Great Plains 2021

I flew up to the Great Plains fly-in, held over Waitangi weekend in Ashburton. 

About 70 microlight and sport aircraft were at the fly-in and many more visited for a day. 

Low cloud forced me to stay below 1500ft as I crossed the Southland, but thankfully I was able to climb into clearer skies after Gore. 

After passing my son’s house at Brighton beach, I dropped into Taieri to refuel. Then I flew north up the Otago Harbour and tracked along the east coast of the South Island.

The headwind gradually increased in strength, slowing my progress. I decided to refuel at Timaru, before struggling against a 20kt ‘breeze’ to Ashburton. 

A long hangar provided some much-needed shelter from the relentless NE wind. I parked my Shadow and pitched my tent. 

There were lots of interesting people to chat with during the afternoon and a very fascinating aviation museum to explore. I attended the gala dinner in the evening, which featured an inspiring talk by a young woman from the NZ Air Force.

On Sunday morning, the NE wind was still blowing strongly. After refueling the Shadow, and watching some short take-off and spot landing competitions, I departed for Timaru. 

It was an hour quicker getting back south to Taieri. The wind was so alarming, that I had to wait for a passer-by to help me before I got out of the aircraft. Once again, I parked the Shadow behind a hangar to protect it from the wind, then headed off to Brighton with my son for the night.

Next day, there was very little wind as I took off for Otautau. 

And what do you know, I found myself pushing into a strong W wind. It was bumpy and uncomfortable for the last hour, until I descended below 500ft on approach to my home airstrip. 

Good to be home again, but I was very satisfied with my achievement.