Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Monday evening tug testing

Monday evening was a different aviation experience for me, with Air NZ testing to towing of an ATR72-600, ZK-MVH, using their Lektro [please someone correct me if this is wrong!] towbar-less aircraft tugs. These tugs are used on their DHC8's already - maybe A320's as well?

Apparently though, it was a world-first with the manufacturer having only just certified that it can be done, and with Air NZ being the first airline in the world to test it for real!

The test consisted of filling every seat and the baggage compartment [and presumably fuel] and towing the aircraft around the apron for a good hour or so, just to make sure everything would work, and that the aircraft could handle it. Tests were conducted with props spinning and still. Apparently, ATR72's have a relatively "weak" undercarriage, which limits the amount of force that can be applied to it and alongside that, there's a reasonable and understandable desire to ensure the aircraft CoG isn't an issue [this might be the biggest issue from what I'm told]. Add in a wet tarmac, some slope [I think the Wellington apron slopes up to 1-2 degrees in places] and wind, and it's certainly something worth testing before it is needed for real.

A driver for this change of proceduresis a rearranging of gate positions at Wellington, so that ATRs will be backed [using the tugs] onto the gate, then "driven straight out" when they are loaded. So... expect to see some changes in the future!

As for the evening itself, there were about 15-20 Aero Club people [and associates], plus a bunch of other people to fill ever seat in the place. There were two of Air NZ's friendly cabin crew, who gave us water, biscuits, fudge and lollies... and for some reason I was given a kid's colouring in page and pencils... :-) ha! First of the plane also received pizza... I was almost last, so ,missed out on that :-(

Anyway, here are a few pictures form the evening. Photos were taken on my phone. I really wanted to get a photo of the tug, but it was a bit out of the way, and I'm not sure wandering around would have been that welcome!

First up is an entrance to the airport terminal, after parking.

Wellington Airport terminal
We must be at Wellington Airport - where else would you be greeted by this at the checkin counters?

Everyone received a personalised boarding pass - this was a requirement since we were going airside. A nice souvenir anyway!

Boarding pass for the "non flight flight" :-)
On arrival at gate 9, we got our first glimpse at the ATR72-600, ZK-MVH, which we would be seated on for just over an hour.

First glimpse to the apron and ZK-MVH

Following this, it was backed up to the gate, ready for boarding.

ATR-GIE ATR72-600, ZK-MVH, operated by Mount Cook Airline/ Air NZ

Amazing how happy a bunch of airplane people can look when sat on an aircraft which is not going to take off! I've blurred the face of those not associated in some way with the Aero Club... the rest of you, well, here you are!

Yes, this was the good one!
The normal facilities were available, but not needed! Actually, the place had been cleaned, so we were asked to not use the on-board lavatory, but to use the terminal facilities if needed.

Air NZ vomit bags. Spewing in any language permitted!

Still not sure why I was given one of these... funny though, and I think I'll send it to a young lass in the UK. She'll like it!

Air NZ kid's entertainment. There were coloured pencils also.
After the non-flight, we exited the aircraft and headed back into the terminal. These two photos came out quite well, since it was my phone camera and hand held.

ATR-GIE ATR72-600, ZK-MVH, operated by Mount Cook Airline/ Air NZ
All-in-all, a fun evening, and a good chance to sit on a plane and talk plane talk with fellow aviators. Not something you get to do every day!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sunday's Air NZ departures

Here are a few pictures of Sunday's wet and windy departures for Air NZ.

Bombardier DHC8-311, ZK-NEK, operated by Air Nelson/ Air NZ

Airbus A320-232, ZK-OXJ, operated by Air NZ

Bombardier DHC8-311, ZK-NEF, operated by Air Nelson/ Air NZ

Airbus A320-232, ZK-OJO, operated by Air NZ

Bombardier DHC80-311, ZK-NFA, operated by Air Nelson/ Air NZ

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Wet and windy today

Today was [as forecast] wet and windy, so no club flying. It did make for a few interesting photos, the first of which are these four photos of Jetstar departures.

Airbus A320-232, VH-VGP, operated by Jetstar Airways

Bombardier DHC-8-315, VH-TQK, operated by Eastern Australia Airlines [on behalf of Jetstar Airways]

Airbus A320-232, VH-VFT, operated by Jetstar Airways

Airbus A320-232, VH-VQE, operated by Jetstar Airways

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sounds Air Pilatus

Today's photo is of a Sounds Air-operated Pilatus PC12/45, ZK-PLT, taking off from Wellington this afternoon.

Pilatus PC12/45, ZK-PLT, operated by Sounds Air

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Cessna 650

Today's photo is of a resident Cessna 650 Citation, N163JM.

Cessna 650 Citation, N163JM

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Another video from my recent trip around Kapiti Island

Here is another video mum sent me from the recent flight around Kapiti Island. This is a short one of the return to Wellington when we were over Lower Hutt/ Petone. This really shows off how smooth the day was. Fun times!

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Good weather, good flying

I was invited along for another flight today - this time as a passenger with Lawrence flying a few circuits on one of WAC's Piper PA38-112 Tomahawks, ZK-TAW. It was another fantastic weather day with light winds and great visibility. The first picture is just after takeoff from runway 34.

Look closely at this second photo as the South Island is visible!

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Flight around Kapiti Island today!

Today's weather was perfect for flying, so I got to take mum and dad up for a flight out of Wellington and around Kapiti Island. We departed to the south-west [the Sinclair Departure], followed the coastline to Pukerua Bay, then across to Kapiti Island. The return flight was back to Pukerua Bay, then Haywoods [power station], then the Eastbourne Arrival.

All the pictures and video comes from mum's iPad [who has clearly been practicing, since the photos and video are so good! :-)]. The pictures are as labelled, and the videos are part of the takeoff and the final approach. Enjoy!

Just after takeoff

Heading north, looking east across the windfarm

Kapiti Island, looking north

Left-base to land, a picture of the old Mt Crawford Prison.

Short final approach

Big brother, little brother and a bus

Today's pictures start with two Piper's. The first is Piper PA28R-200 Arrow, ZK-DUY, which is operated by Canterbury Aero Club in Christchurch. In the background of this picture is another Piper, a PA38-112 Tomahawk, ZK-WAC, which is part of the Wellington Aero Club fleet.

Piper PA28R-200 Arrow, ZK-DUY, operated by Canterbury Aero Club

Next up is an Airbus A320-232, VH-VGH, which is operated by Jetstar Airways.
Airbus A320-232, VH-VGH, operated by Jetstar Airways
In other news, I had a good flight today... hopefully I'll have some photos in the next day or so :-)