Thursday, April 02, 2020

Walkalong glider for those with an "in house PPL" right now...

Here's an interesting video of some guys building super lightweight gliders out of polystyrene. The video includes the gliders, wind tunnels, and some super-dodgy use of candles [no, it's not recommended!].

So, aside from the pyromania, this could be very interesting for those of us who are at home for the next few weeks, waiting out the Covid19 virus.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Dassault Falcon 50 at Wellington

From last week [before the Covid19 lockdown], I was at the aero club and saw this Dassault Falcon 50, N115MF, departing Wellington.

Perhaps it is nothing too special, but it is one of the last photos I managed to get prior to the lockdown.

Dassault Falcon 50, N115MF
As previously flagged, until this lockdown is lifted, I'll try and find some interesting posts to keep us all entertained. I'm thinking of a few youtube videos which I have liked. Hopefully, they will be interesting to you also!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Lock Down

Like where much of the rest of the world is heading, the Prime Minister of New Zealand announced on Monday 23 April 2020 that New Zealand had moved to Covid19 Alert Level 3, with a move to Level 4 on Wednesday [yesterday]. My understanding of Level 4 means the shutdown of all non-essential services and people remaining at home [with a few exemptions], including, working from home.

Clearly, this means there will be a massive reduction in air traffic over the next four weeks [minimum], and no opportunity to get out and fly myself around or to easily observe air traffic.

All aero clubs and other flight training/ recreational flying organisations must be closed by now and all private/ recreational flying is also prohibited.

So, there will obviously be a big reduction in the usual posting on this blog until this is lifted.

I will try and find some interesting posts from time to time. I do have content for one or two more posts after this one. I am thinking of a small series of interesting online videos that I have found from time to time and if you have any thoughts on that matter, please let me know!

I have already heard of people who seem either oblivious to, or who don't care about, the lockdown.

If you are like this, please don't be a dick. The lives of people are dependant on a few weeks of lockdown. There are very few people in this fine land who will tolerate that level of selfishness! If the lockdown is not obeyed, it is likely there will need to be an even longer period of lockdown. Be a #GreatNewZealander and we get through this much easier and faster.

For authoritative sources of information, I can recommend the following NZ Government sites:
[clearly this list does not include Twitter, Facebook other  media sites, or your mates 2nd cousin's aunty...!]

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Kawasaki BK117 B-2

This Kawasaki BK117 B-2 was quite a way from home recently.

ZK-HGW is registered to Helilink of a Papakura address and is seen here parked on the western apron at Wellington, outside the rescue helicopter base.

Kawasaki BK117 B-2, ZK-HGW, operated by Helilink

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Aerostar 601

Topping off a fine weekend for flying [including just over 2 hours in the Nanchang], there was a visit from this beautiful looking Aerostar 601, ZK-JOS, on Sunday. This aircraft is operated by Matrinair Ltd and is based in Feilding.

I've never flown into Feilding, so it might be a nice place to take the Nanchang one weekend :-)

Aerostar 601, ZK-JOS, operated by Matrinair

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Vans RV4 at Wellington

Last weekend this really nice RV4 visited Wellington. It's the second time I have seen ZK-RVV at Wellington. The first time was two years ago on 1 April 2018.

Vans RV-4, ZK-RVV, operated by Tauranga Aeroplan Co

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Rockets and rubber bands

The last three or four weeks I have been looking at a Youtube channel called Flite Test. It's a channel with a lot of really cool radio-controlled aircraft [don't groan too loud!], with everything from what you might expect to flying hammers, kayaks and more.

It's pretty awesome!

I saw a video the other day which was a bit different. The Flite Test team did an episode on free flight models, some of which are rocket launched with spring-loaded wings and others which are powered by rubber bands. This includes an eight-engined monster right down to an extremely light inside-only model.

It's a pretty cool video, so I thought I would share it.




This may end up being a small series on model aircraft... I'll see how I feel and what reaction to get to this one. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Flying NZ National Championships and International Wings Trophy #4

In this last post from the Flying NZ Nationals, I just wanted to show a couple of awesome aircraft I spotted during the competitions.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I don't spend a lot of time taking photos at these events, but I did get photos of a couple of interesting Cessnas.

First up is a Cessna 172, ZK-REV. Now to be clear, it is a Cessna 172. Not a 172A, or N or M or R or anything, but a 1957 Cessna 172A. From memory, it has a 6 cylinder Continental developing 145 Hp [but happy to be corrected]. There won't be many of these left flying anywhere.

Cessna 172, ZK-REV

Second up is a Cessna 195, ZK-AZK. This has a 7 cylinder radial engine and it looks amazing! Again, there won't be many of these flying around anywhere.

Cessna 195, ZK-AZK

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Flying NZ National Championships and International Wings Trophy #3

After all the fun, games and serious competition, we end up at the presentation dinner. This is where we find out if we did as well as we thought. It's also another chance the let the hair down without worrying about competing.

The evening starts with a welcome, then into presenting scholarships to the Young Eagles to support and encourage them in their flight training. Following this, we intersperse results with dinner and dessert.

The food was great, so was the band, everyone was having a good time and it didn't take long for the paper airplanes to start flying. Everywhere. All directions. I wish I had videoed it [some others did]. the following picture shows the scene, although somehow all the paper airplanes were on the ground at this point!

180 people in a hanger for a party! Paper airplanes lying around everywhere!


For the second year, I had the honour of announcing the results which is a fairly serious activity, especially as many competitors had spent a lot of time and money to practice, come and compete. I did hand over these duties for the Wigram Cup announcements [since I was in it and for many it is the main event].

As for my results?

Second in the liferaft competition [that's a nice surprise] and a very surprising first in the Wigram Cup Instrument Flying event! Absolutely stocked with that! The win came with a cup [which has to be handed back next year] and a plaque which I get to keep. There are also certificates for the win and the Wigram Cup second place.

The Cup

The plaque

Overall, Wellington came second in the Wigram Cup [congratulations to Whenuapai Aviation Sports Club who took out the Wigram this year!].

Tauranga Aero Club did a fantastic job of organising much of the event in conjunction with Flying NZ. I think the set the standard [or at least, kept it very high], which is a great effort!

Anyway, that's about it. Competitions are a lot of fun. The social side is great fun also [at one stage, a certain CFI was supplying paper for the paper airplanes..!]. I can't recommend this enough. The only requirements are you must be a member of a Flying NZ club and for some event, you must have won at your regional competition. Simple, eh?!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Flying NZ National Championships and International Wings Trophy #2

So, what did I get up to during the competitions? Well, I had work to do each day.

On Wednesday I scribed for one of the Wings 3-Ship Formation judges. This is a competition where teams of 3 aircraft fly a formation routine and try to impress the judges with their skills. The scribe assists a judge by writing down the scores as the judge calls it, leaving the judge to concentrate on watching the flying.

Later on, I was running around assisting where I could collecting results and helping to add them up.

I also helped with ground judging a bombing competition [yes, bombing], where competitors fly low overhead and drop an object, trying to hit the target. From memory, the target was threatened a couple of times, although it is usually the safest place to stand...! Once the "bomb" is dropped, the ground judge measures the distance and direction from the target and radios the competitor so they can adjust their aim next time around.

Near the bombing target was the airport's fire rescue training device. It's an old de Havilland Devon - ex RNZAF and civil register by the looks [ZK-UCO appears to be the old civil registration]. I think it would require a little more than polishing to get this running again...!

Airport Rescue training device
The bombing target was also in line with, but well separated from, the grass runway. It made for a nice little video of an aircraft coming in to land.



Other days I continued to help with checking judges scores, trying to obtain completed score sheets, occasionally round up competitors and the like. In other words, general dogsbody.

Thursday was the main competition day for me, with three competitions to compete in!

First up I was part of Wellington's Wigram Cup team. This is a team of four people, for four competitions, where competitions are scored in their individual competition as well as as part of the team.

It's the premiere event [aside from the Wings Trophy] and so keenly contested for. I was in the Wigram I/F ("partial panel instrument flying") event where I fly without being able to see outside and with some instruments off or covered up. Fun times!

Second I flew in the Streamer Cutting. This is where we throw a fully biodegradable toilet roll out and then fly around trying to cut it with the wing. Each competitor gets two attempts and the combined score for both attempts decides the winner. I had never flown the aircraft before, but it was an Alpha R2160, ZK-SWZ, and so aerobatic, as was the instructor/ judge.

Alpha R2160, ZK-SWZ, operated by Southern Wings


Lastly, I was dispatcher in the Liferaft Dropping competition. This is a bit like the bombing competitions, except it is a 15kg object that gets dropped. The pilot flies and the dispatcher tosses the liferaft out on command. Fun times!

I think I'll put the results in the next post, so hang about a couple of days and you'll find out what happened!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Flying NZ National Championships and International Wings Trophy

This past week has been a fun and busy time.

From last Tuesday I was in Tauranga [NZTG] for the annual Flying NZ National Championships and this year, it included the International Wings Trophy competition between New Zealand and Australian teams.

The original plan had me flying the Nanchang up on Tuesday, but with awful weather, that was scrubbed in favour of me buying an Air NZ ticket. I can confirm that it is very very expensive to buy a regional ticket for same-day travel, but beggars can't be choosers and I did have air points, so it was slightly less painful. I also made use of one of my lounge passes to have a feed and a drink before departing.

Our other two aircraft [Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE and Piper PA38-112 Tomahawk, ZK-WAC] were similarly delayed, but they were able to fly up on Wednesday which was good.

Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE, operated by Wellington Aero Club

Beer and pretzels in the Wellington Koru Lounge
The event itself was a large one with competitions from Wednesday until Saturday and the presentation dinner on Saturday evening.

In addition to the Wings team from Australia, there were competitors from Whenuapai [north Auckland area] down to Timaru, many of whom flew their aircraft in. Unfortunately, as I was both helping on the official side and competing, I didn't take a lot of photos. The following two show a tiny proportion of the registered aircraft.

Local and competitor aircraft

Local and competitor aircraft
As much as it is a serious event, there is also a lot of fun. I haven't heard of any mascots being stolen this year, but there was a pirate flag raised between the Australian and New Zealand flags... the words say "Rebel 'til I die". I'm not saying who put that up [but wasn't me!].


Anyway, it was a busy week. the next post will cover what I got up to during the week, and the third post a couple of key results. The last post will have a couple of very interesting aircraft you may not have seen before.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Cessna 172N

Here is a picture of Wellington Aero Club's owned and operated Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE. It's not quite a "standard from the factory configuration", as it has a couple of interesting mods.

The first is a 180hp engine, instead of the standard 160hp engine. The second is a limit of 30 degrees for the flap [due to the changed engine]. The third change is a STOL kit, which combined with the 180hp engine means it gets off the ground rather quickly.

The last mod is perhaps unexpected. Under the right wing, there is a camera hatch, complete with mounting bracket for a go pro style action camera and a cover. I think this might be the only one in the country [on a C172 at least], but I'm happy to be corrected on that one.

Want to fly this? Contact Wellington Aero Club. They are very happy to help you fly this or one of the other aircraft in the fleet.


Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE, operated by Wellington Aero Club

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Airline pilots, on video, still have a sense of humour

Most airline cockpit videos I have seen, everyone is extremely straight-laced and there's hardly a misunderstood, or just missed, radio call.

This one is a little different with a crew that is professional but still very obviously have a sense of humour. It is well worth watching for just under 15 minutes. Ther are a several good snippets of information about how they are flying the A350 [tl;dr it is highly automated], although it's the last 5 minutes that the dry sense of humour comes out best.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Gulfstream G650 at Wellington

A couple of weeks ago [I'm in catch up mode!], this really nice Austrian registered Gulfstream G650, OE-LTF, was parked up at Wellington. The aircraft is operated by a company called Avcon Jet.

Gulfstream G650, OE-LTF, operated by Avcon Jet
Also at Wellington, but this time departing, was this Cessna 510 Citation Mustang, ZK-VXM, which is operated by Skyline Aviation. Not a great photo, but it looks great!

Cessna 510 Citation Mustang, ZK-VXM, operated by Skyline Aviation

Friday, February 14, 2020

HBBPC 2020 - Cessna taildraggers

In this final planned post from the Healthy Bastards Bush Pilot Champs for 2020 [the final planned post, but I might put one or two more up later...] I have photos of some of the Cessna taildraggers that competed.

First up is a Cessna 185, ZK-CAK, which is registered to a Wakefield address.

Cessna 185, ZK-CAK
ZK-BYJ is a Cessna 180C and is registered to an Oamaru address. I understand that in a past life it was operated by Mount Cook Airlines [happy to be corrected on that if I'm mistaken].

Cessna 180C, ZK-BYJ
Lastly, ZK-BJX is a beautifully presented Cessna 180, with is registered to Palms on George of a Pukekohe address.

Cessna 180, ZK-BJX