About Us2022-07-07T09:56:56+12:00


Youth Glide New Zealand (YGNZ) is a not-for-profit organisation who provide Under 25’s (youth) with education, tuition and training in all relevant skills necessary for gliding in New Zealand. YGNZ also act as an advocate for youth pilots in NZ.

Visit Gliding New Zealand

YGNZ attains this goal by running a Youth Soaring Development Camp (the camp) at Omarama each December since 2010. The camp caters for pre / early solo, pre Qualified Glider Pilot’s Licence (QGP – akin to a Private Pilot’s Licence) and post QGP pilots.

The YSDC is an excellent way for young glider pilots, with various flying experience, to make a tremendous improvement in their soaring and general gliding ability.

YGNZ members gain motivation and confidence from learning to fly. They become an inspiration for their peers and encourage other young people to join them in gliding. With the increasing use of social media like Facebook and Instagram, it has become easier for these young people to share their enjoyment with those close to them and the world.

  • Alex McCaw, Nick Oakley, Campbell McIver and Philip Dunlop have all flown at the Junior Australian National Gliding Championships as well as the Junior Pre World Gliding Championships.
  • Nick Oakley and Alex McCaw are attending the Junior World Gliding Championships in Narromine Australia.
  • At the 2010 YSDC aged 18, Alex achieved a 1,000km FAI Diploma cross country flight – one of only 560 people to have ever claimed such an award.
  • To add to this, countless Youth Glide Pilots have flown solo, obtained their Glider Pilot’s Licence and competed in competitions across the country and Tasman.
  • Alex Shaldbolt, Ash Hurndell, Wilson Ellery, Toby Read and Peter Shields work as Commercial Pilots flying for DHL, Air New Zealand and other commercial aviation operators.
  • Phillip Dunlop, Toni Thompson and Thomas Williams are training with the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
  • Cameron Hoare and Scott Wagstaff are working or training as aircraft engineers.

These people, to name a few, have started their aviation careers through gliding and are current youth glide pilots. Imitate them and pursue your aviation dream.

Richie McCaw

We are honoured to have Richie McCaw, ONZ, as patron of YGNZ.

He epitomises the values YGNZ recognises as key to helping young people achieve their best in life. He has a long association with aviation having grown up with aircraft operating off the family farm in the Hakataramea Valley, 50 km East of Omarama. He has been an avid supporter of YGNZ since its formation and regularly helps with fund raising and attends flying camps where he enjoys flying his own glider alongside young pilots developing their soaring skills.

Read more about Richie

Careers In Aviation

Our pathways are many and within reach of most with a passion

Organisations Description Website
Airways Train to become an air traffic controller Find out more
Air New Zealand Become an Air New Zealander Find out more
Civil Aviation Authority Join the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand Find out more
Careers NZ Find an aviation career you’ll love! Find out more
Jetstar Explore careers and experience the Jetstar life Find out more
Aviation Security Service Join the official provider of aviation security of New Zealand Find out more
New Zealand Air Force Match your passion with a career. Join the force of New Zealand Find out more
Flying New Zealand Sport and Recreational Flying at its best! Find out more

Meet Our Ambassadors

Gavin Wills - Director of Glide Omarama
“Well done! You are researching YGNZ website because you are interested in soaring.

You are about to embark on a life skill that will enhance your maturity, challenge your abilities and ensure you have a choice to carry onto an aviation endeavour or kit yourself to approach a career with confidence to give it a go.

Gliding is the best way in my opinion to understand our weather systems around the New Zealand mountainous terrain. Omarama is the best location for this and the YGNZ are the solution to expose your flying curiosity.

Go for it!”

Sue Telford - President of New Zealand Association of Women in Aviation
Roger Read - Air New Zealand 787 captain and founder of YGNZ

We are an associate member of Gliding New Zealand (GNZ), the National Sporting Organisation for gliding in New Zealand. We work closely with GNZ who generously help fund us directly and indirectly.

Visit Gliding New Zealand


Tim Austen

Started Gliding: 2008 (13 years old)
First Solo: 2009 (14 years old)
Aviation Experience:

  • Gliding: 270 hours total, Qualified Glider Pilot (2012) C-Category Instructor (2016)
  • Powered Aircraft: 65 hours total, Private Pilot Licence (2017)

YGNZ and Me:

  • “YGNZ has been crucial in pursuing my aviation dreams. I have attended every YSDC since 2010 and several Mini-Camps. I love every minute of my time with YGNZ and am passionate about ensuring it continues!”
  • Tim currently studies Law and Accounting at Otago University and usually flies out of Omarama

Timothy Tarbotton – Vice President

Tim began gliding during the 2015 Easter weekend in Omarama and hasn’t looked back since. Originally from Canterbury, Tim always had a passion for flying and after spending time in the Mckenzie Country he discovered the sport of gliding at Omarama.

After graduating from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Commerce, the Wellington Gliding Club, based at the newly invigorated Greytown Soaring Centre, has become his new club. Tim went solo during the YGNZ soaring development camp and has since clocked 30+ hours and purchased his first glider – an ASW 15 registration GT – with a fellow YGNZ member. Tim can be found at the Greytown Soaring Centre most weekends.

Roger Read – Founder

Roger has been a driving force behind the formation and growth of YGNZ having started gliding as a youth back in 1972. He has now accumulated 2000 hours gliding and over 18,000 hours power flying experience. He has nearly 40 years of instructional experience in both military and civil aircraft and has held numerous safety appointments including National Operations Officer for GNZ. He is passionate about re-generating gliding in NZ and as a keen recreational glider pilot and an enthusiastic A Category instructor, brings a wealth of experience to mentoring and coaching YGNZ pilots.

Toby Read

Toby took his first flight with his dad, Roger, at a mid-winter fly-in when he was only 3 years old..and was hooked! Move on 9 years and he joined his mate Alex McCaw when Youth Glide Canterbury was formed and started his training in earnest, soloing in a Twin Astir when he was just 12 years old.

Fast forward 10 years and he has gone on to complete his gliding instructor rating, a commercial pilot licence and tow rating and has flown extensively from both ends of the tow rope at Omarama both recreationally and as a staff pilot with Glide Omarama. He has attended many YSDCs and other YGNZ camps and fly-ins and is currently flying Beech 1900’s with Eagle Airways.

Kim Read

Kim has been actively involved with YGNZ since it started. Her role in organising and supporting the catering and accommodation at YGNZ camps is legendary. As Membership Secretary, she actively promotes gaining and retaining new members and monitors their welfare and progress as they participate in YG activities.

Campbell McIver

Started Gliding: February 2012
First Solo: 26 May 2012
About Me: I’ve been a plane enthusiast since I was born in New Plymouth 19/11/1995. I began gliding in Feburary 2012 where an aerobatic flight got me hooked. I went solo at the age of 16, 3 months later. I was a Qualified Glider Pilot aged 17 and since then have been an enthusiastic cross country pilot and Gliding Instructor. I have competed in a number of competitions in New Zealand and Australia including the Junior Pre World Gliding Championships, my best placing is 4th at the 2016 Multi-Class nationals. I have now logged 320 gliding hours. Since joining Youth Glide New Zealand I have been encouraged to reach out and push myself to become a faster and more competent pilot. It is a fantastic organisation and one with a great future!

Enya McPherson

Started Gliding: June 2010
First Solo: 12 November 2011
About Me: My gliding club is Aviation Sports Club at RNZAF Base Whenuapai, Auckland. I have been involved with YG for a while now and am very passionate about the whole organisation. I was at the 2012 YSDC and it was an incredible experience for me with taking my longest flight from 1 hour – 4 hours! I was also at the North Island YSDC and Abbey Delore and I set a NZ Womens speed record for 100km, our average speed was 131.99km/h which was last set in 1983 by Rosemary Gatland. Another incredible moment for us and Youth Glide. Youth Glide not only provides some incredible experiences and memories but the people involved are passionate, enthusiastic and genuine people. All of us who have been solo could not have done it without the help, support and enthusiasm from our friends, families, instructors, tow pilots and wing runners! It is a great organisation to be apart of and I encourage all youth interested in flying or wanting to have some incredible new experiences to join! As Leonardo Da Vinci said; For once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.

Alex McCaw – Worlds Youngest 1000km Glider Pilot!

Started Gliding: 2005
First Solo: January 2006
About Me: I have always been interested in flying. Coming from a flying family I would constantly see my parents, uncles, cousins and grandparents take to the skies and would always hear them talk about flying. This sparked a huge interest for me and I began to learn to fly gliders when I was 14. I went solo in January 2006 in Omarama. After this I moved through my training with Youth Glide Canterbury (YGC) and the Canterbury gliding club. My passion for flying acted as motivation for me to learn cross county soaring. This motivation and the support from YGC allowed me to complete my 1000km when I was 18. I have gone on to represent NZ at several international competitions including the Junior World Gliding Champs in Australia in 2015. This year, I am heading to Lithuania to compete in the World Club Class Championships flying a Standard Cirrus.

Jordan Kerr

Started Gliding: March 2007
Hours Logged: 200+
About Me:I grew up around gliding as my father was chief tow pilot for Taupo and Gliding instructor for Bridge Pa. In the school holidays you would find Dad and I at Taupo and every weekend at Bridge Pa. My first glider flight was when Mum was 8 months pregnant with me (Dad took her up) I believe from then on I was hooked!! In 2001 we moved from Napier to Upper Hutt and in 2003 I joined up with my local ATC unit. I had a few flights with ATC but wasn’t getting enough!! So I joined Gliding Hutt Valley in 2007 and started my training. Tony Van Dyk got me onto Youth Glide in 2011 where I attended my first camp and completed my QGP. I served as President of YGNZ for two years and being a part of Youth Glide has been an awesome experience that I’m proud to have contributed to.

Uma Tuffnell

Started Gliding: 2015
About Me: Uma started gliding in March 2015 at the Auckland Gliding Club in Drury. She soloed later that year in a Twin Astir on the Youth Glide Development Camp in Omarama on a particularly cold morning. She is currently working through her B certificate.
When not gliding, Uma studies full time at Auckland University, and does lots of other things!

Philip Dunlop

Started Gliding: April 2011
First Solo: 20 April 2011
About Me: I started gliding through the Air Training Corps at their annual National Gliding Course where I went solo. I joined the Auckland Gliding Club and have been gliding most weekends since! I have been to the 2012 Youth Soaring Development Camp in Omarama and the inaugural Matamata Youth Soaring Development Camp. I have recently competed in the Junior Australian Nationals and the Junior Pre World Gliding Championships.

Cody Calder

Started Gliding:December 2013
About Me:In January 2008 I carried out a trial flight with Ardmore Flying School and was immediately hooked to the sport of aviation. Shortly after, I started learning fly in a 1957 Piper Cub and completed my first solo in October 2008. Later in 2009 I passed my Private Pilots Licence (PPL) and in 2011 I brought shares in a 1952 DHC-1 De Havilland Chipmunk based at Warbirds, Ardmore.
Since I started flying I have built up over 250 hours and have been involved in a number of activities including flying around the South Island of NZ, beach and strip flying, basic aerobatics, and in December 2013 I completed my glider tow rating and Piper Pawnee rating at Piako Gliding Club. Since obtaining my tow rating I have grown an interest in the sport of gliding and am now looking to build more gliding time to gain experience as to what it’s like to be on the other end of the tow-rope. I was recently the first pilot to achieve their Commercial Pilot’s Licence at Southern Wings, a flight school that has since set up a school at Ardmore. I am now working as a Pilot at Taupo Skydiving.

Emma Brooks

Started Gliding: November 2008
First Solo: 25 February 2013
About Me: I started gliding through the Air Training Corps a number of years ago where I did a couple of introductory flights with my unit. In April 2011 I attended the annual National Gliding Course but only recently returned to gliding in January 2013 with Tauranga Gliding Club. My original intention was only to go solo but the more flights I did, the more I wanted to carry on! I have now completed my pre-solo training and am now working towards getting QGP. I’m also aiming to go on the some of the upcoming Youth Glide camps and the annual cross country course.

Ray Burns – Treasurer

About Me: Ray has been flying since 1991 and the holder of a Silver-C. He bought is much loved vintage Ka6CR in 1995 and flies it whenever he can.
Ray is a B-Cat instructor and the CFI of the RNZAF Base Auckland Gliding Club.
Ray is the Treasurer of the club and has held many positions in club administration in his many years of involvement with Gliding in New Zealand.

Laetitia Telford

About Me: At 17 I started gliding in December 2015 when I attending the Youth Glide Camp in Omarama, prior to the camp I had been flying Cessna 172s, usually in the mountains around my home town Wanaka with my mum Sue Telford, who sparked my interest in aviation. I decided to give gliding a go because it seemed like a fun and practical way to learn to fly. I am currently pre solo working my way through my A Certificate, a highlight so far has been gliding at 18,400ft over Mt. Cook.

Alexandra Thompson

About Me: I have being flying since the 11th of January when my grandparents gifted me with a trial flight at the Hawkes Bay and Waipukurau Gliding Club, and went solo on the 1st of Novemeber, 2015 at the age of 13 in a Grob-103 called GMX. I have done over 40 hours so far and I am currently towards my QGP. I am aiming to go to the YGNZ camp in Omaraama this year.

Anoki Jacksch

About Me: My name is Anoki Jacksch, and I started flying gliders at the age of 15 in 2013. Two months later I flew solo and in December 2015 I received my Qualified Glider Pilot Certificate along with my Silver Badge and Diamond height gain. I have always been interested in aviation and I absolutely love this sport. My home base is the Canterbury Gliding Club. My hobbies are rock climbing, playing football and gliding, with gliding being the greatest of them.

Sam Tullett

About Me: I was lucky enough to be introduced to gliding at a very young age, by my father who is also a glider pilot. I became a member of the Taranaki Gliding Club at the age of 14 and first went solo nearly a year later in Matamata. I attended the YGNZ soaring development camp in 2015 and completed my QGP soon after. I am now studying a Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Canterbury, and seize every opportunity I can to go flying!

Nolan Cockburn

About Me: I’ve been flying since December 2014, after my parents organised a membership for my local gliding club and 3 introductory flights. After my first flight I knew I wanted to carry on with this great sport. I went solo on the 12th of December in 2015 at age 14, during the youth soaring development camp in Omarama. I am now working towards gaining my B-cert and QGP and I hope to get my QGP mid to late 2017.

Nick Moore

About Me: My name is Nick Moore and I am currently sitting on 40 hours gliding experience. During last year’s YGDC I completed my A Syllabus, finishing with a long awaited solo flight. I have been a #AvGeek all my life and as such have always had a keen interest in flight, both powered and the more refined sport of gliding. Particular highlights for me have been gliding at 18,000 feet directly over Mt Cook, flying in wave for the first time, and of course getting doused in cold water following my first solo. Overall, YGNZ has given me the opportunity to stretch social expectations of a normal summer’s activities, and experience a truly unique and wonderful aspect of human ingenuity, expressed as a close interaction with the thrills of nature.