Black Sands celebrates 10th anniversary
Ellie has clocked up more than 900hrs’ flight time — more than the average recreational pilot.
Marking its 10th year was the SAANZ Waikato Chapter’s Black Sands fly-in at Raglan on 7–9 November. Following closely on the Tiger Moth Club’s spring fly-in at Taumarunui, the annual gathering of homebuilt and sports aircraft helps herald the summer flying season and always throws up a few new aircraft attending their first fly-in.
New to Raglan this year were Vans RV-12 ZK-MBA, built by Mercury Bay Area School students, and Zlin Aircraft Savage ZK-ZSC, painted in a yellow Piper scheme and marked as a Savage Cub.
Bruce Cooke and his team have done a great job organising Black Sands fly-ins over the last 10 years, and congratulations are due to Bruce and all the volunteers who have helped over that time. Raglan is ideally set up for visiting aviators with the Raglan Kopua Holiday Park adjacent to the grass runway for overnighting pilots and the town with its shops and cafés within easy walking distance across a footbridge.
This year’s fly-in coincided with a large anticyclone over the country, giving particularly good weather for the whole three days and attracting a record number of 81 aircraft from as far away as Canterbury and Northland.
In fact, Raglan is a great location within easy flying distance from most locations across the North Island, as shown by aircraft attending from Wellington, Manawatu, Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay, the Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Auckland and Northland.
The tremendous variety of sport and homebuilt aircraft attending over the three days went from basic microlights such as a Bantam, a couple of Jodel D11s, a D18 and a Minicab, Europas, Murphy Rebels and a Super Rebel, a Titan Mustang, various models of Zeniths, Van’s and Tecnams, right up to Buster Persson’s impressive Glasair III.
This year’s variety was also broadened with a Tiger Moth, a Chipmunk, a Cessna Bird Dog and two motor gliders from Drury —– a Grob G 109 and a Hoffman Dimona. Examples of the Canadian Home Rotors Safari helicopter and several gyrocopters were also on display.
Apart from much aeroplane talk, Black Sands always sees a great deal of flying going on. Particularly active aircraft included Kevin Paulsen in his Van’s RV-6, Cliff McChesney in his Pulsar and Giovanni Nustrini demonstrating the new Tecnam Astore.
Black Sands features a fly-out to a landing on Gibson’s Beach if tides and conditions permit. There was some doubt this year about such landings due to the state of the beach following a period of strong westerly weather. However, conditions came right late on the Saturday afternoon and 13 aircraft flew north and landed on the black sand, the highlight of the weekend for many pilots.
Bruce Cooke said he was very pleased with Black Sands 2014, his enjoyment no doubt enhanced by being able to fly his own-design Avian Adventurer to the fly-in. He gives special thanks to the Raglan Kopua Holiday Park and also to the Waikato District Council for their help in making Black Sands fly-ins possible.
- Report by Keith Morris, photographs by Cliff McChesney.
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