Duders site news

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HG pilots have 4WD access to the Duder north-facing takeoff site again. I have made contact with Paul, the site ranger at the Duder ARC Park. He is sympathetic to HG and is very helpful. His mobile phone number is 021-676-300. The land-line to the office is 536 6007. I find his mobile phone is a better way to reach him. Paul mentioned that hang gliding is one of the approved activities listed in the records pertaining to the use of the Duder park. Paul is on our side, so let’s make sure we can keep him there.

There is a metalled loop road that runs around the Duder peninsula. Paul gave me the combination to the gates (north and east) that open on to each end of the loop road. The combination is not to be publicized. To get to the north launch that is at the trig station, you go through the north gate. The road is in good condition, but there is a short grassed section before the trig station. There has been a large slip on the south side of the road, adjacent to the trig station. Paul told me that no one is allowed to drive past the trig station, due to the slip. Paddy parked his vehicle about 10 meters before the trig station. Paul told me that he doesn’t want people driving on the grass and leaving tracks when the ground is soft, so he probably won’t grant access during the middle of winter. Paul kindly moved the sheep to other paddocks for us so the trig area was free of livestock. There may be restrictions during the lambing season. Paul will confirm if this is so.

I guess that after the lambing season, when the weather gets drier, it would be a good time to try Duders. People will need to ring Paul first and check whether the site will be open. Occasionally it is closed for possum poisoning and top dressing. Paul wants to minimise the number of 4WD vehicles going up, so you’ll need to put your gliders on one vehicle. The site is fairly small, so you really wouldn’t want more than three HG in the air at once.

Duders landingDuders landingI didn’t discuss the issue of a site monitor with Paul. It might be useful to have someone who can act as a contact with the ARC. On the other hand, Duder is a minor site that will not be flown that often, so perhaps people can call Paul a couple of days prior to flying.

On the weekend other members of the public walk around the loop road. They are generally interested in HG. We need to be good diplomats for our sport and project a friendly image to the non-flying public.

Duders is going to be great little site for N and NNW winds of 15 knots plus. It really is very accessible, and Paul the ranger seems HG-friendly.

We checked out the beach and found that even at high tide there is plenty of beach to land on, albeit cross-wind. (I’ll give him a call tomorrow and thank him for giving us the combination to the gate.) I really want to fly the site again, but with the winter rains and lambing coming, we may have to wait until late spring. Paddy took off from in front of the trig station to get the height advantage. A wind speed of 15 knots would be optimum for this site.

We went for a walk along the peninsula. With excellent vehicle access to the trig, I can see that Duders has real potential in the summer to be a good site for a northerly to north-westerly wind.

DudersDudersLes and I realised that in the end a sled ride it would be. I took off and headed down to the beach. It was a perfect cross-wind landing on the sand. No problems (need to flare better). Paddy landed a little while later (see photo). Les waited a long time on takeoff for the good stuff (which never came), then soared over the top of us and landed further up the beach (see photo).

I don’t think we’ll be able to fly Duders until late spring and the lambing is over and the ground is dry. I hear that the site is gorgeous when the pohutukawa trees are in bloom, so I will put this site down on my Christmas list of things to do.  

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