Thursday, September 10, 2020

Boeing 757-200

As followers of aviation in NZ will know, the only local operator of the Boeing 757 is the Royal New Zealand Air Force [RNZAF].

The RNZAF operate two of these aircraft in a quick change configuration, enabling them to transport crew and freight as needs arise. The cargo door is located between the first and second passenger doors, as seen in this photo of NZ7571 departing Wellington.

Interestingly, there has been a bit of publicity recently about the kiwi roundels, with it being the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the current version with the bright red kiwi in the middle. This aircraft shows that off quite nicely.

Boeing 757-2K2, NZ7571, operated by the RNZAF

Wednesday, September 09, 2020


An aircraft that has become increasingly rare over the years [and soon to be "extinct" from New Zealand skies] is the General Dynamic Allison Convair 44/580.

These days, the only local operator is Air Chathams, where the aircraft is used to transport people and freight between the Chatham Islands, Wellington, Auckland and occasionally Whanganui. It is unfortunately one of few local types that I have not yet had a flight on... I'll have to see what I can do before they are permanently grounded.

In this photo, ZK-CIE is departing Wellington to the Chatham Islands a few weeks ago.

General Dynamics Allison Convair 440/580, ZK-CIE, operated by Air Chathams

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Visiting Archer

 From last weekend, here is a Piper PA28-180 Archer, ZK-DUQ.

This aircraft is operated by Kaikoura Aero Club and was parked up on what was an unflyable [for VFR flights anyway] day.

Piper PA28-180 Archer, ZK-DUQ, operated by Kaikoura Aero Club

Monday, August 31, 2020

An ORCa at Wellington

A regular visitor nowadays is Air Kaikoura Aero Club, who operate a couple of Gippsland GA8, including this one, ZK-ORC.

 Air Kaikoura have operated a VFR air transport operation between Kaikoura and Wellington for the past few months, in addition to their whale spotting operation.

Gippsland GA8, ZK-ORC, operated by Air Kaikoura

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Cobwebs... gone

Last weekend I had a quick trip to Masterton in Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO. The weather was fantastic and the flying smooth.

One of the things I like about how we operate the Nanchang is that we have an Airswitch, instead of the typical Hobbs.

In most light aircraft, the Hobbs meter automatically starts ticking over soon after the engine starts. This is fine, and it allows for aircraft hire rates to appear lower, but it can cause some people [idiots all of them...] to rush the pre-takeoff procedures as they are paying the entire time the engine is running.

With an Airswitch, the timer only starts when your airspeed increases [typically on the takeoff roll] and finishes as you slow down after landing. The benefit of this is that pilots have no need to rush their start up, taxi, runup and shutdown procedures. This is particularly important in an aircraft with a larger engine, like the Nanchang with a 9 cylinder radial engine that needs time to warm up and cool down.

Anyway, the Airswitch time was only 0.6 hours (36 minutes) each way. On the trip to Masterton, this include an overhead rejoin, a touch and go and a second circuit before landing. On the way home, this included a look at the Orongorongo valley then back around to look at Mount Matthews.

 At owners rates, this is a fairly cheap day out 😀

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

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Kapiti Airport at risk of closure!

Kapiti Airport is at risk of closing. This would be a travesty for the local community, the local aero club, aircraft owners, maintenance providers, and airline operators!

The loss of Kapiti Airport may reduce safety as it is usually the best-placed airport before or after heading across Cook Strait. Closing the airport puts locals out of work and irreparably impacts Kapiti Districts Aero Club!

Let's stop this by supporting the retention of the airport, saving local jobs and employers!

Unfortunately I can't embed the video, but here's a link to watch the recent news article. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020


Last Sunday afternoon I got to take the Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, across to Omaka aerodrome for a maintenance check. As it was going to be there for a few days, a ride was organised to bring me back [thanks Malcolm!]. That ride was a Piper PA28-161, ZK-KAT, which is also operated by the Wellington Aero Club.

The ride back was a great opportunity to play with Avplan on my iPad mini, since I don't get to do this as much when I'm actually flying the aircraft. It was good fun and I learned a couple of things, particularly about how the terrain map works [short version: it's pretty good, although I sometimes had the impression the terrain was further away than in real life, not that we ever got that close!].

Anyway, here are a couple of photos from the 16 City Arrival back into Wellington. First up we are approaching the city from the west with the camera pointed south.

Here's the panel of ZK-KAT.

Piper PA28-161, ZK-KAT, the panel
Here's a really nice photo looking south over Mount Victoria to Island Bay and with the Miramar Peninsula and the airport on the left.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

ATR72 on the Western Apron

Just a quick couple of photos today with the arrival of an Air New Zealand ATR-72-600, ZK-MVE, to the Western Apron at Wellington today.

Rumour has it, the aircraft was transporting people subject to Covid19-related quarantine from Auckland to Wellington.

ATR-GIE ATR72-600, ZK-MVE, operated by Air New Zealand
ATR-GIE ATR72-600, ZK-MVE, operated by Air New Zealand

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Nanchang flying

It had been about 5 weeks since I last flew the Nanchang, so with good weather yesterday I took the opportunity to go for a quick flight. I had a spare seat, so rather than waste some perfectly good space, Gareth, one of the Wellington Aero Club students, came for a ride.

After a 34 Ward Departure, we headed to Mana Island, did a few orbits of that, then headed back for a 34 Owhiro Arrival. It wasn't as turbulent on the arrival as I thought it could have been - just a couple of gentle lumps every now and then.

All up, 42 minutes from start to finish.

Many thanks to Gareth who took these really nice photos! I'm quite impressed with how the first one came out as a monochrome image [and yes, I really need a pair of prescription sunglasses].

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO
This next photo is of one of the steep turns near Mana Island. I think that counts as looking into the turn.

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO

This was just before turning onto final approach and is a really nice shot of the rear cockpit. The rear cockpit has most of the instruments and buttons from the front, but is missing a few controls and is laid out quite differently. This photo also shows the weird artificial horizon [AH], which shows the ground on top and the sky underneath. I never did work out why the Russians and Chinese did that.

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO
Last up is a photo from about a 1/2 mile final. For the smart-alecs out there, yes the PAPI shows 4 white lights, but that's normal as I tend to have quite a steep approach in the Nanchang [mainly as I really want to be able to see where I am heading...].

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO

Monday, July 06, 2020

British Aerospace Jetstream 31

Origin Air is back up and running [after Covid19 and preceding that, a loooooong period of other troubles] with their British Aerospace Jetstream 31, ZK-JSH.

I think they have a very nice livery - possibly one of the nicest around New Zealand.

British Aerospace Jetstream J31, ZK-JSH, operated by Origin Air

British Aerospace Jetstream J31, ZK-JSH, operated by Origin Air

For those blog visitors from outside of New Zealand, welcome!

We are very fortunate to have no Covid19-related restrictions in place, aside from isolation/ quarantine for [almost] everyone entering the country and limits on who can arrive [citizens, permanent residents and a few other exceptions].

There are no travel restrictions within New Zealand, no social distancing requirements, no business restrictions. It has been tough, but it seems a lockdown for 7 or so weeks [which was well complied with], followed by gradually loosened restrictions, has worked well so far. It will continue to be tough for some business for a while, but I would suggest, not as tough as the ongoing partial lockdowns in some other nations.

Sorry you are unable to travel here right now, but it's keeping us safe, and as other countries catch up* to us, I'm sure that restrictions on travel will be loosened.

* yes, I'm aware that Taiwan, along with Fiji, the Cook Islands, Samoa and several other of our Pacific neighbours have done very well also.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

You can always go around!

Here's a good song for those who forget that a go-around is [almost] always* a great option, or for those who get unusually excited about seeing an aircraft carry out this completely normal manoeuvre...

What's better is that this version doesn't have all the rubbish video snippets attached showing poor landings or similar...

* ok, so there are some strips where, due to obstacles or surface slope, a late go-around may not be possible, but most of you are not flying into those...

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Lockheed P-3K2 Orion

I had a day off work last Thursday which practically guaranteed that the weather would be awful, which it was 😆.

I did get down to the Aero Club to give the Nanchang CJ6A a bit of a clean, but just before arriving, I saw a Royal New Zealand Air Force [RNZAF] operated Lockheed P-3K2 Orion, NZ4202, taxiing out.

An unusual feature people often asked about is the "spike" sticking out the back of the aircraft. This is a MAD [or Magnetic Anomaly Detector] which is designed to detect magnetic anomalies [its name says it all...], especially submarines that might be lurking around underwater.

Lockheed P-3K2 Orion, NZ4202, operated by the RNZAF
Lockheed P-3K2 Orion, NZ4202, operated by the RNZAF
These aircraft will be replaced by four Boeing P-8A maritime patrol aircraft [derived from the Boeing 737 airliner]  over the next few years. The RNZAF's first set of instructors for the type are currently undergoing training in the USA.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Hanger visitors

Just over a week ago, Wellington Aero Club had a number of visitors undercover.

First up was a very nicely presented Cessna 177B Cardinal, ZK-TEC. The Cardinal is a very sleek aircraft and very low to the ground [as in I could see over the wing quite easily and the elevator is about shin height]. You would want to rotate too much on departure or flare too much on landing! It is really nicely presented though. ZK-TEC is registered to Matrinair and normally resident in Feilding. I think it was in the hanger for a single night.

Cessna 177B Cardinal, ZK-TEC, operated by Matrinair of Feilding

Next up was another Cessna, this time a C172S, ZK-JSD, which is registered to Air Hawkes Bay Ltd, of a Hastings address. This aircraft had flown in IFR and was just in for the night.

Cessna 172S, ZK-JSD, operated by Air Hawkes Bay Ltd of Hasting
Last up was perhaps the most interesting aircraft and one that will be here for a few weeks [although not online with the club]. It is a Cessna U206F, ZK-DWX, which has been purchased by a local person. I was particularly interested in the venturi tube on the left side of the fuselage [a venturi tube makes it interesting by itself!]. My understanding is that it will be flown privately and refurbed over time. The paint job looks really nice though as it is!

Cessna U206F, ZK-DWX

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Pilatus PC12/47

Like the last post, this is from early June, where I came across a Sounds Air operated Pilatus PC12/47, ZK-PLB, departing Wellington.

This aircraft clearly shows it's heritage as an ex Royal Flying Doctor Service aircraft from Australia. I've had a couple of flights in the PC12 and it's a nice aircraft as a passenger. The pilots appear to like them a lot also.

Pilatus PC12/47, ZK-PLB, operated by Sounds Air