Sunday, March 26, 2023

This was an awesome currency check

Yep, this was an awesome currency check in the club's Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE, this afternoon with Oscar.

Rather than just a few circuits, we headed up to Paraparaumu to do some circuits. This included some interesting weather en route, some slightly crosswind weather at NZPP, solo circuits and a relatively easy flight home.

Fun times!

Monday, February 20, 2023

Piper Turbo Arrow

Today's picture is a Piper PA28RT-201T Turbo Arrow, ZK-TFD, from Christchurch.

I've never flown a Turbo Arrow, and it has been many years [probably 17 years or so] since I flew any type of Arrow.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Flying NZ "Healthy Bastards" National Championships 2023

This past week, I was helping to run the annual Flying NZ National Championships for 2023, which were hosted by the team at Marlborough Aero Club at Omaka aerodrome [NZOM]. This year we were privileged to have some sponsorship from Dr Dave and his Healthy Bastards Club [also a registered charity], including having Dr Dave as our guest speaker at the Friday evening awards presentation dinner. More on the dinner later.

This was a particularly special competition, since last year we had to cancel due to covid-related restrictions, and some additional safety risks that the pandemic posed for us. A hard decision at the time in some respects, but certainly the right one.

In any case, this year, everyone was keen to go, and this was shown by having a good number of registrations, as competitors, judges/ officials and supporters. We had people from the North Shore of Auckland to Timaru attending and everywhere in between.

The competitions

The competitions themselves were held at, and in the vicinity of, Omaka Aerodrome, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday [with last Tuesday as a practice day for those that wanted it].

Being the middle of summer, the days were hot. Over 30 degrees celsius one day, and in the 20s on the others.

Marlborough Aero Club have a fantastic facility, and great relationships with many of the locals. This included the Omaka Marae for some meals, the Classic Fighters team for the mobile control tower, the military for some tents and various other suppliers who provided contents for the competitors goody bags. Nicely done!

The outlook from the Marlborough Aero Club clubrooms

Some of the competitor and supporter aircraft

Canterbury formation team in their competition flight

Some more competitors

The mobile control tower [Omaka remained unattended]

One of the Marlborough Aero Club vehicles

This year we had an even stronger focus on airmanship - which paid off with with great examples of good decision making, which just makes it even easier to run a safe and fun event. As the Contest Director, I was particularly pleased with some good go-around decisions made at times.

It was also good to host some officials from the Civil Aviation Authority [CAA] who visited over 3 days [one was put to work judging a low flying competition]. It is great to see the CAA taking an interest in what we do and how we do it.

Awards presentation dinner

Friday night was the awards presentation dinner. As I mentioned earlier, Dr Dave was our guest speaker - entertaining as always. I won't say too much, but I did get an honourable[!] mention 😂 in his presentation, but at least it wasn't my face photo-shopped in as one of the members of the naked horsemen club!! Phew!

We were also privileged to host a number of our sponsors who provide sponsorship for our Young Eagles scholarship programme, which helps young people into aviation through our member Clubs. Thank you to all our sponsors - and the preceding link has more information on this. The Young Eagles who were able to attend also seemed to enjoy themselves, including a visit to the Airbus facility at Woodbourne aerodrome and presentation of their scholarships in front of their peers, sponsors and supporters.

Very pleasing for me was that it was not only the larger Clubs taking out awards. Some of our smaller Clubs, such as Hawera, Taumaranui, and Whenuapai acquited themselves very well. This was great to see!

The location was the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. This is a fantastic place to visit on any day, but having dinner amongst the World War 2 aircraft, displays and memorabilia is something else. Awesome! These photos hardly touch on what is available at the centre [and the FW190 and Spitfire were pushed outside to make room for around 125 people who attended the dinner].

I haven't taken a lot of photos of the exhibits [go and see it for yourself], but here are a few photographs of the aircraft, replica aircraft and a Royal Canadian Air Force seat cushion[!] from World War 2.

One last thing - we could not run these competitions without the support of Clubs, Club Instructors, various Officials and of course Competitors. Thanks to all of you for making this happen!

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Mitsubishi MU2

This Mitsubishi MU-2B-60, ZK-PSR, arrived and departed Wellington on Saturday. This aircraft is operated as an air ambulance, by Search and Rescue Services Ltd of a Tāupo address.

These are interesting aircraft, but with a chequered history, at least until the FAA began mandating a specific type rating for the aircraft. Lots of details in here One interesting snippet I had forgotten was that the RNZAF acquired four of these aircraft, for use as ground instructional airframes.

Mitsubishi MU-2B-60, ZK-PSR, operated by Search and Rescue Services Ltd



[Also, a reminder that as at the date on publishing this - 25 January 2023 - there are only 11 months left to Christmas! 😃]

Sunday, January 22, 2023

It still fits!

I got to strap on the Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, today and go for a flight. First up some dual circuits, then a few myself. Normal circuits, flap-less, short approaches and a go around and it [almost] feels like it had not been away for a few months.

Fun times!

I might take it for another ride tomorrow. We'll see. 

Finally, at the end of the day, a chance to show a young lad who had been watching rather eagerly through the plane.

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

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Big, beautiful and green

It is back.

No flying for me today, but the Nanchang is in Wellington. I'm hoping to have a currency flight on Sunday afternoon. 👍

I did remember enough to start the engine, taxi and shutdown, so I could go fill the tanks. It's a start!

 Time to restudy the flight manual for tomorrow's currency checkout.

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

Friday, December 30, 2022

Sounds Air Pilatus

Today's picture [from last Wednesday] was this Pilatus PC12/45, ZK-PLT. This aircraft is operated by Sounds Air.

Pilatus PC12/45, ZK-PLT, operated by Sounds Air

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Marlborough Aero Club

A visitor to Wellington on Wednesday afternoon was this Piper POAS38-112, ZK-DMF. This aircraft is operated by Marlborough Aero Club.

Piper PA38-112, ZK-DMF, operated by Marlborough Aero Club

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Max 8

It is good to be on holiday. I'm back in Wellington now, and during a quick visit to the airport, there was time to photograph a small number of arrivals and departures.

For this post, we have a Boeing 737-8 MAX, DQ-FAE, which is operated by Fiji Airways, departing Wellington.

Boeing 737-8 MAX, DQ-FAE, operated by Fiji Airways

Boeing 737-8 MAX, DQ-FAE, operated by Fiji Airways

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Paper airplanes

Ever wanted to fold some incredible paper airplanes? Here's a great video that will help. Perfect for if the weather is not good enough for flying the real airplane over the Christmas break 😁

Clipart of a paper airplane

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Playing with the new camera

Another day of playing with the new camera today.

It is a fairly gloomy day. Hopefully I'll get to play more on a bright and sunny day soon.

First up is a Air NZ-operated de Havilland Canada DHC-8-311, ZK-NES.

de Havilland Canada DHC-8-311, ZK-NES, operated by Air New Zealand

Next up is an Airbus A320-232, ZK-OJQ, landing at Wellington.

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

Last up is another Airbus A320, this time ZK-OJS.

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

Saturday, December 17, 2022


This from a few weeks ago - Cessna U206G, ZK-ENT, which is operated by Pelorus Air.

Cessna U206G, ZK-ENT, operated by Pelorus Air

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Business jets at Wellington

Following on from yesterday's post, once the weather had cleared and I had my flight, I went and grabbed a couple of pictures of the business jets parked up on the Western Apron at Wellington, outside the Execujet hanger.

I'm late to the party on this, but and with the closure of the small "extension" on Coutts St, it's a bit harder to get the photos I would have preferred. Such is life.

Anyway, here are three of the aircraft that were parked up. These are all Gulfstream aircraft - one G650ER and two G550's.

Gulfstream G650ER, N109CH

Gulfstream G550, N319FS

Gulfstream G550, N97FT

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Rainy day, time to fly

I was booked in to fly today, but It was a bit wet this morning and early afternoon. It cleared up in time though, so I ended up having a quick flight in the club's Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE. Just a enough time to depart to the north, do a simulated FLWOP around Mana Island, then back in to land.

It was also a chance to use my new OzRunways subscription in flight for the first time. I was looking for an easy flight so it would not be a distraction. It worked fine, but I want to use it some more before doing any sort of review.

In other news, I have a new camera. I'm sure much to the horror of some people, I have downgraded to a point-and-shoot - a Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ95. It's basic, seems to work well, and has a few pros and cons compared to my Canon EOS 700 I had been using. The major benefit is that I can stick it in my pocket. The major downsides so far is that the lens is not fantastic [but quite acceptable] and the autofocus is a bit slow. Still, I'm happy so far.

While waiting for the weather to clear, I took some photos. They turned out better than I expected. I have also adjusted the settings on the old watermarking tool I am using, so hopefully the JPEG compression artefacts are not quite as annoying. Photo sizes are quite a bit larger though.

First up are two photos of a Pilatus PC12/45, which is operated by Sounds Air. The second was taken through grubby glass, so not too bad I suppose.

Pilatus PC12/45, operated by Sounds Air

Pilatus PC12/45, operated by Sounds Air

Next up is Life Flight's British Aerospace Jetstream J32, ZK-LFW. This is operated by Air Freight NZ Ltd on behalf of Life Flight. The rain is quite obvious...

British Aerospace Jetstream J32, ZK-LFW, operated by Air Freight Ltd

Last up is this Bombardier CL-600-2B16, ZK-JCJ. This is operated by GCH Jet Operations. Again, it was raining a little at the time and this show up nicely in the photo.

Bombardier CL-600-2B16, ZK-JCJ, operated by GCH Jet Operations

Bombardier CL-600-2B16, ZK-JCJ, operated by GCH Jet Operations

Sunday, November 13, 2022

This weekend in Masterton

This past weekend was spent in Masterton at the Flying New Zealand Cook Strait Regional Competitions.

Good times with a lot of good flying, fun social times and another opportunity to assist with some of the ground judging.

It was looking a bit shaky at one time though, with the weather on Friday evening consisting on low clouds and rain. Saturday [competition day] was much nicer, although with the constant threat of the thunder and lightning that was striking other parts of the lower North Island. We did have to shut down competitions for about 30-45 minutes in the middle of the day due to the weather, but it all worked out.

The first three photos are from arrival day on Friday, including a panorama of the 20+ aircraft from Wellington, Hawkes Bay, Kapiti and Whanganui that came for the competitions (Hawera also arrived on Saturday).

The final two photos are from Saturday. There are some very dark and wet places under that cloud! There were plenty more of those coming and going during the day.