Omarama soaring flight to Mt Cook, New Zealand

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.

21 Replies to “Omarama soaring flight to Mt Cook, New Zealand”

  1. Planador de Pano. Cloth Glider. says:

    Top Top!

  2. Harding Rome says:


  3. Flugschule YourFlight says:

    Check out our new Aerotow Video!!

  4. Craig Bedell says:

    Absolutely fantastic – gotta do it some day!

  5. Bryce New says:

    Fantastic flight and video Todd! What a buzz 😀

  6. Hawkeye948 says:

    the best soaring video of the year. 🙂
    I will try to refly the flight on the condor soaring simulator.

  7. Chris Gresham says:

    Gavin Wills came to Seattle and shared with us (Seattle Glider Council) soaring stories, vids, and pictures of Omarama, along with its history. Wow! What an amazing place!
    Thank you for reminding me what great soaring there is down there. Awesome vid.

  8. Marc Lohman says:

    That's a good idea Todd, to include the vitals: altitude, speed, g-force, lift, sink in a separate window, makes it more immersive-cool!

  9. AUS29568 says:

    Thanks for posting. Great views.

  10. lautoka63 says:

    As a Kiwi who's flown at Omarama, it's a special place and if you have any means of getting there to fly, sell whatever you need to (that's what others have said already).

  11. Bruno Vassel says:

    Fantastic flight!!! Thanks so much for sharing. Can't wait to get back in the cockpit. 🙂

  12. Arne Martin Güettler says:

    Brings back good memories, as I was there last season flying for two weeks! And I certainly want to go back some day.

    I have some highlights from my flights there on my channel:

  13. Howard Rockliffe says:

    I flew hang gliders in the late 70's and thermal flying XC flights, it was always my favorite type of soaring. I have had several flights since in sailplanes, with a number of XC's, but have always thought about going to the US or New Zealand for a gliding holiday. I have no interest in pursuing gliding in the UK due to the weather. I found it frustrating enough in my hang gliding days! Maybe I should check out Glide Omarama. Thanks for sharing the video Todd. Brilliant!

  14. Glenn Poole, II says:

    wow… just wow! Thanks for posting. So inspiring!

  15. Drew Withington says:

    Really interesting how the instrument readouts are displayed on the screen.

  16. Victor-Emmanuel says:

    Added to favorites 👌🏻

  17. JohnCinOz1 says:

    Brilliant! Thanks!

  18. V Grof says:

    Wonderful!!! Have soared some mainland US and Hawaii, but never like that. I would have turned down the radio until needed to enhance the huge, soaring-bird experience. Silence! But, how beautiful it all was.

  19. V Grof says:

    Didn't realize he was keeping track of another sailplane via radio until late in the flight. True flying, nevertheless.

  20. Bill P says:

    What program/plugin are you using to put the recorder data on the video?

  21. Daniel McCormack says:

    Just watched this again. This is one of the classic Omarama runs. Up the Dobson in thermals, into wave in the lee of the main divide of the Southern Alps, and onto Mt Cook. Ridge-soaring Mt Cook always puts a smile on your face, but it's only on some days that the air is dry enough to do it. Thanks for the great video Todd!

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