Thursday, December 18, 2014

More night flying - up to Paraparaumu

Last Tuesday evening I undertook another dual night training flight. While I have my basic night rating, there's this requirement to do specific cross-country training [and at least 3 hours of it!] to be able to fly longer distances at night. 

This is OK from a navigation perspective, but it seems overkill to me. Oh well, I'll get it sorted and then the rating will be unrestricted. In any case, it is a good idea to know how to navigate to and land at another aerodrome in case where you take off from is closed due to weather or accident. It will also be handy if I get caught out one evening - it may allow me to return home with the last bit in darkness which would be good.

The entire flight, including a touch and go at Paraparaumu was 1 hour, so only 2 more hours of cross country training to do. I'm not sure when this will be done [except that it's highly likely to be next year], but it'll probably involve a flight from Wellington to Palmerston North.

Taking photos at night from a moving plane is hard, but our passenger, Amy, did manage this ok one from left hand downwind for runway 34 at Paraparaumu. You can just see the runway lighting in the dark patch below most of the town lights.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Looks like the nice weather has arrived!

After a lot of wind, some rain and low cloud over the past few weeks [interspersed with some good days, to be fair...], today has turned out to be absolutely awesome.

Weather comprising of little wind, blue skies and warmer temperatures than have been seen in a long time were very welcome.

No flying for me today, but it looks like a short dual night cross-country to Paraparaumu and back on Tuesday night is in order. It'll be my first night cross-country so that should be interesting, and I need this to [eventually] get my unrestricted night rating ticked off. The weather is supposed to fantastic through to at least Tuesday and maybe Wednesday. I'm not sure there will be any photos [I'll be busy!], but we'll see.

I have no photos from today, but just imagine bright sunshine and lots of happy Wellington Aero Club aviators!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Airbus' and trophies

Today's weather was rubbish [which is quite normal for this time of the year, I suppose!], but to finish it off, we did have the Wellington Aero Club's annual Christmas dinner and prize giving. For the first time, the event was held at the local Spruce Goose cafe - good food and great views over the Southern 

More details of prizes and a few photos will be on the Club's Facebook page, but here are three photos from the day.

First up is an Air NZ operated Airbus A320-232, ZK-OJR departing, then a Jetstar Airbus A320-232, VH-VFJ arriving, then finally a table full of trophies.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lifeflight Air Ambulance

What follows are my first pictures of the Life Flight Air Ambulance, a British Aerospace Jetstream J32, ZK-LFW, since the Vincent Aviation receivership. The aircraft has recently had some additional decals applied, saying "Life Flight - Saves time. Saves lives" since I last saw it.

According to the CAA website, the aircraft is still operated by Vincent Aviation (in receivership), but in reality the crews are supplied by a company called Air Freight.

Big, noisy and wet!

Wellington Aero Club is based at Wellington International Airport. As such, the airport is required to provide fire/ rescue services and as part of that, the airport has a couple of brand new fire trucks. One of these was brought over the the Aero Club today, for members and families to take a look over.

Without going into all the details, these Rosenbauer fire trucks are made in Austria, designed especially for airport fire fighting, exported around the world, and Wellington has two of them! 0-80 km/hr in 30 seconds is quite impressive for a vehicle of this size [9.5 tons of water, plus foam, dry powder, hoses, pumps and other bits of kit, plus the truck and engine itself!]

Scott, the fire fighter who brought the truck over for us to look at, showed and talked us through much of the equipment on board. We were allow to look through the cab, before he gave us a demo of their ability to spread a lot of water around in a very short time. Many thanks to Scott for doing this for us!

Anyway, here are a few photos. They are all fairly self-explanatory... and yes, one of these is me sitting in the cab, wishing that I was allowed to press a few buttons!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Boeing and Airbus

Today's pictures are of a rapidly disappearing type, the Boeing 737-319, ZK-NGI. It won't be long until all of Air New Zealand's B737's are sold off or scrapped. Following that is a Jetstar operated Airbus A320-232, VH-VGA.

Apart from this, it was a bit windy today, so a little quiet on the GA-front with just a few flights, Tomorrow's weather is not great, so probably not so many aircraft photos tomorrow either. Having said that, all going well, I do hope to have something interesting to show you tomorrow. :-)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Not For Operational Use!

During a general tidy-up at the Aero Club a couple of weekends back, we discovered this old [out of date!] page called "Ground To Air Emergency Visual Signalling Code", published by the "Civil Aviation Administration".

Before anyone asks, this is well out of date, but good for a laugh! I especially like the symbol for "Require Firearms and Ammunition"!!! I still can't quite understand what use that might be in civil aviation... ? :-)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Different colours, different grass

I went flying again today, with a couple of other Wellington Aero Club members. We headed up to Otaki airstrip, which is a nice grass airstrip just south of Otaki township. It is plenty long enough - even with the displaced thresholds, the landing distance is 730 meters with a very gentle slope.

I hope to have some photos in the next few days from a passenger. When these arrive, I'll put them up in another post.

From the photos I did manage to get today are a couple of Airbus A320's, with slightly different colours.

First up is a Jetstar Airbus A320-232, VH-VGF. The livery on this one is quite different to the standard Jetstar livery. The two photos show both sides of the aircraft.

Last up is an Air NZ Airbus A320-232, ZK-OAB. It looks as though the nose has been replaced, but no black paint job as yet. As has been suggested by others, a nice red nose in time for Christmas could be a good idea!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Another windy day... hopefully better tomorrow

It has been another windy day in Wellington with up to 50 knot gusts at times, so no light aircraft flying today... I am booked in for a flight tomorrow, so we'll see what that is like.

Photos today are just three. First up is a Gulfstream G650, ZK-KFB, which is registered to ExecuJet, but is better known as Peter Jackson's plane.

Next up is a Sounds Air Cessna 208, ZK-PDM and last is an Air Nelson/ Air NZ Bombardier DHC-8-311, ZK-NEG. Both of these are departing into the strong, gusty winds.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

China's President Xi Jinping departs Wellington...

... on an Air China operated Boeing 737-89L, registered B-5342.

As it turns out, I have seen this aircraft at Wellington previously. In June 2010, then Vice-President Xi Jinping visited Wellington.

Anyway, here are three of the 50-odd photos I took this evening. Unfortunately, these are about the best of the lot. You can probably tell that there is a lot of glare this evening...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

RNZAF Boeing 757-200

I happened to be out at the airport this evening on Aero Club business and arrived in time to see the arrival of this Boeing 757-200, NZ7571, operated by the Royal new Zealand Air Force [RNZAF].

For my overseas readers, the B757 is one of two operated by the RNZAF and is the largest aircraft that they operate. It is also the largest aircraft type to regularly operate into Wellington.

Monday, November 17, 2014

US Air Force and RNZAF at Wellington

Today's special visitors at Wellington are a US Air Force Boeing C40C/ B737-7CP, registered 05-0730 and an RNZAF Boeing 757-200, NZ7571.

I'm guessing that the B737 is here after the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia. Maybe the B757 is the same. I'm also going to keep a quiet eye out over the next few days, as there have been a few foreign leader's aircraft visiting New Zealand recently. It would be interesting to see if any of them are planning of coming to Wellington.

Anyway, here are the photos. Fairly self-explanatory really.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Overnight at Wellington

Just one photo from today. This time a Cessna 172M, ZK-LQA, operated by Airline Flying Club of a Papakura address [based at Ardmore AD].

My understanding is that the aircraft had a hurried move into the engine run-up bay [which is relatively sheltered] late last night due to the stormy weather which hit Wellington overnight and today.

As an aside, I saw the Wellington METAR indicating surface winds with up to 60 knot gusts this morning, although it may have died down by the time I got out there.

Homeward bound

Last up on my trip home to Wellington was another flight in an Eagle Airways operated Raytheon B1900D, ZK-EAE. Like the trip north to Taupo, there were only about 5 passengers on board for the flight home. Unlike the trip north, the views were somewhat more impressive.

Three simple photos here. Firstly, the aircraft, send and third are two views of the eastern side of Mount Ruapehu as we headed south. The photos of Ruapehu are black and white - they seemed to look better that way.

Meat bombing and more at Taupo

While waiting for my trip home to Wellington, I took the opportunity to capture a few pictures of the local happenings.

Taupo is well known for its sky diving and so it is little wonder that most of the flights were associated with people deliberately falling out of a perfectly good aircraft [fools! ha ha ha]. Top to bottom in this set of photos are:

Pacific Aerospace 750XL, ZK-JQK, operated by Tandem Skydiving Ltd
Pacific Aerospace 750XL, ZK-SDT, operated by Skydive Taupo Ltd
2 x GAF N22C, ZK-SNZ, operated by Tandem Skydiving Ltd
Lastly, tandem jumper about to land


In addition to these, were a couple of other interesting pictures to be had. First up is a local rescue helicopter, a Eurocopter AS350B2, ZK-HZJ, operated by Search and Rescue Services Ltd. Next is a Cessna U206F, ZK-RPM, operated by TAM Flight Ltd of a Mt Maunganui address. lastly, it's great to see an airport that provides for GA pilots as well as the airlines :-)


My first visit to Invercargill!

At Invercargill
I had the privilege of spending last week working at a couple of my employer's more remote worksites. This trip saw me fly firstly into Invercargill and then up to Taupo.

I had never been to Invercargill before, so I was interested to see what the airport was like. The terminal itself was pretty basic, but mostly functional. It is also undergoing a major revamp, to the extent that the baggage collection point is currently in a marque outside the main terminal.

The following pictures are from Invercargill airport [ICAO code: NZNV] on the day of my departure. Top to bottom are the terminal, the baggage claim area and the control tower.

In additional to some local light aircraft, there were two commercial flights that came and went. The first is an Air Nelson Bombardier DHC8-311, ZK-NFB and the second is the aircraft that would take me to Christchurch, an ATR-GIE ATR72-212A, ZK-MCU, operated by Mount Cook Airline:

Flights to Taupo
The flights to Taupo [Invercargill - Christchurch - Wellington - Taupo] were reasonably eventful.

We were flying abeam Christchurch when the ATR72 was struck be lightening. I did not see anything, but it was one very loud bang. One of the flight attendants just about jumped out of her skin... hardly surprising!

The flight from Christchurch to Wellington was in a Boeing 737, and we got "moved around' a wee bit. Nothing frightening at all, actually, just a bit of fun.

Wellington to Taupo in a Raytheon B1900D was less eventful, although we did get to land, and de-plane in a fair amount of rain. Fun times!

I only have a couple of photos from this part of the trip - the first is looking out at the clouds below us in the cruise towards Taupo and the second is the inside of the mostly empty plane. More pictures from Taupo will be in my next post.