HG Worlds BBQ fundraiser

The Hang Gliding Comp Committee in association with the Auckland hang gliding club held a BBQ at Bunnings, Constellation Drive last Saturday to help raise money for our HG team going to the worlds in Brazil next month and to help promote hang gliding. 

A steady stream of sausage was sold all day and a third of the sausages sold were out gourmet sausages supplied by Naturally Organic with tomato relish or homemade Beetroot relish. People appreciated having the choice of organic beef sausages over the usual cheap ones. $414 dollars was raised and put into the teams account on Give a Little
Thanks to the Sausage Sizzling team of Mark, Aaron, Neville, Les, Stephen Steve for cooking up the sausages.
To date they have raised nearly $2000 to help them on their way to the worlds and NZ hang glider pilots have been very generous.
They leave for Brazil on the 2 August, the worlds starting on the 6th.
Good luck boys!

Worlds. Days 3, 4 and 5

Day 3 Task 3- stopped task.

Day 3. a 118 task was set. First heading about 35km west into virgin territory (as far as the comp was concerned) then back past launch towards Belluno to the east.
Conditions proved stable, with gliders struggling to climb when low but some good climbs were to be had above the inversion. On the way back towards launch, as a lot of the field were passing, a large cu-nim formed. Rain, hail and also a near miss lightning strike were reported on course and the task was stopped. One pilot managed to land in trees, from reports this seemed to be pilot error, turning too close to terrain and hitting sink, rather than weather or incident in flight related. Stuart, who was near the back of the field after struggling to climb headed out into the valley to land in a large field next to a service station on the main highway. The wind was 30+ kph but all of about 25 pilots landed safe. It was a big surprise to see Eva, Lukas and Mia, who had happened to be driving past and stopped to see the pilots landing!
In the end, Matt flew 52km, Louis 45km and Stuart 38km.

Day 4 Task 4 - stopped task again..

Another stable day, more stable than the last, at least down low. The task setters were more conservative setting an 80km task. While most of the field climbed up onto the back ridge, to wait for the start high, Stuart and another identical Zeno struggled in front of launch, managing to avoid most of the thermals. After an hour and a half of cursing they took the start 40 minutes after nearly everyone else. 
The first waypoint was to the south west in a small valley that we were told works amazingly well early in the day...so we were told. Being so late to the party, Stuart wasn't too displeased to pop into the valley and see 50 or 60 gliders scratching in a gaggle that ran from landing to 200m above the ground. After scratching with the survivors for 30 minutes, who had already taken the turnpoint, the valley went into shade so Stuart went on what was a final glide to the first turnpoint landing just as the task was stopped due to rain on the courseline close to launch where the handful of pilots left flying were passing.
Stuart and Louis flew about 17km and Matt 21km.

Day 5 Task 5 - 6 pilots in goal.

Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

The trend continues. We were told the day would be more unstable by our ever optimistic weather man... hard to believe after seeing the fog in the valley in the morning and the smoggy inversion. A 70km task was set. Another battle to get a climb out of launch and get onto the back ridge. Most of the field managed it and skyed out at the limit of airspace at 2800m.. others were not so fortunate, no finding a climb on the back ridge.. Stuart landed with 25 others after scratching all the way to the ground from 1700m not even getting the start. Some of those at 2800m went on glide to take the start, a long glide.. that ended with a bombout. In the end 6 pilots managed goal in the difficult conditions. Hats off to them. Louis flew 17km and Matt 20km.

Day 6 Rest Day.. There is supposed to be a storm later in the day, hopefully it arrives. At the moment it's hot, very hot. And of course stable.
Hopefully this front gives us better flying over the next days. Although it is forecast to be more of the same stability.
The team is catching up on blogs, videos and rest. Louis is putting some video together and Stuart is wondering if he needs to learn to thermal again and what he can loose to get down from 110kg, which is the maximum for his glider. Thinking about ditching his glider backpack as Louis has done. A good incentive not to bomb out far from a road..

to be continued..

Worlds - Day 2 Task 2

The weather has improved here so we stayed at Feltre for task two.
The task was to fly down the ridge to Belluno, taking a turnpoint in the flats then across the valley, back to the ridge, back past launch to take the last point before end of speed on the north side of the range to the south. A technical task to say the least. Base was again around 1500m an the waiting for the start was a bit like driving in a southern italian city.. hectic for those not so used to it. The start saw the leaders flying full bar down the ridge, some getting too low in the shade and bombing out but most having no issues. Around the second turnpoint the gliders split into groups taking the ridge and those opting for the more direct route in the plains. The plains choice proved problamatic for Stuart who eventually bombed out with 2/3 of his gaggle, the others eventually making goal. Louis persevered on the ridge but also eventually bombed while the hero of the day, Matt made goal about 30mins after the winner, reigning world champion Honarin Hamard, taking 70th place. 

Results on airtribune.

World Champs Day One.

After an amazing opening ceremony (more on that in a later post when we get the video up) and a practice task today the competition officially started. 
As the forecast was for very low bases and risk of thunderstorms here in Feltre we were bused over to Bassano for the task. Bassano is just south of here on the other side of the southern ridge of the Feltre valley and given that it is open to the plains it affords more safety in case of rain or thunderstorms. 
The day looked like it was going to be scratchy with high cloud cover and not much sun but true to the weatherman's word the cloud cover burnt off and conditions improved. 
A 78km task was set with the start at 13.15. By 12.30 there were 150 pilots milling around at cloudbase trying to stay high and avoid going in the cloud. 
The task was essentially up and down the ridge, first east then west then back east but with turn-points in the flats, to make it a bit tricky and also give options if the weather was to deteriorate. In the end the weather held on for the task. Louis was the only Kiwi in goal coming in at 113th (provisional) while Matt and Stu landed near the last turn-point. 
Lets just say that we are glad that the comp is 25% FTV, which essentially means we get to discard one task in 4.

Canungra Cup 2017

The Canungra Cup 2017 is being held 21 - 28 October.

As of 21 June 11 Kiwis have registered for the competition - so the event will be part of the NZ League.

There is a maximum of 85 pilots, and already 77 people have registered and 18 already paid.

I suspect that it will fill up fast once registrations open beyond the top 50 Australian pilots on 4 July - so pay sooner rather than later IMHO.  The email address to use for PayPal is: djgibbs67@gmail.com

Andy and I have booked into The Odd Gecko (formerly known as Baggs B&B) - they are matching the prices of the Canungra Hotel (A$90 per room per night), and it's a lot more pleasant!  Call Andrew or Wendy on +61 (0)7 5543 4434 to get the 45% pilot discount!


Photo: 105km task in 2016

These are our boys...!

These fine gentlemen are the New Zealand Paragliding Team for the 2017 World Paragliding Championships in Italy.

Let's see who they are, in no particular order...

Name: Matt Senior
Age: 40
Lives: Seattle and Pranburi, Thailand
Best NZ Flying Memory: climbing to base with Jeff Ripley and a Sailplane before gliding to goal on a gorgeous peninsular at last years Auckland Regional Comp
How he qualified:  I qualified for the world championships by travelling the world competing in PWC events and other high level competitions. This will be my 3rd World Champs and am super excited to have Louis and Stuart join me this year.
Aspirations: I would like to score 900+ everyday and finish in the top 20 

Name: Stuart Mackintosh
Age: 38
Lives: Near Turin, in Northwest Italy
Best NZ Flying Memory:  I think the first little thermal flights on the port hills. Especially crossing Lyttelton harbour. Totally unexpected. I think flying where you grew up is something really special. Seeing the places you know so well from another perspective. It's something I miss being over here.
How he qualified: Getting qualified had been a goal of mine for the last couple of years. I had a big set back with an accident 2 years ago. My first comp back after the accident was in the Kiwi open in Manila. All I wanted to do was take it easy and get to goal. The strategy paid off. This didn't qualify me but was a good start. I had 2 other comps in Italy that didn't go so well. Then at the end of the season I went to the 3 pizzi trophy in central Italy. The day before the comp the region was rocked by a devastating earthquake and although we were 80km from the devastation our NOTAM was cancelled while the authorities decided what airspace was needed for quake relief. As a result the comp was in doubt. After the first day being cancelled our amazing organisers managed to secure a reduced airspace for the comp and we went ahead with the philosophy that it was better to continue as normal and inject some tourism euros into the area. A philosophy I fully support having lived through the chch quakes and seen the flow on effects of declining tourism as a result. This ended up being a great comp for me. The conditions turned out great for me flying a sport wing, it was very much about tactics and smart decision making rather than racing full bar on a comp wing. I placed 14th which gave me enough points to qualify outright for the worlds with only that comp. Also, combined with the other comps I did, I made the top 500 in WRPS which is the other avenue for qualification. As far as selection goes, when I initially set out to qualify, I didn't think it would be an issue. NZ had had only one pilot qualify for the worlds for the past two worlds (since they created the qualification rule). Contrary to my expectations NZ had 5 pilots qualify. I was at a disadvantage not being on the NZ ladder but I was given merit for flying in Manila. In the end I have to thank Reuben who decided not to come, otherwise I wouldn't have made the cut.
Aspirations: First of all fly safe and have fun. Secondly I'd love to finish in the top 100. There are 150 pilots. I think it could be tough.

Name: Louis Tapper
Age: 12
Lives: Queenstown, for 5 months of the year
Best NZ Flying Memory: Big XC flights in the South Island have to rank high on my list. I can't call one out in particular as they are all good on the right day.
How he qualified: I spent a month this summer in Australia doing back to back competitions, which gave me the points to make the first cut (top 500 in the world).
I am also the only local NZ to qualify though the traditional means, placing #1 on the National Ladder.
Aspirations: I thought it would be another 2 years before I was ready for the opportunity to compete in the worlds, so it was not initially on the radar for me. Really learning is the key for me and failing that, doing anything that impress Johnny Hopper would be good ;-) 

2018 PG Open - Wanaka

The PCC is proud to announce the location and dates of next season's PG Open - the NZ National Paragliding Championships.

There will be only one round of the PG Open in the coming season.

Location: Wanaka and surrounding areas
Dates: Sunday 28th Jan - Sunday 4th February inclusive
Organiser: Mark Hardman
FAI Cat 2 status pending

Registration and further information will be on airtribune.com/newzealand

We will post again when registration is open

The PCC would like to thank Mark who, once again, is taking time out of his busy schedule to ensure that our national competition scene stays alive.

NZ Team selected for Paragliding World Championship

The New Zealand Paragliding Team has been selected for the upcoming World Championships in Monte Avena, Italy.

The comp is over two weeks, from the 1st to the 15th of July 2017

Our team is:
* Louis Tapper
* Matty Senior
* Stuart Mackintosh

They are all flying Ozone Zeno gliders.

You can find info on the comp, including the Live Tracking, here: airtribune.com/worlds2017/


Win an XC Magazine Subscription by logging a flight on XContest

MacPara NZ are kindly sponsoring a prize, once again, this season, to be randomly awarded to any pilot who puts at least one (valid) flight on the New Zealand XContest.

See here for more information.

The draw will take place on the 31st of March 2018

xcontest.org/newzealand is NOW LIVE :)

Image result for xcontest logo
The PCC is proud to announce that xcontest.org/newzealand is now live as the platform for the New Zealand Cross Country Paragliding Championship.

Please head straight over there to check it out, and to log your flights during the coming season - it's all ready for you.

Thanks to MacPara NZ, the PCC did a random draw from all pilots who logged flights during the Beta-test phase, and the prize of a Spot Tracker was awarded to Jenna Hughes-Games.

Krushevo PG Open - an NZ overseas league

The Krushevo Open and Slovak National Paragliding Championship has been declared a NZ Overseas League - the results of which will count towards our National Ladder.

So far, five Kiwi pilots are confirmed and two are on the waiting list. Assuming that we have at least six pilots confirmed then this will be an overseas league, so sign up if you want to come.

National Paragliding Ladder Updated, since Rotorua PG Open 2017

The National Paragliding Ladder has been updated to reflect the results of the recent PG Open in Rotorua.

Congratulations to Louis Tapper who is now in top place.

National Champion, Grant Middendorf, has risen to second place, and Women's National Champion, Kinga Masztalerz has climbed to 27th.

Several overseas pilots have made it onto our ladder, some of them quite high up. If they do not renew their licenses then they will be removed, three months after their licenses expire.

The PCC thinks that there is much that can be done to improve the ladder calculations, as they currently put a lot of weighting on the most recent result (e.g. doing very well in the last task of the PGOpen will have a very dramatic result). We are considering many options for change in this area, including FTV, and including scoring the ladder based on comp position rather than individual tasks. Constructive and thought-out argumentation on this matter is welcome for consideration.

Meanwhile - good on ya, Louis. Unless there is a very short-notice regional comp then this is the final ladder state of the 2016/17 season.

You can download the whole ladder here


After Tuesday afternoon’s thundershowers, we woke to drizzle on Wednesday morning. I started making alternative plans, but the Task Committee committed. We were heading to the Paeroas for an expected late start.

It was an obvious late start, by the time we arrived & sat on launch three clouds deep. But as the old saying goes, the Paeroas is ALWAYS on. The cloud lifted, and the task was set with a bit of a ridge run, then popping over down to Broadlands and back up to the SH5 / Settlers Rd intersection.

There were some disappointing bombouts, but the day got better & better. Those who got away were rewarded with long smooth flights in a blue sky with plenty of fluffy clouds. Russell Read was first in goal by a massive 14 minutes. Well done, boy, that’s some speed!

The following day we were lucky with a perfect Kaimais forecast. Actually it looked like it might be on the strong side, but hey, strong is normal for the Kaimais.

In any case, it turned into a perfect Kaimais day. The task was an out & return up to W06 Tangitu Ridge, then back down to the SH29 / Tauranga Rd intersection for End of Speed and (1km further) Goal.

Pilots were choosing between following the ridge or pushing out to the flats – both working well, but a fair bit windier up the back, making it tough to push at times. There were a couple of landings in the forestry blocks along the range, which made for awkward & uncomfortable walkouts.

Louis Tapper was first in goal, and made a killing on lead-out points. He was (not-so) closely followed by another 50 pilots(!) into goal.

The farmer was more than a little surprised to see so many wings dropping out of the sky into his paddock. So were we, to be fair. Goal Cherries were popping all over the place.

Sadly some arrived too low or forgot that Goal was another 1km past the End of Speed section. Only a rookie would make a mistake like that, right? …Right?

Watch (or re-watch!) our live tracking daily on Airtribune: https://airtribune.com/newzealand/blog


Last Saturday, 80 pilots kicked off the PG Open in Rotorua with great representation across the country & in fact across the world.

The morning of Task 1, we left a bluebird day in Rotorua and headed to the Paeroas. Halfway through the drive we hit cloudbase (or maybe cloudbase hit us?). Just a minor cause for concern. It was no problem though, because when we got to launch, we were above the clouds. No problem, right? In this case it was alright. The cloud lifted, but not very high, with base about 4500 feet.
Sea of Cloud
Photo: Rhys Akers

It was an interesting task, with a component I’ve never seen before – 2 waypoints along the ridge BEFORE the start of speed, which was an Entry around 24km from W63 Goudies.

A challenging day, mostly due to the big blue hole over the back of the range through a good part of the course line. Wayne Rohrs isn’t afraid of blue holes, flying straight through it and somehow finding lift to make him first to goal at W66 White Road. He was joined by a handful of other pilots, with lots more coming in just short.

Rob Boyle ran a Pilot Auction that night, somehow convincing a bunch of paragliders to open their wallets as he sold off pilots. If the pilot you buy wins a podium spot in the championship, you win big.

Matts Eliasson, a highly ranked Swedish-Australian pilot, was the most highly sought, going for $300. Middy was also hotly contended, going for $220 (and in the words of Helen Jeffery each time she upped her bid, “….well it’s Middy!”). There were a couple of bargains going, and it’s still early days, so at least one lucky bidder is going to be happy. I hope it’s me.

With pilots sold off, there was a little more pressure to perform on Monday, Task 2. The forecast was for big OD & rain on the course line in the afternoon, making the Task & Safety Committees edgy, nevermind the rest of the pilots.

The wise ones launched early to get to cloudbase & try to stay there until the Start of Speed, in what was going to be an elapsed time race. About half the field scratched along the face, mostly below launch height, before largely bombed out along the front of the ridge. The rain that was forecast did not eventuate, and in fact the day got better & better, especially as pilots got further south towards goal at W71, Forest Lookout.

The exciting bits were reported climbs over Ohaaki of 8m/s, and a four engine turboprop jet (C17? C130 maybe?) flying at about 300 feet within 100m of a pilot. Richard needs new undies, if anyone can spare a pair.

It was an unusual day from a results perspective, with a lot of pilots in goal, HEAPS in the bomby, and not many in between. Simon Houston, the Irish Australian import, won the day.

Hey, I wonder who bought him at the auction…?

Tuesday was a tough call, with a lot of cloud cover and more OD forecast. After a good look at the sky, the radar, the forecast, the task committee canned the day, and we decided to go for a Spot Landing competition.

A few people bulls-eyed it, but Hamish was reported to be the most graceful, whatever that means.

Watch our live tracking daily on Airtribune: https://airtribune.com/newzealand/blog


The Hang Gliders had a successful competition, pulling out four tasks during the week.

John Smith won overall (that’s the third year running!), with Shane McKay & Hagen Bruggemann tied for second.

Hagen suffered some equipment damage after a dud launch (sounds like he deserved some gravy for that one). But the Nationals are the Nationals, and Hagen wasn’t going to let lack of equipment stop him from competing. He surprised everyone (himself included?) with the quickest ever purchase of a new HG. A few hours’ drive in the evening, and he was back with a new glider. It was worth it – the first day flying it, he won the task.

Congratulations, guys, good flying all around.


Louis must have finished his Christmas shopping early, because about mid-December he had some spare time, decided there was a gap to be filled in the holiday calendar, and a Southern Regional comp was just the thing to fill it. 

It kicked off with a barbie at Tim & Chrissy Brown’s place and a plan to meet at the Kai the next morning to attempt a task, even though it looked marginal.

At this stage, I was still in Auckland trying to decide whether the weather looked better on the North or South Island. The words of an old paragliding sage were ringing through my head “Wanaka… beautiful glaciers, drinkable rivers, and easy hitching back to waterfront cafes. Oh, and there's nice people to talk to”. Also Metvuw promised a few days with light winds down south, so we booked, but planned to miss the first task.

It turns out that ‘marginal’ day was actually a banger, with a successful task from Treble Cone to Arrowtown. It was a good challenge for everyone to get to know their instruments, with Pub Corner as a waypoint four times – Launch, Start, Exit cylinder at 8km, then entry at 400m, and another waypoint at Bryan’s Knob, for a total task distance of 61.1km.

Two pilots made goal – Middy, followed by Michal Karnik, with a handful of others just short. It was reported to be quite an active day in the sky, with full attention required to keep your wing open.

David Cleary in wonky air. But he got the shot!
Lead Out Points were being trialled for the first time at a competition in NZ, and in preparation for the PG Open in February. Louis was the pilot most rewarded for leading out on that first task. Perhaps he was training for Task 2…(better read on, guys, this is foreshadowing).

The forecast for the second day of the comp was like none I’ve ever seen. It promised everyone was going to go far.

We headed to TC, and the task was set around the corner to Raspberry Flat, then back past Pub Corner and over to Morven Hills – 65km. It seemed a little scratchy to start, but everyone was staying up, so time to get in the air. A waypoint was put on WK018 GLENFINANFD so there was no cutting corners. This caught out a couple of pilots who went for a shortcut through the hills, missing the waypoint. There's a lesson to learn there, lads.

The forecast that had promised everyone was going to go far didn’t help me get very far, and it didn’t account for a valley breeze that decked a load of pilots on their way back from Mt Aspiring.

However we did see four pilots in goal, lots of good flights, and an impressive performance from Mark Hardman, who came up just a few km short of goal on a tandem, flying an older wing that just wanted to get back on the ground & tuck itself up in its bag.

Now here’s the really remarkable bit – Middy was the first in goal by 48 seconds. However Louis, with all the practice from Task 1, was leading out for most of the task. It paid off – he made a killing on lead out points & won the task!
Lead-out Louis
Interesting to see the Lead Out directly impacting the task result, and it will be even more interesting to see if and how it changes the flying behaviour of our pilots – perhaps faster, more aggressive flying?

It was no surprise, though, to see Middy winning the comp overall. Nice work, Middy, you are always ready to inspire & motivate the rest of us. In fact, one pilot commented that 'the white GTO seemed to have a nice line in the air'. Yes, that white GTO always seems to have a nice line and from what I have seen, it will generally be higher, faster and further than you.

It was good to see lots of the usual faces in the comp, and the entire Timaru flying community was there (all four of them!), but what was really great was seeing so many newcomers. A lot of people commented on how welcome they felt joining their first competition, how much they enjoyed it, and learned, and pushed themselves. Regional comps are especially good for this, but competitions in general are a great way to improve & enhance your flying. 

Check out this article by Kirsten Seeto on comps, if you need any more encouragement:

As usual, Wanaka put on some stunning flying; every time I visit I’m overwhelmed by the beauty.

Thanks to the Southern Club for your hospitality – you guys have a great flying community down there, thanks for sharing your sites with us.