Sunday, August 18, 2019

More Nanchang training pictures

Yesterday I received a very welcome gift of some more photos of the Nanchang CJ6A, from Tim Gorman. Tim took these photos between my first two training flights on 27 July, when my instructor and I were in Paraparaumu for a short time.

The first photos is of the arrival [I'm in the back seat], then parked up after refueling, taxying for departure then airbourne.

Since this, I have had a cross country to Hastings, Waipukurau and Masterton and a couple sessions of circuits, culminating in my first solo on type. Hopefully just one or two more flights and I'll have a type rating.

Anyway, here are the photos. Thanks Tim!

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, owned by Wellington Warbirds Ltd

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, owned by Wellington Warbirds Ltd

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, owned by Wellington Warbirds Ltd

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, owned by Wellington Warbirds Ltd

Monday, August 12, 2019

Wellington Airport's official reopening October 1959

Last weekend I was given a copy of the offical souvenir booklet from the reopening of Wellington airport, way back in October 1959.

This reopening occured after the airport was rebuilt with a new sealed runway, a runway extension [how topical!] and associated infrastructure.

The booklet is 70 pages long and contains parts of the history of the airfield, along with numerous contemporary aircraft and pitches from aircraft manufacturers. There are mentions of the various airlines that did, or could have flown in as well as Wellington Aero Club and some pretty awesome photos of aircraft long gone for the skies.

BTW - it is Wellington Aero Club's 90th anniversary this year, so stay tuned for more on that over the coming months!

Anyone who follows my twitter feed [] will know that I have tried, and failed, to claim the awesome prize of free flights from NAC, TEAL and Trans Australia Airlines, along with two weeks accomodation and spending money [£50!], to the Surfers Paradise in Australia. Looks like being born after the opening didn't help my cause...! I was looking forward to flights on the Electra and Viscount in particular 😀

Anyway, here's the title page and a couple of others. I hope that over the next week or so I can photograph all 70-something pages and recreate a PDF. I know that there's some interest in it, so once it's done, I'll look at making it available. Do be patient with me though!

Anyway, here are the photos as a taster of what is to come.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

More circuits, and then... even more excitement

Before I get into the meat of this post, special thanks to Paul Le Roy, a local photographer [and a very good one at that!] who supplied this photo of my instructor and I bashing the circuit yesterday. Thanks Paul! Hopefully there are more pictures like this to be had in the coming weeks, months and years!

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, owned by Wellington Warbirds Ltd
Anyway, I wasn't expecting to fly today. I didn't have a booking and the weather wasn't forecast to be great.

Ever optimistic however, I put all my flight gear in the car and headed out to the Club... only to find that two slots had come free... so flying for me!

After the usual preflight and worrying about whether or not I'd manage to start the engine from cold [it's a 9 cylinder radial, I think you have to experience it to understand!], it all worked out well and it wasn't too long before the instructor and I were airborne for some more circuits.
The wind was a bit odd for Wellington - we don't usually get much crosswind, although today was one of those days we did. Thankfully the crosswind died away just above the deck.

Until the instructor jumped out of course [thanks Andrew!].

Yep. My first solo in the mighty Nanchang CJ6A today!

I left it at a couple of circuits as that crosswind picked up - by my second landing, there was a 12 knot crosswind component, gusting up to 18 knots. It ended up being one of the better crosswind landings I have done, but still a great time to quit in case I ended up doing one of the worst on the next circuit! 😀

Obligatory post-first solo photo!
That's a big thumbs up from me after the flight! BTW - it's not shown well there, but it's an Aeroflot t-shirt that I'm wearing... didn't have anything Nanchang-y available for the occasion 😀

It is amazing what you can get up to at an Aero Club. Click here to find your local club!

So, what's next?

In a couple of weeks I have another flight to a different aerodrome, to polish up operations in a "normal" circuit. A bit of dual and a bit of solo and I should be close to the rating being signed off. Happy days!

Lastly, would you like to fly this amazing machine? It's currently only available to syndicate owners. So, if you have a PPL, at least 100 hours and can satisfy the syndicate owners needs [including the aircraft being based in Wellington and being willing to purchase a share], talk to me! We also happen to have a great instructor here to get you underway!

Saturday, August 03, 2019

More circuits

More circuits but no pictures from today.

Flying today consisted of normal circuits, flapless, side slipping, go-arounds, holding downwind [great practice for orbiting at a slower speed] and a weird thing of a different shape. This Nanchang is great fun! Oh yeah, my first cold start. I have more work to do on that!

I'm not explaining the "weird thing of a different shape".

I'm probably not flying tomorrow, so it may be a couple of weeks before the next flight.

Fun times!

Friday, August 02, 2019

700 reasons for a brief interlude

I recently finished another page in my logbook and on adding that up, came across another interesting, although rather arbitrary, milestone!

Yep, 21 years, 700 hours and about 14 aircraft types flown [just 8 that I'm rated in, with the 9th hopefully not too far off!]. It has been more fun than I imagined it would be when I took that first lesson aged just 26 years old on 28 February 1998!

I've landed on airfields large and small, in daytime and night time, on concrete, tarseal, gravel, grass and sand, level fields and on the sides of hills. I've flown around mountains, across islands and always managed to find my way home. Eventually [no need to comment Rob!]. I have even had 12 minutes of trying to keep a helicopter level [fail!].

I've flown over much of the North Island, some of the South Island, sometimes not seeing or hearing anyone for an hour or more, other times as close as a meter away from two other aircraft. I've even tipped a plane upside down a few times. Fun except for Mr Vomit coming to visit!😃! I've competed, judged and directed flying competitions. I now part own an aircraft [never thought that was going to happen!].

Some cheeky people would say I'm not that smart 😠, but I've managed to learn heaps from many instructors [shiny new C Cats through to grizzly old A Cats] as well as from other PPLs. I'm still learning. I have to, if I want that CJ6 rating! I've eaten more KFC than I should admit to, but hey, flying is a sport, so that's my energy source!

It has been fun times indeed and more fun times ahead!

BTW - I need another 300 hours and a world record for something. Ideas anyone?

Sunday, July 28, 2019

It continues...

3.7 hours of flying today over 4 flights and I'm still grinning!

  • Wellington to Hastings
  • Hastings to Waipukurau
  • Waipukurau to Masterton for some circuits
  • Masterton to Wellington
The excuse for the flights was to attend the Hawkes Bay & East Coast Aero Club fly in at Hastings aerodrome. A fun event with what looked to be about 30 visiting aircraft from all over the place.

After this, we heaed to Waipukurau for a snack [ok, it was on the way home anyway] then to Masterton for some circuits and a refuel. After this, we came home. I'm tired, but it was a lot of fun!

One particularly interesting aircraft at Hastings was this Staaken Flitzer Z-21a, ZK-FTZ. If you've never heard of this aircraft then you're not alone. Here's the Wikipedia article for it. It appeared to be beautifully made and with a single seat, I imagine an interesting first few flights!

Staaken Flitzer Z-21a, ZK-FTZ

Last up, here's a picture of ZK-MAO in the sunshine in Hastings.

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, operated by Wellington Wardbirds

Saturday, July 27, 2019

It begins...

As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I have bought shares in a company that runs a cool airplane. The company is Wellington Warbirds and the aircraft is a Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO.

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, operated by Wellington Warbirds
 Today were my first two training flights!

The CJ6A was designed as an ab-initio trainer for the Chinese airforce, the PLAAF. the initial flight of the type was in 1958, although MAO was actually built in the mid 1980's. Examples were still being built in the early 2000's - primarily for the export market from what I understand.

Some basic stats - it is powered by a Housai HS6A, 9 cylinder radial engine, which develops 285hp at full power. At normal cruise settings, we're crusiing around 250kph [135 knots] and burning just under 60 litres an hour of fuel. The aircraft has a Constant Speed Unit [CSU], retractable undercarriage and a castering nosewheel [so requires differential braking to turn]. All measurements [power, speed, temps and pressures] except the altimeter are metric. the altimeter was metric but was changed to one measuring in feet for [what I hope are] obvious reasons...! 😀

The CJ6A makes extensive use of pneumatic systems, to start the engine, operate the brakes [via a lever on the stick - no toe brakes here], to raise and lower the undercarriage and the flap. "Flap" is singular, as there is only one of them, underneath and extending both sides of the fuselage.

Anyway, for today's first flight I was in the rear seat. The first task was to learn how to taxi the aircraft [I still feel like a brand new student!], before taking off and heading towards Kapiti for some turns and stalls.

After landing at Paraparaumu aerodrome I received a circuit briefing*, covering all the procedures, power settings and other things I would need to know for Wellington.

Nanchang circuit briefing for Wellington
After this,  I was able to jump into the front seat. Miraculously perhaps, the engine started easily, and we headed back to Wellington for a session of circuits.

Two flights, 2 hours total time, and I still have a lot to learn, but I am acquiring the famous Nanchang Grin™.

Back at Wellington after today's training flights
You also could acquire this grin - if you live near Wellington, have a current PPL, at least 100 hours and meet a couple of other basic criteria. Let me know if you are interested in buying a share in this aircraft and we can have a chat!

* hey friends at Kapiti - you may have seen this in a briefing room - thanks for sharing :-)

Monday, July 15, 2019

Learjet 60 at Wellington

This post is of a learjet60, ZK-JAK, which I saw at Wellington a week or so ago. It's a nice paint job and I'm sure it would be fun to fly, not that I'll get the chance to... 😃

The aircraft is registered to JAK Air of a Rotorua address.

Learjet 60, ZK-JAK, operate dby JAK Air of a Rotorua address

Saturday, July 13, 2019

A look around the Nanchang

Following on from my cockpit photos from last Sunday, today I got to walk through a preflight of the Nanchang. There's a lot to do - it's not quite as simple as the C172 I'm used to flying 😁

While this was happening, I took a few photos. For some reason I did not photograph the engine when we opened up the cowling, but there are plenty of other interesting bits to see. I've also decided that with all the crawling underneath this aircraft, I'm going to need some overalls...

Due to weather, it wasn't suitable for the initial flights today and with other commitments, it'll be a couple of weeks away before I get to fly it.

Anyway, here are the photos. Please do let me know if I've mislabelled anything...

That's a big nose!

The battery compartment

Emergency air bottle for pneumatic systems

Gyroscope for the rear instruments

Inlet port for recharging the main air bottle

One big flap underneath the aircraft, extending both sides of the fuselage

Holding over the rear seat to open the baggage compartment

Markings on the rear fuselarge

Here it is!

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Nanchang time!

It has been an exciting time today, as I purchased a share in Wellington Warbirds Ltd, owner of Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO!

This is the first time I have been a [part] owner of an aircraft and I think a CJ6A is a good one to start with! Having parted with some money, the next step is to start learning to fly it. Here's hoping for some good weather over the next few months...

Anyway, until I get into it, here are some photos. First up is a file photo of mine from some time ago.

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, operated by Wellington Aero Club

Next up are two cockpit photos - time to get comfortable and start studying where everything is and how to ready the instruments!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

No more Cessnas for me today....

After yesterday's amazing weather, it turned a little rougher today, with cloud and rain from midday. It did make for some interesting pictures those with a lot of water being blown about during takeoffs and landings.

First up was the regular Singapore Airlines departure to Melbourne which blew a lot of water around as it departed.

Boeing 777-212/ER, 9V-SQN, operated by Singapore Airlines

Boeing 777-212/ER, 9V-SQN, operated by Singapore Airlines

Boeing 777-212/ER, 9V-SQN, operated by Singapore Airlines
Next up is an Air New Zealand-operated Airbus A320-232, ZK-OXJ slowing down after landing.

Airbus A320-232, ZK-OXJ, operated by Air New Zealand
Last up is another Airbus A320-232, this time VH-VFJ and operated by Jetstar Airways.

Airbus A320-232, VH-VFJ, operated by Jetstar Airways
Here's hoping for better weather next Saturday, for another night flight :-)

Saturday, June 22, 2019

The day of the Cessna

I had two flights today. The first was 0.8 hours in a Cessna A152, ZK-ELS, where I went up and did some turns [max rate turns are fun]. Yep, that's pretty much all I did :-) The top of this image shows where the turns were conducted, although the Flightradar ADSB trace is not perfect at all [my turns were much rounder than this suggests!]...

The second flight was for night currency. I had 1.2 hours of dual following by 0.5 hours of solo circuits. This was mainly some turns in the Hutt Valley, a wee bit of a look around the city and some circuits. For my solo circuits, I managed 4 of them which is pretty darn good at Wellington with the mix of traffic and the large circuit]. Fun times. The dual flight looked a bit like the following photos.

All in all though, a lot of fun and really good to get back into the saddle at night. I now have about 26 night hours all up. I'm not aiming for a particular target, but more getting more experience feels good!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Cessna 152 aerobat online at Wellington

Just a quick announcement that Wellington Aero Club has, for a couple of months or so, a Cessna A152, ZK-ELS, online for training and members to hire.

The aircraft is owned by Kapiti Aero Club and we're happy to have it around. Being an aerobat, I suspect that there might be a bit of that turning upside down thing involved also for some members.

Cessna A152, ZK-ELS, operated [for a limited time!] by Wellington Aero Club
Want to know more? Contact Wellington Aero Club.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Motueka and Pilot Proficiency

I've just gotten around to getting some photos off my DSLR and phone from last weekend's flying around, so here are a couple of photos from the beautiful Motueka aerodrome.

Motueka was not one of my original landing points, but with cloud int he way of my planned trip to Karamea and then Westport, I diverted here for fuel and to replan. It's from here that I ended up heading off to St Arnaud [and then Omaka] as seen in my last post.

This first picture is on Motueka as I passed over at about 3,500' when I was still planning to get to Karamea. It was taken on my phone camera, so not great, but still!

NZMK - Motueka Aerodrome
This second picture is obviously my ride for the day, Wellington Aero Club's Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE, on the ground at Motueka.

Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE, operated by Wellington Aero Club
This picture is the clubrooms of Motueka Aero Club. It's a really friendly place to drop into if you need a break or just to stretch your legs.

Motueka Aero Club's clubrooms
Last up is a quick plug for Flying NZ's Pilot Proficiency programme. It's a great way to recognise ongoing skill development and experience in aviation and is open to members of all Flying NZ clubs!

There are awards suitable for solo students, right through to crusty old PPLs like me and CPLs. The awards are also relevant to microlight pilots who are operating under Flying NZ's Part 149 certificate. The website has more details.

For clubs, it's a great way to recognise achievement in your members and to encourage to keep on flying!

Anyway, when I got back from my trip, I found that the Gold award that I applied for had come through. Yay! The sticker fit nicely underneath that C150/C152 type rating sticker from Wanganui Aero Club [thanks Leroy!] :-)

Flying NZ Pilot Proficiency Gold Award

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Visiting St Arnaud

No, I've not been visiting any saints, and certainly the Frenchman St Arnaud is named after was hardly saintly []!

However, on 3 June, I did fly over an amazing part of New Zealand, which includes the St Arnaud range and the township of St Arnaud, along with Lake Rotoiti. Being the start of winter in the southern hemisphere, there's snow at the top of the hills.

St Arnaud Range and Lake Rotoiti
St Arnaud is located west-south-west of Blenheim and more or less south of Nelson. Both worth visiting in their own rights. It is also quite close to Nelson Lakes airfield which can have intensive glider activity, although there did not appear to be any on this day.

St Arnaud township in the foreground of Lake Rotoiti

I'm having trouble with the quality of video from one of my cameras [I think it is all to do with how it is mounted], so the pictures in this post are a few snapshots of frames from the original video. I think you'll agree it looks awesome! I can't wait to go back in the middle of winter and see how much more snow there is.

I should mention that this was part of a much larger trip that included visiting the Marlborough Sounds, Motueka, Omaka and back to Wellington. Hopefully, I'll have some video from the rest of the trip I can use later, but for now, I've included a screenshot of part of the flight path from Avplan.

The green line was my flightpath when capturing these shots [the blue line was the plan]. Ignore the other info - it was taken later when I was at home. I did not have a ground speed of -2 knots...!

For the more technically inquisitive, the aircraft is Wellington Aero Club's Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE. This has an approved camera mount under the right wing. I was flying at 6,500' and the temperature was around 2-3 degrees celsius. Toasty :-) Anyway, here are some more photos.

This last image is looking down the Wairau Valley towards Blenheim and Omaka aerodrome.

I think you'll agree it's a fabulous part of the country and understand why I want to go back soon!

It's also hard to believe that this is just the day after a series of truly awful weather days, with airliners diverting and flights being cancelled.