GlideOmarama.com

What's New for 2009/2010!



This page will normally be updated every week during the season, so if you want to see the latest developments, this is the place to come. All photos are by Chris Rudge unless otherwise noted.

26 April 2010

Yes it is now official! The Southern Soaring business has been purchased by GlideOmarama.com, the world renowned mountain soaring and glider-pilot training operation owned and operated by Gavin Wills of Omarama. Most of the Southern Soaring staff and equipment will remain and the Southern Soaring office will be managed by Tom Shields.

The Southern Soaring brand will operate scenic glider flights for visitors while GlideOmarama.com will look after training, coaching, mountain soaring courses and visiting glider pilots.

We are all excited about the opportunities this merger will bring to the Omarama gliding scene. It will help realize Gavin's vision of a world class centre of gliding excellence operating from what is probably the world's best mountain soaring site. Bringing together the two teams will create a unique pool of highly experienced mountain soaring instructors and pilots with the largest fleet of high performance two seat Duo Discus's in the world.

Over the next few weeks the web sites of GlideOmarama.com and Southern Soaring will be rationalized to reflect the changes but in the meantime you can contact Tom Shields at Tom.Shields@soaring.co.nz for flight information or Gavin at glide@GlideOmarama.com for enquiries about courses or check out www.GlideOmarama.com . .


Tom Shields


21 April 2010

Well, it was hardly a secret! Southern Soaring has now been sold. The new owner, Gavin Wills of Glide Omarama, plans to operate Southern Soaring as the scenic flight business and to do all flight training through Glide Omarama. Most of the original Southern Soaring Team will be incorporated into the two entities, which is great news.

Southern Soaring Omarama Ltd's directors (Les and Irene Lamb, and Chris Rudge) are very happy with the sale. Les is looking forward to returning to Scotland as soon as ash from an Icelandic volcano clears from European skies enough to allow air travel to resume. Chris has made the move to run Aviation Adventures full time and is currently flying his Ag-Cat biplane out of Ashburton before returning to Omarama next summer. For those wanting to contact Chris, they can do so through the Aviation Adventures website at: www.redcat.co.nz

We wish Gavin and his team all the best and look forward to seeing Southern Soaring continue to expand and have a successful future!  

Chris Rudge


11 April 2010

The team finished the 2009/2010 season yesterday with a steady run of half hour scenic flights. The weather over the last week was frosty and clear with mild daytime temperatures and no wind - not good for soaring but great for passenger flights. Some of the staff got to see the action at Warbirds Over Wanaka at Easter.  One of the highlights over the last week was UK doctor Nick Dawe going solo and finishing his "A" Certificate under Darren Smith's instruction - an excellent result and a great way to finish the season!

A Mitsubishi Zero at the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow - one of only three airworthy examples worldwide.

Nick Wyngaarden cleaning the Pawnee as the season draws to a close.

Nick Dawe after going solo. Photo: Darren Smith

Nick Dawe on a solo flight. Photo: Darren Smith

Wave clouds create shadows on Totara Peak on Sunday evening.

27 March 2010

With the sky full of wave, we were able to do some stunning flights this week. These included "trial flights" to as high as FL175. On Friday, ex-US Navy Phantom pilot Scott Finkboner was treated to a 333 km flight to the West Coast above the Spencer Glacier just 10 km short of Franz Josef township! Flying along the front of the North-West Arch, this was a memorable flight.


Wave clouds on Friday evening


Looking along the North-West Arch and Southern Alps to Mt Cook while over the Spencer Glacier


Tunnel Vision. Scott Finkboner flying along the edge of the North West Arch at FL220 with Mt Cook to the right


Tracking south over the Huxley River on the way to the Young Range with the North West Arch on our port wingtip. Lake Pukaki can be seen to the north east.


Fifteen-year-old Kate Radley takes a break from rowing at the National Championships at Lake Ruataniwha to have a glider flight in the wave. Here, she is flying the glider at 12,000 feet on the way to FL175 above Omarama


Kevin White, a visiting glider pilot who originally flew with the Wellington Gliding Club, at FL200 on Wednesday. The outside air temperature was -25'C. Note the frost on the canopy!

21 March 2010

The number of passenger flights has now begun to drop as we near the end of the season but Don Mallinson kept Nick busy this week with over 20 tows while doing some ab initio training with Wayne Warren through the Omarama Gliding Club. This week we also had an unusual visitor - a flying dog!


An unusual visitor to Omarama - the open cockpit Spezio DAL-1 Tuholer ZK-JRZ owned by Andrew Fairfax. Note the dog in the front seat!


After a quick stopover to top up the tanks, the dog headed off to Queenstown


The dog described the aircraft as easy to fly although some of his landings were a bit "ruff".

14 March 2010

Soaring conditions have continued to be good with a mix of wave and thermal. This week Chris and Gavin flew with Takafumi Suzuki (Japan) to complete our last mountain soaring course for the season. This has been our best season yet for mountain soaring courses - up 40% on last season. With the arrival of the first snow on the tops, Irene and Mike Till headed back to the UK at the end of the week.

Fire in the sky. Evening light on a lenticular cloud.


Takafumi Suzuki over Mt Cook on Wednesday

Flying down the edge of the North-West Arch

A spectacular rainbow over Mt Benmore as seen during our weekly barbecue

Tracking south of Mt Cook at FL180

Takafumi flying from Lake Hawea to the east

7 March 2010

Another great week of excellent weather. Most of the team got to go on a few "jollies" this week. Mike Till did a flight to 25,000 feet over Mt Cook in the ASW28 and Nick and Mike did another run to Mt Cook in the Twin Astir. Rod flew his DG on one day and Chris took his vintage Rhonlerche into the St Bathan wave on Thursday.

Wave over Mt Benmore on Wednesday evening


The view from the front of the Rhonlerche down the Dunstan Mountains

Flying in the wave overhead Omarama in the Rhonlerche - more drag than Kings Cross. The minimum sink speed is 35 knots and the glide angle is 1:19 - on a good day . . .


The Hangar Queen gets an airing - the spiders were not impressed.

28 February 2010

What a huge week! This week was marked by some big flights and some very busy days. On Friday evening Mike and Gavin flew eleven passengers after 5.00 pm - a task they couldn't have done easily without the support from Nick, Rod, Les and Irene. John and June Randall (UK) joined us for the week and John completed over 20 hours of flying on his five-day mountain soaring course with wave flights on four out of five days.


On Tuesday the wind was very northerly and the only good wave was off the Main Divide. Here, Romeo Zulu is climbing up over the Huxley River before flying to Mount Cook.

John Randall approaching the summit of Mount Cook

The fly that flew to Cook! This photo is living proof that flies can travel great distances, climb to great heights and fly at extraordinary speeds. This particular example was seen flying over 400 km at altitudes of 16,000 feet and at speeds of over 200 kilometres per hour! Remarkable!


John Randall at 20,000 feet over Lake Ohau on Wednesday.

Climbing in wave over Omarama in front of cumulus clouds on Thursday afternoon before flying to Mt Cook


Looking down on the vivid blue waters of Lake Benmore after climbing up in south-west wave on Friday


As the sun set on Mount Cook on Friday evening, Mike Till and Gavin Wrigley were still flying!

Nick Wyngaarden, Southern Soaring's prime tow pilot, playing a didgeridoo at the Thursday night barbecue

21 February 2010

The highlight this week was some fantastic south-west wave on Friday which made up for two blue thermal days, one stable day and a bit of rain. Throughout the week it was a real pleasure to have Stuart MacPherson and his wife Roni flying with us. Stuart is friends with Richard Bach (of Jonathan Livingston Seagull fame) and he features in several of Bach's books, including Nothing By Chance which is about a barnstorming trip they did together. Stuart and Roni own a 1929 Travel Air E-4000 biplane and still do barnstorming.

Stuart MacPherson ("Captain Mac") climbing in a blue thermal

Looking out to Moeraki Peninsula and the Pacific Ocean on Friday afternoon

Macraes gold mine - one of the few places that gets bigger the more you take away from it!

Looking up the North Otago coastline while heading back along the waves to Omarama from Palmerston

Stuart after completing his Mountain Soaring Course. Although Stu has logged thousands of hours in vintage biplanes, he is new to gliding. He arrived at Omarama with 30 hours total time in gliders and left with another 15.

South-west wave clouds over Totara Peak on Friday evening

7 February 2010

Another stunning week of soaring! This week was our busiest yet with Tony Evans (UK) on a mountain soaring course, Sid McAuley (Timaru) doing a learn-to-fly course, Patrick Musters (UK) back to complete a "B" Certificate, and Adrian Snow on post-solo consolidation flying. We also had a number of overseas visiting pilots in addition to our normal scenic flights. These included Elin Scheffers (Netherlands), Dirk Nieudenhogt (Netherlands) and Henrick Sogaard (Denmark). Temperatures hit 30'C with a huge stationary anticyclone sitting over New Zealand and warm air coming from Australia and north of the country.


Sid McAuley, who owns a Cessna 172, went solo on Saturday after just 13 instructional flights with Gavin Wrigley. Observers commented his landing was "perfect"   Photo: Rod Dew

Tony Evans after completing nearly 20 hours of flying in five days with flights to Dansey's Pass, Cromwell, Mount Earnslaw, Mount Aspiring and Mt Cook National Park

Mt Aspiring - 100 km west of Omarama

The beautiful Matukituki River (West Branch) with Mt Aspiring at top left and Rob Roy Peak in the centre of the photo

Looking north across Mt Tyndall to Mt Aspiring from the top of the Dart Valley on Wednesday

Sir William Peak and the Dart Valley from Mt Earnslaw


Tony Evans climbing up the west side of Mt Earnslaw

Tony heading up the Hunter Range under a 10,000 ft cloudbase. Darren Smith and Gavin Wrigley took our Twin Astir (MN) and a Grob 103 (MY) up the Hunter on Thursday with two pilots from the Netherlands.


Mt Williams in Mt Cook National Park with the Landsborough River valley beyond.

Spectacular cirrus clouds on Friday

31 January 2010

Summer finally arrived this week with temperatures up to 27'C and some fantastic soaring days. We welcomed back John and Sarah Marsh (UK) this week and John did over 21 hours of flying with Chris and Mike Till over five days. Flights were carried out between the Nevis east of Queenstown, Makarora and Mount Cook. Scenic flight numbers were also up this week with the better weather.

Looking down on Makarora toward the Haast Pass

Dolphin soaring down the Hunter Range

Climbing up near the head of the Hunter River on Monday

The view south down the Nevis Valley on Tuesday

Heading up the Young Range under a 10,000 foot cloud base - the best thermals we have had so far this season.

John Marsh approaching the summit of Mt Cook at 12,000 feet on Wednesday - the first wave day in almost a month!

Summit ridge of Mount Cook

Approaching The Wall at the head of the Dobson River on Thursday with Mount Sefton at left and Mt Cook top right

Rod Dew looking for airstrips up Temple Stream - none were found!

Lake Ohau on Friday - just 20 minutes drive from Omarama

24 January 2010

The poor weather continued this week with overcast skies and low cloud bases. This didn't stop John McLeod and Chris from completing 15 hours of flying on a mountain soaring course - all done in convergence lift. On one day they flew for five hours without once being in the sun and with no ridge lift available - not easy! The frequent showers of rain have turned Omarama Airfield into a field suitable for grazing cows and the humidity has resulted in mushrooms popping up - something never seen in January before.

John McLeod flying a convergence up the east side of Lake Pukaki towards Mt Cook on Monday.

Green grass and grey skies! The airfield has never been greener in January. Although not the best for gliding, the weather has been perfect for joy-riding in our Ag-Cat.


A rare sight! With all the lakes full and rain continuing to fall, water is being spilled from Lake Pukaki at a rate never previously seen.

Some of those at the Wednesday night barbecue. Left to right: Mike Till, Ross Marfell, Trevor Mollard, Rod Dew, Gavin Wrigley, John McLeod, Roger Harris, and Mike Jarman.

Jenny and Trevor Mollard with Irene Lamb. Les is hard at work in the background cooking on the barbecue!

17 January 2010

This week was marked by unusually cold weather and easterlies coming up the Waitaki Valley. We had good soaring conditions on only one day. The highlight of the week was Adrian Snow going solo in Mike November on Friday after receiving instruction from Gavin Wrigley.

Adrian Snow being congratulated by Gavin Wrigley after he went solo on Friday.


The strong easterly wind forms a cap cloud on the Two Thumb range east of Lake Tekapo. It also produced overcast skies in the Omarama area for much of the week.

10 January 2010

The tourist season is now in full swing with many locals on holiday around the lakes. There is also a large number of overseas tourists visiting and flying with us. On the 6 January we had four two-seater gliders operating at the same time. The weather has been unseasonable with cold winds from the south-west on many days but conditions have been excellent for wave flights. On some 30-minute flights we have got up as high as 11,000 feet in wave directly overhead the airfield.

Tara Rudge at 20,000 feet over Mt Cook on 2 January. Outside air temperature was -20'C. Photo: Tara Rudge


Heading south from Mount Cook National Park. Photo: Tara Rudge


Mark King flew his Diamond aircraft all the way from Australia to spend a bit of time in Southern Soaring's ASW28, of which he has a half share.


Adam Derschewitz, an American pilot who has flown with the Auckland Gliding Club, got to fly to Mt Cook on 4 January before returning to the States. The Tasman River can be seen below. It was Adam's first flight in wave.


Interesting high altitude clouds over Lake Tekapo.


Nick Wyngaarden arrives at Pukaki Airfield in the Pawnee to retrieve the ASW28 after Mark King landed out returning from a flight over Mount Cook.

27 December 2009

In the run up to Christmas, we were very busy with visiting glider pilots. Mike Slade completed a mountain soaring course and Francis Parkinson (UK) managed to get his "dream flight" with a trip up to Mount Cook on Christmas Eve. Adrian Snow has continued with his training to solo. Irene joined the team again on Christmas Day after a long flight from Scotland.


Some of the Southern Soaring Team at a pre-Christmas company dinner. Left to right: Mike Till, Darren Smith, Mike Jarman, Gavin Wrigley, Les Lamb, and Nick Wyngaarden.

Wave over Totara Peak on 19 December 2009


Looking down into the Hooker Valley on Christmas Eve after flying to Mount Cook with Francis Parkinson.

Nick Wyngaarden with lenticulars downwind.


Mike Slade on a flight in south-west wave to the Kakanui Mountains, Lake Hawea and the Ben Ohaus.

A popular option for visitors is to fly in our sister company's Ag-Cat during the morning before conditions become soarable. Here Sally Fodie and friend are about to go on a 20 minute flight to Benmore Dam and back.

13 December 2009

Despite another week of changeable weather, Herman Oberli and Barry Pridgeon both completed 15 hours of flying each on their Cross Country and Mountain Soaring Courses. Thanks to the Canterbury Gliding Club, Herman and Mike Till were able to fly the club's Janus for the week, which we picked up from Hororata on Monday morning and delivered back after midnight on Friday night! Mike Slade has been having fun flying the ASW28 and Darren and Gavin were kept busy mid-week with scenic flights and visiting glider pilots. Mike Tucker headed home for Christmas after flying his Discus for several weeks.


Looking south down the Southern Alps from Mount Cook National Park


Summit ridge of Mt Cook


Barry Pridgeon at 20,000 feet next to a spectacular lenticular. Mt Cook is in the middle of the photo.


Soaring in front of Mt Benmore with a lenticular behind


The wave stack that Barry Pridgeon and Chris flew alongside a few hours earlier on Monday.


Barry Pridgeon after completing his Mountain Soaring Course

6 December 2009

The weather was a bit more challenging this week with lower cloud bases and rain on two days but we still did a lot of flying. Bevan Buchanan (Auckland) and Herman Oberli (Switzerland) completed their mountain soaring courses. Over three days, Bevin and Chris averaged five hours flying a day to make up for the two non-soarable days. Mike Till and Herman also had some big flights. Alex Phillips and Martin Conboy returned to fly our ASW28 later in the week. Darren also used the Ag-Cat for towing on Friday after our Pawnee became unserviceable for a few hours.


Bevin Buchanan flying along a convergence that ran from the Grampian Mountains toward Lake Ohau (seen in the distance). The Tekapo River is to the left of the photo.


Cap cloud sitting on top of the Dalgety Range.


Herman Oberli and Mike Till in a time-warp!


Bevin Buchanan thermalling over Berwin prior to heading for the Ahuriri Valley.


Lake Ruataniwha. Note the different colours of the water.


The Southern Soaring line up on Friday. Gavin Wrigley is about to do a scenic flight. Behind are two Duo Discus gliders for the mountain soaring courses, then our ASW28 flown by Martin Conboy and Mike Tucker has his Discus at the rear.

29 November 2009

What a week! Big winds, big flights, big achievements and big days. Alex Phillips and Martin Conboy completed their mountain soaring courses with Chris Rudge and Mike Till. Chris and Alex did a 670 km flight averaging 140 kph and Mike and Martin flew as far north as the Godley River. Mike Till also completed his 10,000th hour of gliding! What an incredible achievement! Congratulations! Darren, Gavin, Rod and Don were kept very busy with scenic flights and flying visiting pilots who wanted to fly in the wave. With four aircraft doing back-to-back flights, Les kept things running smoothly in the office. If all that wasn't enough, we also had a tornado descend on the airfield! Check out the photos below!


Mike Till after completing his 10,000th hour in gliders!


Looking back along the Dunstan wave from near Alexandra. This wave was as good as it gets!


Alex Phillips (Lasham Gliding Club, UK) after completing a 670 km flight with Chris.


Darren Smith flying a client in the wave.


Chris, Martin Conboy, Alex Phillips and Mike after Martin and Alex finished their courses on Friday. Photo: Rod Dew


The force of the tornado on Wednesday is evident. Five trailers were damaged, one caravan written off and one car smashed.


Trailer mating. The tornado lifted the Youthglide trailer and dumped it down on Jenny Wilkinson's Cobra trailer. Fortunately Jenny's glider (QT - Cutie) was in a hangar.



Rod Dew about to tow Chris Garton back to the hangars after he landed in gale force winds on Friday.

22 November 2009

The Regional Gliding Championships were held this week and the extra gliders about generated more interest in the airfield. As a result, we had some of our busiest days. On Thursday we flew up to 9.00 pm. Nick Wyngaarden did the bulk of the towing for the Regionals and Mike Jarman managed to build a few more hours in the South Canterbury Piper Cub. Throughout the week Rob Sherlock flew the Duo Discus, completing his mountain soaring course and then doing a further three days of flying.


Rob Sherlock ridge soaring the Barrier Range


Flying south-east down a convergence by the Kakanui Mountains


Approaching Lake Dunstan


Cloud spilling down into the upper Mueller Glacier during a flight to Mt Cook with Rob Sherlock on Friday


Late evening flight with Chris White in the wave on Thursday. Lake Pukaki in the distance.


Rob Sherlock at 20,000 feet on Friday evening.

15 November 2009

Things were much busier on the airfield this week with many visiting glider pilots taking part in Jerry O'Neill's cross country course. This resulted in Nick and Mike Jarman doing a lot more tows in our Pawnee. At the start of the week, Italian pilot Diego Caielli flew with Chris on a shortened mountain soaring course. Mike Till arrived back from the UK on Thursday and on Friday Luc Lebeau (Belgium) joined us for a learn-to-fly course which is being run by Gavin.


Stunning lenticular clouds in the lee of the Pisa Range on Thursday evening.


Diego Caielli east of Twizel during a 411 km flight where the average speed was 107 kilometres per hour.


Diego Caielli heading for a wave cloud over the Hawkdun Range. Cloud base was around 11,000 feet.


The wave on Tuesday was strong. As shown by the instruments, the Duo Discus is climbing at 11.1 knots while cruising at a speed of 80 knots. Altitude is 13,700 feet.


A stunning frontal roll cloud moving up the Canterbury Plains on Monday morning.

8 November 2009

As is typical in November, we had some excellent wave this week. Early in the week, Gavin and Chris took the Twin Astir up to the summit ridge of Mt Cook. On Tuesday Darren Smith did the first tow with the Ag-Cat and then, on Thursday and Friday, Australian pilot Adam Lucas got his first taste of wave flying with runs up to Mt Cook and across to Lake Hawea.


Evening light on the Two Thumb Range.


South face of Mt Cook with Tasman Glacier at right


A cap cloud forming on the summit ridge of Mt Cook.


Adam Lucas (Australia) flying toward The Neck on Friday.


Looking up the Hunter with the Dingle airstrip below.

1 November 2009

Friday saw the arrival our three-seat Grumman Ag-Cat biplane (ZK-CAT), owned by our sister company - Aviation Adventures Ltd. The aircraft will be used as a back-up towplane if required but will mainly be used for scenic flights. Earlier in the week, Melissa completed some of her "B" Certificate before heading away to Nepal. Geof Smart and Colin Chalmers also joined us from Dunedin to continue their ab-initio training. On Saturday Gavin Wrigley joined the Team after returning from the UK.


The Ag-Cat touches down at Omarama after flying from Ashburton on Friday.


Les Lamb and Darren Smith are all smiles after the delivery flight.


Melissa Eisele, Darren Smith, Rod Dew and Chris Rudge. Photo: Nick Wyngaarden


Colin Chalmers climbing up in a convergence on Friday.

25 October 2009

The exciting news this week was Melissa Eisele going solo on Saturday 24 October after completing a Learn-to-Fly Course with Darren Smith. A big congratulations from the Southern Soaring Team - a great effort! Earlier in the week we had a few good wave days. Don Pike from Palmerston North was happy to extend his half hour flight to one hour and was rewarded with a climb to 13,000 feet. Rod Dew also did a one hour flight in a local convergence prior to getting his DG glider ready for the season.


Mellissa Eisele about to touch down on her first solo flight. Photo: Darren Smith

Running north in the Ben Ohau wave on Monday.


Climbing up in front of a lenticular near Glentanner.


Above the lenticular at 20,000 feet. Temperature was -20'C and the wind was around 60 knots.


Don Pike enjoying a flight to 13,000 feet.

18 October 2009

The Great Omarama Invasion took place this week with a joint New Zealand Army and Royal New Zealand Air Force exercise using Omarama airfield as a staging point. With live firing in the adjacent mountains, it wasn't a good place to be if you were a rabbit. This week we also welcomed Melissa Eisele who is doing a Learn-to-Fly Course with us.


Looking like a scene out of Apocalypse Now, three Iroquois helicopters manoeuvre prior to a formation departure.


Armed soldiers prepare to board awaiting helicopters.


Our requests for getting some free tows were declined.

11 October 2009

The highlight this week were a couple of great thermal days with a nice flight out to the western mountains. Les Lamb joined the team again after flying out from Scotland.


Thermalling above Mt Martha at the top of Timaru Creek. Lake Hawea can be seen top right.


Darren Smith climbing in the upper Ahuriri valley.


Approaching the Ohau Skifield with Lake Ohau on the right.


Cruising along the Dingle Ridge.

4 October 2009

The weather over the last week was a bit changeable but we had a couple of good wave days. On one flight, a client was treated to a 7500 feet climb in less than 15 minutes from launch. During the week Mike Jarman got current on towing at Omarama and Rod, Mike, Darren and Nick got busy polishing trailers and getting other equipment ready for the busy season ahead.


Three Californian visitors after completing their Southern Soaring Explorer flights on Wednesday. From left to right: Rebecca Beach, Halona Binney and Barbara Healy.


An evening flight along the side of Mt Benmore.


Returning from Glentanner in the Ben Ohau wave at 12,000 ft on Thursday.


Dawn light on the Benmore Range.

27 September 2009

We had a great start to the season on 17 September with three flights. The weather was warm and sunny for the first week but then we had snow and cold easterlies after that. Adrian Snow, who is doing a learn-to-fly course with us, was lucky to have a wave flight and Roy Gjesdal, a hang glider pilot from Australia also had a wave flight up to 12,500 feet where the outside air temperature was -15'C. Joining us to assist with towing this season is Nick Wyngaarden and Mike Jarman, who completed their Pawnee ratings on 16 September. We also welcome back Darren Smith from a season flying gliders and tow planes in Canada.


Early season wave over The Buscot and Mt Benmore


Nick Wyngaarden after completing his Pawnee rating in Timaru on 16 September 2009.


Nick Wyngaarden on approach for his first landing at Omarama in Southern Soaring's Pawnee.


Roy Gjesdal climbing up in wave over Omarama prior to tracking to Lake Ohau


Omarama Airfield starting to green up after winter frosts

8 September 2009

Bookings have increased significantly for our Mountain Soaring Courses over the last month to the point where we are now 40% up on last year. For those interested in doing a course this season, we suggest booking as soon as possible to get a week that suits you.

Rod Dew arrived back from Australia last week and Chris and Rod attended the Boys Day Out event in Christchurch on Saturday to promote the products we have to offer and sell flight vouchers. On Sunday we flew the Ag-Cat out to Hororata. The Ag-Cat has been purchased for a new scenic flight operation based in Omarama but can act as a back-up tow plane if required. With two passenger seats side-by-side (pilot behind), it also allows us to provide a fun activity for partners and friends of those who are staying with us on a gliding course!


Rod Dew shows people Southern Soaring's ASW28 at the Boys Day Out Event in Christchurch on Saturday.


Mike Jarman and Rod Dew at the Boys Day Out event.


Tara Rudge and Rod Dew at Hororata Airfield - home of the Canterbury Gliding Club.


Flying over the Rakaia River on the way back to Ashburton.

19 August 2009

The good news this week is that we now have the greatest number of Mountain Soaring Course bookings for a season ever. This is an excellent result given the global recession. Thank you to all those who have booked with us! In other news, we were very pleased to see a Southern Soaring photo on the front cover of the latest issue of Sailplane & Gliding, along with John Marsh's excellent article (centre spread) titled "Land of the Long White Cloud" which describes the fun he had with us on a Mountain Soaring Course last season.


The cover of the latest Sailplane and Gliding magazine


Roger Harris completing the annual inspection on Romeo Zulu on Friday 14 August.


Looking east across the airfield on Saturday. All the grass is brown on account of the winter frosts.



Mike November on an IFR (I Follow Roads) trip to Methven via Mount Cook for some winter maintenance.

27 July 2009

Over the last three weeks Chris, Tarn and Tara had the pleasure of catching up with Les and Irene in Gairloch, Scotland. Later on, Chris was lucky to go gliding with Mike Till at Dunstable, England.  A big thanks to the London Gliding Club members for their warm welcome and hospitality!


The London Gliding Club's airfield at Dunstable.


Chris Rudge and Mike Till prior to getting airborne in an ASK21 for the longest flight of the day.


With a 30 knot wind, the thermals were a bit ragged but conditions allowed for climbs to the bottom of restricted airspace at 3500 feet.


Laying out cables from Dunstable's SIX drum winch - an impressive setup!


Looking down the spectacular Loch Maree near Gairloch


Les and Irene in their Anchorage Gallery.


The Anchorage Gallery in Gairloch.


Irene, Les, Tara and Tarn collecting stones on the eastern shores of The Minch.

23 June 2009

There have been a few new developments at Omarama over winter with the Airport Company (Terry Jones and Nigel Davies) putting in a new sign, gate and fence. The five new chalets are in the process of having exterior cladding applied.


Five RNZAF Airtrainers arrived at Omarama on the 17 June whilst on a low-level exercise.


The new chalets north of the airfield campground.


The new sign installed by the Kahu Cafe with gate beyond on the hangar access road.

8 June 2009

Malcolm Walls towed for the last time on Sunday 7th June from Timaru. A good turnout of glider pilots came to acknowledge the huge contribution Malcolm has made to New Zealand gliding.



Malcolm Walls in the cockpit of ZK-BNM on his last day of towing with over 16,000 tows behind him.


Malcolm about to get airborne in the South Canterbury Gliding Club's Piper Cub for one of his last tows.



Malcolm and Doug Hamilton chat about the days Malcolm towed for Alpine Soaring at Omarama.


Tow planes from days gone by. A Tiger Moth and Ag-Cat were present to watch Malcolm's last day of towing.

25 May 2009

Thank you to those who have booked with us recently. Many pilots are taking advantage of the excellent exchange rate and booking/paying early. In other news, Omarama had a big flood a week ago. Fortunately the only part of the airfield affected was the pump for the irrigators. Check out Terry Jones' photos below:


The view looking east down the Ahuriri River from the highway bridge north of the airfield. That is a LOT of water! Photo: Terry Jones.


The floodwaters engulf the pump (front left) that provides water for the airfield irrigators. The new hot tub complex in the distance was surrounded by water. Photo: Terry Jones

Click here to see what was new over the 2008/2009 season, which ended in April.