Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Maule M-5

What can I say, but that it has been an awesome day in Wellington! Long may it last, which, according to met reports, will probably be about today only... rain tomorrow...

Being a holiday period, it has been quite quiet, but today's visitor to the Aero Club is a Maule M-5-210C, ZK-DVF, which is registered to a Martinborough address. I last saw this aircraft back in 2008.

Monday, December 30, 2013

More photos of the Gulfstream G550 at Wellington

Today dawned somewhat more brightly than yesterday's gloomy conditions, so I headed out to grab some more photos of the Gulfstream G550/ GV-SP, N133CS. As it turned out, the aircraft was departing today so I got to see it go. Nice!

Anyway, here are the pictures.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Gulfstream and a King Air

It has been a wee bit gloomy today, although still very warm and still air, so a bit muggy also.

There is however a very nice Gulfstream G550, N133CS, parked up outside the aero club. Very, very nice :-)

The other aircraft from my brief visit to the airport was this Beech C90A King Air, ZK-MKG, registered to Air Wanganui.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas from Rodney's Aviation Ramblings!

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you have a safe, relaxing and enjoyable Christmas and New Year! I'm looking forward to your visits [and for many of you, continuing to enjoy your blogs] in 2014.

There's likely to be a reduction in posts until the next year... I already have a plan for something a little different in mid January - all I need is for the weather to cooperate. More details if it all comes off  :-)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Virgin Australia, Jetstar, Marlborough Helicopters and One News :-)

I have three aircraft to share from today.

The first is a Virgin Australia Airlines [NZ] Boeing 737-8FE, ZK-PBG. This livery is getting much rarer as the aircraft are progressively repainted into the current Virgin Australia livery. Note in particular the very very faded fuselage top.

The second is a Jetstar-registered Airbus A320-232, VH-VFD. Last we have a Marlborough Helicopters Bell 206B, ZK-HJI. This aircraft was transporting a One News crew to and from a bush fire at Port Underwood near Picton [click here for an early news report from stuff.co.nz]. I guess you'll see a report on the TV tonight, but you saw it here first [at the least the interesting part... the helicopter!] :-).

Yesterday's Air Ambulance

I took this photo of the Garden City Helicopters [Christchurch] Beech C90A, ZK-FDN, yesterday.

This aircraft is based at Nelson along with a rescue helicopter*

Anyway, it's a very nice looking aircraft. Just two photos - on the Western Apron and the departure off runway 34.

* post updated with confirmation that ZK-FDN is based in Nelson.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Flight to Whanganui!

Soon after arriving at the Aero Club today I was offered a ride to Whanganui and back.

Awesome! Chris and Rosanna were heading up to the sprawling metropolis that is Whanganui [for anyone outside of New Zealand, Whanganui is neither sprawling nor a metropolis...], so very shortly after the Airwork B737 [previous post] had arrived we jumped in the Club's Piper PA28R-201 Arrow, ZK-EIF, and headed up. Chris flies really well, so it was a very comfortable flight up and back.

After arrival in Whanganui [and noting that the stench was thankfully absent [it's an old news article, but still relevant]!] there was a brief stop to meet up with Rosanna's and Chris' family before heading back.

Photos start with a couple of the aircraft, followed by views of:

Raumai visual reporting point inside the Military Operating Aera M306 [which was not active when we went through...]
Mount Ruapehu [about 50 nm - about 90 km - north] - remember to click on the image for a larger version
the approach into Wanganui AD [NZWU] runway 29
the main aerodrome buildings as we departed
arriving back into Wellington, over the Hutt Valley looking south
the approach into Wellington AD [NZWN] runway 34

Some special aircraft today...

I was out at the Aero Club today and got to see a couple of very interesting aircraft!

The first was a Boeing 737-377, ZK-SLA, which is registered to Airwork Flight Operations. It appeared to be on a charter today as it parked on the Eastern Apron and the passengers were transferred to some buses.

The second was a Royal Australian Air Force owned Lockheed P3 Orion [no rego for this one]. I heard it when it was almost overhead, so that's all I got for a picture also.


* Thanks to "Barry" for the update, especially on the RAAF P3 Orion [ see comments for more information]

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Westjet Christmas gifts

I don't usually do this, but this is a really nice airline video.

Not one of the usual "pretend to be a safety video" types, but an awesome video showing Canadian airline Westjet surprising some of their Christmas season travellers. A really nice touch for those people [and good marketing for the airline also] :-)


Sunday, December 08, 2013

Boeings and Airbuses from today

Following on from my last post, here are a few examples of the Boeing and Airbus aircraft at Wellington today [apart from those in the previous post]. These ones aren't looking like impending doom :-), they are just pictures that I like.

Top to bottom we have:

Boeing 737-319, ZK-NGI, registered to Air New Zealand
Airbus A320-232, VH-VGT, registered to Jetstar Airways
Boeing 737-319, ZK-NGJ, registered to Air New Zealand
Airbus A320-232, ZK-OXA, registered to Air New Zealand
Boeing 737-838, ZK-ZQB, registered to Jetconnect [Qantas]
Boeing 737-8FE, VH-VUY, registered to Virgin Australia Airlines

Crosswinds at Wellington

Today was fairly windy with surface winds this afternoon up to around 47 knots [about 87 km/hr], but including crosswind components in the mid-20 knots at times.

Needless to say, this made for some interesting arrivals. Although photos don't really do justice, here are a sample of the more interesting photos. I should point out that all of these landings worked out really well; none of them were as bad as the photos might suggest... all credit to the flight crew!

Top to bottom we have:

Boeing 737-8KG, VH-VUY, Virgin Australia Airlines
ATR-GIE ATR72-212A, ZK-MCY, Mount Cook Airline [Air NZ]
Raytheon [Beech] 1900D, ZK-EAO, Eagle Airways [Air NZ]
ATR-GIE ATR72-212A, ZK-MVC, Mount Cook Airline [Air NZ]

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Photography at Christchurch airport?

Mid January I will have a couple of hours spare at Christchurch airport [domestic only]. I haven't been to Christchurch in ages, so I'm not so familiar with the airport.

Can anyone advise of places in the airport offering good views of airside so I can get a few photos? I don't want to be intrusive or do anything dodgy, and it will need to be in the vicinity of the terminal...

Many thanks!

Just one photo today. It's not too windy, but is wet in Wellington today. Here's Air NZ's Boeing 737-319, ZK-NGJ getting airborne.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

... and today back to sunshine!

What a difference a day makes. In my last post [from yesterday], it was windy, cloudy/ gloomy and a bit wet. Today is sunshine and light winds [especially this afternoon]. Yesterday many commercial turboprop flights were cancelled or delayed, today even the Club's light aircraft are up and about.

I guess that's one of the reasons I love living in Wellington - The weather can change overnight, so even if it is rubbish one day, the next day can be fine.

Anyway, just one photo today to show off the much improved conditions. This time it's an Air Nelson [Air NZ] Bombardier DHC-8-311, ZK-NER. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The weather is back to usual...

Last weekend's perfect flying weather couldn't last. In the later part of the week we had a bit of rain, now we have strong winds, light rain and it's grey and gloomy. As I write this, the winds are gusting up to 55 knots [about 100 km/hr].

Needless to say, there's a distinct lack of light aircraft flying around Wellington today and having watched a few arrivals and departures this morning, I'm very happy to be on the ground! Photos are of an Air NZ Airbus A320-232, ZK-OJQ and an Air Nelson Bombardier DHC-8-311, ZK-NEP.

Here's hoping for better weather next week

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Wellington, Hawera, Whanganui and back to Wellington

What a FANTASTIC day for a flight! Smooth air, sunshine and not too much other traffic around - just about the best combination you could have :-)

Last week another club pilot ["hello Rhys!"] asked if I wanted to go to Hawera [ICAO code NZHA, about 1.5 hrs flying from Wellington]. Rhys was picking up another aircraft to take to Nelson and needed someone to get him there and to fly back. I could see that the weather was looking good and I'd never flown into Hawera, so why not?

First thing for me was to get current on the Cessna 172. A quick flight with the Club's new CFI in our C172N ZK-FLT last night [also in perfect conditions!] sorted that. This morning was a thorough preflight, refuel, check of the weather and NOTAMs and off we went. Rhys flew to Hawera and we arrived 1.5 hrs later. Smooth flying conditions and helped by the fact that Rhys flies really well.

My flight back went via Wanganui Airport [NZWU] for a quick lunch with the folks ["thanks for paying, Mum!"], a brief wait for the Air NZ B1900 service to depart, refuel, then back to Wellington. Again, perfect flying conditions. I was enjoying it so much I completely forgot to take any photos. Darn!

In short, I had a relaxing, fun flight to Hawera, I'm current again on the C172 [as well as being current on the PA28], have practiced an overhead rejoin [at NZWU] and accumulated another 2.3 hours flying [yesterday's check ride plus today]! Awesome! did I mention how much fun it was? :-)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

OK, so it's hardly "local", but...

... it is quite funny none-the-less!

Here is Boeing latest design, the Boeing 797-1 - rumoured to replace the B747-8I when it comes out in a few years time :-)

Personally, I'm booking a space on the pool deck!

Latest Boeing model B797. Click for a larger version.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Today's landings

Following on from my previous post, here are pictures of a few of the landings today.

While the weather was nice, the winds were low and they changed during the day which made some of the landings a bit trickier than others [there were reports of tailwinds on final approach for some aircraft], although neither of the featured aircraft here seemed to have any issues.

Top to bottom we have:
Boeing 737-8KG, VH-VUY, registered to Virgin Australia Airlines
Cessna 208B, ZK-SAY, registered to Sounds Air

Today's takeoffs

It has been yet another day of very nice weather in Wellington today. A bit of cloud but very nice flying conditions. I didn't get to go flying [although I'm booked in for next weekend] but I did get some nice photos instead.

In this set, we have a few of today's takeoffs. Top to bottom are:

Boeing 737-33A, ZK-NGR, registered to Air New Zealand
Bombardier DHC-8-311, ZK-NEJ, registered to Air Nelson/ Air NZ
Cessna 172S, ZK-CTT, registered to CTC Aviation Training in Hamilton
General Dynamics Allison Convair 440/580, ZK-CIF, registered to Air Chathams
[it appears that several of the Air Chathams fleet have lost most of their markings now - does anyone know why?]

Saturday, November 02, 2013

New! Aerodromes and Airstrips page is now available

This is an admin notice to advise that a new "Aerodromes and Airstrips" page is now available form the top menu bar of this blog or by clicking here!

This page highlights to many aerodromes, airstrips and occasional beach I have had the pleasure of flying into over the past few years. At the time of writing this post, I have a large number of additional markers to place [mainly in the upper and central North Island], so bear with me while I do that!

Each marker is clickable and contains the name of the location [including the associated ICAO location code where relevant], and maybe a link to an operator of interest.

I';m using this page to remind me of the many places I have visited over the past 14-15 years and also to highlight places I haven't [but perhaps should] visit.

If you see anything which is out of date or inaccurate, please let me know!

Monday, October 28, 2013

BFR. Done.

I managed to do my BFR [Biennial Flight Review] today! I took up the Wellington Aero Club's Piper PA28-161, ZK-MBG since that is what I have been flying most recently.

Somewhat surprisingly, the weather was good enough [and that's surprising given the howling gales of the past few days!], although far from perfect. In some ways though a bit of turbulence, wind and rain just made for a better check ride.

As for the manoeuvres, it's fair to say I was put through just about everything the instructor could think of: Short field takeoff, slow flight, medium turns left and right, steep turns left and right, compass turn, basic and advanced stalls, FLWOP, low flying [including steep turns left and right, precautionary landings and coastal reversal turns left and right], return to Wellington for circuits including short approach, flapless landing, precision approach and an EFATO. The air was lumpy enough to keep me on my toes, and a wee bit of crosswind to keep me awake on short final.

Lastly, was a few pages of paperwork, including general and aircraft specific knowledge and decoding TAFs for Wellington and Nelson [why did I get the day with loads of "BECOMINGS" in it?? Arrgghh!!]. Lastly a few oral questions [yes, I know that Va increases with an increase in weight] and I'm done.

Now, if you don't understand all the aviation-geek terminology... never mind. Let's just say it was 1.5 hours of work, occasionally funny for the instructor and mostly fun for me! Now to find some fun places to fly to over the next two years. Ideas anyone? :-)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Windy, quiet and no BFR flight

The past few days have been very windy. Yesterday we had wind gusts over 100Km/hr [60 miles/hr for those of you who haven't yet got with the rest of the world :-)]. Nothing unusual in that for Wellington, as it happens many times every year. It does make for interesting times in aviation though with flight delays, cancellations and hairy rides in and out of certain airports.

The other impact is that it pretty much closes down aero club operations... even lighter winds than what we have right now can serious hamper our operations. This is mainly to do with the fact that we have a lot of terrain around, so with strong winds, maybe big crosswinds [crosswinds were up around 30 knots at one stage earlier today], it's just too dangerous. Oh well. Better safe than sorry!

The only downside for me was that I was going to take my BFR [Biennial Flight Review] flight today. I need to do this every two years [yet another regulatory requirement], but if the weather is nice enough I'll do it Monday instead... otherwise, sometime next week.

Being a long weekend even the airline schedules have been significantly reduced. I did manage to get a few photos of this Air NZ/ Mount Cook Airline ATR72-600 [ATR72-212A on the CAA website], ZK-MVB. Hopefully I'll have more photos over the next couple of days!