Sunday, November 30, 2008

More Wellington Visitors

I was back out at the club today and in addition to a couple of yesterday's visitors still here, there were a few extras.

First is Piper PA28-140, ZK-DGI, registered to a Nelson address. Second is Piper PA28-180, ZK-SNE, which is registered to a Blenheim address [I think this may be based at Omaka aerodrome?]. The last few pictures are of a CTC Diamond DA-42 Twin Star. ZK-CTI is based at Hamilton and on a Hamilton-Wellington-Woodbourne-Nelson-Palmerston North-Hamilton [I think I have this correct - I might have missed something...] flight. The Twin Star is also [affectionately??] known as the Death Star by some other bloggers in this part of the world. Incidentally, from memory, this is also a nickname for the Ted Smith Aerostar.

Enjoy the pictures. Next week, weather permitting, are a couple of flights with friends around the greater Wellington area. If the weather is nice I'll hopefully have some pictures of the local environment to show just why Wellington is the best place to fly from :-)

Piper PA28-140, ZK-DGIPiper PA28-180, ZK-SNECTC Wings, Diamond DA42 Twin Star, ZK-CTICTC Wings, Diamond DA42 Twin Star, ZK-CTICTC Wings, Diamond DA42 Twin Star, ZK-CTICTC Wings, Diamond DA42 Twin Star, ZK-CTICTC Wings, Diamond DA42 Twin Star, ZK-CTICTC Wings, Diamond DA42 Twin Star, ZK-CTI

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wellington Visitors

It's been another hot day in Wellington, with the temperatures around 25 deg celsius [yes, that is quite warm for Wellington!], clear skies and a gentle breeze. I snapped photos of the following visitors today.

The first is a Cessna F152, ZK-NPI, from New Plymouth Aero Club. I'm not sure how long it is staying, but it's been here at least one night. The second is another new Piper PA28-181 from Canterbury Aero Club. ZK-LJE is one of the new "glass cockpit" PA28's that Canterbury seems to be importing these days. The last is a Massey Aviation PA28-151, ZK-EBH, after a touch and go.

New Plymouth Aero Club, Cessna F152, ZK-NPICanterbury Aero Club, Piper PA28-181, ZK-LJE
Massey Aviation, PA28-151, ZK-EBH

Sunday, November 23, 2008

New to a blog near you - Flight Line Internet Radio!

It has been an interesting few days for me and this blog. A few days ago I was contacted by Don of Flight Line Internet Radio asking if I was interested in putting out an audio version of some of my blog content. I have never considered doing this before [I figure I'd get bored with the sound of my voice quite quickly - and so would everyone else! No cheeky responses required, thank you!], but after a couple of discussions in email and on Skype, I've decided to give it a go!

At this stage, there will be occasional pieces put together every now and then, commenting on some of the things I've experienced in GA flying in New Zealand. My first piece has been submitted, and it's loosely based on Remembrance Day 2008 flying display at Masterton from the past week. As soon as I find out the play schedule, I'll let you know.

Anyway, back to the station. I've been listening for a few days, and it ticks all the boxes for me! Loads of music, and a number of awesome shows [the Warbird Beer Show is not to be missed!] - it just seems to work... really well! It's the sort of station that could be left on in the background of almost any office or home.

Want to have a listen? Top right of this page, just click on the play button and it'll start up. Depending on feedback, I may make this automatically start on page load in the future.

Want to find out more? Go to

New Canterbury Warrior

A quick trip to the Aero Club today resulted in nothing much happening, but I did spot this Canterbury Aero Club Piper PA28-161 Warrior III parked up. ZK-LJD is a very recent additional to the Canterbury fleet, with first registration on 2 October 2008. A quick peek through the perspex confirmed that this is one of the new glass cockpit models.

Canterbury Aero Club, Piper PA28-161 Warrior III, ZK-LJDCanterbury Aero Club, Piper PA28-161 Warrior III, ZK-LJD

Friday, November 21, 2008

Remembrance Day 2008 # 12 : Home Again

All good things must come to an end, and the Remembrance Day 2008 flying display is no exception.

At the end of a few hours of exciting, even exhilarating, flying displays, we had to come home. We had a good 15 minute walk back to the aircraft [including getting a "big telling off" :-) from some 10-12 year old who didn't like the way we were walking back...], it was time to pre-flight and plan our trip home.

With no briefing facilities available at Masterton and having heard rumours of increasing winds back at Wellington [we had heard that the 2000' wind was up to 40-ish knots - not good in amongst the Wellington hills] I made a quick call to the friendly poeple at Wellington Tower. It only took a quick discussion to realise that the reported weather was not much different to when we left. That was quite a relief as neither of us wanted to have to leave the plane and take a trip back to Wellington in a van [although that was always going to be a viable option if the winds were up].

Before we left, I got the pictures of the Cessna C185A, ZK-CBY, off to throw more "victims" out [earlier in the day I got a few pictures of skydivers], and this Sounds Air Cessna C208 Caravan, ZK-PDM . The Caravan was also due to head back to Wellington with a load of passengers.

We jumped in and headed back. The weather was interesting [to say the least]. We flew pretty much the eastern side of the Wairarapa valley and still picked up a fair amount of mountain wave off the hills. It's an interesting experience to be pointing the aircraft nose down and climb at 500' per minute. It was mildly lumpy all the way back at around 2500'. Based on conversations with the Sounds Air pilot, they had much the same at 4500'.

Turning north-west in Palliser Bay to head towards Wellington, we were indicating around 100 knots [slower than normal due to anticipated turbulence] with a GPS indicated ground speed of about 53 knots... I did wonder what we were in for, especially looking at the water where the wind was picking it up and "throwing" it a considerable distance.

Despite this we only got a couple of large thumps in the Pencarrow sector, and once holding at the Harbour Entrance visual reporting point, it wasn't too bad. Once cleared to continue our approach and then land we received the usual bumps at around 100'-150' followed by things getting very smooth below 100'. The landing was [rather surprisingly] good all things considered.

There ended a great day out. Well worth it, and highly recommended for all when the next one comes up. Thanks to the Vintage Aviator, pilots, the airfield and other operators for making this day possible.

Skydive aircraft, Cessna C185A, ZK-CBYSkydiver about to landSounds Air, Cessna C208, ZK-PDM

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Remembrance Day 2008 # 11: DH82A Tiger Moth

Another aircraft at the display not associated with World War One is the De Havilland DH82A Tiger Moth.

The Tiger Moth arrived between the World Wars and trained several generations of military and civilian pilots around the world. The Tiger Moth was used extensively in New Zealand as it was not only operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force as a pilot trainer, but also in the civilian world; both as a trainer and also to introduce aerial applicaion of agricultural chemicals, such as superphosphate.

I understand that the Tiger Moth was bought into the display at short notice, after the Avro 504K engaged in a bit of "tree hugging" the previous week [engine failure, followed by the pilot climbing down the tree...]. Shame to not see the Avro, but at least the pilot walked away.

De Havilland DH82A Tiger MothDe Havilland DH82A Tiger MothDe Havilland DH82A Tiger Moth

Remembrance Day 2008 # 10: Curtis P-40E Kittyhawk

While Remembrance Day is all about the signing of the armistice which came into effect on 11/11/1918, there were a couple of aircraft in the flying display that are not associated with World War One.

The most obvious of these was the Curtis P-40E Kittyhawk. It's incredible to think that in the space of 20 years or so we went from bi-planes [and tri-planes], open cockpits, wood and cloth construction and rotary engines to monoplanes with closed cockpits, mainly metal construction [yes, I am aware of the mighty Hurricane, but still!], oxygen systems and over 1000hp.

The P40 [in all its various models] was flown by air forces from around the planet, including the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and, as shown in this example, in China, as well as with various American and other allied units.

I only managed one reasonable airborne picture [it's a little faster then the other aircraft on show...]. Enjoy anyway!

Curtis P-40E KittyhawkCurtis P-40E KittyhawkCurtis P-40E Kittyhawk

Remembrance Day 2008 # 9: Bristol F.2B Fighter

The last of the World War One aircraft on display was the Bristol F.2B Fighter. The Bristol Fighter was a fairly long-living aircraft with production starting in 1917 and continuing until 1927, with retirement from the RAF five years later in 1932.

The aircraft was employed in fighter and reconnaissance roles - you'll notice from the pictures that there is space for two occupants, the rear occupant having a Vickers machine gun [the detail on these aircraft was amazing!].

On to the pictures. In the first formation picture, the Fighter is leading the 3 Se5a aircraft and after landing you can see the Se5a's and the Fokker D.VII in formation in the background.

Bristol F.2B FighterBristol F.2B FighterBristol F.2B FighterBristol F.2B Fighter and three Se5a aircraftBristol F.2B Fighter, 3x Se5a and 1 Fokker D.VIIBristol F.2B Fighter

Remembrance Day 2008 # 8: Sopwith F.1 Camel Scout

If the Fokker Dreidecker is one of the most recognisable German aircraft of World War One, the Sopwith F.1 Camel Scout must be right up there for the British. The Camel was built around the same period as the Dreidecker, although in much larger numbers.

It has also been immortalised as the [imaginary] aircraft of "Snoopy" the dog in the Charles M. Schultz cartoon strip. "Snoopy" of course was also made famous in that most dreadful of Christmas songs, "Snoopy's Christmas" with words like "Hey, watch out Red Baron! Snoopy's on your tail! One of these days, he's gonna make you pay. Looks like he's not down yet!" [or words to that effect].

Unfortunately I didn't get many [good] pictures, but here are the best two.

Sopwith F.1 Camel ScoutSopwith F.1 Camel Scout

Monday, November 17, 2008

Remembrance Day 2008 # 7: Se5a

Some of the best routines performed were put on by the Fokker Dreidecker's and the three Se5a's [Scout Experimental], particularly the simulated dogfight scene. The Se5a was one of the late-war British designs produced up to the end of the war.

You'll notice the white streamers flowing from the wings of one of the aircraft signifying the lead pilot/aircraft.


Remembrance Day 2008 # 6: Fokker D.VII

Arguably the best German fighter of World War One was the Fokker D.VII. A powerful engine[180Hp], a high ceiling [19,600 feet - remember, open cockpit and no oxygen!] and a couple of machine guns, this was the only German aircraft type that the allies required Germany to hand over as part of the armistice agreement of 1918.

Fokker D.VIIFokker D.VIIFokker D.VIIFokker D.VIIFokker D.VIIFokker D.VII

Remembrance Day 2008 # 5: Drei Fokker Dr.1 Dreidecker

Each and every one of the vintage aircraft and pilots were "stars" but the three Fokker Dr.1 Dreideckers were right up there with the best. The pilots of these aircraft not only performed impressive formation manouvers, but also engaged in some stunning mock combat with the three Se5a's present.

The Dreidecker would probably be one of the most easily recognisable World War One aircraft, not only with the three main wings but also as the famous aircraft of Manfred von Richthofen [aka "The Red Baron"] and his "flying circus".

Fokker Dr.1 DreidecherFokker Dr.1 DreidecherFokker Dr.1 DreidecherFokker Dr.1 DreidecherFokker Dr.1 DreidecherFokker Dr.1 DreidecherFokker Dr.1 DreidecherFokker Dr.1 Dreidecher