Michael Oakley preparing to leave from Omarama



By Lucinda Jarvis.

Selwyn local Michael Oakley has just completed a 1933km glider flight, leaving Omarama at 6.30am on November, 6th and landing in Springfield at 8pm that evening. Michael was trying to get his 2000km diploma but got caught a little short of his goal due to failing daylight hours. He plans on having another go soon, as the daylight hours are increasing all the time due to summer coming and this will help Michael achieve his goal. Michael flew from Omarama to a start point in Clyde then headed north to a turning point in the Rainbow Valley, which is south of Nelson, from there he headed south to Mandeville to where his next turning point was. The planned trip then headed him back north to the Wairau Valley which is west of Blenheim before heading back towards Omarama, which was his planned finishing point, but unfortunately those important daylight hours cut this trip short. Michael planned his GPS turning points on the morning of his big flight, he took into consideration the weather that he had been watching closely for the week leading up to his flight and he had to plan his flight well to get three declared turning points in the right places so he covered the distance required. Michael travelled along at speeds of up to 380km per hour, but his average speed for this trip was 180km per hour, he kept in touch with the different air controllers for each area he was in. This trip saw him flying at altitudes of up to 1600 feet. He encountered a bit of turbulence through the Hanmer Springs Basin but the trip on the whole was great. He took food and drink with him and there is an  innovative way to deal with urinating.

Michael did though, achieve his 1750km diploma on this trip which in itself is a great achievement. It has been ten years since Michael achieved his 1500km diploma and it won’t be long before he is up in the air again attempting his 2000km diploma.