Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Aviation - the early years

I was going through my books the other day and discovered an older book that chronicles the very early years of aviation from balloons prior to the Wright brothers, through to the inter-war period.

The book consists of over 450 pictures from the Hulton Getty Picture Collection [from what I can tell, part of the well-known Getty Images] and is narrated in English, French and German. The book was first published in 1997, and was put together by Peter Almond.

If you're interested in hundreds of black-and-white photos of the very early years of aviation, then this is the book for you. The book is in a hard-cover format and would be well at home on a lounge tabletop or library.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Yesterday's Wellington visitors

Before the flight with Pete in the Nanchang, I took photos of a number of aircraft visiting Wellington, and the aero club's apron area.

The first photos are two pictures of the Akrotech Giles G200, ZK-LGT, which is undergoing it's test flight programme. The second is a Piper PA28-140, ZK-DNE, registered to a Papakura address. The most exciting aircraft would have to be the Cessna P210N Centurion, ZK-VIR. This aircraft is registered to Air West Coast, and is a pressurised model. Nice.

Lastly is an Aerospatiale AS350BA, ZK-HZN. This helicopter is registered to Search and Rescue Services Ltd of a Taupo address.

A flight in the Nanchang

Yesterday I had the privilege [and pleasure!] of a flight in Nanchang CJ6, ZK-MAO thanks to one of the syndicate members [thanks Pete!]. It was a quick flight out to the southern Wairarapa area, followed by a bit of Tomahawk chasing and back for some circuits. Despite the look of the weather, the flight was very smooth - just a low-ish cloud base.

While out in the training area, we spotted an aero club PA38 Tomahawk [ZK-JFE]. A bit of gentle tail chasing followed [the PA38 didn't stand a chance :-)].

The order of the photos is roughly startup to the final turn to final approach. Wellington locals should be able to pick out the various scenic points in the pictures.

Enjoy the pics!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

More aviation photos?

Hmmm, maybe not right now... the cloud is several hundred feet BHL [Below House Level...], which makes for no photos. Viz can't be more than 100 meters in the cloud [it's too windy for fog].

Looks like weather will be better tomorrow, although airline traffic tends to slow down a lot over the Christmas period, so there's less change of seeing anything interesting. In any case, I imagine that most GA pilots will still be tucked up nicely next to a beer and a thick steak on the BBQ with the whanau :-)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas my friends!

With this being my final post prior to Christmas, I thought I'd just say"Merry Christmas", and thank you all very much for your support over the past year [in fact, 4 years that this blog has been running!]. It is always great to receive your comments [and corrections...].

A very special thank you to those who have taken the time to introduce themselves and say "hi" during the year.

I wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas, and if we don't meet beforehand, an awesome new year!

Oh yeah - Karl - your Russian Fudge is on your desk :-) Enjoy it before the other instructors do!

Final pre-Christmas pictures are as follows:

Cessna 172B, ZK-BZT, registered to a Christchurch address
Cessna A152, ZK-FLH, currently registered to Mainland Air, but online with Wellington Aero Club for a few months
Akrotech Giles G200, ZK-LGT, registered very recently [21 Oct 2009] to a Wellington address
Gulfstream G-IV, ZK-KFB, registered to Air National Ltd in Auckland

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

First flight of the Boeing 787

I don't usually comment on such things, but congratulations are due to Boeing on getting their new wizz-bang new 7-late-7 [sorry... couldn't resist :-)] airborne earlier today. Being on the other side of the world, I don't have photos of my own, but here are links to some reputable aviation sources:


Bangalore Aviation

I'm sure if you Google for Boeing 787 first flight you'll pick up a bunch of hits also.

I'm also sure that Boeing's airline customers will be relieved that this step has finally been undertaken, although there's a long way to go yet...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Windy Wellington

I love windy, stormy, days, except perhaps when I want to go flying :-)

This weekend has been a windy one. As you'll see in this series of photos of a Jetstar Airbus A320 landing at Wellington, there was a strong westerly component [it was a north-westerly "breeze"], which made it fun for those landing on an [almost] north-south orientated runway [runway 34 is in use].

What's the clue in these photos? Well, if you orientate yourself to the pilot's view, I am standing to the LEFT of the aircraft, but I can only see the RIGHT hand side in the initial photos. The second photo is the same as the first one, except that I've enlarged it to show the detail better. In the third image, the aircraft is still pointing at the aero club. As always, click on the images for a better look.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Yesterday's other aircraft

In addition to the smaller aircraft, I snapped photos of the following types. The first is a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, ZK-SAA, operated by Sounds Air. This aircraft was parked up for a few minutes to let a group from the New Zealand Association of Women in Aviation. Just sorry I couldn't make it for the trip [thanks for the invite though]!

The second is the local rescue helicopter, ZK-HLF, a Kawasaki BK117 B-2, operated by Helilink Ltd. Last is a picture of an Air Nelson Bombardier DHC-8-311 [Dash 8], ZK-NES retracting its undercarriage.

Enjoy the pictures!

Saturday's GA aircraft

Yesterday [Saturday] was a fantastic day weather-wise - one of the best we have had afor a long time. For those that ventured in to the skies they were almost guaranteed an awesome flight with a very light breeze and very clear skies.

Here are a few of the general aviation [GA] types that visited the Aero Club apron. Top to bottom are:

Piper PA34-200 Seneca, ZK-ROC, registered to Helipro Aviation Training Ltd
Morane-Soulnier MS880B Rallaye, ZK-BZZ, registered to a Nelson address [and first flight into Wellington for the owner]
Cessna 180A, ZK-FDO, registered to a Blenheim address
Cessna 182T, ZK-KBL, registered to Withoutalid Ltd of Oamaru

I had a quick peek in the window and ZK-KBL is one of the new glass cockpit models... flash!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Yesterday and today


Yesterday's weather was pretty much awful for VFR [Visual Flight Rules] flying, so there was no flying from the Club. There were a couple of IFR visitors. The first was this Diamond DA42 Twinstar, ZK-CTH, from CTC in Hamilton.

The second was a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, ZK-MYH, registered to

Both of these aircraft were parked up outside the aeroclub. The Twinstar was held up for a couple of hours until the weather was at IFR minima for the flight...


Nothing much in the way of visitors, except for this Cessna 185C, ZK-JHS, registered to Stephenson's Pharmacy Ltd in Whitianga.

The big news for me though was a flight in the Club's Cessna 172N, ZK-FLT. I had not flown a C172 since January 2007, so after a few circuits with a Club instructor I managed a few by myself. I'll probably take it up for an hour next weekend to consolidate some skills before my next big C172 adventure in the next couple of months [more on that in a later post :-)].

Last weekend's visitors

Here are a couple of visitors from last weekend. The first is General Dynamics Allison Convair 440/580, ZK-CIE, registered to Air Chathams Ltd, of the Chathams Island. This aircraft was left at Wellington at the conclusion of a charter.

The second is the RNZAF Boeing B757, NZ7572 departing Wellington. This is the biggest aircraft to regularly visit Wellington.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gulf Air Airbus A340 departing Wellington

Well, I missed the departure, but Silke [Thanks!] has kindly given me a video of the event, so here it is.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Another Gulf Air A340 picture

I popped out to the aero club today, and seeing the Gulf Air Airbus A340 parked on the "freight" apron, I popped over and grabbed some more pictures. Here is one of the better ones.

As I've said before, it's an awesome looking aircraft! Enjoy!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gulf Air Airbus A340 landing at Wellington video

One of this blog's readers mentioned that there was a video of the Gulf Air Airbus a340 landing at Wellington [Thanks, Grayson]. I thought that some of you might be interested in this, so here it is:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gulf Air Airbus A340 at Wellington!!!!

In what are probably a couple of firsts for Wellington International Airport, a Gulf Air Airbus A340-313X [registration A9C-LI] has landed with the Bahrain national football team on board in preparation for this weekend's clash against the New Zealand national team, the All Whites.

This will be the first time [someone correct me if I am wrong!] that a Gulf Air aircraft has landed at Wellington, and is likely also the first time that an Airbus A340 has visited.

The aircraft was parked at gate 25 [I think I have read that correctly] for some time before being pushed back to the freight apron for the next couple of days. The game is on Saturday, so I imagine that the aircraft will leave on Sunday some time.

The aircraft has a really nice paint job - notice in particular all of the advertising decals - F1 Grand Prix 2010 on the fuselage, and the Bahrain International Airshow on the engine cowls. Apologies for the image quality - these were taken as late as about 7:45pm, and so the light was fading. I'll see if I can get some better photos on the weekend!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Saturday's aircraft

Here are the pictures I took yesterday from the Aero Club of various regular and visiting aircraft to Wellington.

Of particular interest to me is a Piper PA31 ZK-VIP, registered to Air West Coast Ltd. I have seen this aircraft several times in the past, although last time it looked extremely tired. Amazing what a flash new paint job will do!

Top to bottom these aircraft are:

Piper PA31, ZK-VIP, Air West Coast Ltd
Cessna C172N, ZK-EFF, Motueka Aero Club
Partenavia P68C, ZK-MIR, Canterbury Aero Club
Diamond DA20-C1, ZK-SFI, CTC Aviation Training Ltd
Cessna C172S, ZK-WKT, CTC Aviation Training Ltd
Nanchang CJ6, ZK-MAO, Wellington Aero Club
Aerospatiale Alenia ATR72-212A, ZK-MCP, Mount Cook Airline Ltd

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Getting high :-)

After yesterday's flight to Masterton, I thought I would do something a little different today. Today's flight was a reasonably short [1.5 hour] sightseeing flight to the southern part of the east coast of the North Island. I went as far north as Flat Point aerodrome [ICAO code: NZFT], but didn't really get close to it... because I was up at 13,000 feet for the first time :-)

I took my usual aircraft, a Piper PA28-181, ZK-TDJ, and if it wasn't for the limitation of 13,000' without oxygen, I reckon it would have easily gone higher. As you'll see from the picture, I was still doing about 90 knots indicated straight and level and prior to this it was still climbing at least 300 feet/min, with two people on board and we started with full fuel tanks.

The second picture is from later in the flight as we descended to about 4,300 feet approaching Palliser Bay in the southern Wairarapa area.

50 years of the "new" Wellington International Airport...

... and 80 odd years that the Wellington Aero Club has been operating here :-)

Wellington International Airport held it's 50th anniversary open day today. It's been 50 years since the "new" airport was opened, although as I noted above, Wellington Aero Club has been operating off this same site for much longer than that.

I didn't get over to the open day, although there appeared to have been plenty on, including Airport Fire displays, an Air New Zealand Airbus A320 available for people to walk through, a couple of other aircraft and a [very very] small air display with an RNZAF Historic Flight Harvard 3* performing a couple of quick aerobatic displays [sorry, missed the chance for photos of these].

Anyway, here are the pictures. Top to bottom:

RNZAF Historic Flight Harvard Mk III, NZ1015, refueling at Wellington Aero Club
RNZAF Bell UH1H Iroquois, NZ3805
Pacific Aerospace Cresco 08-600, ZK-PWT, registered to Griffen Ag Air of Palmerston North