Saturday, January 29, 2011

Humidity and more flying

After all of the excitement of the last airshow, I'm now back into BAU [Business As Usual] mode.

Pictures today are of an RNZAF C130H Hercules departing Wellington last weekend. Click on the image for a better look and note the visible propeller tip vortices. The humidity must have been up a bit, although that's not surprising with all the rain I suppose. I'm sure one of my instructor friends will provide a more detailed explanation in a comment!

Today I got to go flying. The weather was a bit variable, but plenty good enough. I took the Club's Cessna 172N, ZK-FLT out to the Southern Wairarapa area [Palliser Bay], for a couple of turns, some simulated FLWOP [Forced Landings With Out Power], and a little bit of low flying. It was really quite lumpy much above 1500 feet, but other than that quite OK.

Seen today parked up outside the aero club was this Evektor Aertechnik Sportstar Plus, ZK-MAC. This aircraft is a class 2 microlight and is registered to Nelson Pilot Training.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wings Over Wairarapa 2011: Post 17 - The real finale!

I'm sure there is an ancient saying that goes something like this: Publish post in haste, repent at leisure? A couple of minutes after posting the final Wings Over Wairarapa post, I realised that there were a couple of aircraft I had missed and wanted to highlight. Here they are, in the real finale!

First up is a Glaser-Dirks GD-400 powered glider, ZK-GVA. Unlike most gliders, this one was able to launch itself, climb to height before hiding the engine away and performing its display. Nice!

The second is Doug Brooker's MXT Technologies MX2, ZK-MXT. Doug always puts on a fantastic display, some of those manoeuvres made me feel a bit odd, just thinking about the forces involved...

Lastly is an Aoraki Mount Cook Skiplanes Cessna 185A, ZK-CBS. There were around 45 C180/ C185 aircraft at Masterton, celebrating 50 years of the type. The aircraft were parked well away from the public area, but I did get a photo of this ski-equipped model. Awesome! More pictures of the C180/ C185 aircraft can be found on the nzcivair blog.

And there it is... the final post :-)

Wings Over Wairarapa 2011: Post 16 - The finale

All good things much come to and end, especially so a good airshow.

This was not the best airshow I had been to, but certainly very good considering the weather and other factors outside of the control of the organisers! Value for money? Yes - where else can you get a whole day of  entertainment [or aerotainment as the people at the call it!], just a few meters away from the flightline, for as little as NZD$30 a day? Going again? You betcha!

The final display was a simulated airfield attack and defence - essentially a tail-chase for a bunch of aircraft and a final opportunity to see them before the end of the show. The highlight of this are always the explosions.

Thanks for watching and thank you for your comments. I hope you've enjoyed it! Feel free to drop me a line with your comments.

Plans for the next airshow are Classic Fighters at Omaka over Easter. Current plans are to possibly have an ex RNZAF Strikemaster [Blunty], Avro Anson, de Havilland Mosquito and a Yak 3 as drawcards! Some of these aircraft have not flown yet after rebuilds, but we'll see what happens!

Wings Over Wairarapa 2011: Post 15 - de Havilland Vampire

With the demise of the much anticipated de Havilland Venom [it had a landing accident the day before the airshow], it was left to the DH115 Mk.55 Trainer Vampire to represent the post-war British jet industry.

ZK-RVM is painted in RNZAF colours, although the registration NZ5712 was never worn by an RNZAF aircraft [the final Vampire has the military registration of NZ5711].

It was good to see this aircraft again, although I'm looking forward to seeing the Venom [hopefully in a couple of years at the next airshow]. On another note - I hear rumour that there might be an ex-RNZAF Strikemaster at the Classic Fighters airshow at Omaka over Easter this year. That would be awesome!

Wings Over Wairarapa 2011: Post 14 - World War 2 fighters

One disappointment of the airshow was the absence of Spitfires. I imagine that the weather had something to do with it, although the Auckland based 2 seater apparently had some minor mechanical issues - better to be safe than sorry though!

Ok, I'm over that [!], and was very pleased to see the Vought/ Goodyear FG1D Corsair, ZK-COR, and two Curtis P40 Kittyhawks. These aircraft put on a really good display, but my favourite is and has always been the Corsair. I especially like the final picture with the Corsair pilot looking at the approaching P40 in the background.

Wings Over Wairarapa 2011: Post 13 - Agricultural aircraft display

New Zealand has always been a leader in the aerial application of agricultural chemicals. Much of this is due to the hilly and inaccessible nature of some of New Zealand's productive land. Early on the Tiger Moth was used by replacing the forward cockpit with a hopper. These days the Tiger Moth has been replaced by more modern aircraft such as the Kiwi designed and built PAC Cresco, helicopters and the Air Tractor.

A more unusual conversion is the spray-boom equipped Tiger. This is perhaps the last in the world and as in previous years, put on a great display. Aircraft in the airshow display where DH82A Tiger Moth ZK-ANL, followed by Schweizer 269C, ZK-HEU and Air Tractor AT-402B, ZK-PCC.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wings Over Wairarapa 2011: Post 12 - Early warbirds

New Zealand is home to one of the best collections of reproduction [not merely replica] World War I aircraft that I know of. Many of these aircraft reside at Masterton and Wings Over Wairarapa always has a number of early aircraft on display and in the air.

In this post I cover off many of these aircraft. I don't have the aircraft registrations and more detailed information is available at The Vintage Aviator or on Wikipedia, but these are the photos I got.

Top to bottom are:

Fokker D.III
Nieuport XI
Sopwith F.1 Camel Scout
Pfalz DIII
Fokker Dr. 1 Dreidecker
Avro 504K

Wings Over Wairarapa 2011: Post 11 - de Havilland DH82A Tiger Moth

The Tigers were out in force as always, with my favourite being the wing walking demonstration. I'm not sure I'd be too keen to be standing on a platform right over the fuel tank, but it was a good show!

In addition, there were a couple of Tigers with ribbons attached and a spray boom equipped Tiger [this will be the subject of a separate post].

Aircraft in this post are de Havilland DH82A registrations ZK-BLK, ZK-ANQ and ZK-BLI [with the wing walker "attached"].

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wings Over Wairarapa 2011: Post 10 - Yakovlev Yak-52 displays

This year the Yakrobats team put on a couple of really nice displays. The first was a "pylon" type race with the team chasing each other around three pylons [one of which is a truck and trailer :-)]. Commentary was by Yak 52 owner, weather man and cafe owner Jim Hickey - a very funny chap. Apparently he thinks ZK-ZAH is the best presented Yak 52 in the southern hemisphere... guess which one he owns :-)

The second display was a more traditional formation aerobatics display and again, very well received.

I counted 9 Yak-52's at the airshow this year, but didn't get all the registrations [feel free to fill in the details], but I did see ZK-ZAH, ZK-KGB, ZK-YAK, ZK-TYS, ZK-YNZ and ZK-PTE.

Photos are of the pylon race, one from the formation display and finally Jim's aeroplane. BTW - if you're at New Plymouth airport, you could pop in to the cafe... here's the web address

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wings Over Wairarapa 2011: Post 9 - Thunder Mustang

One of my favourite aircraft is New Zealand's only Thunder Mustang, ZK-TMG, named Tiger's Blood. It's an awesome machine, and has been used to set a couple of world speed records [click here for details]. They are a nice bunch of guys that fly it also, and Simon did a great job showing this machine off to the crowd.

All the details of the aircraft and the people are on their website [which has been recently upgraded]. Someone mentioned that a syndicate share might be available. I'm not sure if that's true, but a nice thought [anyone want to give me a lot of money?] :-)

The only problem with the aircraft is that it is so darn fast that it is hard to get a decent photo of it flying past! Well, here are the better ones. Enjoy!

Wings Over Wairarapa 2011: Post 8 - Messerschmitt Bf108 Taifun

Another popular aircraft at any airshow is the Messerschmitt Bf108 [actually in this case a licence built Nord 1002], ZK-WFI. The aircraft was a predecessor to the rather more famous Bf109 [they share several design features], but is a four seat "cruising" aircraft, and used in the war as a personal transport/ liaison aircraft.

Here it is shown before and during the display.

Wings Over Wairarapa 2011: Post 7 - Percival/ LAC Prospector E.P.9

A new aircraft type for me was this LAC Prospector E.P.9. Originally designed by Edgar Percival, ZK-PWZ is one of only two left flying in the world. The type was originally designed and operated as a top-dresser, although it is now fitted out with six seats.

It has to rate as a fairly ugly aircraft [or should that be "functional"???], but it was a good display, and it's great to see extremely rare aircraft still being displayed in the air, rather than confined to the ground.

Wings Over Wairarapa 2011: Post 6 - RNZAF CT4/E, Red Checkers

This airshow was the first display of the RNZAF's Red Checkers display team, since being grounded last year due to a fatal accident and a near miss involving a mid-air collision. The weather on the day put paid to any suggestion of a full-on display, but better safe than sorry as they say.

For those who don't know, the team use the Pacific Aerospace Corp CT4/E airtrainer, which is also the RNZAF's ab-initio trainer aircraft.

Aircraft in this display appeared to be NZ1991, NZ1992, NZ1996, NZ1997 and NZ1998. The static display aircraft, NZ1994 [last photo] seems to have an identity crisis... or maybe it is one of those "when I grow up I want to be a..." :-)

Wings Over Wairarapa 2011: Post 5 - RNZAF Bell UH-1H Iroquois

The RNZAF also put on a display by one of their Bell UH-1H Iroquois helicopters, NZ3809. This included speed [?] and agility demonstrations - the sort of thing you expect from a helicopter I guess. There were also demos of spiral climbs and descents, a winching demo onto a moving vehicle and a couple of other manoeuvres.

I was particularly pleased to see this aircraft here as it is due to be replaced by the NH90 from around the middle of this year. This was probably one of the last opportunities for me to see the Iroquois being demonstrated by the air force, although I am very keen to see the NH90 being put through its paces perhaps next year.