Gliding Is The Ultimate Mindfulness

by Tayla Purves

Leo Davies, Chief Flying Instructor at Lake Keepit Gliding Club, delved into details about his recent trip to New Zealand where he completed 1,186kms in one day. Yes, even CFI’s get to enjoy themselves and deservedly so!

The land of the long white cloud has always been an attractive gliding destination for Aussies and let’s face it, who needs an excuse to go gliding! Extreme and breath-taking geography, wind and adventure are the norm for NZ, and this appeal attracts the adventurous and the adventurous at heart.

Leo’s journey kicked off from Omarama (a small town pop 291, near the southern end of the Mackenzie Basin) in the South Island of New Zealand, proceeding across the wild Cook Strait with the trip hitting a max altitude 26,725 feet AGL. Yes, extreme coldness felt in the cockpit; around, minus 40 degrees Celsius. Yikes!

With a howling south westerly throughout the day, it allowed Leo and his co-pilot reach Lake Taupo by 5pm.

Guiding Leo on this trip was Justin Wills, renowned for his long-distance NZ exploits. Together they took on the whopping 1,186km trip, and for some of us, that’s the stuff dreams are made of.


  • Aircraft – Duo Discus
  • Distance – 1,186 km
  • Speed – 153 kph
  • Time – 8h7m
  • Trace details can be reviewed at  https://www.weglide.org/flight/370033

“It’s a good sport as you get older,” Leo said, with mateship being an incredible aspect of Gliding. “You certainly have to like and trust them,” Leo laughed when asked about mateship.

Leo had originally stumbled upon Gliding whilst he was in France nurturing a knee injury. He has been flying since the age of seventeen, growing his experience and understanding of the skies.

The mentality whilst left to your own devices in the sky can be something one can quickly become accustomed to, a peacefulness to the mind – all thoughts disappear ensuring gliding is the one thought present.

“Gliding is the ultimate mindfulness,” Leo said.


Lake Keepit Gliding Club have won the right to host the ‘Junior World Gliding Championships’ in 2028/29 season.

You are never too young or old to enjoy the sport of Gliding, as those at Leo’s club often say!

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