Sailing on the winds...
Just as we have had to crawl before we learned to walk, so did the pioneers in aviation,
using gliding as a stepping-stone to powered-flight.

They tried to imitate the birds.
By studying them, they discovered the principles of flight.

Around that time, the first petrol engine was invented.
For a while, opportunities of motorless flight were put on the 'back-burner'.
It wasn't until after World War One that Germany, under forced restrictions by the allied powers,
realised its possibilities and made great advances in glider design.
The value of gliding as a tool to train pilots was soon recognised the world over.
Today, motorless flights lasting many hours and over long distances are a common occurrance.
Imagination... ...the greatest gift. ...the greatest gift.
Above: One of the 1930s attempts to 'fly like a bird'.
An 'experiment' on the Embankment Drome - all this before the age of hang-gliders !
Built by Napier's Mr. Joseph Bullivant
in the garage of his Nelson Street residence.

Unfortunately, it never became airborne,
since nobody was game enough, including Mr. Bullivant, to play 'pilot'.

It was towed behind a car as a tryout, but without a pilot. Not surprisingly, it didn't perform.
A film was taken on the day. We have a copy of this.
"Thank you" Wynn Craven for preserving it.
It's truly a 'gem' and one has to admire the imagination and creativity of our early aviators.
There was a possibilty of forming a special division
of the gliding club....The Skybird League. A logo was made.....
Dannevirke was the centre of the gliding movement in New Zealand through the 1930s.
Acting on the incentive of the Dannevirke Gliding Club, all the North Island gliding clubs sent their
representatives to Dannevirke and formed The New Zealand Gliding Association in October 1931.
Lord Bledisloe, the Governor General, was elected Patron. Squadron Leader T.Wilkes elected President.
The Napier Aero Club's gliding section were frequent visitors among others.
Photos by Arnold Wright during a visit by the Napier Aero Club's gliding group.
A visitors' gliding camp.
Dannevirke 1930s.

"Getting it all together."

"Up, up and away."

"A successful launch."
Note the elastic cable falling away.

"A happy landing."

"A good day's gliding."
All the launches were made
with a plaited, elastic cable.
Perhaps someone could provide
information on this method
of launching and name any folk
in these photographs ??
It appears that the Riverbend Road site was not used by the Napier Aero Club gliders.
Some early photographs show a site in front of
Tye Husheer's home at Poraiti,
possibly before the 1931 earthquake or while the embankment drome was being developed.
Tye Husheer and the gliding team were also involved with the Heretaunga Gliding Club.
This club did some of their gliding on a property called "Grasslands" in the foothills, west of Bridge Pa aerodrome, Hastings.
The following photos, by Arnold Wright, record a day at Grasslands which didn't go too well.

"All set for a day's gliding."

"Launching team."
Tow tractor on right.

"Something did not
work out too well."


"Back to the drawing-board."

"A bit of fun with the left-overs."

"Grasslands" Homestead
GLIDING Page 2....