Opening days of the NZ PG Open 2018 in Wanaka

The PG Open kicked off at Treble Cone on Sunday, with a 95km task. It was a stunning sight-seeing trip up the valley to take in views of the glaciers before heading back down towards Mt Roy & into the Cardrona valley, then up to Mt Maud & finishing with goal in Wanaka.

Around a third of the field made it to goal, but the task was confidently won by local darling, Louis Tapper. Or so we thought.

A number of scoring issues with track logs kept competition scorer Tim Brown busy well into the night. With those eventually clearing up, the next step was to look at airspace. The usual tolerances are not allowed in this competition, and any breach of airspace results in 0 points for the day.

It seems that a significant number of pilots may be watching barometric altitude on their instruments instead of GPS altitude, which is used for scoring. Or perhaps not using airspace alerts.

In any case, after re-scoring the task to reflect airspace infringements, 14 pilots are awarded 0 points, dramatically changing the leader board and putting James Johnston in the number one position for Task One.
Photo: Kris Erickssen
The second day of the comp we were back at Treble Cone, wary of the NW wind that was due to come in & spank us later in the day.

The task was set with start at End Peak, then up the valley towards Niger Peak, back to End Peak and over to Terras.

The valley wind came crashing in earlier and stronger than anticipated, so the task was stopped after 45 minutes. It made for some dramatic landings, with a few drags and much discussion around strong wind, descent techniques and general safety.

Louis won the task, managing to knock almost 23km off the 81km task in the short time we were racing.

Day three was forecast to be similar to the previous day (building NW), so the task committee determined our best chance for a task was at Coronet Peak. We walked up to the launch site & started to prepare. Next went something like this:

Mark: “Task briefing in five minutes!”
Pilots: Pause to watch a dust devil.
Pilots: Pause to watch another dust devil.
Mark: “Task briefing delayed indefinitely!”
Pilots: Pause to watch several more bigger dusties and vastly increasing wind.
Mark: “Task cancelled”.
Pilots: Pack up & drive to Cardrona Hotel.
Phil Hystek: Unicycle down the hill.

The forecast has us grounded for the next couple of days, so out come the mountain bikes, kites & climbing gear.

Hang gliding nationals are on now too, with some great flying. They’ve headed to Mt Murchison today & it sounds ON.

PG Open 2018 is organised by Mark Hardman (Paraventures), and includes 100 competitors from 32 different countries. It runs in Wanaka from 27 Jan to 4 Feb.

Find the scores here: PG Open 2018 Wanaka results

Louis Tapper now smashes the NZ overseas Triangle Record

The New Zealand overseas triangle record has been broken by Louis Tapper from Queenstown. Louis was been flying in Bir, India in late October. What was 104.1km held by Evan Lamberton, it now stands at 164.5km. Bir Billing has seen some pretty strong early winter flying with some unusually early snow. 
There have been numerous serious incidents and rescues this year, but for Louis a great week with some serious flying on his Ozone Enzo 3.
Louis's track is for view on XContest.
Well done Louis.

Support our Aussie mates on airspace

CASA ( the Aus equivalent of our CAA) are consulting on proposed changes to airspace that could impact severely on hang gliding and paragliding. If you have done, or are considering flying in Australia ( and let's face it who doesn't) please read the associated information and consider making a submission. There is an easy online survey that takes 10 mins to complete.

Another ‘Raging Success’ and Some!

The Southern Regional #2-2017 xc competition recently completed with about 20 pilots flying three tasks over three days in calm and sunny conditions in the spectacular Southern Alps at Wanaka. For pilots that made goal each day about 10 hrs of flying was accumulated over the competition.
By all accounts a fantastic event with challenging and high scoring tasks ably set by Louis Tapper, Grant Middendorf and Abe Laguna. Tasks 1 (60km) & Task 2 (83km) involved going deep up and into the West Matukituki Valley past Raspberry Flats, then back out across to the Buchanans, over to End Peak and beyond and back to TC. The last task (45km), which initially began under grey skies, was a challenging struggle to Mt Niger and back along the range to Mt Roy and finishing in Wanaka.
Louis Tapper took first prize over Tim Brown and Grant Middendorf. Kat west won it for the girls.

It was perhaps the highest scoring Regional task ever in New Zealand. Well done to all those that participated. Thanks to Tim Brown and Louis Tapper for organizing and conducting another ‘raging success’!