Sunday, September 25, 2011

Not so nice today...

The weather was a little dodgy today, so no VFR flying at the club today. It seems this might be a fairly typical spring, with variable weather [that is, varying between ok and awful :-)], especially on the weekends!

A couple of interesting aircraft today. The first was a British Aerospace BAe 146 Series 200, ZK-ECO, operated by Vincent Aviation. The aircraft was being turned around due to a wind change, and as you can see, it was raining quiet heavily.

The second is an American registered Beechcraft G58 Baron, N254F, registered to a company called "Kiwi Lion LLC". A quick bit of research indicates that this aircraft may either be based in New Zealand, or at least a regular visitor, with photos found of the aircraft in New Zealand in January and March 2010. It has been in Wellington for a few days - perhaps associated with the Rugby World Cup [Go the All Blacks]?

The last is a Piper PA28-180, ZK-SNE, which seems to delight in arriving and departing Wellington with various people when the weather is borderline VFR [and the local aircraft are tucked up safe and warm]. Crazy.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's good to be home...

After a few weeks overseas on holiday, it is really nice to be back home and able to relax for a few days before heading back to work.

Yesterday I got a dual flight in the club's Cessna 172 - a bit of a refresher having not flown much recently, and a bit of fun. If the weather is good, I'll get a solo flight in on Saturday.

A couple of very different aircraft seen today are a Cirrus Design SR22, ZK-WIJ and an RNZAF operated Bell UH-1H Iroquois, NZ3805. These choppers will become an increasing rarity over the next year or so as they are replaced by the NATO Helicopter Industries NH90.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Europe Trip 2011 #17: Final post from the trip

OK, so here is the final post from my holiday. These are the remaining 4 interesting aircraft I saw I Hong Kong during the very brief stopover. Enjoy!

Top to bottom are:

Airbus A330-202, A7-ACM, of Qatar
Airbus A340-642, D-AIHP, of Lufthansa
Airbus A330-302, B-18309, of China Airlines
Boeing 747-406M, PH-BFU, of KLM

Europe Trip 2011 #16: Second-last post from Hong Kong

In this second-last post from my holiday, I have a bunch of interesting aircraft from the brief Hong Kong stopover on the way back to New Zealand.

It's probably easier just to list them, so here they are:

Boeing 777-3F2/ER, TC-JJL, of Turkish Airlines
Boeing 747-436, G-BNLR, of British Airways
Airbus A330-223, B-LNF, of Hong Kong Airlines
Boeing 747-45EM, B-16409, of EVA Air
Boeing 777-212/ER, V8-BLC, of Royal Brunei

Europe Trip 2011 #15: Leaving Heathrow on Air NZ

After a little over 3 weeks, I'm back in New Zealand. I arrived back earlier today, with very little sleep and suffering for it, although I am trying to stay up for another hour or so before hitting the sack to minimise the effects of jetlag.

Anyway, the trip back. The flight was NZ38 on Air New Zealand, Heathrow [EGLL], Hong Kong [VHHH] (for a brief stop) then on to Auckland [NZAA]. I then caught a domestic AirNZ flight from Auckland to Wellington [NZWN]. The international portion was on a Boeing 777-219ER, ZK-OKA, as per the first photo from Heathrow.

Unlike the trip over, standby upgrades were not available, although this was no problem as I had one of the best economy class seats on the aircraft, with no seat directly in front of me. Perhaps some of the exit row seats were marginally better, but I'm very happy with what I had. As usual, the food was good, the flight attendants very good, and apart form the lack of sleep [I never seem to sleep well on aircraft], a good way to get from A to B.

There are just 2 photos from Heathrow - the Air NZ aircraft and a South African Airways aircraft - I think that this is an Airbus A330-243, ZS-SXY, but I can't be sure [and very happy to be corrected].

My next post will contain the photos from Hong Kong, and that'll be it for the trip. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Europe Trip 2011 #14: Prague - Ruzyne airport

I left the Czech Republic yesterday for London Gatwick [ICAO: EGKK]. I'll be staying in London for a few days and then heading home. Prague -Ruzyne [ICAO: LKPR] is an interesting airport with what appears to be plenty happening, although it was a bit quiet when I was there.

I checked in early for the flight [that is, number 3 to check in], and had a good wander around the airport. The ride itself was OK - just as you would expect from Easyjet... extremely basic, but at least they sell express train tickets etc as good prices. Somehow [even though I refuse to buy "speedy boarding", which only seems to get you in around the first half of boarding, nothing special] I still managed to get a front row seat so unlimited legroom. Unfortunately, the waiting in immigration at Gatwick was at least as long as the flight... oh well.

A few photos that I did manage to capture at Prague are:

Boeing 737-55S, OK-XGA, Czech Airlines
Airbus A319-112, OK-MEK, Czech Airlines
BAE Systems Avro 146/ RJ85, OO-DJW, Brussels Airlines
Boeing 737-86N, VQ-BMP, Yakutia Airlines [one of many airlines based in Russia]
Airbus A319-111, G-EZAK, Easyjet - my ride home

Monday, September 12, 2011

Europe Trip 2011 #13: Tethered balloon ride!

If you have been following my other blog [click here], you may have seen that I went for a tethered balloon ride in Prague today. Very scary, but also fun. Here are a couple of pictures of the balloon, which from what I can find, appears to be a FKP-STU/350. It is on the Czech Republic register as OK-0010.

Anyway, here are a couple of photos. Check out my other site for details of the ride itself!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Europe Trip 2011 #12: Checkpoint Charlie Museum question...?

If you're following my World Travels blog, you'll know that I went to Checkpoint Charlie earlier today. One of the intriguing sights were a set of wings up on the outside of the museum wall. I'm trying to figure out what sort of aircraft is was.

Clearly it's a light aircraft of some sort - maybe the size of a C172/ PA28 [maybe slightly larger?], with the registration D-EDDG. The wings appear to have leading-edge slats and to the right you can see a two-bladed prop.

The words on the caption [between the wings] read:

With an airplane carried by these wings and driven by this propeller the family Arndtz escaped on 22nd May 1982. Their escape agent Rolf Schauss (top photo) from Saarbrucken had flown without permission in the hedgehopping style to Hungary and landed as agreed on a field near Jak. With four GDR citizens on board he had overcome the Hungarian border flying as low as had been possible whilst being shot at and landed in Pinkafeld/ Austria. The action took 19 minutes. 

A quick Google search didn't turn up anything obvious [and the rego appears to have been re-used]. Any ideas?

Monday, September 05, 2011

Europe Trip 2011 #11: Off to the Deutsches Technikmuseum - 4

One last post from the Deutsches Technikmuseum, only one photo, but it's an important one. It is a Cessna [Reims] F 172 P, D-ECJB. 150 hp Lycoming O-320-D2J, 4 seats and no guns. A common as mud aircraft.

Impressed? Maybe not.

Impressive? Well, actually, yes!

This is the aircraft that an immature, and very fortunate 19 year old, low hour PPL, Mattias Rust flew all the way to Moscow in 1987, managing to evade the Russian air defences [through their stupidity, not by his skill], to land in the middle of Moscow... MUCH more exciting than flower-bombing Eden Park during a rugby match, eh?

Idiot? Yes, but this did give the Soviet leader at the time, Mikhail Gorbachev, the opportunity to fire a few Generals, etc, and implement some of his reforms.

Anyway, here is his aircraft. Interestingly, once the aircraft was returned to Germany by the Soviets, it was not allowed to fly again [in case it irritated the Soviets even more!]. It spent time in Munich as "advertising" then in Japan in an open-air exhibition before being purchased and put back on display in the museum.

Europe Trip 2011 #10: Off to the Deutsches Technikmuseum - 3

Ok, more aircraft from the Deutsches Technikmuseum. This time we one civil aircraft, a couple with both military and civil roles and some aircraft that really only have a military application :-)

Arado Ar 79, D-EMVT
Douglas DC3, "European Air Transport Service'/ USAF
Junker Ju 52/3m in Lufthansa livery
Messerschmitt Bf 109
Mikoyan-Gurewitch MiG-15bis
North American (FIAT) F-86K Sabre

Europe Trip 2011 #9: Off to the Deutsches Technikmuseum - 2

Here's my second series of photos from the Deutsches Technikmuseum in Berlin. I forgot to mention in my first posts that some of these images are quiet dark - apologies for that, but camera flashes are not permitted and probably wouldn't help much anyway :-(

On to the photos.

Lockheed L-1049G "Super Constellation" cockpit
Junkers Ju 88 [note the detached nose]
Fieseler Fi 156 "Storch"
Bücker Bü 181 "Bestmann"
Junkers Ju 87 [looking rather worse for wear :-)]
Klemm Kl 35, D-EDOD

Europe Trip 2011 #8: Off to the Deutsches Technikmuseum - 1

Today was my planned trip to visit the Deutsches Technikmuseum [German Museum of Technology]. It was an easy 25-30 minute walk from my hotel, so rather than pay for a taxi, I made the journey on foot. It's a better way to see the city anyway.

The main reason I wanted to go was to see the aviation section, although I was 
pleasantly surprised with the wide range of other displays and information. the staff were very helpful [one of them approached me and went out of her way to get some information for me], and at EUR6, you can't go wrong.

Needless to say there were a few aircraft I had seen before and many that I hadn't. The aircraft display area is not huge [there is far more room devoted to the trains], but it was still worth the walk! Apart from that, take a look at the first picture - any time you see a building with a Douglas DC3 suspended on the roof, it has got to be a good day! :-)

Anyway, to the pictures:

Douglas DC3 on the roof!
Otto Lilienthal's most advanced glider design
Jeannin Stahltaube design [title roughly translates as Jeannin Stahltaube a dove as a scout in the war]
Focke Achgelis Fa 330 "Bachstelze" gyrocopter [designed to be collapsible and operate from u-boats [submarines] as to expand the area the u-boat could observe]
Arado Ar 96 B-1 [the title text on this translated as Standard trainer of the fighter pilot]

[BTW - many thanks to Google Translate [!] for the rough translations and 
 as above!!]

Europe Trip 2011 #7: Balloon ride in the middle of Berlin

I was out and about tonight and saw something a bit different - a tethered balloon ride! This balloon is designed to take tourists for a great view of the city, although I heard yesterday that is was EUR90, so way outside of what I would want to be paying!

Anyway, the interesting thing is that this appears to be on the German aircraft register, as it has a registration of D-OCUL! I guess it would be operating in controlled airspace [with 2 airports in close proximity], although it is tethered full time and I doubt it would be capable of [safe] untethered flight. Who knows!

The wording on the side says it all - der Welt translates as "the world", and yes, the world map on the side does include New Zealand :-)

Anyway, here it is!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Europe Trip #6: Tempelhof airport - RIP

While visiting thFernsehturm or TV Tower in Berlin today, I took a photo of what used to be Tempelhof airport [ICAO code EDDI]. Unfortunately the combination of light, haze, rubbish glass and angle made for a stink picture, but it's the best one I got. Templehof was closed in 2008.

You will need to click on the image for a larger view. Tempelhof was the green patch in the middle of the image.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Europe Trip 2011 #5: BMI from London Heathrow

After a week in London [making a pretense at] babysitting the world's best looking and behaved infant [apologies to the rest of you who think your little darlings are best! Maybe I'm a little biased? :-)], I left London for a week in Berlin. 

The flight was on BMI [British Midland International], a subsidiary of Lufthansa, and was on an Airbus A319. The schedule called for a 14:40 departure, but with a delay in the catering [would you believe they told us that the catering truck broke down as it entered the airfield!!] and a massive airways delay, we got going about an hour later.

Unbelievably, even though my ticket amounted to only GBP14.50 plus about GBP34 in taxes, I got served a "meal", which consisted of some sort of wrap [actually quite nice] and a drink [they only had one type of beer, just as well it was Corona and not some dodgy British brew...]. All this with around 1 hr 20 mins in the air. Ok, so they didn't make any money on me, but they must have made some money out of some of the other passengers [the people sitting next to me paid around GBP24 plus taxes - still very cheap!]!

Anyway, a couple of photos. Nothing of the aircraft I was on, but a BMI Airbus A321-231, G-MEDM and a Lufthansa Airbus A320-211, D-AIQH at London Heathrow [ICAO: EGLL]. Nothing from Tegel airport [EDDT] unfortunately.