About Our Club

Situated at the northern tip of the Southern Alps, Nelson Lakes Gliding Club is one of NZ’s best soaring sites.

As a winch launching club, there are few clubs anywhere in the country with a cost structure as low as ours. Not having expensive tow planes allows the club to reinvest in facilities and aircraft so we have great glider availability and can launch quickly. Another benefit is that the cost per flight is one of the cheapest in the country.

Our hangar houses the clubs fleet of 4 aircraft and the twin-drum launching Tost winch. Also parked on the airstrip are 6 or so privately owned gliders in their trailers.

Flying Area

The winch launch gets us some 1600 feet above the valley floor and level with the two low ridges on either side. These nursery ridges give us ridge or thermal lift and from them we normally progress onto the Southern Alps. The local mountain peaks of the Southern Alps range from 5000 to over 7000 feet above sea level and are often snow-capped.

Much of this flying is over the Nelson Lakes & Kahurangi National Parks.

Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotorua are the main side-by-side twin lakes with numerous other smaller lakes and tarns here and there. West is the accessible bush-clad Kahurangi National park. The closest mountain to the west is Mount Owen whose limestone scenery was used in the Lord of the Rings movie. To the East of us are the wide dry grasslands of Molesworth country. We have few airspace limitations from our site. Land-out options are limited but defined and our cross country flying is done within gliding range of them.

Location

Lake Station Airfield, 10km west of St Arnaud (one hour's drive south of Nelson, South Island, New Zealand).

Lake Station is a large sheep and beef farm owned by the McConochie families who allow our club to use their 1500 metre long airstrip, 1700 feet above sea level.

History

The Fleet

AJ (Alpha Juliet) & MZ (Mike Zulu)

Grob 103

Docile and easy to handle 2 seat trainers with moderate performance. A great aircraft to learn in which can also get around the place.

NH (November Hotel)

Grob Club Astir III

A club class medium performance single seater, ideal for solo pilots to further their skills and explore further afield in.

CX (Charlie X-Ray)

Rolladen-Schneider LS4-a

A higher performance cross country soaring machine that is just beautiful to fly. Outfitted with all the instruments and modern nav equipment a cross country pilot needs.

What to expect at Lake Station

When gliding, you are usually at Lake Station airfield all day, so come prepared! The nearest shop is in St Arnaud, 9km away. The weather can vary from snow and frost, to scorching sunshine. Bring plenty of warm clothes in winter. In summer, long sleeved tops or sunscreen and insect repellent are a must. Sandflies are there most of the year. Sometimes the field is covered in fresh sheep droppings – bring a change of footwear or gumboots.

Facilities

CLUBHOUSE - A small lined shed sort of place that we call Glider Base, with plenty of windows, table, chairs and deck facing the runway. Lots of gliding magazines and other interesting material. It has the base set radios in it.

PHONES - There is good 4G cell phone coverage.

POWER - No mains power available, but there is a low current 240 volt inverter in the glider base. Good for running laptops and similar, it runs off a solar charged 12 volt battery.

WATER - There is a farm water supply near the clubhouse. There is a gas bottle and kettle for boiling water. Some cups and teabags. We recommend you bring your own drinking water, water bottle, cup, tea, coffee.

TOILET - Longdrop located beside the Hangar.

RUBBISH - For a large group, it’s a good idea if someone brings their recycling bin from home.