Sunday, January 27, 2008

Cirrus SR22

This Australian registered Cirrus SR22 is currently in Wellington awaiting transfer to the New Zealand register. What I don't have are pictures of the inside, but essentially it's full of screens and switches :-).

The SR22 is a sleek looking, fast moving [around 180 kts cruise], powerful [310 hp], piece of modern machinery and includes a ballistic parachute [aka "chicken lever"!] in case of a big problem. It also feature "single lever" control for throttle and propeller control. I'll try and get some better photos when it's out in the open one day.

Cirrus SR22Cirrus SR22Cirrus SR22Cirrus SR22

Saturday, January 26, 2008

At and out of Christchurch

Continuing the series from my Christchurch trip, here are a few of the pictures from Christchurch International Airport itself.

The first two pictures are various Air New Zealand branded Boeing B737, Airbus A320 and ATR72 aircraft. The third was just after takeoff showing a US Antarctic Program C130 Hercules that had landed a few seconds earlier, the fourth a US Air Force C17 Globemaster and finally an aerial shot back to Christchurch as we departed.

As much as I love flying out of Wellington [and I really do!], it is nice to see some of the variety of different types that fly into other airfields.

Into Christchurch

Further to my last post, here is a sequence of pictures of the approach into Christchurch International Airport [NZCH]. The first photo is just over the coastline [to the east] at about 4000', and the last is on the ILS approach just prior to touchdown on runway 02.

The cloud you see is just about the most that was seen during the entire flight [on departure an hour or so later, most of it had dissipated]. Note the 4th photo which is of Wigram airport [NZWG], located just outside of the Christchurch Control Zone.

Welcome to Wellington!

I didn't plan on doing any flying today, so just headed out to the aero club expecting to sit and yak for a while.

Things don't always go to plan though, and I ended up being invited on an IFR cross country to Christchurch. Wow! Needless to say, I said "yes, thank you very much", and 30 minutes later I'm strapped into the back of a P28R [PA28-201R - Piper Arrow III to be precise] and we are off. I've never been on an IFR flight in a small aircraft before, so I was fairly excited. It turned out to be a really nice day so we were mostly in VMC [Visual Meteorological Conditions] so I had a good look around.

The set of photos [below] are actually of the visual arrival back into Wellington. The first is south-west of the city looking towards Wellington. The next includes the WestpacTrust Stadium [aka the Cake Tin] a cruise ship and the inner harbour, and the last is of the Wellington CBD area [including the Beehive and other Government buildings if you look closely]. Hard to imagine that much of this area was under water until the 1840 earthquake!

Many thanks to Brian for the ride today, and more pictures of the flight coming soon.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Peace-mongering origami re-entry vehicle??

I'm not usually prone to linking to other people's content as I prefer to blog on what I've seen, done, experienced etc..., but this is not only funny, but ingenious!

It's a mach-7, heat treated, space shuttle-shaped origami [yep, folded paper!] plane to be launched by the Japanese from the International Space Station [no launch date set as yet], with the possibility that it will gently float back to earth. Here's the link:


Monday, January 21, 2008


Strange as it may sound to any students undergoing "solo consolidation" in the circuit, a session of circuits is something that I often look forward to these days, having had a PPL for a few years.

In fact, circuits are a great way of helping to maintain competency [not just currency] as it's always the busiest, and most critical, part of any flight. This is especially true at Wellington with the variety of aircraft types [speeds] that operate here and a single runway. You need a constant awareness of what is in front and behind you, and to always look for ways to assist in making things flow easier. ATC do an awesome job, and sometimes just speeding up or slowing down a little, or flying a closer or wider base leg can help a lot.

Today I got 4-5 touch and goes in, 1 overshoot [my choice... poor approach], 2 short approaches [closer base leg] and 2 slightly stretched downwind legs [following other traffic]. Combine that with holding early and late downwind and having to sight the likes of an Air NZ B737, Air Nelson DHC-8, and Sounds Air GA8 at various times, it was very good value for money at around a 1 hour flight. I also feel as though I've brushed off a bit of rust [off me, not the aircraft :-)].

Aircraft for the day was this C172N, ZK-FLT.

Wellington Aero Club Cessna 172N ZK-FLT

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Another Partenavia

Here's another picture of a Partenavia P68C visiting Wellington, ZK-TZZ. Like ZK-MIR from a few weeks ago, this one is also from the Canterbury Aero Club, which is based at Christchurch International Airport.

ZK-TZZ is interesting because unlike many P68C's, this one has a crew door on the right-hand side, making it substantially easier for the flight crew to enter and exit the aircraft. This would be a particular bonus when being operated on ATOs [Air Transport Operations], as without the crew door, the flight crew would either have to enter before the passengers, or push their way past them.

Canterbury Aero Club Partenavia P68C ZK-TZZ

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Kapiti Aero Club visitors

We have a couple of aircraft visiting from Kapiti Aero Club today, from both ends of the GA trainer fleet spectrum.

The first to arrive was ZK-FPI, a C152. Nothing to get too excited about perhaps, except that C152's don't come to Wellington too often - perhaps a consequence of Wellington's reputation for tricky winds.

The second is a Partenavia P68C, ZK-KAP. In New Zealand, the Partenavia is popular for both initial twin ratings, as well as multi-instrument rating training.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Diamond DA-42 Twin Star

Here are some pictures of a Diamond DA-42 Twin Star, visiting from Hamilton. The DA-42 is a substantially composite aircraft , and therefore is quite light for a twin [MAUW of just over 1200kgs], yet performs quite OK on its twin 135HP Thielert Centurial diesel power plants.

There is a saying in aviation, that if it looks right, it'll fly right. Think Spitfire, P51 Mustang, even C130 Hercules and many more. This does leave me somewhat confused as to how the DA-42 gets airborne, because I'm sorry to say that it is just about the ugliest twin I've ever seen :-(

Take a look at the empennage, nose, engine mounts. All of them on the wrong side of ugly :-) I'm sure though that the aircraft has some fans out there, and fair enough. I would expect that with a substantially composite airframe, maintenance costs should be quite good for a twin. Those engines are reputably not very thirsty, and using Jet-A1 should help to keep the operational costs down somewhat.

Anyhow, enough of my rambling! Here are three pictures of the DA-42 sent in by a reader. Thanks Nick!

Diamond DA-42 Twin StarDiamond DA-42 Twin StarDiamond DA-42 Twin Star
Photo credit: Nick Furmage

Welcome to Sunny Wellington....?

In an announcement sure to upset anyone outside of Wellington [and amuse those of us who live in here!], Wellington has been named as the sunniest of the main centres in New Zealand! Yeah, I laughed at first also...

Anyway, the top 5 cities and their yearly sunshine hours are:
  1. Wellington [2231 sunshine hours]!
  2. Christchurch [2221]
  3. Auckland [2080]
  4. Hamilton [1922]
  5. Dunedin [1853]

Now just to avoid confusion, there are sunnier areas, but not many people live there [heh heh heh] such as New Zealand's sunniest area, Blenheim with 2567 hours of sunshine. Blenheim is only about 20 minutes flight from Wellington, so it's easy to visit if we need to :-)

Welcome to Sunny Wellington!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Rotary visitor

This picture is of a Robinson R44 that stopped at the Aero Club fuel pump to refuel today. This R44 is registered to Helilink in Auckland.

Robinson R44

Fixed wing visitors

Here are pictures of two fixed-wing aircraft visiting Wellington Aero Club today. The first picture is of a Piper PA32 that arrived yesterday after a diversion due to weather further south. The couple flying it took off to continue their trip south today. The aircraft is normally resident at North Shore Aerodrome.

The second is a Sounds Air Gippsland GA8 that dropped off some passengers before leaving straight away.

Piper PA32Gippsland GA8

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Gulfstream visitor

Here is a picture of an N-reg [USA registered] Gulfstream departing Wellington earlier today. Unfortunately I was unable to capture the full registration [another photo has a partial reg], so I am unable to confirm if this is a G-V or G-IV model [I believe it to be the G-V model]. Any comments on this would be appreciated.

You'll notice a couple of things in the photo. Firstly, although it has just taken off, it's already well up in the air - presumably because of light weights as well as good overall performance?. Secondly, look closely [click on the image for a larger version] and you'll see that it is polished all over. Wow - these people know how to look after their aircraft.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Busy days...

Ahhhh - I like holidays! I get to spend a lot of time relaxing and siting around at the aero club [maybe I don't have a social life?? :-) !].

This morning I was privileged to go up as a safety pilot for a club member doing some simulated i/f [instrument flying]. It's good to just sit, keep a really good eye out for traffic, terrain and enjoy the view. It was not a good day for photos, so nothing to show.

Later in the afternoon I snapped a couple of arrivals at the club. The first is a Maule M5 registered to a Martinborough [north east of Wellington] address, the second a Partenavia P68C from Canterbury Aero Club.

Maule M5Partenavia P68C

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone and welcome to 2008! I hope that 2008 is going to be a good year for you!

Here's a picture of a Piper Seneca II [PA34] visiting the Wellington Aero Club for fuel yesterday/last year :-) ZK-DCP is registered to Air Gisborne Ltd.

Piper Seneca PA34