Thursday, November 14, 2019

BFR done

Last Tuesday I completed the flying portion of my Biennial Flight Review [BFR]. This is a check that is needed every two years to confirm continued competence and to ensure I am updated on anything significant that has changed in the aviation world over the past couple of years. The aircraft was Wellington Aero Club's Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE.

My goodness, it was a fun flight! The instructor and I managed to get the few hours of perfect weather in what has otherwise been a period of rather poor weather. We could not have had it better. A gentle crosswind at Paraparaumu, smooth flying conditions everywhere and one of the best evenings to fly on that I have ever encountered.

EKE has a 180hp engine and a STOL kit. This means you can actually fly it at 50 knots indicated [with no flap] and do a rate one turn. It gets airborne super quick also. It can be a bit tricky slowing it down if you're not sufficiently ahead of the aircraft.

In 1.9 hours, we covered everything, including a trip up to Paraparaumu, across to Upper Hutt and then to the southern Wairarapa area for a forced landing and some low flying. Given it was evening, we came back as it was getting darker and landed a few minutes before ECT [if we had been delayed, the instructor was night current and I'm night rated, so it hardly would have mattered].

I don't have any photos from the flight, but then, I doubt they would have done justice to what we could see. Smooth flying conditions, amazing visibility and a fun fun fun time... I learned something and got reminded of a couple of things also... just how a BFR should be!

Anyway, flights are also booked in the Nanchang between now and Christmas, so I should be able to get some tripping around done. Watch out Whanganui, I'm heading your way in 2.5 weeks if the weather gets better 😎

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Older and newer Airbus'

Last Saturday I saw one of Air New Zealand's older Airbus A320-232's, ZK-OJH and one of their newest aircraft, an A321-271NX, ZK-NNB.

ZK-OJH is one of two [that I can recall] Air NZ A320's in a special livery, this one being the Star Alliance livery.

Airbus A320-232, ZK-OJH, operated by Air New Zealand

Airbus A320-271NX, ZK-NNB, operated by Air New Zealand

Monday, November 11, 2019

A soon to be disappearing operator...

Another picture from the weekend is the soon to be disappearing [from New Zealand skies at least] operator, Eastern Australia Airlines, operating for Jetstar, and their Bombardier DHC-8-315, VH-TQL.

These DHC-8's will be leaving New Zealand at the end of this month and [presumably] returning to Australia.

Bombardier DHC-8-315, VH-TQL, operated by Eastern Australia Airlines/ Jetstar

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Another Singapore Airlines A350-900

Today's photo is of the latest Singapore Airlines-operated Airbus A350-941, 9V-SMB, to operate into Wellington and about to depart

Airbus A350-941, 9V-SMB, operated by Singapore Airlines

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Airbus' 10,000th aircraft

Airbus' 10,000th aircraft is an A350-951, 9V-SMF, which is operated by Singapore Airlines. This was the aircraft that operated Singapore Airlines' service into Wellington on Sunday.

As can be seen, it's mainly the standard livery with just the addition of the 10,000th Airbus Aircraft logo on the rear fuselage.

Airbus A350-941, 9V-SMF, operated by Singapore Airlines

Monday, November 04, 2019

Singapore Airlines' new A350 service to Melbourne [and Singapore]

Last Friday was the first of the Singapore Airlines' Airbus A350 services to Wellington [replacing the previous Boeing B777].

Singapore Airlines is the first airline operator of the A350 into Wellington, following on from the Airbus-operated flights last year.

These photos are from Saturday's flight which was operated by A350-941, 9V-SMC.

Airbus A350-941, 9V-SMC, operated by Singapore Airlines

Airbus A350-941, 9V-SMC, operated by Singapore Airlines

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Piper Archer TX

A visitor from Canterbury Aero Club arrived on Saturday in the form on a Piper PA28-181 Archer TX, ZK-LJX. This is a new build Archer with twin Garmin 1000 displays.

Piper PA28-181 Archer TX, ZK-LJX, operated by Canterbury Aero Club
In other news, I did manage a brief flight this afternoon, moving Wellington Aero Club's Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE to Paraparaumu for a 100-hour inspection and planned maintenance next week.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

I HAVE CLOTHES! The weather is better! Lots of flying! Time for a BFR!

I HAVE CLOTHES! The weather is better!

I suppose that's the most unusual post title I have ever used. Also, not something I typically celebrate since I usually have plenty of clothes around [no Cheryl, this is not Ottawa!] 😁


The reason for a minor celebration is that my suitcase, which was full of clothes and related stuff, my camera gear and most of my flight gear, was stuck in Masterton for the past few days. I had to wait the weather improved enough for them to fly back in a C172 after the Flying NZ Cook Strait regional comps last weekend.

Unfortunately, the Nanchang doesn't have space for a suitcase and I wasn't that smart about picking and choosing what would fly back with me on Monday.

I least I never had to stoop to borrowing a certain somebody's China Southern First Class pyjamas. That's a whole different story.

Lots of flying!

In other news, I thought it had been a big month of flying for me. Turns out it was. I did a total of 9.3 hours - probably the largest single month in a few years - and it felt really good!

October started with 3.7 hours solo, over 2 flights in Cessna 172s [ZK-EKE and ZK-CEO], including a nice trip to NZHS (Hastings aerodrome). It continued and finished with 2.2 hours dual and 3.4 hours solo in my Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO.

Combined with the previous type rating flights for the Nanchang, I now have a total of 16.5 hours on type, including 6 hours solo. I think I'm getting the hang of it now! I should stop promising people rides for a short time, as I'm up to three aerodromes I have to go visit already [plus Wellington] and probably 7 or 8 people...

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, operated by Wellington Aero Club/ Wellington Warbirds
Time for a BFR!

The next thing I have to do is undertake my BFR [Bienniel Flight Review]. Until that is done, no more Nanchang flying [it's an insurance requirement]... so hopefully it will be finished in the next couple of weeks. Until then, all those I have promised flights to will have to wait...!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Flying NZ Cook Strait Regional competition. Success!

This past weekend has been Flying New Zealand's regional competition, this year hosted by Wellington Aero Club [website / facebook] as Hood Aerodrome [Masterton].

As is usual, it was a very busy weekend, with arrivals day on Friday [although I did get some Nanchang flying in 😀] followed by a very busy competitions day on Saturday. We had a full day of competitions, starting with briefings at 07:30 and finishing up around 16:30 with the last of the bombing and liferaft competitions completed.

In case you're interested in competitions or the results, check out the Flying NZ competitions page [https://flyingnz.co.nz/competitions.html]. Scroll down a little for the results.

I'm pretty enthusiastic about competitions, even if for the last 3 years I've been organising them rather than competing. I think that the practice competitors undertake is great for their own skills, it is a lot of fun and it's great for club hours also. A win-win-win situation! Not only that, but the social side of the competitions is good also. Typically there's a relaxed BBQ on the Friday before the competition, "formal" dinner on Saturday after the competitions and lots of laughs and tall stories in between.

Well done to everyone who competed, thanks to all those who helped in any way and congratulations to Wellington Aero Club who took out the main competitions, the Wigram Cup!

If you want to know more about Flying NZ competitions, send me a message, I'm happy to help!

Unfortunately, I was so busy with organising stuff that I didn't get to fly in the Streamer Cutting competition or get to take many photos, but it was an enjoyable day none the less!

I did get a couple of flights in the Nanchang CJ6A on Friday, one of Sunday morning and my flight home on Monday morning. All in all, a lot of fun there. I think I got close to 2 hours of circuits in total, most of them with a crosswind and one session following a Tecnam P2002JF [ZK-WRA from Wairarapa Aero Club] around the circuit. I flew some wider circuits just because of the relative speeds of our aircraft, so that's great practice also.

The trip home was fairly uneventful. The forecast westerly winds were there with a bit of wave going on, but not too much turbulence, although I suspect the Nanchang handles it better than some other aircraft. Airswitch was only 0.6 hours, including a go-around and circuit at Wellington on arrival [something much bigger and faster than me was behind me].




Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Interesting and fun times!

It has been an interesting and fun time recently. Not much in the way of pictures yet, but there are likely to be some coming up in the next week or so.

Anyway, in the last 3 months, I have started and been signed off for, my Nanchang CJ6A type rating (thanks Simsy!). A bit of work but a lot of fun! I've also completed some currency work since the aircraft was in maintenance for a few weeks - also good fun!

I'm now just about due for my BFR which I hope to complete in the next week or two.

More important though is that this weekend is the Flying NZ Cook Strait regional flying competitions. This year they are being held at Masterton [Hood Aerodrome]. Like the last couple of years, I am directing the competitions, which a lot of help from some really smart and generous people. Thanks!

This year we have competitors from Wanganui, Hawkes Bay & East Coast, Kapiti and Wellington Aero Clubs. It's bound to be a fun time for all with flying and social events planned. I'm also competing in the Streamer Cutting - I think there are only two of us doing this, but this is an open entry comp, so if any others from member clubs want a go, we'll try and fit you in.

Hopefully, I'll have a few minutes to capture some pictures from the Friday and Saturday and maybe a rather more relaxing flight or two in the Nanchang 😁

Nanchang Syndicate Shares
One last thing. Are you interested in flying something a little different? Based near Wellington? Have a minimum of a PPL and 100 hours total time?

There might be some Nanchang syndicate shares coming up soon!

It's a great opportunity to get into warbird flying. If you've been flying the regular sorts of GA aircraft, this is quite achievable but it'll also provide a bit of a challenge! Let me know if you're interested and I'll give you the lowdown.


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Two Cessnas at Wellington

Today's pictures [from last Sunday] are two quite different Cessna aircraft.

The first is a Cessna A185F, ZK-PRM. This aircraft is operated by Pelorus Air and is used to transport passengers across Cook Strait and around the Marlborough Sounds.

Cessna A185F, ZK-PRM, operated by Pelorus Air

The second Cessna for this post is a Cessna 650 Citation III, N163JM. Despite being US-registered, it is based in Wellington and makes fairly regular trips out and about. It appears that it undertook a return trip to Christchurch on Sunday.

Cessna 650 Citation III, N163JM

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Three DHC8s at Wellington

More pictures from last Sunday, this time of three Bombardier DHC8's. The first two are from Air Nelson [Air NZ].

ZK-NEE is still in the "old" Air NZ Link livery.

Bombardier DHC-8-311, ZK-NEE, operated by Air Nelson [Air NZ]

ZK-NEA is in the new livery.

Bombardier DHC-8-311, ZK-NEA, operated by Air Nelson [Air NZ]

Lastly, a livery that will be disappearing at the end of this month, is the Jetstar livery on the Eastern Australia Airlines-operated DHC-8's. Jetstar is pulling all of it's regional routes in NZ. I expect that these aircraft will therefore return to Australia.

Bombardier DHC-8-315, VH-TQD, operated by Eastern Australia Airlines for Jetstar

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Old and the New

I have two photos of ATR-GIE ATR72 aircraft from Mount Cook Airline. The first is an older, and on the way out, aircraft, ZK-MCB.

ATR-GIE ATR72-500, ZK-MCB, operated by Mount Cook Airline [Air NZ]

The second is one of Mount Cook Airline's newest ATR72-600 aircraft, ZK-MZA.

ATR-GIE ATR72-600, ZK-MZA, operate dby Mount Cook Airline [Air NZ]

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Wellington Aero Club aircraft

It was an interesting day for flying today. A bit of cloud around, but very smooth conditions.

I did get up for a brief flight. I was planning on going to D'Urville Island, but with the cloud the way it was and not being sure of being able to get back if it clagged in, I turned back early. The aircraft [as usual for strip flying] was the Club's Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE, pictured here prior to departure.

Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE, operated by Wellington Aero Club
The unexpected sight today though was a temporary Piper PA38-112, ZK-TDL. I understand we're using this for a week or 2 to cover some maintenance on ZK-WAC, so get your picrures while you can! It is currently registered to Kapiti Districts Aero Club and owned by a local engineer.

Piper PA38-112, ZK-TDL, operated by WAC, registered to KDAC

You can see the light wasn't great for photos, but I have to start rebuilding my collection somehow!

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Air NZ A320-232

It has been a rather annoying week.

I managed to lose all my images and video when someone "helpfully" encrypted, then offered to decrypt [for an exceeding large fee] all the photos and videos I had on my NAS. I suppose it serves me right for not protecting the data well enough.

Needless to say I'll have to spend a lot of time taking photos and there will be a lot I can't replace. Stink. I will need to do some tripping around to get some more - just as well I have airpoints... and I will get better at protecting these new images...

Anyway, here is the first of the new set. An Air New Zealand-operated Airbus A320-232, ZK-OXD, at Christchurch last weekend.

Airbus A320-232, ZK-OXD, operated by Air New Zealand