TL Ultralights Australia - Newsletter 10 January 2003 - New Zealand

New Zealand Trip January 2003.

Greetings and welcome to the first Sting newsletter for 2003, late January saw me visiting Auckland in the North Island of New Zealand to deliver, test fly and train the New Zealand Sting Dealer Phil Richards.

A delighted Phil Richards wipes the salt spray from the canopy after a sucessfull first
flight to the west coast which included some low level runs over deserted beaches
and some slope soaring at 120 knots on the huge cliffs in 40 knots winds.

Ask any New Zealander and they dont know where Australia is.... and ask any Australian and they think New Zealand is an outer Sydney suburb, that's the freindly rivalry which keeps our two countries close on the sporting fields and also in aviation.

The Islands of New Zealand are home to nearly 4 million people and it must be one of the best kept flying secrets in the world. The beaches, bays and mountains are pristine and unpopulated, the coastlines are rugged and the mountains are almost twice as high as Australia's largest, the airspace is empty and the pilots i met were freindy, professional and highly skilled in a country where they call a 20 knot cross wind a 'good day'.........

I met our New Zealand TL-Ultralights dealer - Phil Richards at Auckland Airport where he works as a LAME and Safety Officer for Air New Zealand, we went directly to the smaller airport of Pikes Point in the Auckland suburbs to unpack the Sting from the shipping container and assemble the plane for the first flight.

Pikes Point field is a good one.... there are 75 meter tall high voltage power lines down one side of the runway about 200 meters from the centre line and the other side is about 50 meters from a large bay which at low tide is nothing but bottomless mud flats....
This is one field where you need good piloting skills and a reliable aircraft. The proximity to the water has all the pilots flying with life jackets, at first i thought it a bit silly but the idea soon grows on you and they are actually quite comfortable and necessary if you want to venture further afield.

Phil and Michael on the First Flight
Phil and Michael on the First Flight
Our Sting was assembled and inspected the following day by the NZ CAA representative Rex Kenny who gave the aircraft the thumbs up, all I needed was a check flight with a local instructor to get my NZ licence and we were off and flying.

An excited Phil joined me for an enjoyable familiarisation trip to the West Coast where I put the aircraft through its paces.... We were fortunate to have about 30 kms of beach to ourselves which backed onto cliffs which i guess were nearly 1000 feet high (i cant remember looking at the altimiter), the 40 knots of wind raced up the cliffs and we could do some really high speed slope soaring with the Rotax 912 happily idling away, most of the time we were able to keep 120 knots on the dial and not loose any height. After we bored of slope soaring we headed down to the black sand beach and did some high speed runs accross the sand only meters from the 6 meter waves breaking on the beaches..... This place is rough as it gets; beaten by the swells from the Southern Ocean with nothing between Antartica and New Zealand but water.

I havent had so much fun in a long time, but this was meant to be a familiarisation flight so i reluctantly gave Phil the controls and gave him the feel of the aircraft and we did some missed aproaches along the beach to get him familiar with the plane, time was running out as the sun neared the horizon so that was it for that day as we hightailed back to Pikes Point before sunset.

Phil Richards at the controls on a fantastic New Zealand summer day.... There are hundreds of islands to the east of Auckland making this a pilots and boaters paradise, most are the remains of volcanos which i am told are 'just sleeping'......

The next day saw us heading East to Matarangi Airfield which has to be about the prettiest place i have ever been, the wind had finally dropped and this little seaside village was putting on its best. We even flew over whales as we turned base for a landing on runway 23 and then a short stroll to the shops for a cappuchino and a debreif and a walk along the beach. But as they say... there is no rest for the wicked and we were soon off to Pikes point to give Phil's son Mark a run at the controls, wouldnt you know it as we arrived the wind was back to 30 knots and very gusty so it really gave Mark who is a commercial pilot a workout.

The next few days were spent flying locally around the area with Mark and Phil to get some hours on the plane before i left to come back to Brisbane.

For our New Zealand customers please contact Phil Richards for a demo ride and chat on Auckland +9 826 4150 afterhours or by email to

The trip was a great sucess and i am looking forward to heading back over the Tasman to New Zealand in the near future.

The second Sting to new Zealand is headed to Napier and will be delivered mid March.

A man with a new toy...... washing, washing, washing
Actually it was necesary to keep the bugs off the aircraft

Crossing the straights between Auckland and the East Coast takes you over a boaters paradise and some ancient volcanos.... interesting flying


We have recently establised our dealer network for New Zealand.

For all New Zealand Inquiries please contact
Phil Richards
Auckland New Zealand
Phone (9) 826 4150
or email

Canada is currently under negotiation and we expect to anounce our new dealer shortly

For all other inquiries please contact Michael Coates X-Air Australia

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