Newsletter 42 – September 2008

Welcome to newsletter 42 – September 2008. In this report we have the following information

  • Report on the activities and impressions of our dealer in New Zealand

This report has just arrived from our New Zealand Dealer Mr. Alan Clark

As you may know I have been somewhat busy with our investment advisory business (the one that feeds us) and so Pipistrel has been on the back burner but NOT for much longer !!

I have been getting to know the Sinus ZK-GPI and our area pretty well and so have been averaging more than an hour engine off for all my recent flights. Sometimes thermaling but over the winter more ridge soaring.

The Bluff

The Bluff on the West Coast just north of  Dargaville is a very reliable site in a SW wind of 12 knots or more and it is beautiful. A wild and remote coast with beautiful beaches and blue sea it only takes 20 minutes to fly there from Kerikeri, usually with a 15-20 kts headwind, so the good +100kt cruise speed of the Sinus helps!.

As an added bonus when ready for a change I descend off the Bluff from around 2000ft and down the sand hills at 300 to 400 ft for 20 kms or so (Bayleys beach). Lots of seagulls and a few ducks but not a problem soaring at 50Kts. However last week the wind was 20kts plus and strong lift so I decided to convert lift to speed and zoomed along at 80 kts… oops new  problem, seagulls and ducks don’t react as quickly to avoid a glider doing 80 kts.

Great fun all round though, a few tricks to remember, the engine gets very cold at any kind of altitude and always needs  full choke to restart with the oil temp gets down to 5 Degrees after an hour with the engine off and takes a good 10 mins to get up to operating temp of 50 Deg.

Simple enough though, start up and fly at a very low power setting to maintain level flight at 50 kts, she only needs 2800 RPM to do so (a fast idle). Fuel consumption is miserly, at less than 10 liters for a good day out!

The 4 stroke Rotax 80 hp engine is a dream too, very smooth, quiet & economical

Ridge Soaring

We have found some other ridges that work well in other winds; Kauri Cliffs works well in a NE breeze and is a lot better than playing golf. There are a couple of good hills south of Kaitaia that work well in a NW wind too and in a SE wind there are few ridges that work and a few I still have not tried.

We rarely have a southerly but did recently and I found a small ridge that worked us up from 800 ft to 1500ft on a cool cloudy day but after 30 mins it generated a thermal and we got up to 3000 ft, you never know !

There are those who think ridge soaring is unexciting  and Piggott’s gliding “bible” says it is only useful to lead to thermals (which sometimes it does). However, I maintain that it improves your flying a lot and in an hour it is easy to do 50 turns or more, it sure tidies up your flying.  I like being current , flying is a lot more enjoyable when you are current and tuned in. Ridge soaring helps you maintain currency even if less exciting than a thermal, and of course it gets you flying for free even on cold winter days.

My Wife’s  50th birthday at Pauanui

We have access to a house at Pauanui so earlier this year so we flew in for a few days for my wife’s 50th birthday. We loved the airfield in the middle of town – totally unique. The big hill about 1 km south of the town is fine for soaring at up to 2000 ft and got in over a few hours on it in a nice NE breeze. Was able too glide back engine off and land and walk 100m meters to the local café and have lunch with my wife, and then fly off again for another hour.

Pauanui is unique and the other aviators are friendly too – in most towns the wowsers try to drive us fun fliers further  and further out. A storm blew up after a few days but there is good shelter along the airstrip so GPI sat happily behind a house and trees and did not move in 50kt winds.

Trouble free

GPI has been trouble free apart from the oil pressure sensor which is a known Rotax fault. Change the oil, plugs, and filter from time to time and fly onwards. I invested in a Mr Filter fuel filter  $60 which over 50 hrs showed not even a tiny sediment in the fuel filter – well worth it – I remember my fathers T-6 International crawler tractor had written on the fuel cap “buy clean fuel & keep it clean” – pretty obvious.

The 8 hour fuel endurance means GPI has huge tanks so we never fill her up – no need to – we usually put in a 10 liter can each time we fly. She has Piper Cub type visible fuel level gauges in the wing roots which are much favoured by me over electric gauges – simple is best in aviation

PIPISTEL NZ – Our plans for the next 12 months

Now that we are not quite so busy we are planning a number of initiatives. We will run local flying days where we invite local interested pilots to come and fly. Every 2nd Friday by appointment we will try and get in 5-6 flights per day

We plan a 5 day visit to the Taupo gliding club that has a flying competition week in October. They are a great bunch at Taupo and well set up including “glidetel” accommodation and the clubhouse has better facilities imncluding bar, kitchen, library and TV.

Omarama at Xmas

Our big trip for the year is to go to Omarama for 6 weeks over December and January, we will be there doing demo flights and having fun ourselves and hope to see you there.

At Omarama we have leased some land on the airport and are going to build a chalet sometime soon. So over the next 10 years we will spend more and more time in Omarama with our chalet there.

We are trying to convince Ivo (the Pipistrel manufacturer) owner to come out to Omarama in December 2010 and bring a Taurus with him

Taurus in NZ

The first Taurus is due in NZ in February 2009 and will be based in Kaikohe – Exciting !!

The owner has just been to the factory in Slovenia and been rated on the Taurus so I am planning  to get his story and send it to you

  • 14.97 meter wingspan
  • Glide ratio 41:1
  • Rotax 503 retractable engine and propeller
  • Unique side-by-side seating – perfect for training
  • Retractable undercarriage
  • Now with more than 40 flying !

However we like our Sinus demonstrator as I like gliding and getting about NZ.

And my wife likes getting about NZ. So the Sinus with 100+ kt cruise and 40 MPG suits us very well – gliding at 30:1 is fine for us.

If you like gliding and not so keen on cruising  then the Taurus should be the better option at 41:1

Happy flying


Alan & Donna Clarke  – Pipistrel NZ

Till next time, take Care Michael Coates