There’s a first time for everything and, for many, the recent Youth Glide mini camp in Greytown provided just that. During Labour Weekend the Greytown Soaring Centre hosted 10 students and 7 instructors with 3 Gliders resulting in 53 flights, 23 hours flying and 3 days of wave! That’s right, 3 days of wave. It was the first time in months that the Wairarapa region experienced 3 consecutive days without rain – this in itself was an impressive achievement.

The mini-camp officially begun on Friday evening with all 10 students settled into the Papawai Marae ahead of what we hoped would be a great weekend with plenty of soaring and fun. We had 8 students from the Wellington Gliding Club and 2 students from Gliding Manawatu. After being welcomed onto the Marae it was a rush to the mattress room to build the most comfortable bed setup followed by fish and chips and a movie before bed.

The benefits of sleeping in a Marae with 10 other students became apparent early Saturday morning with things kicking off nice and early at 6.25am thanks to a student’s alarm waking the entire marae🙂 Breakfast was early and the gliders were promptly pulled from the hangar ready for a busy day ahead. Saturday was a big day for all with plenty of flying (26 winch launches) and everyone having flights. It was great to see youth members taking part in all areas of the Papawai operation, with most experiencing launches from within the winch, launch point control, cable car and glider retrieves.

With the two DG1000’s and Gliding Wairarapa’s K13 barely spending any time on the ground, Sunday was another busy day in the Wairarapa sky.  We completed a total of 20 launches, making good use of both the north-south vector and the new east-west vector. There were plenty of good flights with some experiencing their longest, highest and fastest flights to date. As the sun set we all gathered around the brazier, enjoyed a BBQ dinner, toasted marshmallows, and finished with a movie in the Marae.

Before we knew it, it was the final day of the camp. We managed to get 19 flights in total on Monday, many of which were wave flights. The Papawai operation had become a well oiled machine after 3 days of consistent flying. It didn’t take long before both students and instructions became exhausted and the mini camp drew to an end.

Student highlights from the camp included experiencing their longest flights yet, first time on a winch, first time in wave, first time in a K13, along with making good progress on pre solo training and soaring pilot status. Driving lessons also formed a significant aspect of the camp with many thinking it was a ‘Youth Drive Camp’ – not knowing the basics of driving a manual tow retrieve, some students struggled and others provided quality entertainment. The Papawai Marae was also a highlight for many and a first time experience for some – we are very lucky to have such a fantastic facility on our doorstep and want to thank the Papawai Marae for their support. As the camp came to an end all students left with not only a big smile but a new group of friends. A big thanks to the Greytown Soaring Centre and everyone else involved.

Tim Tarbotton