A glider pilot who died in a crash during a competition in Wanaka has been named as 78-year-old David MacLean Wilson from Australia.

MacLean was competing in the South Island Gliding Championships when he crashed in the Hunter Range near Lake Hawea on Tuesday. He died at the scene.

Gliding New Zealand spokesman Nigel Davy said MacLean was highly experienced.

"He was a high-hour pilot from Melbourne, with in excess of 4500 hours in his logbook."

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He was also experienced in mountain flying and had arrived a week before the competition to practise.

Police extended their sympathies to MacLean's family at this time.

The death has been referred to the coroner and the Civil Aviation Authority notified.