Sunday, May 24, 2015

The last hurrah!

Arriving at Wellington today were three Bell UH-1H Iroquois helicopters from the RNZAF! These helicopters are on their farewell tour of New Zealand. The Iroquois is being replaced by the NH90 after about 50 years of service with the RNZAF.

The helicopters arriving into Wellington were NZ3807, NZ3809, NZ3816.

Bell UH-1H Iroquois, NZ3807, NZ3809, NZ3816, operated by the RNZAF

Bell UH-1H Iroquois, NZ3807, operated by the RNZAF

Bell UH-1H Iroquois, NZ3809, operated by the RNZAF

Bell UH-1H Iroquois, NZ3816, operated by the RNZAF

Friday, May 22, 2015

NZ 2015 BUDGET NEWS: Free access to Metflight will be returning soon!

In completely unexpected, but very very welcome news from the 2015 budget, recreational pilots will soon have free access to Metservice's excellent Metflight GA product reinstated!

I had completely missed this [ok, I find the Budget rather boring and I didn't take much notice], but it was pointed out to me today that there is provision in the budget for recreational pilots to have free access to Metservice's excellent Metflight GA product, from 1 July 2015 [or thereabouts]!

For those with long memories, you may recall that in the distant past, Metservice created a product called Metflight GA. This was designed to provide aviation-specific weather information for recreational pilots. This was "sponsored" [paid for] by CAA, at least partly to ensure that all recreational pilots had access to up to date, good, aviation-specific weather forecasts and reports.

In 2011, CAA decided to cease funding this [from memory in the order of only $100K per year?], and decided that unlike everyone else in the country [such as the general public, mountaineers/ hikers, sailors], pilots should have to pay for access to the information themselves. I hear that there were very very few subscriptions purchased relative to the number of pilots.

Now, finally, in 2015, it appears that someone may have seen the fallacy of this. The Government has decided to make provision for public funding of this service, in the same way as for other users of weather information. Hurray!

Anyway, here's a Government announcement from the Minister of Transport, Hon Simon Bridges:
Additional funding of $15.9 million over the next four years will allow MetService to replace its meteorological forecasting system, establish a new disaster recovery backup facility and provide free weather forecasting services for the recreational aviation sector.
“Transport systems and transport users rely on accurate weather forecasts. They’re essential for businesses, government and the public to minimise risk to life and property from weather events.

Next up, here is what Metservice themselves had to say when I tweeted them this afternoon [and thanks for the fast response, it is much appreciated!]
  1. Yes Rodney, that's right - we're working through it now and will keep rec pilots informed of progress on MetFlight GA :) ^JB

    Tweet text
Last up, is an announcement from the CAA congratulating the Ministry of Transport on fixing up a hole that CAA dug for them in the first place :-)
21 May 2015
MetFlight-GA – The CAA has confirmation that Government will be funding MetFlight-GA (the web based product for private pilots only) from 01 July 2015 – as part of the 2015 Budget tabled in Parliament yesterday. The funding is contained within the disbursements to Vote Transport for public weather forecasting services for the MoT-MetService public weather services contract. Well done to the MoT Team who picked up this important task.
There will be some transition issues to wash-up existing subscription payments so the actual start of the no-charge service to private pilots may be a bit later than 1 July 2015. MetService is currently assessing how quickly it can implement the IT changes needed.
[source -]

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cessna A152

Today's photo is of a Cessna A152, ZK-NPL, which is operated by Tauranga Aero Club.

The "A152" means that it is an aerobatic model. If you look closely at the front of the door, you can see the emergency door release cable. I understand that the aircraft is here on a short visit for some maintenance [and certainly needing something given the state of the nose wheel oleo...].

In other news, I had time for another quick flight today in a Club Cessna 172S, ZK-CEO. It was just a quick flight around the local area since I hadn't flown for about 3 weeks [since my night cross country flight test to Palmerston North and back].

Cessna A152, ZK-NPL, operated by New Plymouth Aero Club

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Cigna Healthcare Falcon 7X at Wellington

Today's "pleasant surprise" was a Dassault Falcon 7X, N173CN, which was parked outside of the Execujet hanger after arriving in Wellington [from Jakarta via Auckland] yesterday.

The aircraft is registered to Cigna Healthcare, so what it's doing here is anybody's guess!

Anyway, there are not too many tri-jets operating these days, so it's good to see one now and then.

Dassault Falcon 7X, N173CN, operated by Cigna Healthcare

Dassault Falcon 7X, N173CN, operated by Cigna Healthcare

Ridge Air, Mount Cook Airline and Jetstar

It was somewhat dull and a wee bit breezy to go flying today... but it's looking like tomorrow will be better.

Pictures I did get include the following three examples. First up is a Piper PA34-220T, ZK-BJM, which is operated by Ridge Air.

Piper PA34-220T, ZK-BJM, operated by Ridge Air
 Next up is one of Mount Cook Airline/ Air NZ's older ATR-GIE ATR72-212A aircraft, ZK-MCO. It looks like this aircraft has been registered to Mount Cook since December 1999, so I guess this will make it one of Air NZ's older aircraft.

ATR-GIE ATR72-212A, ZK-MCO, operated by Mount Cook Airline/ Air NZ
 Last up are two Airbus A320-232's, both operated by Jetstar Airways.

Airbus A320-232, VH-VFF, operated by Jetstar Airways

Airbus A320-232, VH-VGF, operated by Jetstar Airways

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Today's photoshoot

Ok, "photoshoot" might be overstating it somewhat, and even if it was one, they were not particularly good looking models... but I was asked to take a few photos of two Aero Club Piper PA38-112 Tomahawks today.

They were mostly exterior photos of ZK-WAC, but some interior panel photos of another aircraft were also taken. These are/ will be used by the Aero Club as part of their training materials.

There's just one to publish for now. ZK-WAC was repainted last year and it's still looking fresh. I was just about to take a close-up when I saw Raytheon B1900D, ZK-EAI, operated by Eagle Airways departing in the background. A quick zoom out, and I managed to capture it at exactly the right time.

Piper PA38-112, ZK-WAC of Wellington Aero Club and Raytheon B1900D, ZK-EAI of Eagle Airways

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Prince Harry arriving in Wellington today

The big event for today was Prince Harry arriving in Wellington from Australia on board an RNZAF operated Boeing 757-2K2, NZ7572.

Boeing 757-2K2, NZ7572, operated by the RNZAF

Boeing 757-2K2, NZ7572, operated by the RNZAF. Note the flag out the window

Welcoming committee for Prince Harry, including the PM and the Mayor

Soon after the formalities, the B757 was pulled forward to make room for another RNZAF aircraft, a Lockheed C130H Hercules, NZ7005. The B757 was then pushed back into the position shown in the final photo.

Lockheed C130H Hercules, NZ7005, operated by the RNZAF.

Boeing 757-2K2, NZ7572 and Lockheed C130H Hercules, NZ7005, both operated by the RNZAF.

Air NZ Airbus A320 "Star Alliance" livery

Here's a picture of an Air NZ Airbus A320-232, ZK-OJH, landing at Wellington earlier today.

Airbus A320-232, ZK-OJH, operated by Air NZ

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Wellington Aero Club information and blog

Wellington Aero Club has just started putting up more member information and other interesting articles on their [relatively] new blog.

This will be a great way to keep in touch with what is happening at the Club and for the Club, it's a much easier and effective way to get information out to members and other interested people.

Wellington Aero Club screenshot -

Of course, you can get to the rest of our website from there, accessing information about flight training, purchasing trial flights and finding out a bit more about ourselves and what we do!

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Beech B200GT and a couple of Airbus'

A different visitor for today was a Beech B200GT, ZK-VMF, pictured here waiting to depart Wellington. It had arrived about 10 minutes earlier, so it was a very quick stop! This aircraft is registered to Tasman Aviation of a Motueka address. This aircraft has only been on the NZ register since August 2014, so is a fairly recent arrival.

Beech B200GT, ZK-VMF, operated by Tasman Aviation

Beech B200GT, ZK-VMF, operated by Tasman Aviation

Next up are a couple of Airbus A320 arrivals. Nothing to special about that I suppose although I particularly liked how the photos clearly show the jet exhaust out the back of the engines... very obvious, and clearly very hot!

Airbus A320-232, ZK-OXF, operated by Air New Zealand

Airbus A320-232, VH-VGV, operated by Jetstar Airways

Saturday, May 02, 2015

OWN at Wellington

Today's picture is a Cessna 172P, ZK-OWN, which was visiting from the Hawkes Bay region. The "P" model is a relatively uncommon model in NZ with only 16 on the aircraft register.

Cessna 172P, ZK-OWN

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Two more aircraft from yesterday

In addition to the military aircraft seen at Wellington yesterday, I also managed to get my best pictures yet of Sounds Air's new Pilatus PC12/45, ZK-PLS.

As seen here, the aircraft was heading across to Blenheim [Woodbourne aerodrome, NZWB]. For anyone who has not heard, the expansion of Sounds Air continues with the recent announcement that they are picking up the Wellington - Taupo route, in addition to the previously announced Westport - Wellington route. Both routes will be flown by the PC12.

Pilatus PC12/45, ZK-PLS, operated by Sounds Air
Another visitor was this Cessna 172N, ZK-TAB, which is operated by Sunair Aviation of a Mount Maunganui address.

Cessna 172N, ZK-TAB, operated by Sunair Aviation

Saturday, April 25, 2015

More pictures of military aircraft at Wellington today

After yesterday's post of the RAF, RAAF and Marine Nationale aircraft at Wellington, I turned up today to see two of them still here. The RAAF BBJ had left, but in its place was a Bombardier Challenger 604 [CL-600--2B16], A37-001, operated by the RAAF.

In my [not so humble] opinion, this has to be one of the best looking mid-sized business jets out there... feel free to disagree :-)

After a few hours of prep, and some fairly serious looking security, the VIPs boarded and departed a few minutes later.

Bombardier Challenger 604, A37-001, operated by the RAAF

Bombardier Challenger 604, A37-001, operated by the RAAF
Next up are photos of the departure of the RAF Lockheed-Martin C130J-30 Hercules, ZH865. Being a Herc, the departure was energetic enough. It was later spotted up the Hutt Valley [north of Wellington] at a reasonably low level, overtaking a rather surprised Club aircraft and crew!

Lockheed-Martin C130J-30, ZH865, operated by the RAF

Lockheed-Martin C130J-30, ZH865, operated by the RAF
Last up in this series is the departure of the Marine Nationale-operated Dassault Falcon 20G Gardian. It's a nice looking aircraft, although the noisiest sounding of the three! maybe it was the loud high-pitched squeal that may it seem so...? We don't get to see many of these, so here are a few photos.

Dassault Falcon 20G Gardian, operated by the Marine Nationale [French Navy]

Dassault Falcon 20G Gardian, operated by the Marine Nationale [French Navy]

Dassault Falcon 20G Gardian, operated by the Marine Nationale [French Navy]

Dassault Falcon 20G Gardian, operated by the Marine Nationale [French Navy]

Dassault Falcon 20G Gardian, operated by the Marine Nationale [French Navy]

Friday, April 24, 2015

RAF, RAAF & Marine Nationale

There seems to be a stream of foreign military aircraft on our shores at the moment! It wasn't long since the Armee de L'Air CASA CN235 was here, and now we have three more aircraft.

First up, and a long, long way from home is a Royal Air Force Lockheed-Martin C130J-30, ZH865. It looks rather patched up, but I'm sure the RAF would have it in top operational condition.

Lockheed-Martin C130J-30, ZH865, operated by the Royal Air Force

Next up is the Royal Australian Air Force Boeing 737-7DT BBJ, A36-001. It's a nice looking machine and I can't help wonder if our politions aren't at least a wee bit jealous of the Aussies on this one :-)

Boeing 737-7DT BBJ, A36-001, operated by the Royal Australian Air Force

Last up is a Marine Nationale [French Navy] Dassault Falcon 20G Gardian.

Dassault Falcon 20G Gardian, Marine Nationale

Night VFR cross country check completed and Kai's first night flight!

Last night was a big night with my long awaited night VFR* cross country flight check being completed!

This now qualifies me to fly more than 25nm away from the departure aerodrome at night - not that I would want to do a lot of this, but the navigation and other skills will be useful and it's a useful backup should I need it one day!

For the flight itself, we departed Wellington [NZWN], flew over Paraparaumu [NZPP] then on to Palmerston North [NZPM]. After a couple of circuits at NZPM, we flew back via the reverse route.

There are no photos from the flight [I was otherwise occupied!], but I do have some photos and a video from other flights... including a video from Kai's first night VFR flight [thanks for taking me!]. All of these were taken from within the Club's Cessna 172S, ZK-CEO - an awesome machine!

Before takeoff - the main terminal complex at Wellington Airport

Cessna 172S, ZK-CEO, instrument panel

The approach into Wellington from the south [onto runway 34]

* VFR - Visual Flight Rules

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Armee de L'Air CASA CN235-200M at Wellington!

Last up for today is perhaps the most unusual visitor I have seen in a long time. It is an Armee de L'Air operated CASA CN235-200M, registration 82-IH [I'm assuming I am understanding the rego system correctly! I did see the "107" on the nose and tail, but this has appeared on other aircraft of the same type also].

The last times I saw one of these at Wellington was back in 2006, 2007 and 2008, although I did also get to look through one at the RNZAF's 75th anniversary airshow at Ohakea in 2012.

CASA CN235-200M, 82-IH, operated by the Armee de L'Air

CASA CN235-200M, 82-IH, operated by the Armee de L'Air

CASA CN235-200M, 82-IH, operated by the Armee de L'Air

Hawker Beechcraft 900XP!

In a "first of type" for me, I noticed that a Hawker Beechcraft 900XP arrived into Wellington yesterday afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised to see it still parked up this afternoon and then to see the departure.

VH-NKD is operated by CML Aviation Ltd of a Brisbane, Australia address. No, I don't know anything else about the aircraft, but it is a nice looking private jet. Another one to add to the wishlist once I win the lottery a few times over [not that I'm buying tickets anyway!].

Hawker Beechcraft 900XP, VH-NKD, operated by CML Aviation Ltd

Hawker Beechcraft 900XP, VH-NKD, operated by CML Aviation Ltd

Hawker Beechcraft 900XP, VH-NKD, operated by CML Aviation Ltd