Monday, March 29, 2010

Wellington Aero Club Open Day 2010 #18: This is the Club

After all is said and done, this was an aero club open day. We had great fun, and a great day [great weather also!]! Many thanks of course to those who supported the day by bringing and operating aircraft and by providing support during the day, and of course our visitors!

To finish off, here are some of photos of club aircraft. First are two Piper PA38-112 Tomahawks which were conducting trial flights throughout the day [ZK-JFE and ZK-WAC]. Next is Piper PA28R-201 Arrow ZK-EIF, then an elevated view including Cessna 172N ZK-ETK.

If you've ever thought of learning to fly, now's a good time to have a quick chat with your local aero club. If you're in the Wellington region, give Wellington Aero Club a call on 04-3888333 or visit us on Coutts St, Wellington [Kilbernie side of the airport]. Website is Flying NZ is another great place to start. Tell them you heard about them here!

Wellington Aero Club Open Day 2010 #17: Goodyear FG-1D Corsair - post 2 of 2

Here are some of my favourite Corsair pictures. The start-up of these older engines is always impressive ["smokey" :-)], and in this case almost half the plane disappears in the smoke.

After this are a couple of shots of the wings being lowered [now might be a good time to see how little metal appears to hold those wings on!], followed by taxi then departure.

Wellington Aero Club Open Day 2010 #16: Goodyear FG-1D Corsair - post 1 of 2

Wow! There's little else that can be said about the mighty Corsair! ZK-COR arrived in Wellington the previous day, so no arrival pictures. This post contains a number of shots from various angles during the day. The next post will contain the departure :-)

I guess partly because the aircraft is an "odd" shape with the gull wings, not the mention the size [it is certainly close to, if not actually, the biggest single-seater prop I have ever seen] this aircraft was popular with visitors throughout the day. Awesome!

Wellington Aero Club Open Day 2010 #15: Sounds Air Cessna 208 Caravan

Sounds Air very kindly sent ZK-TZR, one of their Cessna 208 Caravan's along for the day. It was a good chance for visitors to get up in to the cockpit of a small airliner, to see all the "bits and pieces" and to ask questions. "Captain R-Dog" [a Club pilot] and several others spent a lot of time supervising people to make sure that nothing bad happened [like the engine starting :-)].

It was actually good fun taking my turn to sit in the cockpit and answer questions from the [mainly] kids who wanted a look.

The best question I got was Does this aircraft have guns?. Ha ha ha. The answer [of course] was No, but the pilot would like some. :-)

Sounds Air operate a regular schedule across Cook Strait between Wellington, Picton, Nelson and Blenheim. Having flown with them on a couple of occasions, I can definitely recommend Sounds Air as a great[usually very scenic] way to get about.

Wellington Aero Club Open Day 2010 #14: Odd and Sods

I thought it was time to show some of the "odds and sods" aircraft and events happening around the open day. The aircraft are [in order] the Cirrus SR22 ZK-YUG, Neico Aviation Lancair 320, ZK-VDQ and Akrotech G200 ZK-LGT, all registered to Wellington addresses.

Following this is our very own "7 foot tall instructor" [I guess you had to be there!] Blair running one of his popular "Learn to Fly" seminars. Capital Books were in attendance again with a good selection, and finally, a "winged garbage collector" consuming some "left overs" :-)

Back to the main event in the next post.

Wellington Aero Club Open Day 2010 #13: The Cat - post 2 of 2

In this second post on the PBY5A Catalina, ZK-PBY, I have a few pictures of the aircraft taxiing, post flight checks, engine start and soon after takeoff.

The RNZAF operated a few 10's of Catalina's during World War 2, in air-sea rescue, patrol and shipping escort roles, although I understand that these were all flying boats rather than amphibious models such as ZK-PBY. You can get more details on the Catalina Group's website.

Enjoy the pics!

Wellington Aero Club Open Day 2010 #12: The Cat - post 1 of 2

A huge highlight for many people [including myself] was the arrival of the Consolidated Vultee PBY5A Catalina, ZK-PBY.

The Catalina is one of those aircraft that is simply unmistakable. There's nothing [in this part of the world at least] that comes even close to the sight or 'presence' of the Catalina... which is probably why the Catalina Group of New Zealand were able to run 5 flights for visitors instead of the planned 2.

I understand that this is the only operational Catalina in Australasia. It is probably also one of the few times it has been in to Wellington, although maybe we will see it here more often from now on... here's hoping :-)

Needless to say, after marshaling the aircraft in, and throughout the day, I took a lot of pictures. There will be a second post up very soon so that I can cover of some of the better ones. In this post are pictures of the arrival, followed by a picture of the cockpit and through the blisters in the rear of the fuselage.

If you ever get a chance to have a look, or even go for a ride in this aircraft, I'd suggest that you take your chance!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wellington Aero Club Open Day 2010 #11: Mitsubishi Zero!!!!

Well, it would hardly be an open day without a couple of surprises, and WOW! What a surprise we got!

No one was expecting this, yet in the middle of the day we all got a big surprise when a Pacific Aerospace 750XL, ZK-XLE did an approach and overshoot. Yeah OK, unexpected and a nice surprise, but not quite earth-shattering. What followed a few seconds later however, was a HUGE surprise! An extremely rare Mitsubishi A6M Zero came screaming down the runway! What a highlight!

The Zero was one of the most feared Japanese aircraft in World War 2. It was generally acknowledged as the best carrier fighter in the Pacific Theatre at the start of those hostilities.

This aircraft, registration N712Z [NX712Z on the fuselage], was shipped over in a container for the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow this coming Easter weekend. There was no hint given of this fly-by, and the publicly reported plans [click here] does not even mention Wellington.

The 750XL? It's a support aircraft accompanying the Zero on it's travels.

Awesome!!! Enjoy the pictures!

Wellington Aero Club Open Day 2010 #10: Nanchang CJ6

One aircraft being displayed during the day was the Club's Nanchang CJ6, ZK-MAO. The CJ6 was a Chinese PLAAF ab-initio trainer for many years and is now popular amongst warbird enthusiasts. ZK-MAO is owned by a syndicate and is based at the Club.

Wellington Aero Club Open Day 2010 #9: Royal New Zealand Air Force

A regular visitor to our Open Days is the Royal New Zealand Air Force [RNZAF] who sent one of their Pacific Aerospace CT4/E Airtrainers, an instructor pilot and recruiting stand. The CT4/E is the primary trainer of the Air Force, and is used by the Red Checkers display team.

Interestingly, several other aircraft and types at the open day [such as the DH104 Devon, PBY5A Catalina and the Corsair] had an extensive RNZAF history.

Pictured are the PAC CT4/E, NZ1991, the recruiting vehicle, and Dean the MC interviewing Simon Costello of the RNZAF.

If you might be interested in stepping up to an Air Force career, check out the Step Up Careers website!