First Soaring Report from New Zealand

The soaring conditions are not like any I have ever seen.  For example,this morning, the wind was out of the North.  That is not a good thing when the ridges all run north/south.  I went up in the DG 1000 with an instructor to learn how to capitalize on the channeled lift that would get caught between the ridges and explore the ridge lift itself, as it arose (literaly).  We had some successs and I enjoyed the flight.  The next time the DG launched, the wind had moved around to the north/northwest and some wave developed.  Now this is not what I know as wave.  The island off the coast (about 1,500′ high) created the lift.  The wave reached a height of 2,000′.  Considering the fact that the altitude limits over the field are 2,000′, that was OK.  If one can skim the ridges at 50′ ,one can have a nice flight. Altitude restcitions over the ridge east of the field are 5,000′ and a few ridges back, 7500′.  This is not a place to do cross country based on nice altitude bands.  But it is a place to do ridge soaring.

Time to pack Bags

It’s almost time to pack my bag.  I leave here March 4 and then fly out of Auckland on March 5. That day will last an extra 18 hours or so.  Here are a few shots I made flying a PW 5 in Paraparaumu.  The lift was good, but the clouds barely cleared the hill. It was a repetitive exercise; center the lift, two minutes later – leave the lift, head to another cloud and do the same thing all over.  But the view is great. The other photo, by the most candid merchant on the South Island, is real, not a Photoshop creation. At over $6.00 a gallon, gas really does cost an arm or a leg.