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/

COME ON BOYS!!! MAKE US PROUD!!!

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


PG OPEN 2017 ROTORUA - THE RACE IS ALMOST OVER

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

PG OPEN 2017 ROTORUA - IT'S A TIGHT RACE!

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

NZ HANG GLIDING NATIONALS - JOB DONE!

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.

A QUICK TRIP TO THE SOUTHERN REGIONAL PG COMP

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.