Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Air NZ Boeing 767 due in Wellington this weekend

With the Hurricanes vs Highlanders rugby game this weekend, there is expected to be an increase in flights and passengers through Wellington over the weekend. Apart from an increase in A320, DHC8 and ATR72 flights, there will be a very special Air NZ operated Boeing 767 flight from Dunedin to Wellington!

This is due to arrive in Wellington on Saturday at 10:35am. I don't yet have a departure date, time or location, although there are, unsurpringsly, no seats to Wellington to Dunedin on the Sunday, so perhaps it is overnighting?

One last little surprise is that there will be a Mount Cook ATR72 flight from Wellington to Auckland on Sunday afternoon - this will be the first of these in a long time [if ever].

The photo is a file photo I posted exactly 2 years ago - 1 July 2013 of an Air NZ B767 landing at Auckland.

Boeing 767-319, ZK-NCJ, operated by Air NZ, 1 July 2013. File photo.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Bula Fiji Airways!

Fiji Airways have started a twice weekly Nadi-Wellington-Nadi service. These flights are scheduled for Thursday and Sunday afternoons, and last Thursday were the first flights in and out.

This afternoon I was at the airport in time to catch the arrival then departure of the second flight. As with the first, Fijian Airways used a Boeing 737-800 series aircraft, in this case B737-808, DQ-FJN. I'm hoping they occasionally slot in the smaller B737-700 on a weekend, but we'll see.

As for the flight timings, I usually much prefer an afternoon departure when I go on holiday, so these flights would be very convenient for me. Two days a week might be a bit awkward, although Fiji Airways also flies into Auckland and Christchurch, so no drama getting home when I want to. Maybe I will try them out one day - Fiji for 1.5 weeks anyone??

Pictures are of the arrival and then the departure.

Boeing 737-808, DQ-FJN, operated by Fiji Airways

Boeing 737-808, DQ-FJN, operated by Fiji Airways

Sounds like a sewer pipe dashing :-P

Four pictures of interest today start with a Sounds Air Cessna C208B Grand Caravan, ZK-SAW. This is the newest Grand Caravan in the Sounds Air fleet and has yet to get the Sounds Air livery applied.

Cessna C208B Grand Caravan, ZK-SAW, operated by Sounds Air

Next up is an aircraft type which is on the way out. Major changes at Air Freight NZ and Airwork will see their Convairs and Metroliners sold off [or scrapped], to be replaced with a number of Boeing 737-400's. Click here for further details from the MRC Aviation blog. These aircraft were sometimes known as the "San Antonio Sewer Pipe" in recognition of where they were built and the shape of the fuselage... :-)

In these pictures we have Fairchild SA227-AC Metroliner, ZK-NSS, taxying in at Wellington. This is operated as an air ambulance, although it seems its time is up shortly also.

Fairchild SA227-AC Metroliner, ZK_NSS, operated by Airwork Flight Operations

Fairchild SA227-AC Metroliner, ZK_NSS, operated by Airwork Flight Operations

Lastly  Air Nelson/ Air NZ Bombardier DHC8-311, ZK-NEW. It's obviously not that new now, as it has been on the register from October 2007. As mentioned in an earlier post, there are a few more of these arriving later this year in the form of competition from Jetstar/ Qantas.

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

Friday, June 26, 2015

Metflight Now Available to Recreational Pilots!

I have just returned from a CAA AvKiwi seminar, and one of the comments made was that the excellent Metflight GA product is again available to recreational pilots at no charge!

The website address is:

Logging on for holders of a valid Part 61 licence is by using your Part 61 licence number and the Initial Grant Date ["Issued" date on older style licences] of that licence [printed on the bottom right of the licence]. For Part 149 certificate holders, contact your organisation for details of how to log on.

This is a great safety bonus for recreational pilots, and is something that all pilots should use, especially when venturing away from your home airport :-)

Login example for Part 61 licence holders is:

Start of Fiji Airways' flights between Nadi and Wellington

Last Thursday was the start of Fiji Airways' newly scheduled flights between Wellington and Nadi. At this stage, there are two return flights a week on Thursdays and Sundays, utilising Boeing B737 aircraft. This brings the number of airports Fiji Airways utilise sin NZ to three - Auckland, Christchurch and now Wellington.

The first flight was conducted by Boeing 737-8X2, DQ-FJG, as shown below, awaiting departure of runway 16.

Boeing 737-8X2, DQ-FJG, operated by Fiji Airways

Thanks to Raynesh for the photo!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Yet another youtube cat video!

This is not my usual type of post...

Doing the rounds of the 'net is this rather funny cat video which I'm sure most of you will enjoy.

It does highlight some important stuff [like always going a thorough pre-flight that is relevant to your aircraft type], it's great that the cat does not appear to have received anything more than a big surprise, and it's perhaps fortunate for all that it didn't dig its claws in and rip the wing...

Anyway, here it is! I hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Jetstar DHC-8 livery

Following on from my previous post, I have tracked down a computer-generated livery for the Jetstar-branded DHC-8's. This was sourced from the Jetstar Newsroom website [linked below].

Sourced from:

DHC-8, Eastern Australia Airline and Jetstar

The big news [although not at all surprising] is that a Jetstar Airways-branded regional service is to start in New Zealand from December 2015.

I say "Jetstar Airways-branded" as it will be another Qantas group company that operates the flights. This company is Eastern Australia Airline, which is part of the Qantas Group, operating under the "Qantaslink" brand in Australia. Eastern Australia Airline has a number of "spare" Bombardier DHC-8-300 aircraft [they same model as Air Nelson/ Air NZ uses]. I assume they also have the crews to operate the aircraft, at least in the short term.

Initially there will be 5 aircraft operating between regional centres, plus [and this is an assumption] Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The reason for this assumption is that, if true, it enables Jetstar's regional passengers to more easily link with the "main trunk" along with trans-Tasman and beyond services.

Timing is everything, and that holds true here. Things are getting better for Qantas group after a few tough years, they have spare aircraft, maybe spare crews, a domestic competitor [Air NZ] which is pulling out of some regions, and a launch at the Christmas rush period.

Initially, it appears that crews may be based in Auckland, although there is also rumour of a Wellington base being set up, along with the possibility of hangerage [maybe even a light maintenance base? We'll have to wait to see about that one].

Interestingly, Jetstar does not operate turbo-prop services across Australia. Is this a case of "wait and see, Australia"?? Perhaps Jetstar are using this as a trial of what could eventually roll out across Australia? Could Jetstar replace some of the Qantaslink branding in Australia? [yes, this is a long shot and only a possibility rather than being likely from what I have heard]

We will have to wait for many of the details, but here are a couple of questions which are bouncing around in my head for now:

  • What regional centres will they operate into and how will they link into the main trunk and international routes?
  • How will they crew the flights long-term? NZ contracts or Australian contracts?
  • Will they set up a base in Wellington?
  • Is this a pre-cursor to the Jetstar brand being used for turbo-prop services within Australia?
If you know more, feel free to leave a comment, or send me an email!

Anyway, here is a picture of the only DHC-8 operator in NZ at the moment... we will be seeing a few more of these later this year, but with a livery looking a little more like the A320 in the background!

Bombardier DHC-8-311, ZK-NES, operated by Air Nelson/ Air NZ. Type soon to be operated under the Jetstar brand

A few random shots from Wellington today

Here are a few random shots of aircraft from Wellington today. Being a Sunday, it was a bit quieter today, but plenty of sunshine [certainly a lot nicer than yesterday!] and it wasn't too windy either.

First up is a picture of Piper PA38-112, ZK-TAW, which is operated by Wellington Aero Club. In this unusual shot, the aircraft is entering the Airport Hold on the western side of the airport.

Piper PA38-112, ZK-TAW, operated by Wellington Aero Club
 Next up is one of Sounds Air's Caravans, Cessna C208, ZK-PDM.

Cessna C208, ZK-PDM, operated by Sounds Air
Getting on to the larger aircraft, we have a Boeing 737-838, ZK-ZQF, which is operated by Jetconnect [owned by Qantas]. On the taxiway is an Air NZ operated Airbus A320-232, ZK-OXH.

Boeing 737-838, ZK-ZQF, operated by Jetconnect/ Qantas
Jetstar has been in the news this week, with the announcement of Jetstar's first entry into turbo-prop operations due to start in December. To be fair, it's not Jetstar itself, but Eastern Australia Airline's DHC8-300's which will be operating the services, but branded as Jetstar.

The DHC-8's are not here yet, so for now, here is a picture of one of their Airbus A320-232's, VH-VGY.

Airbus A320-232, VH-VGY, operated by Jetstar Airways
 Last up is an Air NZ operated Airbus A320-232, ZK-OXH.

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

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Air Nelson, Sounds Air and Jetstar?

What a weird day! Unusually, the weather has been rubbish over most of the North Island, except in Wellington. That's not to say that it has been nice here... it's just not as bad at the rest of the North Island. The South Island was probably the pick of the bunch weather wise though...

Photos include an Air Nelson/ Air NZ Bombardier DHC-8-311, ZK-NFB landing, a Sounds Air Pilatus PC-12/45, ZK-PLS parked up, and a screen shot from the Metservice website of the rain radar.

Bombardier DHC-8-311, ZK-NFB, operated by Air Nelson/ Air NZ

Pilatus PC-12/45, ZK-PLS, operated by Sounds Air

Rain radar image (c) Metservice
The big news of the week however is the announcement that Jetstar is starting up some regional routes using some spare Eastern Australia Airlines [QANTAS Link] Bombardier DHC-3-300 aircraft! These services will be managed and branded as Jetstar and are due to start in December 2015. As one wag suggested, you can now get your bags lost in the regions :-)

Initially it looks like 4 regional airports will be served with the 5 aircraft, although this seems to exclude Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. I strongly suspect that these three main centres will be included as it will allow regional passengers to book a Jetstar/ Qantas ticket from home to wherever they are heading - ie: they will operate as feeder routes to Jetstar's and Qantas' other routes.

One rumour [I must stress, it is only rumour at this stage] which has surfaced is the possibility of an operations base at Wellington airport, including the possibility of a "light" maintenance facility. I have just this evening asked Jetstar for comment and I'm awaiting their response. It is a credible [even if eventually false] rumour - Wellington is a central location and Jetstar will almost certainly be cycling a lot of their fleet through Wellington on a regular basis and they will need somewhere to do at least light maintenance - I guess the heavy stuff will still be performed outside NZ unless they use Air Nelson's facilities???

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Beautiful weather and high tides

It has been yet another beautiful winter's day in Wellington! Cool, but not too cold, not very windy [just a gentle cross wind] and clear skies. I didn't get to go flying myself, although plenty of others did.

Like many airports in New Zealand, Wellington airport is on the coast and there have been some unusually high tides over the past few days. For today, these tides created some decent sized waves getting into the carpark at Lyall Bay and other places.

Anyway, on to the photos. First up is ATR-GIE ATR72-212A, ZK-MCO, operated by Mount Cook Airline/ Air NZ. As you can see, the crosswind is not too strong.

ATR-GIE ATR72-212A, ZK-MCO, operated by Mount Cook Airline/ Air NZ
Next up is one of many pictures of waves hitting the carpark wall in Lyall Bay. I especially like the high resolution version of this image in which you can clearly see sand and other stuff suspended in the water!
Waves at Lyall Bay
 Last up is a distant shot of an Air NZ Airbus A320-232 disappearing into the afternoon... probably off to Christchurch.
Airbus A320-232, operated by Air NZ

Sunday, June 07, 2015

More night flying

Today was one of those spectacular mid winter days we get in Wellington [aside from the fact that winter has only just started here in New Zealand].

Cool with a very gentle breeze, little or no cloud and great visibility. The perfect night to go flying. Oh yeah, there's no moon, and so it's really, really dark out there.

Rhys, Glenn and I got ready, jumped into Cessna 172S, ZK-CEO, and after a short 30 minute delay [at the suggestion of ATC due traffic reasons], we got started and were soon on our way.

First up was a flight over the Wellington CBD, then we joined left hand downwind for runway 34. Those of you who know Wellington will realise that on a really dark night, heading downwind for 34, you quickly run out of ground lighting and it gets really dark.

This is little different than being right hand downwind over the harbour entrance and having to hold for a couple of minutes... very very dark. Instruments are very very useful! This was one of the few nights when there was little outline of the hills visible, so a little eerie... Despite all of this, my turns were fine and my four landings for the evening were actually pretty good [if I do say so myself!]. Smooth, nicely controlled, and no unexpected arrivals with the surface :-)

Anyway, photography at night is not easy at the best of times. Rhys made a good job of the following panoramic photo [hand held on a smartphone, no less!], so I thought I would share it. Thanks Rhys...

NZWN Western Apron before our flight. Yes, it was that dark. Very much that dark. Fun times were about to ensue!
So much fun in so little time... no wonder I am tired tonight! :-)

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Pilatus PC12 and a Bell 206B

There was no flying for me today - I was going to go night flying, but the weather went downhill mid afternoon which put paid to that. Maybe tomorrow!

The first of two visiting aircraft is a Pilatus PC12/47E, VH-PID. This aircraft has been on loan to Sounds Air, apparently for crew training purposes. I guess it'll be going home to Australia soon with the recent arrival of Sounds Air's third PC12.

Pilatus PC12/47E, VH-PID, registered to S.K.N. & R.J. Kibble Pty Ltd of a Toowoomba City, Queensland, Australia address

Next up is a Bell208B, ZK-IBM, which is operated by Kapiti Heliworx of Paraparaumu. The logo on the side is pretty cool, with the "X" being swirling blades...
Bell 208B, ZK-IBM, operated by Kapiti Heliworx, of a Paraparaumu address

Monday, June 01, 2015

A quick visit to Whanganui

I had a quick visit to Whanganui over the past weekend. There was no planned aircraft spotting, but I did get to see a Kawasaki BK117 B2, ZK-IPT, operated by Search and Rescue Services of a Taupo address.

Kawasaki BK117 B2, ZK-IPT, operated by Search and Rescue Services

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