In what they believe is a world first, father and daughter glider pilots are flying from one end of New Zealand to the other. Terry and Abbey Delore set off from Omarama in the South Island on Monday morning, down to Bluff, then up to Auckland. On Tuesday, they plan to finish their journey to Cape Rēinga at the top of the North Island. Abbey Delore, from Christchurch, said it was the first time a glider would fly the straight length of New Zealand. The pair were in the air before 5.30 am on Monday in an ASH 25 glider, which has two seats and a 25-metre wingspan and arrived at Auckland Gliding Club in Drury about 7 pm. In that time they travelled about 1500 kilometres. Abbey Delore said the pair had been planning to try and fly the length of New Zealand for a long time, mainly because they wanted to do something that “hadn’t been done before”. In 1994, Terry Delore set a world record for the longest flight (2000 km) ever done in a glider without an engine.
“Terry’s been gliding his whole life and holds multiple world records for gliding, so I think we’re both always trying to push the boundaries,” Abbey Delore said. “I was brought up in the sport and have been gliding for about 15 years now. I like the adventure side of it. “Aviation definitely runs in our family.” Abbey Delore said they had been lucky with how good the weather conditions had been on Monday, as often it could be “hit-and-miss”, and the sky had to be read constantly while flying. The pair had been “wave soaring”, where the glider flies along vertical waves of wind that form. Abbey Delore described it as being similar to surfing in the sky. The waves meant at times, the pair would reach altitudes where they would need to put on oxygen masks as the glider didn’t have a pressurised cockpit. “We had a feeling we’d end up stopping in Auckland and carrying on the next day, just because of how long it took to get here and the changing conditions.” While the pair weren’t able to make it to Cape Rēinga in one day, Abbey Delore was still happy with what they had achieved. “It’s all about the adventure,” she said. Source and some more pics: ‘Stuff‘.