Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cessna 320E and a couple of C172's

First up for the Wellington civil visitors today is a "first of type" for me - a Cessna 320E, ZK-EGN. This aircraft is registered to an Inglewood address and would appear to be the only Cessna 320 on the New Zealand aircraft register.

The next two aircraft both hail from Waikato Aero Club [based at Hamilton Airport] and are a Cessna 172R [ZK-WAM] and Cessna 172M [ZK-JGP]. These aircraft were on a South Island trip, but didn't quite make it due to the weather [for once it was wonderful in Wellington and not so nice everywhere else!]. Good to see that they came to Wellington - a lot of people seem to avoid this airport for some reason. I think that they were heading back to Napier [??] and possibly Taupo today, and hopefully back home to Hamilton tomorrow.

ANZAC Day 2009

April 25 is ANZAC Day in New Zealand. The name ANZAC means Australian and New Zealand Army Corp, and recognises the special bond that New Zealand and Australian troops have had over many years, particularly from Gallipoli. For the official version of things, check out this New Zealand Government ANZAC website.

Dawn parades and other ceremonies are a feature of Anzac Day, often with various current and former military aircraft participating in various ways. Today at Wellington I saw a UH-1H Iroquois departing and a P3K Orion performing a pass down the main runway on its way to or from a ceremony somewhere. One thing I had never previously noticed on the P3K was what apears to be a FLIR or camera mount on the bottom of the fuselage under the cockpit. Not at all surprising [considering the aircraft is used for maritime survelliance and search and rescue]... but is it me being paranoid, or is the camera pointing at me in both shots??? :-) [click on the images for the close ups]

Also, Brendon Deere's awesome Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX landed at Wanganui and the locals were able to get out and around it for a short time. A resident spotter in training ["Hi Dad!"] managed to get a few pictures of this also.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Piper and the Duke

After my trip to Takaka earlier today, I arrived back to see a couple of visitors on the ground at Wellington. The first was a Piper PA28-151, ZK-DSK, operated by Massey Aviation in Palmerston North.

The second [and far more interesting] aircraft is a Beechcraft B-60 Duke, N60TE, registered to Nolan Aviation in Colorado. What is interesting is that according to the FAA website, this aircraft is operated under a classification of Special Flight Permit, category Operate Excess of Maximum Weight. I'm not sure what [beyond the obvious!] this means in practical terms, or why it would need to. Anyone have any ideas?

Capital Air to Wellington to Takaka, return

Capital Air is a small local operator who conduct scenic, charter and [from September to April each year], a scheduled Wellington - Takaka - Wellington service. The main aircraft is a Piper PA32R-301 Saratoga, fitted with comfortable club seating for the 45-60 minute scheduled flights. There's also a C172 available for more local scenics.

Today I got the opportunity to tag along and see what it is all about. I've never flown in to Takaka before, so it was a good opportunity for me to find out exactly where the aerodrome is in case I want to go for a visit some time! Lastly, I know just how scenic the Marlborough Sounds area is, and I wanted the chance to be able to relax a little, enjoy the view, and not have to worry about flying the plane while Chris [the pilot] did all the hard work.

The weather was fine - a perfect day for flying actually, although quite dull with some high cloud, so the pictures are not as good as they could be. I really want to get an opportunity to flying through the Sounds on a brighter day and just see what I can do with the camera.

Anyway, here are the photos. The first 3 are heading towards/in to Takaka, the other 2 are on the way home again. Top to bottom are:

An interesting cloud bank [or so I think!]
The Saratoga instrument panel
Short final approach to Takaka runway 18
At 5000' feet looking south over the Marlborough Sounds [x 2]

Thanks Chris and Capital Air for allowing me to pop along for the ride!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Last Monday's visitors

Last Monday was the Easter Monday holiday here in New Zealand. I happened to be out at the airfield and managed to snapped a couple of interesting photos.

The first is of a Bell 206L helicopter, ZK-HMJ, arriving at Wellington. This helicopter registered to an Auckland address.

The second is of a Qantas Boeing 737-738 with an interesting paint scheme. I was in a made rush to get this, so apologies for the security fence in the foreground. It has been a very long time since I saw a Qantas plane in an Aboriginal scheme, and it looks good!

Bell 206L, ZK-HMJBoeing 737-738, VH-VXB, Qantas Airways Ltd

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Classic Fighters 2009 #22: Final Attack

At the conclusion of the airshow was the customary mock attack, complete with pyrotechnics and aircraft that seem to be going everywhere! It was also my final chance to photograph a few of the aircraft that I had missed earlier in the day, such as the North American P51-D Mustang and Curtis P-40E Kittyhawk.

By this stage I was back at my own [rented] aircraft, ready to pre-flight and get away as soon as possible, to try and avoid fading light and then ECT.

Here are a few of the photos I got during that final attack. Obviously the Spitfire is one, then the P-40E, the P51, a couple of Harvards and a look across the crowd to final approach. I hope you have enjoyed this photographic series [almost] as much as I enjoyed taking them and posting them up for you :-)

It was, as they say, the perfect end to a perfect day.

Classic Fighters 2009 #21: Royal Aircraft BE2F

This is the first time I have seen the Royal Aircraft BE2F, ZK-BFR, so I don't have too much to say about it [a pilot with little to say? That's a miracle!] Perhaps the best information comes courtesy of The Vintage Aviator - these are the people who built this aircraft, and the certainly know their stuff. Check out their website for all the details of the rebuild.

Classic Fighters 2009 #20: Fokker Dr.1 Dreidecker

Being a Classic fighters airshow, it was very good to see a small number of World War One fighters being flown. These aircraft are reproductions of the original, not merely replicas - true to the originals in every respect possible.

I've seen this type at Masterton aerodrome before, notably during the 2008 Remembrance Day display [click here for the photos from that display] and it's always good to see these old birds up where they belong!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Classic Fighters 2009 #19: RNZAF Red Checkers - post # 2

The Red Checkers [see previous post] don't just entertain in the air. In recent times, they've taken to putting on the smoke and doing donuts after landing... another thing you're allowed to do in your plane, but not in your car? :-)

Anyway, here's the sequence.

Classic Fighters 2009 #18: RNZAF Red Checkers - post # 1

The Royal New Zealand Air Force's display team is called the Red Checkers, flying the Pacific Aerospace CT4/E Airtrainer. The team is made up of instructor pilots from the RNZAF's Central Flying School [CFS]. The CFS trains the Air Force's instructors, so these people really are the best.

Here are a number of pictures from the Red Checkers display. The final picture is the start of the spaghetti break - basically the team fly direct towards to crowd, then go in all directions...! It looks nuts, but they seem to know what they're doing!