Omarama soaring flight to Mt Cook, New Zealand

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You want to take over? Sure. Ok, you have control. I have the airplane We’re going to have to do [a] dolphin turn
to center the thermal again. Reduce bank now to about 20 degrees. Now back to 45. Woah! Yeah, let’s go one way or the other. Nice steep, tight turn. Really good. Bumpy, but it’s good, isn’t it? Yeah, it’s good, yeah. What’s it averaging? Five or six knots. Six knots now. Since we have so much height here, we’re going
to try to do a straight glide to the Ben Ohau Range Lake Pukaki on the right So what’s your strategy here? Ok well, we’re going to arrive on the Ben
Ohau ridge just the other side of this lake. Hopefully above the top in which case we’ll
try to find a thermal. If we don’t find a thermal straight away we’ll
have the option of either carrying on straight along the ridge or else the wind is strong on the
valley floor so if we can find a piece of ridge facing northwest the wind will probably
be shooting up there and we’ll be working in ridge lift Climbing through 6 5, very rough That is cool. I expect there won’t be much lift along this
stretch of ridge. But the ridge turns around the corner soon and goes to the right… Well we’re getting close to Mt Cook National
Park This is the Dobson River. Right. There’s always the possibility that we could
hit heavy sink at any minute. And that would put us closer to the terrain
so we need to have an escape route. Right Our escape route currently is to turn left. That will take me into clear air. Right That make sense? Yep. For that reason it’s much safer to be near
a steep sided ridge than a shallow sided ridge. So when we’re crossing a spur like this. See we’re about to cross a spur? That goes left and right. It’s not safe to cross at 90 degrees to a
spur because if you hit sink you could plow straight into it Here we’re going to turn left. And this means if we hit heavy sink I can
go left and dive down the valley. And then only when we’re sure can make it
do we then turn right like this. I’m maintaining a safe glide angle to an airstrip
down near Lake Ohau. That’s all we’re doing at the moment. Wondering if it may be possible to get into
wave [lift] up here. ok We could get into wave here that would open
up some opportunities. So the wave coming off of that ridge right
there? Yeah, that’s right. First we need to get high in a thermal or something. [radio chatter] Ok this is good. I think we’re just on the edge of the wave now. Ah-ha. Bloody hell that’s a lot stronger than I expected. Wow, and it smooths out. 5 knots of wave. So then you have to go left or right then? Is that the deal? Once we’re up, yeah. But um, we’re going to try to stay in the
same place and slowly gain height. Yeah. That’s incredible how it smooths out there. Yeah. That’s one of the signs, oh, rotor. ha-ha [radio chatter] We may pull through that layer again and get kicked around a bit. Since it so so smooth and you’re so high,
you slow it down to min-sink. Yep, and, with the wind as well that means
our ground speed is very low. Ah. Right Right. The piece of wave is stationary in relation
to the ground. Right. It’s triggered by a piece of ground. Can you see the sea straight ahead? Yeah. You mind taking over a minute? Sure I got it. You have the controls. Just fly us in circles. I’m just turning on the oxygen bottles because
I forgot to do that before take off. Ok, now go straight ahead. Come out of the turn straight ahead. Slow down to 40. Good job. Ok some more gentle circles left. 20 degrees? Yeah. That will give you a pulse of oxygen every
time you breathe in. Just breathe slowly and deeply through your
nose. We’re looking for another piece of ridge that
will trigger a similar wave. Straight ahead. In the 11 o’clock, slightly left there’s a
ridge with a bit of a glacier on the side of it. Wow, what a gorgeous day. Now if get a little bit further on, we’ll
be in the lee of Mt. Septon, which is the pointy one
in the 11 o’clock. I expect we’ll be able to get a little bit
higher in the lee of Septon, since it’s a higher trigger. [radio chatter] Pretty cool. Really smooth. See a little waterfall cloud coming over Septon? Yep Down inside. We’re in the rebound where the air is going
back up. Glider Romeo Zulu, Mt Septon, 12300 [feet],
[heading] north So at this altitude do we have final glide,
for ah, [Omarama]? Yeah, we do. It’s not often we’re up here and the air is
so clear, you know? Often you can’t see the west coast because of the clouds down there. Although I’ve never seen another aircraft
on the summit ridge, apart from another glider. They’re all… They all fly lower than us. Ah I see. Now the wind isn’t actually ideal for the
face of Mt Cook to work so we’ll have to be careful. It might not even work. It’s a bit too northerly, but I reckon the nearest spur may work [Glider] Romeo Zulu Mt Cook summit, 12,700. Have you ever seen any climbers? No, I haven’t, actually, no. The [?] is so huge. Yeah. Horizontally, I mean. They’re really hard to spot. Here we are, Mt Cook. Holy moley. Wow, this north side is really rough. Yeah. Wow. Ah, I see a hut down there. That’s the Grand Plateau hut. Can you see the red hut? Yes. Grand Plateau hut. Ages since I’ve been up here. Really? Yeah, a good two months or so at least. Huh. Wow. This time we’ll find out if the ridge is really
working. Yup. Yeah, you can feel the wind is this way. Yeah, you can see we’re drifting towards the
ridge, can’t you? Mt. Cook! Wow. Holy moley. [inaudible] on the spur here. Yep. Ok, let’s go. Where’s the other glider? Underneath us. At 10,000 feet. Well, same position as we are, but lower. Ok. I don’t see him. Has he got a Flarm? Yeah.

 

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