Gliding is an amazing sport and hobby, suitable for young and old.
Gliders are weather dependant, requiring either a strong windy day or hot sunny day. We tend to avoid raining days, or still days with no sun.
Most gliders do not have engines, so require a tow up behind a tow plane to a chosen release height. Some models do have a small built in engine that are used to launch. We also have a winch, that can launch a glider from the ground.
Gliders come in either single seat or dual seat configurations. We primarily use the dual seat gliders for training and trial flights. Our club has 3 dual seat gliders, and 3 single seat gliders.
Almost anyone can learn to fly, and we offer training courses that provide all the equipment and training you need to get started.
How do Gliders stay up?
On sunny days thermals are usually generated, and we fly from one thermal to the next. Thermals are created by the sun hitting the ground, which heats up the ground and air, and eventually that hot air rises up. As the hot air rises it tends to form invisible columns. We fly around in circles inside this column, and if it's strong enough will end up climbing higher. Each thermal is usually marked by a small fluffy cloud on top, so we fly from one cloud to the next.
If the wind is a strong westerly we can use ridge lift to fly up and down the Kaimai Ranges. If there's a strong westerly or easterly we may fly in lee waves that bounce off the Kaimais.
How far can gliders travel?
On hot, sunny thermal days we can fly hundreds of kilometres up and down the countryside, often to Auckland, Thames, Tokoroa, Te Kuiti, Taupo or further. Often members from the Taupo, Auckland and Tauranga clubs will fly to Matamata and vice versa.
How fast can gliders go?
Most gliders travel around with an airspeed between 40-60 knots (74-111 km/h), and have a maximum air speed of around 130 knots (240 km/h). Each model or make of glider has different speed limits. Note airspeed is the speed through air, as apposed to the speed across ground.
Can a glider do acrobatics?
Yes most gliders can do loops, spins, stalls and chandelles, and some can even fly inverted.
In summer we hold gliding competitions that can last up to a week. Up to 30 gliders can be flying at once and we are assigned a task, where we have to reach multiple turn-points scattered across the countryside.