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Presidents Report 2010

Canterbury Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club Presidents Report
October 2010

High to all Canterbury foot launch pilots.
I have enjoyed being president of our club the last four years and thank all CHGPC officers and members for their support during my tour of duty.
Special thanks to Sheralee who was club secretary for 3 years and to Morgan for holding this post the last year. It is not often a club president can boast having a jet fighter pilot as his secretary! Thanks to Cris and Peter for their duties as safety officers and to Rob and Matt for keeping our sites in order.
And thanks Steve for the new club website.
Check it out some time and post some stories and pics for all to share.

Our club has an interesting mix of two main forms of foot launch aviation and we do have a lot in common. The wind strengths we like to soar on the port hills seem to often keep us apart. Hang gliders enjoy over 10knts (20km/hr) and paragliders below 12knots (24km/hr). On many occasions the 2knt overlap has seen us sharing the air harmoniously. I have heard paraglider pilots say "It must be too strong, the 'hangies' are flying" and I have heard hang glider pilots say "It must be too light, the 'panties' are flying". All in all I feel we share the Canterbury air well and all members have a healthy respect for land owners.
When it comes to inland flying we both enjoy those light wind thermal days. A recent day at Mt Cheeseman saw 11 paragliders and 10 hang gliders from Canterbury in the air together. Gliding along the snow capped tops of the Craigieburn Range at 7000' must rate as one of the best Canterbury flying experiences.

The last couple of years have seen an influx of younger pilots joining our club and enjoying the thrill of foot launched flying. This is a very positive trend and I encourage all experienced pilots to help budding new pilots to fly safely. Instructors are not always available up the hill and the help of more experienced pilots is gratefully received. Pilots may be rated to fly a site but they are still learning and your experience and knowledge can help them heaps. It is important to use encouraging words and avoid creating fears ~ new pilots have enough on their mind focusing on making a safe takeoff. Not everyone has the same flying techniques and hearing different points of view helps new pilots gain valuable knowledge. It is just as important to include new members in flying orientated social activities too. People join our club not only to enjoy the freedom of free flight but also for friendship. So step up and help a budding pilot and give them some friendly and constructive advice.

Safety is an important factor in our sports and each individual pilot has the responsibility to fly safely. Instructors and safety officers can help you with safety but ultimately it is up to you to ensure your equipment is safe and that you are flying within your limits. Get a warrant of fitness for your wing from your safety officer but don't let that be the only check you give your wing during the year. Staying current is important so if you haven't flown for a while then choose an easy site and/or conditions when getting back into the air. This also applies when you move on to a new wing. And remember it is OK to not fly if you don't feel up to it for any reason. In my opinion good judgment and knowing your limits are the most important safety factors.

Our club had 108 members and about $6000 in the bank when I was elected in 2006 and we have almost exactly the same figures today. There is roughly a 60/40 mix of paraglider and hang glider members with hang gliders gaining numbers slightly over recent years. Even though our income is little over $2000 per year ($20 per member per year) we have managed to save well. It is time to come up with some innovative ways to spend some of this money for the good of all members, so put your thinking caps on.

Luke Goleman has put his hand up to take over my role and in the absence of any other nominations he looks like becoming our new leader. I know that Luke will put his own special flavor into running the CHGPC. Luke flies both hang gliders and paragliders and this makes him a perfect man to create innovative ways to keep our club alive and active. He has been posting some excellent videos on Youtube. Check out this one where Luke flies his paraglider over Castle Rock and captures the damage Castle Rock sustained during the Canterbury earthquake.

Thanks again for everyone that has helped run the Canterbury Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club over the last four years. It has been a pleasure to be your president and I know the club will continue to prosper in the hands of a capable new team. This summer is packed with lots of competitions and flying events and the weather promises to be hot and dry. Enjoy your flying and keep it safe.
Happy landings
Rod Stuart
PS: See you at the club AGM 7pm, 28th Oct, 2010 at Speights Ale House Ferrymead.