GNZ Newsletter

June 2019

From the president

Welcome to the June GNZ newsletter.

Well winter has officially and weather wise, literally arrived. So while the thermals may no longer occupy much of the day, most clubs in NZ are still lucky enough to have access to ridges and wave. So really no need to panic or break out into a cold sweat, with the help from you local dealer /club and a bit of wind in the right direction an amazing flight is only a launch or two away.

On another positive note the shortest day of the year is only 20 days away so not long now before the days start getting longer again.

Winter of course is also an excellent time to do training flights, carry out club and glider maintenance and hatch cunning plans for the season ahead over a pint or two at the club bar.

All the best for your training, cleaning, planning and flying.

Steve Wallace

GNZ President



Maria Cramp - Winch Driver Rated


Gliding New Zealand

Annual Conference & AGM

June 8th & 9th, Wellington

How are we doing as an organisation? Come to the conference and find out. We have a packed agenda with many speakers addressing all the burning issues. You can also read my report for the year just gone in the foldable below.

Presidents Annual Report 2019

Welcome to my first annual report as President.

My first year in the role has been one of excitement and optimism. We have so many amazing and talented people contributing so many good things to the sport we all love it is hard to know where to begin. Let me start however with the three key drivers of our organization which I’m pleased to report are all ‘in the green’.

1.     Safety – by all measures it has been a good year. We have had no serious or fatal accidents. The last two years’ stats have been the best / lowest for a long time and gliding accidents per 100,000 launches has been trending down for the last four years from 41 to 25. We have however for a very long time, not been able to go three consecutive years without a fatality, so this season it is super important that we all prioritise safety in all aspects of our approach to flying. Let’s make sure we make it three in a row! It is also pleasing to note that the rate of incident reporting is on the increase. This is important because a high level of incident reporting is indicative of a high-quality safety culture and provides valuable insights from which proactive preventative action can be taken. Please everybody, keep those incident reports coming.

2.     Membership numbers – these are also most pleasing as we have seen an overall increase in numbers for the second year running. Up 4.7% for 2019 and an improvement from 2018’s 2% increase. The total percent of female flying members and those under 26 years of age is also on the increase, which bodes well for the future health of our sport. Next year’s results of course now become particularly important so we can call this a real trend and not a blip. I’m reluctant to single out individuals because so many people do so much great work, often un-noticed, but it is apparent that the work being done by the likes of Roger Read with Youth Glide, Martyn Cook with the modernization and digitization of the flight training program and Brian Sharpe as the head of the newly formed Membership Development Committee is really starting to pay dividends. They are modelling a recipe for success and the executive is committed to doing whatever we can to support these initiatives.

3.     Finance – to ensure our on-going future viability as an organization it is important that we prudently manage our finances. We have always been fortunate to have this done by some very capable people and I’m pleased to say our financial position remains healthy. This FYE just gone has shown a larger than usual surplus and while it is not the purpose or intention of an organisation such as ours to run surpluses it certainly helps off-set those years such as this one coming where significant extra expenditure will be required. Our Part 149 recertification with CAA is due this year and we will also be hoping to achieve approval for the modernization of the flight training program. This will all come at significant cost. On another note the separation of glider related fees from general membership fees has been in place for a few years now and appears to be working well. This separation allowed for the lowering of the membership fee, meaning new members who don’t own gliders (i.e. most of them) are no longer subsidizing the operational costs of private owners. This potential financial barrier to a new member or non-owner of a glider has therefore been significantly lowered thus providing greater access to our sport for a larger number of people.

To keep our organization running smoothly and our key indicators ‘in the green’ we need the right people in the right places doing the right things. Our people are our key to our success and we are fortunate to have some of the best. Succession planning is always an agenda item at executive meetings and below is a quick summary of changes in key people this year.

Executive committee. This year marks the retirement from the committee of David Jensen and I’d like to thank David for his outstanding and valued contribution. David’s knowledge and experience of governance at the board level of large organizations has been invaluable and he will be sorely missed. The executive however now looks forward to increasing our representation from our fastest growing membership categories and hopes to confirm a suitable nominee at this AGM.

Operations committee. Now led by Martyn Cook this committee is now fully staffed and functioning well with highly capable representation in all positions. Regular ‘Zoom’ meetings are resulting in a valuable flow of communication back to the club CFI’s and onwards to the general membership.

Coaching. I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Murray Wardell as National Head Coach. There is much to be done in this role to establish coaching as a fully functioning fully integrated part of the GNZ fabric. I have every confidence in Murray to make this role his own and get the communication and projects flowing.

Airworthiness. Another very pleasing appointment this year was that of Mike Strathern to the role of National Airworthiness Officer. As an engineer of the highest caliber, with an eye for detail and an unwillingness to accept anything but the required standard Mike is on a mission to ensure all glider engineering in NZ is done competently, safely and to spec.

Sailplane Racing. Rob Lyon has done a great job this year chairing this committee which for the first time in a while has been fully represented. Rob is obviously a man that likes a challenge as indications are he will be staying on for a second term. The competition seen is ever evolving and with more choices than ever before pilots are voting with their feet (or should that be wings). Competitions however still provide one of the best managed pathways into effective cross country flying so the challenge for the SRC will be ensure the pathway remains open and viable, catering not just to the needs of the advanced pilot but to those of the novice and intermediate pilot as well.

All other committees and appointed officers are functioning exceptionally well with a lot of exciting projects in the pipeline. You will get a better idea of all this from the reports that follow in the AGM & Conference booklet.

I wish you all the best for a safe and exciting year of gliding ahead.

Steve Wallace

GNZ President

The Contest Scene 

Nothing to see here. Not in NZ anyway cause it's winter.

But plenty happening in the Northern hemisphere of course.

John Coutts under the NZ flag is currently placing 6th after four days of flying in the two seat class at the Hahnweide competition in Germany.

It's worth noting that one place ahead of John at the moment is the girl power team of Katrin Senne from Germany and Clare Neglais from France. You can check out all results in the link below.

What have those youth been up to now

YGNZ member Alle Thompson

I don't care where, as long as I'm in the air. As long as I'm in the air I don't care where.

YGNZ Winch Project

We are committed to keeping young kiwis soaring and with this in mind, we are still charging ahead with our Winch Project! 

So far we have raised nearly $50,000 but we still need you help.

Head over to our website to see what we are up to, find out more about the Winch Project and find out how to donate! 

Sustainable. Affordable. Essential.

Photo of the month


Thank you to the 245 of you who participated in the competition survey

The results have given the SRC some very useful insights into what they can do to make the competition scene more attractive, especially to our newer cross country pilots.

If you want to check out the full results for yourself, you can do so at the below link.

Incident Reports

From the desk of the NOO (National Operations Officer)

So why is publishing incident reports useful?

Firstly it shows pilots that shit happens, and may prompt alertness in similar situations, secondly it shows submitters that we do see benefit in doing something other than filing reports away for (later) analysis.  Win all round. 

Incident Reports reveal where we are bumping into the edge of the safe operating envelope.  This can be due to a weakness in the training program, lack of currency, not paying enough attention, inadequate preparation . . . . or just simply drifting away from good practice.

Review of Incident Reports for Feb + March 2019

  • undercarriage damaged after heavy landing - training flight - suspect too slow on approach
  • inboard elevator hinge found delaminated from top skin of stabiliser on DI - has happened before
  • brakes unlocked on takeoff - trainee closed brakes but did not lock, P1 distracted during checks
  • aerotow launch with pax - glider veered on cross-wind takeoff - came close to fence and maize
  • insufficient power to climb from 100 hp microlight tug towing a heavy 2-seater, both landed back
  • winch launch attempted with only 40 knots of airspeed due low winch power, aborted at 650 feet
  • unsecured ballast weights found in cockpit of 2-seat glider - on 2 separate occasions

Thanks for reading

All contributions, pics, videos and opinions welcome