Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Reminder: Whanganui airport open day this Sunday 31 July

This is just a reminder of the upcoming Open Day at Whanganui Airport, on Sunday 31 July. If the weather holds up, it should be a fun day out!

I'm think of the hashtag #wuopenday if I get around to tweeting anything on the day.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Jetstar and Air NZ A320's

No flying for me today - I did more flying than I should have yesterday :-), so the photos from today are of Airbus A320's operated by Jetstar and Air NZ.

First up are three pictures of the Jetstar-operated A320-232, VH-VGF in its special livery.

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

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

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

Lastly we have an Air NZ-operated example, ZK-OXD.

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

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Today's fun flights!

I woke up late this morning with no particular plans... but a short time later booked a local flight in the Club's C172N, ZK-FLT. After I arrived at the Club however, plans changed and I teamed up with another Club member to go on a trip to the South Island, with each of us doing some of the flying.

So, the trip ended up as Wellington to D'Urville Island, then to Motueka [NZMK], then to Omaka for some circuits then back to Wellington. It was a fun afternoon out, and much more fun than each of us doing a separate local flight!

I had not been to Motueka since 2005 [for the Flying NZ national competitions], so it was good to go back for a quick visit. the most interesting aircraft there was, without a doubt, a Pilatus PC6/B2-H4 which is operated by Skydive Abel Tasman, and appropriately registered ZK-XIT!

Pilatus PC6/B2-H4, ZK-XIT, operated by Skydive Abel Tasman.

In the short time we were there, two loads of jumpers landed and a third load got airborne.

Skydive Abel Tasman HQ
Motueka is home to a the Motueka Aero Club as well as a number of other training and flying organisations. One of these is the Nelson Aviation College, which operates a fleet of Cessna 152's, such as ZK-NAI.

Cessna 152, ZK-NAI, operated by Nelson Aviation College
Final pictures from today are two photos and a video of the arrival back into Wellington.I was a passenger by this time, and sitting back, enjoying the view.

After all that, I had another flight. This was totally unplanned until the last minute. Weather-wise, it is a lovely night in Wellington, so I took the opportunity to do some dual night circuits with Jelle, followed by some solo circuits to regain my night currency. Fun times! No pictures unfortunately, I was a busy enough just flying the plane.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Final pictures from Auckland

This is the final set of photos from my brief visit to Auckland International last Sunday.

First up are two photos of an Air Asia X-operated Airbus A330-300, 9M-XXV.

Airbus A330-300, 9M-XXV, operated by Air Asia X

Airbus A330-300, 9M-XXV, operated by Air Asia X
Next up is a smaller aircraft, an Eastern Australia Airlines-operated Bombardier DHC-8-315, VH-TQK. As can be seen, these aircraft are operating the Jetstar regional flights in New Zealand.

Bombardier DHC-8-315, VH-TQK, operated by Eastern Australia Airlines on behalf of Jetstar

Back to the heavy metal and we have an increasingly rare Boeing 767-319, ZK-NCI. Air NZ is withdrawing these aircraft as additional B787-9's arrive, so it won't be long until the they are all gone. From what I can tell, Air NZ [the only NZ-based operator of the type] only has 4 left on the books.

Boeing 767-319, ZK-NCI, operated by Air NZ
Last up is a common as mud Airbus A320-232, ZK-OJB, which is [quite obviously] operated by Air NZ. This aircraft is operated on their pacific regional routes [Australia and some pacific islands]. At some stage, these aircraft will be replaced by A320NEOs and also an A321NEO.

Airbus A320-232, ZK-OJB, operated by Air NZ.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Dreamliners at Auckland

Last Sunday I only had a brief time for plane spotting, so I went to my usual location of the top story of the business car park, which is located just across the road from the domestic terminal.

While there, I did get to see three Boeing 787 Dreamliners - two arrivals and one departure. They are great looking aircraft and having flown three longhaul sectors in them, very comfortable to ride in [OK, I was in business, not cattle class, but still!].

Anyway, here are the photos. First up is the arrival of a beautifully painted China Southern Airlines B787-8, B-2725. I can attest to the fact that business class in these is a very comfortable ride :-)

Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, B-2725, operated by China Southern Airlines
Next up is a LATAM Airlines [Formerly LAN Airlines] B787-9, CC-BGF, which landed shortly after the China Southern aircraft. The -9 version of course is the stretched version of the Dreamliner

Boeing 787-9, CC-BGF, operated by LATAM Airlines
Last up we have two pictures of an Air New Zealand operated B787-9, ZK-NZC. This is also a -9 version of the Dreamliner.

Boeing 787-9, ZK-NZC, operated by Air NZ

Boeing 787-9, ZK-NZC, operated by Air NZ

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A quick trip to Auckland

I have had a quick trip to Auckland this past weekend, to catch up with people I hadn't seen in a while.

This of course provided a good opportunity to take some photographs, and so here are a few photos from Saturday, from the Wellington airport terminal and then the viewing area just outside Auckland airport. I'll have some more photos from Auckland in the next post.

First up are the busy regional gates at Wellington followed by a Bombardier DHC-8-311, ZK-NEP being pushed back from its stand.

Regional gates at Wellington

Bombardier DHC-8-311, ZK-NEP, operated by Air Nelson/ Air NZ being pushed back
Next up was an Airbus A320-232, ZK-OXE, which was my ride to Auckland. Unfortunately, while we boarded about 20 minutes prior to the planned departure time, we were 30 minutes late leaving. This was apparently due to a patch on a cargo hold needing to be repaired or replaced before we took off. It is what it is, but still frustrating to spend more time waiting at the gate than we spent in the air...
Airbus A320-232, ZK-OXE, operated by Air NZ
Next up is the Corporate and Domestic Freight apron at the eastern end of the airport. Lots of Fokker F27's and Air Chatham aircraft here, including their DC3 with a missing wingtip... I'm assuming that will be repaired before the Whanganui Open Day on 31 July.

Corporate and Domestic Freight Apron
Last up for this post is an Air NZ operated Boeing 777-219, ZK-OKE.
Boeing B777-219, ZK-OKE, operated by Air NZ
There will be more photos in my next post from the hour or so photography I had at Auckland International on Sunday afternoon.

Friday, July 08, 2016

More on the Whanganui Airport open day on 31 July

Further to yesterday's post on the Whanganui Airport open day on 31 July, I've just received a copy of the following advert, from Whanganui and Partners [the economic development agency for Whanganui].

This contains a bit more information about the airport open day. You may wish to click on the image for a larger version. I'm tossing up the idea of flying up, although I suspect that I might drive...

Here's hoping for tours of the Saab-Scania SF340A and a nice day for a ride in the DC3!

Thanks to Whanganui and Partners for permission to use the advert.

Now to ensure I don't miss out on a DC3 ride over the city!

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Open Day at Whanganui Airport on 31 July!

News just in is an open day at Whanganui airport on 31 July!

This is not only a general open day for the airport, but also to celebrate the arrival of Air Chathams, which takes over the Whanganui to Auckland route from 1 August! Looking at the advert, it looks to be a fun day which a range of activities including scenic DC3 flights around the city!

While unconfirmed at this stage [ie: definitely subject to change!], it appears likely that the following range of Air Chathams and other visiting aircraft will be there:

Air Chathams aircraft

  • Saab-Scania SF340A, ZK-KRA
  • Fairchild SA227-AC Metroliner
  • Douglas DC3C-S1C3G, ZK-AWP [available for scenics!]
Other visitors

  • Consolidated-Vultee PBY-5A Catalina, ZK-PBY [The Catalina Company]
  • de Havilland DH-115 Vampire Jet
  • One or more Yakovlev Yak-52's

A range of local aircraft will also be there, including the Wanganui Aero Club and other local operators. It should be a good day!

Information will be updated as more details come to hand.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Odd and sods from Sunday

This post contains a few odds and sods from Sunday's photographs.

First up is a Fiji Airways-operated Boeing 737-8X2, DQ-FJG.

Boeing 737-8X2, DQ-FJG, operated by Fiji Airways
Another Boeing, this time B737-8FE, VH-YIM, which is operated by Virgin Australia International Airlines.

Boeing 737-8FE, VH-YIM, operated by Virgin Australia International Airlines
The Sounds Air-operated Pilatus PC12's would have to be my favourite aircraft of the moment. This Pilatus PC12-45, ZK-PLT looks great in their new livery!

Pilatus PC12/45, ZK-PLT, operated by Sounds Air
Last up are two photos of Air Wanganui's latest acquisition, a Beech B200 Super King Air, ZK-MDC. This aircraft arrived in New Zealand in April 2016 and is operated as an Air Ambulance.

Beech B200 Super King Air, ZK-MDC, operated by Air Wanganui

Beech B200 Super King Air, ZK-MDC, operated by Air Wanganui

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Monday evening tug testing

Monday evening was a different aviation experience for me, with Air NZ testing to towing of an ATR72-600, ZK-MVH, using their Lektro [please someone correct me if this is wrong!] towbar-less aircraft tugs. These tugs are used on their DHC8's already - maybe A320's as well?

Apparently though, it was a world-first with the manufacturer having only just certified that it can be done, and with Air NZ being the first airline in the world to test it for real!

The test consisted of filling every seat and the baggage compartment [and presumably fuel] and towing the aircraft around the apron for a good hour or so, just to make sure everything would work, and that the aircraft could handle it. Tests were conducted with props spinning and still. Apparently, ATR72's have a relatively "weak" undercarriage, which limits the amount of force that can be applied to it and alongside that, there's a reasonable and understandable desire to ensure the aircraft CoG isn't an issue [this might be the biggest issue from what I'm told]. Add in a wet tarmac, some slope [I think the Wellington apron slopes up to 1-2 degrees in places] and wind, and it's certainly something worth testing before it is needed for real.

A driver for this change of proceduresis a rearranging of gate positions at Wellington, so that ATRs will be backed [using the tugs] onto the gate, then "driven straight out" when they are loaded. So... expect to see some changes in the future!

As for the evening itself, there were about 15-20 Aero Club people [and associates], plus a bunch of other people to fill ever seat in the place. There were two of Air NZ's friendly cabin crew, who gave us water, biscuits, fudge and lollies... and for some reason I was given a kid's colouring in page and pencils... :-) ha! First of the plane also received pizza... I was almost last, so ,missed out on that :-(

Anyway, here are a few pictures form the evening. Photos were taken on my phone. I really wanted to get a photo of the tug, but it was a bit out of the way, and I'm not sure wandering around would have been that welcome!

First up is an entrance to the airport terminal, after parking.

Wellington Airport terminal
We must be at Wellington Airport - where else would you be greeted by this at the checkin counters?

Everyone received a personalised boarding pass - this was a requirement since we were going airside. A nice souvenir anyway!

Boarding pass for the "non flight flight" :-)
On arrival at gate 9, we got our first glimpse at the ATR72-600, ZK-MVH, which we would be seated on for just over an hour.

First glimpse to the apron and ZK-MVH

Following this, it was backed up to the gate, ready for boarding.

ATR-GIE ATR72-600, ZK-MVH, operated by Mount Cook Airline/ Air NZ

Amazing how happy a bunch of airplane people can look when sat on an aircraft which is not going to take off! I've blurred the face of those not associated in some way with the Aero Club... the rest of you, well, here you are!

Yes, this was the good one!
The normal facilities were available, but not needed! Actually, the place had been cleaned, so we were asked to not use the on-board lavatory, but to use the terminal facilities if needed.

Air NZ vomit bags. Spewing in any language permitted!

Still not sure why I was given one of these... funny though, and I think I'll send it to a young lass in the UK. She'll like it!

Air NZ kid's entertainment. There were coloured pencils also.
After the non-flight, we exited the aircraft and headed back into the terminal. These two photos came out quite well, since it was my phone camera and hand held.

ATR-GIE ATR72-600, ZK-MVH, operated by Mount Cook Airline/ Air NZ
All-in-all, a fun evening, and a good chance to sit on a plane and talk plane talk with fellow aviators. Not something you get to do every day!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sunday's Air NZ departures

Here are a few pictures of Sunday's wet and windy departures for Air NZ.

Bombardier DHC8-311, ZK-NEK, operated by Air Nelson/ Air NZ

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

Bombardier DHC8-311, ZK-NEF, operated by Air Nelson/ Air NZ

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

Bombardier DHC80-311, ZK-NFA, operated by Air Nelson/ Air NZ

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Wet and windy today

Today was [as forecast] wet and windy, so no club flying. It did make for a few interesting photos, the first of which are these four photos of Jetstar departures.

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

Bombardier DHC-8-315, VH-TQK, operated by Eastern Australia Airlines [on behalf of Jetstar Airways]

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

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