February).

Round Two will be held in Nelson from Saturday 27th February to Saturday 5th March inclusive (registration and competition meeting Friday 26th February).

Details will be maintained, for now at least, on the PG Open website here www.pgopen.org.nz.


The 2014/15 Season of the Paragliding Cross Country Online Championship has been wrapped up and was won overall by Nick Neynens.

It was a record year for records... and you can read the full article, written by the PG XC Comp administrator, Tim Percival, here.


Almost getting arrested, snow, trees and over development.

Just some of the hazards of Vol Biv Flying in the Indian Himalaya.

Nick Neynens' latest post from India with Byran Moore and Glen Stevens.

Get the full story here.


18 April.

Weather: NNE 25kph winds. Heavy coverage of cloud with rain possible in the late afternoon. Cloud base 5500ft.

Task: Dalby Airport to Millmerran Airport 76Km to the south.

With pilots having flown over 25hrs so far, the short task to Millmerran Airport was welcomed for the last day. Dense cloud cover did not allow a lot of sun in but with the dark bases and strong tail wind it looked to be a quick run. This proved to be wrong.

The first half of the course was slow and hard to find lift. Zeros had to be made the most of until about 35km from goal when good lift was found. About 30 pilots made it to goal with Konrad making goal first in 1hr 11min. A great last day task.

Chris Lawry was the first Kiwi in, coming in 2nd followed by Conrad Loten in 4th place.

John Durand Snr took out the overall winner.

Nils Vesk in second place and Konrad Heilmann came 3rd.

Hagen was the highest scoring Kiwi coming 7th followed by John in 10th place, Chris Lawry 12th, Conrad Loten 13th.

Captain Flockhearts final log entry: Many Lessons were learnt and will hopefully be applied at the next Dalby Big Air.


17 April.

Wind: NE flow 15 -20kph, 30kph at boundary layer. 550ft/m climbs Temp 30deg.

Task: Dalby Airport to Flint, WSW 182Km.

As towing started, the skies above Dalby airport started to blue out. But with a 10km start circle which allowed pilots to find clouds around the perimeter of the airfield. A half an hour before the start the main gaggle was above the town of Dalby gaining good height. As the start neared the cloud started to dissipate and only a few pilots managed to stay high for the start.                

The course out to the second forest crossing had good lift which allowed the pilots to stay within sight of each other. Pilots who were fast on this part of the course had good climbs over the second forest but those slightly behind found weak broken thermals just before and this slowed them down and spread out the field.              

After crossing the second forest the sky had blued with only a few cumulus clouds and with high cloud moving in, things started to slow down. Good lift could be found to over 6000ft but at around 50Km from goal only light lift and slow climbs could be found and a few pilots started to land out.    
If you were lucky enough to stay up, the ground started to give off heat and good climbs could be found. 15 pilots made it to goal, with John Smith arriving first.

Landing out was tough as there was no phone reception and no one in many of the homesteads. On the way back to Dalby well after dark many roo’s made driving back treacherous. We sighted a Brahma bull just before sunset at the side of the road that must of weighed well over 1000kg. Not something you would want to run into.

John Smith had a bad start but he pushed on fast under good clouds and caught up with the leaders at the first forest . Going left of the course line at the second forest and getting in front of the group after the crossing.  Finding a  few clouds over 6000ft lift in blue and with high cloud moving in the group of three flew in zeros for half an hour preserving height until the sun came out again.

Being the first to find lift, John had the jump on them 30km out and getting to 7000ft on a good climb and being 25km out from goal, John went for goal needing a 22:1 glide. Finding sink along the way he needed to stay in zeros. 10km short until he found lift and then got a 12:1 glide and made it to goal on course line.

Captain Flockheart’s log: A search to windward should always be considered before heading off down wind.


16 April.

Weather: Blue day with 20Km easterly winds.

Task: NNE 57Km to Diamons and d then WSW 49Km to Warra.

The first blue day at Dalby and with winds a bit stronger than forecast, it made for a difficult day.

Towing started for the main launch at 11:30 and with slow climbs to 3000ft, an early start was a bonus. The thermal strength increased above 3000ft but they drifted to the west and pilots who got too far downwind, had a fight to get back upwind to the windward side of the start circle to get in the best position for a start and a cross wind leg to the first waypoint.

Those pilots in the lead gaggle at 6000ft found good thermals for the first 20Km on the way to Diamons. But progressing further on, the terrain became very green and thermals very had to find.

Unfortunately with the wind strength up to 25kph and the weak thermals around Diamons pilots going too fast paid the price and found themselves landing short of Wpt 1. One Pilot made it to goal and that was Niles Vesk, making it in a time of 3hrs 22min and putting Niles into first position overall.

Guy Williams had the best day of the Kiwi team coming 8th for the day and Hagen 10th.              

Geoff Robertson was the only other pilot to get around Wpt 1, landing 30km short of goal

Lisa’s Log: The girls flew 45km downwind to Warra planning to give all the pilots who made it to goal a warm welcome. Niles got it all.

Captains Flockhart’s Log: On a blue day Always take the climb to the Top otherwise you will end up in Deliverance country.


15 April.

Weather: Light easterly dropping off around midday and increasing late afternoon. Clouds.

Task: WNW to Warra then NE to Jandowae, ESE to Bell racecourse then back to Dalby 133Km.

With light lift above the airfield, it was a slow climb to cloud base at 5900ft.  Gaggles formed to the west of take-off but had to keep moving up-wind to stay within the 5Km start circle. Most pilots were in the air when the 12:30 start gate opened but not all made it high enough to leave.

John Smith was one of the lower pilots and lead the lower pilots to the first thermal from start. It was a good climb and even the higher pilots stopped to top up. There was a fast pace to Warra and the few pilots that got low at the turn-point had slow climbs up.

The lead gaggle had a fast line to the second turn-point but those who got low along this part of the course had slow climbs out as the cloud shadows on the ground left very little room for sun to get through. Many low saves were made on route to wpt 3. John said over breakfast the next day “That if he had got a save at wpt 3 that he would have gone to Jesus”. But when John’s feet hit the ground he accepted the inevitability of his position and realised the only way he was going to get to goal was by car.

With the high cloud moving in and the wind picking up the day started to slow down with a lot of pilots landing around Bell.  Big John went well north of the task line to Bell and this manoeuvre won him the day.

Those lucky enough to get around Wpt 3 had a 21Km run to Dalby airport with a sky that was blueing out, so those who stayed high managed to get to goal, with around 12 pilots making it in.

Conrad was the first Kiwi in with quite a few pilots dropping just short of goal.      

It was a very technical day and the cycles very different from the previous days when climbs where everywhere. Most of the young guys who had been doing well did not make goal with most of the old timers making it. Staying high seemed to be the best course for the day.                

Another great day at Dalby and it does not look like there will be a lay day as the forecast for the rest of the comp is good.

Quote of the day from Captain Flockhart log: "Survive the course filters".

Advice for the day “Pace yourself”.


14 April.

Clear blue skies with clouds building early morning. Wind light and variable filling in from the NE around 16:00 and becoming stronger up to 17kph. Clouding in from the east 6500 -7000 increasing to a 8000ft cloud base later on in the day.

Task: Dalby to Broadwater Dam 26.5km to the SW. Then north 61Km to Jandowae and return to Dalby Airport. 132 km triangle.

The start gate opened and the gaggle to the west of take-off were in the best position.

The lift around the airport was light and shifty in some places and stronger in others and those who got high quick had no problem staying high. The run down to Broadwater Dam was fast and the pilots did not thin till the run down to turn point 2. A few pilots got low along here but most managed to find good lift back to cloud base. For the lead pilots, those who stayed right of course had the quicker fly and in a good position for the run to goal.

A cloud street to the east of course allowed pilots to get a good glide towards goal only needing a slight top up on the way. Some pilots had a low save in a massive thermal which became a cloud of Sorghum as it sucked all the leaves off the ground. Other pilots got into thermals with dozens of Swifts that were feeding on the bugs in the thermal.

John Smith was on the left of course to Wpt 2 and got down to 2000ft AGL and lost 10 minutes getting back to cloud base and put him into 6th for the day. The forecast wind had not developed which allowed around 20 pilots to make it to goal, three of those are on the Kiwi Trans-Tasman Challenge team, John, Hargen and Conrad.

Kurt Warren won the day.

Lisa put in another fantastic fly in her fluro red Moyes Malibu. Taking off at 13:00 she made a slow but steady pace around the course to land at 17:00. Four hours in the air to get within 15Km of turn point 2. Asking Lisa about her day all that was said was “Awesome!” Well done Lisa.

How good is DALBY, three fantastic flying days in a row. So far this has been an Out Standing Dalby!

Trans-Tasman Challenge; The Australians are winning with 12,505 points and the Kiwi team have 8991 points.

Captain Flockhart’s quote of the day:  "if you’re not in Dalby where the hell are you."

Advice for the day: Don’t always follow the gaggle if you think their decision is wrong.


14 April.

Task: West to Kumbrilla Rd intersection then west again to Meandarra Hwy.
A quartering tail wind with a slight dog leg lay ahead.

Again clear blue skies in the morning and clouds started to form around 10:00am. Winds light ESE.
It was forecasted to overdevelop from the east.

Briefing was at 9:00am with the usual banter and a few helpful remarks on the towing for the previous day. A pilot was missing but was found late at night due to not having a radio and having lost his cell phone.

It was decided to have the start gate at 12:15 due to the overdevelopment, so there was a bit of a rush to get set up and ready. The Sport class got away first followed by the Alternate launch and then the Main launch started.

Thermals were strong around the airfield with one sitting just to the east of take-off. A gaggle had formed high above the airstrip, with a second gaggle a few km to the west, both topping out at 6800ft.

Ten minutes before the start, the pilots over the airfield joined the main gaggle to the west and when the first start gate opened over 30 pilots headed west looking like a formation of planes flying off to battle. With around 30 pilots in the air thermals were found easily and height gained quickly but the top guns pulled away from the rest and as progress was made towards Wpt 1 the gaggles started to thin out.

A few top pilots landed on the first part of the course but they were pushing hard to get out in front.

After reaching Wpt 1 you found you had 71km to goal and not far away was a 6km stretch of forest that had to be crossed. This was not a problem as cloud base had gained height up to 7800ft and an easy glide over this part of the course was not a problem, even for the kingpost gliders.

Out past the forest and flying south of Tara I encounted two wedged tail eagles that joined me as I entered the thermal at 4600ft, and stayed with me all the way up to 7200ft hanging not far off my starboard wing. I was quite nervous that they might shred my sail but this was not the case, even though one of them passed over my leading edge with its talons missing my sail by 300mm while we looked each other in the eye, no aggression was shown.

For those of us who were a little slow around the course the clouds started to thin out and look raggedy but as the farmers were ploughing their fields late in the day and thermals were still popping off,  goal was easily reached. Staying between 5000ft and 8000ft during the day meant you got cold but with every cloud working there was not much chance of getting low.

There were a lot of happy faces in goal with around 30 pilots reaching goal and among them a few king post gliders. Every member of the Kiwi Trans-Tasman Challenge team got to goal.

John had a lucky break 30km from goal when he broke away from the gaggle and found a good 700ft climb to cloud base and allowed him to go on final glide to goal. With this height he only had to top up slightly on course to goal which allowed him to win the day in 2hrs 17min and gaining 998 points.

Lisa, who has been doing a great job being the Trolley Dolly for the comp,  bringing back the dollies once the pilot has been towed up, managed a fantastic flight on her Fluro Orange Moyes Malibu.

After everyone got away she flew cross wind to near Chinchilla where she to land before she entered airspace flying crosswind 76km. Even Floaters can do it!  

With Dalby at its best for task two, can it get any better than this?

Captain Flockhart's log:

He was heard to say that with his winning pace to Wpt 1 he was leading the day and then a snail’s pace to goal followed after taking a different line to everyone else that did not pay off. Safety in numbers was the best course.


12 April

Blue skies in the morning with cumulus clouds popping off by 10am and a light S-SE wind, task 124Km triangle. Out to Jandowae then SW to Brigalow then 53Km back to Dalby.

Towing started at 11:30 after the Sports Class were towed up and those who picked low numbers for start order had up to 45 minutes to wait for the first start, but staying up was not a problem with lift around 600ft min. Even those who had weak links break were able to get away low if you were lucky enough to find a thermal on your glide back to the tow line. My weak link broke at 340ft and lots of swear words were coming out of my mouth when I heard the vario start to beep and hooking into the lift I out climbed a tug and tow and carried on up to over 6500ft.                        

The course to Wpt 1 was littered with clouds with good lift, cloud base reaching 8400ft, which made the first wpt reachable to most pilots.

John Smith was racing to wpt 1 and got low (300ft) and managed to scratch up and get back in the race.

Getting away from Wpt 1 was made difficult by the thermal drift which was to the E, with Wpt 2 in a SW direction.

Even the first couple of thermals on route to Wpt 2 were slow going as the drift took you back towards Wpt 1. Further down the course Wpt 2 came into sight but for those who got there late the heat of the day was wearing off as the clouds had thinned out and the glides between clouds increased.

Slowing up was the best plan. Under most clouds the lift was smooth with a constant climb of around 300-400ft min.

Once Wpt 2 was reached a cross head wind up to 15kph was encountered which made the run to goal slow for those who had not kept up the pace around the course to beat the day as the day softened up making final glide difficult.

Kurt Warren won the day coming in 3 hours and 2 minutes after start. 14 pilots made it to goal.

How good is Dalby with classic race conditions and a technical day for those here to win?

Results can be found on the Oz Report or for full results the Dalby club web site.

The Trans Tasman Cup is being fought for again with NZ pilots Hargen, Guy, John Smith, Conrad and Tash. Results when they come to hand.

DALBY BIG AIR 11 - 18 APRIL 2015

Tasman crossers, John Smith, Hargen, Guy Williams, Chris Lawry, Tash Lawry, Mark Alton
Expats Conrad Logan, Kath Abott, Viv Clements, Dave (Rangi) Stevens.

11 April Practice day.

Winds ESE fresh in the morning but dropping off in the afternoon with morning cloud breaking up. Fresh juice was made by Rangi at Lisa and John's Kitchen at the airfield campground.

After an unofficial practice day yesterday when the conditions were perfect from midday till 15:00 a handful of pilots had a great afternoon flying.

The airfield at Dalby turned into a campground over night with pilots turning up from Western Australia, Melbourne, Cairns, New Zealand and Brazil for the great flying at Dalby.

The comp was limited to 53 pilots and most of them took to the air when the wind dropped off to brush up on their towing skills and pick up thermals around the airstrip to 7000ft and if you did not get there on your first tow you could land and get towed up again.

Guy was busy most of the day putting a new RX sail on his RS frame and John got to fly Viv’s new Laminar which he said, “ flew better than his Combat L”, but he is aiming to win the comp after coming 2nd last year .

Winglets seemed to be in fashion on the Laminar’s and T2C’s. Will Moyes follow suit?


The New Zealand Paragliding Competition Season has finished for 2014/15 and the National Ladder is now final.

Please download the ladder from here

Congratulations to Grant Middendorf who is still top of the ladder. with Reuben Muir still in second place. Eva Keim is the highest female in eighth place.

Derek Divers has re-entered the Top Ten at the expense of Nick Taber.

Visiting pilot Hugo Robben did well at the PG Open and is the pilot on the ladder who has scored the most points, however that's just what happens when a visiting gun-pilot comes to the PG Open, so kudos really goes to Louis Tapper who scored 76 ladder points.

Joint biggest ladder climbers are Johnny Hopper and Kyla MacDonald each climbing 11 ladder places this season. However, MacDonald is quick to point out that she has scored 61 ladder points; 1 more than Hopper and has therefore, apparently, "won".

There were exactly 100 pilots on the ladder at the end of the season, 39 of which mainly fly in the North Island and 61 of which mainly fly in the South. This more or less directly matches the distribution of points. While this shows that the South Island has more competition pilots it also shows that we are equally bad.

 Before next season all pilots will have their points reduced by 10% which means that 278 is the magic number... if you've got this or more ladder points then you will survive the cut, as all pilots with less than 250 points are removed from the ladder between seasons.

Any questions, queries etc... please contact the PCC nzhgpapcc@googlegroups.com