|This film follows the world’s best glider pilots, gathered in Omarama, New Zealand, to compete in the World Championships, and how they struggle to fly in these dramatic flying conditions. On-glider cameras take you soaring over the Southern Alps.||
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This film explores the unique winds that pass over Omarama, New Zealand – one of the greatest places in the world to fly. The winds, formed in the southern oceans are sometimes violent and dangerous, as they sweep across the Tasman Sea to strike the Southern Alps of New Zealand, then swirl over the inland basin that surrounds the township of Omarama.
Champions of the Wave follows the fortunes of the world’s best glider pilots, gathered in Omarama to compete in the World Championships, and how they struggle to fly in these exceptional and dramatic flying conditions. With cameras mounted inside and outside the gliders, we take viewers on board with these pilots as they soar over the Southern Alps at speeds up to 300 kilometres per hour.
With mountain Alps, lakes and basins, its scenery is spectacular, but its claim to fame is its winds.
Winds that allow the purest form of flight – unpowered flight – soaring.
We examine the topography of this region and how its mountain ranges and basins deflect and funnel these winds of the Roaring 40’s to create perfect wave conditions that allow carbon fibre gliders to soar so high and for so long to claim world records in distances of more than 2000 kilometres and heights greater than 11,277.6 metres.
CHAMPIONS OF THE WAVE also explores the nature of soaring flight. How does a glider stay in air, and what keeps them up there? We draw parallels with their design and that of the great soaring birds they try to emulate. Pilots recall the moments flying with birds as they soar the skies together.
NTSC 4:3; Total Running Time: 53-minutes
© 1993 Natural History New Zealand Ltd. – All Rights Reserved
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Click for the Full Script of this Program
Mid-Atlantic Pilots Association
Gliding in Omarama, New Zealand