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Youth Soaring Development Camp Omarama 2017


The best 10 days of year begun for many youth glide pilots in December with a total of 31 students travelling to Omarama from not only New Zealand but some as far Australia, Japan and England. Not only did we have students attend from across the globe, this year we welcomed our largest ever group of female pilots to the Youth Soaring Development Camp (YSDC) with a total 10 female youth attending.


It didn’t take long for the locals to make way for the young bunch as the largest YSDC kicked off. The sound of fun and excitement echoed throughout the Omarama airfield and the amazing smell of Kim Read’s cooking lingered; tents were quickly pitched, caravans were unlocked, gliders were rigged, and the crowd of grey hairs and youth gathered around the campfire.


Roger Read, head organiser and Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) for the camp alongside his lovely wife Kim, her kitchen crew, 18 instructors, 4 tow pilots, 10+ support crew and fleet of 18 gliders were ready to roll. Briefings were held, personal goals were set, students were assigned instructors and the flying begun!


Gliders spend very little time on ground with a total of 380 flights and 298 flying hours completed over duration of the camp. There was no time for sleep-ins with students eager to start the flying day. Gliders were towed to the grid, instructors and students were strapped in and gliders were soon rolling.


For many, the Youth Soaring Development Camp provided first time experiences including solo flights, cross country flights, task flights, use of oxygen, experiencing wave, high altitude, out landings and of course, flying over Aoroaki Mt Cook.

Five students including Ben Carlisle (Canterbury), Callum Fitzsimons (UK), Carmen Haybittle (Auckland), Hunter Masfen (Auckland) and Peter Brunton (AU) completed their first solo flights during the camp.


Other notable achievements include the longest flight of the camp flown by Isabelle Burr (Auckland) who completed her 5 hours in a LS4 (MT) on Mt Horrible and Sam Patterson (Omarama) who successfully completed his first unintential out landing at Dunstan Peaks.

With the introduction to task pilot presented by Brian Savage, students were quick to take advantage of the new Nano’s funded by the Pub Charity along with downloading TopHat and attempting there first task flights. Tasks were set to cater for all experience levels with the first task providing a tour of the surrounding land out strips.


In between flying or on days where mother nature didn’t want to cooperate, there was definitely no shortage of fun and activity on the airfield. The tiring tabata sessions in the terminal attracted the fit and healthy along with a few unfit outliers, thank you Toni Thompson! Students craftsmanship was put to the test with the first international dart competition hosted in the Omarama terminal. Discussions and lectures were presented on all things aviation including topics such as CAA, understanding tephigrams diagrams, reading airspace maps and other various gliding subjects.


It wasn’t long before the Camp drew to an end. The sound of yawns and groans could be heard as the traditional early wake call from the bagpipes vibrated through the walls of tents and caravans at 0700 on the final morning. At this time the sad reality of having to wait another 12 months before the next YSDC becomes apparent.


On behalf of Youth Glide New Zealand, we would like to thank everyone involved in making the 2017 Youth Soaring Development another huge success. We would like to specifically thank Roger and Kim Read for everything they do year after year organising this wonderful event many of us look forward too.


Special thanks must also go to all the instructors, tow pilots, clubs, organisations, syndicates, kitchen and support crew for giving up your time and fleet. The growing interest in Youth Glide is a testament to the hard work that many have put-in to provide great training and support to New Zealand’s youth pilots.


Youth Glide New Zealand do their best to keep costs to a minimum and provide young aviators with many opportunity’s, experiences and scholarships. We would like to thank and recognise the following sponsors, supporters and prize givers for you continued support of future aviators.

  • Air New Zealand

  • NZ Civil Aviation Authority

  • Z Energy

  • Gliding New Zealand Umbrella Trust

  • Glide Omarama, Omarama Gliding Club

  • South Canterbury Gliding Club

  • Nelson Lakes Gliding Club

  • Gliding Hawkes Bay and Waipukerau

  • TF Syndicate

  • MT Syndicate

  • Omarama Airfield Limited

  • Omarama Soaring Centre

  • Air Safaris

  • The Helicopter Line

  • Milford Sound Scenic Flights

  • Ballooning Canterbury

  • NZ Association of Women in Aviation (NZAWA)

  • Oakleys Premium Fresh Vegetables

  • Meadow Mushrooms

  • The Health Discovery Company

  • Baker Boys

  • Watties Heinz

  • TipTop Icecream

  • Avon Technical Solutions

  • Airways New Zealand

  • G Dale

  • Norbert Scarlat

  • Justin Wills

Quick stats

  • 31 Students

  • 18 Instructors

  • 4 Tow pilots

  • 10+ Kitchen/Support crew

  • 18 Gliders

  • 10 Days

  • 380 Flights

  • 298 Flying Hours

  • 5 First Solo’s

  • 10 Female youth pilots

Tim Tarbotton | Fraser McDougall

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