Saturday, June 30, 2007

Gidday Aussie

Here's a picture of a Royal Australian Air Force [RAAF] B737 taxiing for takeoff at Wellington earlier to day. My understanding is that this aircraft is a BBJ [Boeing Business Jet]. It was only in Wellington for a couple or so hours.

As you can see, it's a wet day in Wellington - at least it's not blowing. Where I live is slightly elevated, and it's probably only 1000-2000 meters viz. Definitely IMC.

Royal Australian Air Force B737 BBJ

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A fun flight today

For those of you following the weather anywhere in New Zealand these past few days, you'll realise that it has been fairly miserable. Not that I've got much to complain with in Wellington: the bottom of the South Island has been bad with snow to sea level, ice all over the place and so forth.

None-the-less, it's not been good for flying around Wellington. Although bearable on the ground, get a few feet above ground level, and the nasty westerly winds makes it difficult for anyone wanting to land on Wellington's [substantially] North-South runway [I saw an A320 going around from low level earlier on].

The wind died down this afternoon. I had a flight booked and so took a couple of work colleagues and the son of another work colleague up for a quick flight. We were cleared for the runway 34 Eastbourne Departure. This involves being 1500' or below until clear of the zone, and that was moderately turbulent. One particularly rude item of SLF [Self Loading Freight :-)] suggested I could not fly very well [almost offered to let him out right away].

After clearing the zone, we climbed to about 2300'. Through about 1800' the air smoothed out completely. It was a slow trip to Mana Island in the 20-30 knot headwind, but a quick trip back.

The flight was finished off with the Eastbourne Arrival procedure. Somehow I managed to come in very very high, but a load of flap and appropriate use of power sorted that out... turned out to be a very nice landing after all.

All in all, a lot of fun. No photos at this time [one of the SLF may have some] because I was too busy flying.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Safe Belly Landing

Beech 1900D belly landing at Woodbourne AD. Picture from
Picture from

An Eagle Air ["Air New Zealand Link"] B1900D conducted a wheels-up landing at Woodbourne earlier today. By all accounts, it was a textbook landing, a credit to all involved, and, most importantly, no injuries.

Surprisingly, the NZ Herald website did not seem to exagerate or overstate the incident [as is their usual custom]: Read the story

The Dompost [] managed it's usual low standards with the original storys referring to wreckage and emergency crash landings and so forth, but what would you expect [the Dompost revision to the story calmed down a bit]. They did however have an awesome photo: Dompost story, stuff's story [picture as above]

As always, it would pay not to believe most of what is published in the early stories [let's face it, plane landed on belly, no injuries does not sell as many papers/airtime as emergency crash landing!]

Monday, June 11, 2007

Last of the Kaikoura trip photos

Here are the last of the photos I'll be publishing from the recent Kaikoura trip - the others are a bit repetitive. Just look at that gorgeous weather!

Top to bottom are:
Lake Grassmere [southern Marlborough area], heading south
Approx 10 nm north of Kaikoura, heading north
Approx 1 nm south of Cape Campbell - I think this is the Cape Campbell airstrip - can someone fill me in?
Cape Campbell lighthouse [again...], heading north

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Here's some pictures of Kaikoura and the surrounding area. As mentioned in my last entry, after arrival it was off to Wings Over Whales to get some helpful advice. After that, we jumped back in the plane and went searching for whales.

We saw one or two. They were not hard to spot: just follow the whale-watching boat! For safety reasons, even though there were no other aircraft in that area, we stayed at 1000'. This did make taking photos even harder, and unfortunately, as you'll see below, even the best photo of a whale looks rather more like an hyper-active seaweed!!!

The first photo is soon after takeoff. Kaikoura aerodrome is the flat bit just off the beach. The next is the whale [or hyper-active seaweed if you prefer...], and the last two are of the Kaikoura peninsula. Enjoy!

On the way to Kaikoura

As mentioned in my last post, Nirav and I went down to Kaikoura yesterday. It was a beautiful day [and that's an understatement!] - just perfect to pop across Cook Strait and down the coast for a while. The only issue was the difficulty of getting reasonable photos while shooting towards the sun and through old aircraft perspex. Ahh well, such is life.

After landing at Kaikoura we popped into the Wings Over Whales office. The chaps in the office there are very friendly. If you are planning on doing a bit of whale watching in your aircraft, it's an extremely good idea to pop in and have a chat first. Wings Over Whales are very happy to give you a couple of pointers, and help to keep you out of trouble and to enjoy your flight ["Thanks guys!"].

One interesting fact for those that care about such things - we were in a PA38-112 [Piper Tomahawk] at MAUW [Max All Up Weight], and yet it still happily climbed at 1000'/minute. Anyway, here's some photos. Top to bottom are:

Outbound from Wellington. The island in the centre-left is Island Bay VRP [Visual Reporting Point]
Cape Campbell on the South Island. Just out of sight are the NDB aerial and airstrip.
Tapuae-O-Uenuku [the mountain with snow on it in the background]
Approaching Clarence River [the pointy-out bit]

Saturday, June 09, 2007

More types at Wellington

I went out to the Aero Club today, not expecting to be doing much. I ended up popping of to Kaikoura with Nirav [more on this in my next post], but I also found these less common types sitting on the apron.

Top to bottom they are:

Cessna C185 [visiting from Whitianga - a fantastic place to visit: Whitanga Aero Club]
Cessna C177 [visiting from Ardmore - a fantastic place to learn to fly: Auckland Aero Club]
Maule M6

I've never seen a Maule before, and this one looks really nice. It has big fat tires, so is obviously used in rough/semi prepared strips. Awesome!

Cessna C185Cessna C177 CardinalMaule M6

Monday, June 04, 2007

Piper Chieftain

This is a quick picture I snapped of a PA31-350 [Piper Chieftain] at Wellington International Airport. ZK-VIP is registered to Air West Coast, and is often at Wellington.

PA31-350 Chieftain at Wellington

Sunday, June 03, 2007


OK, so you were warned!!!

I've just been down to Christchurch for the weekend. I flew in on Saturday morning [around a 7:30am arrival]. Sorry, but no photos. It was sooooo foggy, that when inside the terminal, I think that the visibility was well under 100 meters, possibly closer to 50 meters [probably more out by the runway]. Still, they must be bright lights on the runway at NZCH.

It was certainly warmer at 5:30am in Wellington than 8:30 am in Christchurch.

Coming back this evening [Sunday], I left in the dark, so no decent photos either. I did however snap this prior to pushback from gate 18. I only wish that I had been able to get out of the aircraft to get this one. Apart from the reflections, it is a sharp/focused picture, which is quite surprising given the 1/2 second exposure time.

Anyway... here is it:

Air New Zealand B737-300 at Christchurch International

Friday, June 01, 2007

An interesting aviation book...

I've just finished reading an interesting aviation book called "Freedom Flight". Freedom Flight is the story of two South African microlight pilots who decided to fly around the world in a couple of trike microlights.

This is a true story. Part adventure, and part documentary, I also found this book to contain a number of interesting lessons for those who us who do not venture quite so far. In this book, one of the original pilots, and his "replacement", are killed in separate accidents on route. It shows that even experienced, competent pilots can make decisions that can kill you...

Some of the places that these pilots visited on their travels are definitely in the "way out there" or "off the beaten track" category, and some of the experiences would make less driven people give up in a couple of days.

It's definitely a good read, and should be available from most decent book stores. Enjoy!