Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Three DHC8s at Wellington

More pictures from last Sunday, this time of three Bombardier DHC8's. The first two are from Air Nelson [Air NZ].

ZK-NEE is still in the "old" Air NZ Link livery.

Bombardier DHC-8-311, ZK-NEE, operated by Air Nelson [Air NZ]

ZK-NEA is in the new livery.

Bombardier DHC-8-311, ZK-NEA, operated by Air Nelson [Air NZ]

Lastly, a livery that will be disappearing at the end of this month, is the Jetstar livery on the Eastern Australia Airlines-operated DHC-8's. Jetstar is pulling all of it's regional routes in NZ. I expect that these aircraft will therefore return to Australia.

Bombardier DHC-8-315, VH-TQD, operated by Eastern Australia Airlines for Jetstar

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Old and the New

I have two photos of ATR-GIE ATR72 aircraft from Mount Cook Airline. The first is an older, and on the way out, aircraft, ZK-MCB.

ATR-GIE ATR72-500, ZK-MCB, operated by Mount Cook Airline [Air NZ]

The second is one of Mount Cook Airline's newest ATR72-600 aircraft, ZK-MZA.

ATR-GIE ATR72-600, ZK-MZA, operate dby Mount Cook Airline [Air NZ]

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Wellington Aero Club aircraft

It was an interesting day for flying today. A bit of cloud around, but very smooth conditions.

I did get up for a brief flight. I was planning on going to D'Urville Island, but with the cloud the way it was and not being sure of being able to get back if it clagged in, I turned back early. The aircraft [as usual for strip flying] was the Club's Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE, pictured here prior to departure.

Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE, operated by Wellington Aero Club
The unexpected sight today though was a temporary Piper PA38-112, ZK-TDL. I understand we're using this for a week or 2 to cover some maintenance on ZK-WAC, so get your picrures while you can! It is currently registered to Kapiti Districts Aero Club and owned by a local engineer.

Piper PA38-112, ZK-TDL, operated by WAC, registered to KDAC

You can see the light wasn't great for photos, but I have to start rebuilding my collection somehow!

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Air NZ A320-232

It has been a rather annoying week.

I managed to lose all my images and video when someone "helpfully" encrypted, then offered to decrypt [for an exceeding large fee] all the photos and videos I had on my NAS. I suppose it serves me right for not protecting the data well enough.

Needless to say I'll have to spend a lot of time taking photos and there will be a lot I can't replace. Stink. I will need to do some tripping around to get some more - just as well I have airpoints... and I will get better at protecting these new images...

Anyway, here is the first of the new set. An Air New Zealand-operated Airbus A320-232, ZK-OXD, at Christchurch last weekend.

Airbus A320-232, ZK-OXD, operated by Air New Zealand

Monday, September 23, 2019

Fiji Airways "baby" Boeing at Wellington

Last Sunday, Fiji Airways flew their Boeing 737-7X2, DG-FJF, into Wellington. The -700 series is a smaller sibling of the very common -800 series. The -600 is smaller still, but there were very few of those built.

Boeing 737-7X2, DQ-FJF, operated by Fiji Airways

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Lancair ES

Yesterday's interesting visitor was this Lancair ES, ZK-EDZ, which is registered to an Upper Moutere address.

The aircraft is an amateuir built aircraft, and from what I can see, it was imported from the USA around 2013/ 2014. It was first registerd in NZ in 2015.

As I noted the last time I saw this aircraft back in 2017, it's a fast aircraft with a cruise speed between 180 and 190 knots. I'm thinking it would be a fun machine to fly and a great way to go places!

Lancair ES, ZK-EDZ, registered to an Upper Moutere address

Saturday, September 07, 2019

1.9 hours of fun

Today's fun flight was planned as a trip to D'Urville Island with another club member. The weather was good enough, but with a decent crosswind on the island airstrip, that was a no go.

We then diverted to Omaka Aerodrome for fun and fuel, which consisted of a nice trip towards Hastings township [not the North Island one!], then through the Woodbourne Control Zone to Omaka, fuel and back to Wellington. All up, it was 1.9 hours of fun flying.

The picture shows the plan and then our actual flightpath in green.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Virgin Australia Boeing 737

Today's picture is of a Virgin Australia-operated Boeing 737-8FE, VH-YIY, departing Wellington on one of Virgin's trans-Tasman trips last Sunday afternoon.

Look closely at the second photo and you may see a small condensation trail emanating inboard [or on the right hand side of] the left hand engine. It wasn't particularly humid today - conditions must have been just right.

Boeing 737-8FE, VH-YIY, operated by Virgin Australia

Boeing 737-8FE, VH-YIY, operated by Virgin Australia

Monday, September 02, 2019

Lifeflight Wellington

Today's photo is of a Lifeflight Wellington [Air Ambulance]-operated Jetstream J32, ZK-LFT. This is operated by Air Frieght NZ on behalf of Lifeflight.

Jetstream J32, ZK-LFT, operated by Air Freight NZ

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Singapore Airlines aircraft change

A much anticipated announcement from Singapore Airlines recently was that they will be swapping their old Boeing 777-200's for new Airbus A350- 900's on their Wellington-->Melbourne-->Singapore route from 1 November 2019.

Passengers will notice a major improvement with the new aircraft type have a modern business class cabin and the introduction of a premium economy cabin. I imagine it will be a nicer ride for economy passengers also.

The last [and first] time an Airbus A350 operated into Wellington were trials by Airbus themselves, back in June 2018 [details here].

Today's photos are of Sunday's departure from Wellington, the aircraft being Boeing 777-212/ER, 9V-SQL. I can't say I'll miss these old B777's. They really are showing their age and it's always nice to have something a little newer appear.

Boeing 777-212/ER, 9V-SQL, operated by Singapore Airlines

Boeing 777-212/ER, 9V-SQL, operated by Singapore Airlines

Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Killing Zone. How and why pilots die

I have just finished reading a very interesting book, called The Killing Zone. How and why pilots die.

Obviously a fairly morbid, yet attention grabbing, title, but well worth a read.

The author, Paul A Craig, is an American instructor pilot and the book looks at examples of, and reasons why, pilots crash their perfectly good aircraft, often [though not always] with rather fatal consequences.

It is obviously based on the author's experience and research and makes a few asumptions relating to the American environment. For example, it appears that private pilots in the USA end up with a night rating along with their PPL, and a sizable percentage of PPLs in the USA get instrument ratings. Both of these would be unusual in New Zealand. It would pay to keep in mind that examples of rules and practices can be materially different in New Zealand.

If I were to summerise the book, it would be to say that when a pilot has little experience and takes risks, they are more likely to end up the guest of honour at a party you don't want to be at. Secondly, if you actively manage risks [including having personal minimums] and continue to learn [higher licences, instruments ratings maybe type ratings and a bit of dual], that party is more likely to wait until you're much much older. 😀

The Killing Zone is well worth the read. It would be interesting to know if the statistics in New Zealand are similar - maybe an interesting research paper for someone?

Anyway, if anyone wants to borrow the book, I'm happy to lend it out - you'll need to pick up from me in Wellington of course, or get your own copy from BookDepository.com.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Beechcraft Bonanza, currency and another ADSB installation

The Bonanza

Today's interesting aircraft was a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza, ZK-TRC, which is registered to a Warkworth [north Auckland area] address.

The Bonanza was designed in the 1960's, originally with a V Tail instead of the normal vertical tail seen on ZK-TRC. I've never flown a Bonanza, maybe one day, although I do have the Nanchang to get my head around, and to enjoy, first!

Beechcraft A36 Bonanza, ZK-TRC

Beechcraft A36 Bonanza, ZK-TRC

In other news, I flew a Cessna 172 for the first time in just over three months today. It was a dual checkout for currency and involved a flight to Paraparaumu, three circuits with a crosswind component of around 11-12 knots and then returned to Wellington. Fun times!

I have an instructor on board for the flight [club rules require a dual checkout if a pilot is not current] and another pilot in the back along for the ride. The aircraft was Cessna 172S, ZK-CEO.

Another ADSB Installation

The owners of Piper PA28-161, ZK-KAT, which is online with Wellington Aero Club now has an ADSB transponder installed, along with some other minor updates.

Here's hoping someone gets a photo of this aircraft onto Jetphotos.com, as it is now appearing on Flightradar24.com and other similar services 😀

I hear that, weather permitting, ZK-KAT and ZK-EKE [also ADSB equipped] will be heading down and around the South Island in the next few days, so keep a look out as they come to an aerodrome near you!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

More Nanchang training pictures

Yesterday I received a very welcome gift of some more photos of the Nanchang CJ6A, from Tim Gorman. Tim took these photos between my first two training flights on 27 July, when my instructor and I were in Paraparaumu for a short time.

The first photos is of the arrival [I'm in the back seat], then parked up after refueling, taxying for departure then airbourne.

Since this, I have had a cross country to Hastings, Waipukurau and Masterton and a couple sessions of circuits, culminating in my first solo on type. Hopefully just one or two more flights and I'll have a type rating.

Anyway, here are the photos. Thanks Tim!

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, owned by Wellington Warbirds Ltd

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, owned by Wellington Warbirds Ltd

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, owned by Wellington Warbirds Ltd

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, owned by Wellington Warbirds Ltd

Monday, August 12, 2019

Wellington Airport's official reopening October 1959

Last weekend I was given a copy of the offical souvenir booklet from the reopening of Wellington airport, way back in October 1959.

This reopening occured after the airport was rebuilt with a new sealed runway, a runway extension [how topical!] and associated infrastructure.

The booklet is 70 pages long and contains parts of the history of the airfield, along with numerous contemporary aircraft and pitches from aircraft manufacturers. There are mentions of the various airlines that did, or could have flown in as well as Wellington Aero Club and some pretty awesome photos of aircraft long gone for the skies.

BTW - it is Wellington Aero Club's 90th anniversary this year, so stay tuned for more on that over the coming months!

Anyone who follows my twitter feed [twitter.com/flying_geek] will know that I have tried, and failed, to claim the awesome prize of free flights from NAC, TEAL and Trans Australia Airlines, along with two weeks accomodation and spending money [£50!], to the Surfers Paradise in Australia. Looks like being born after the opening didn't help my cause...! I was looking forward to flights on the Electra and Viscount in particular 😀

Anyway, here's the title page and a couple of others. I hope that over the next week or so I can photograph all 70-something pages and recreate a PDF. I know that there's some interest in it, so once it's done, I'll look at making it available. Do be patient with me though!

Anyway, here are the photos as a taster of what is to come.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

More circuits, and then... even more excitement

Before I get into the meat of this post, special thanks to Paul Le Roy, a local photographer [and a very good one at that!] who supplied this photo of my instructor and I bashing the circuit yesterday. Thanks Paul! Hopefully there are more pictures like this to be had in the coming weeks, months and years!

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, owned by Wellington Warbirds Ltd
Anyway, I wasn't expecting to fly today. I didn't have a booking and the weather wasn't forecast to be great.

Ever optimistic however, I put all my flight gear in the car and headed out to the Club... only to find that two slots had come free... so flying for me!

After the usual preflight and worrying about whether or not I'd manage to start the engine from cold [it's a 9 cylinder radial, I think you have to experience it to understand!], it all worked out well and it wasn't too long before the instructor and I were airborne for some more circuits.
The wind was a bit odd for Wellington - we don't usually get much crosswind, although today was one of those days we did. Thankfully the crosswind died away just above the deck.

Until the instructor jumped out of course [thanks Andrew!].

Yep. My first solo in the mighty Nanchang CJ6A today!

I left it at a couple of circuits as that crosswind picked up - by my second landing, there was a 12 knot crosswind component, gusting up to 18 knots. It ended up being one of the better crosswind landings I have done, but still a great time to quit in case I ended up doing one of the worst on the next circuit! 😀

Obligatory post-first solo photo!
That's a big thumbs up from me after the flight! BTW - it's not shown well there, but it's an Aeroflot t-shirt that I'm wearing... didn't have anything Nanchang-y available for the occasion 😀

It is amazing what you can get up to at an Aero Club. Click here to find your local club!

So, what's next?

In a couple of weeks I have another flight to a different aerodrome, to polish up operations in a "normal" circuit. A bit of dual and a bit of solo and I should be close to the rating being signed off. Happy days!

Lastly, would you like to fly this amazing machine? It's currently only available to syndicate owners. So, if you have a PPL, at least 100 hours and can satisfy the syndicate owners needs [including the aircraft being based in Wellington and being willing to purchase a share], talk to me! We also happen to have a great instructor here to get you underway!

Saturday, August 03, 2019

More circuits

More circuits but no pictures from today.

Flying today consisted of normal circuits, flapless, side slipping, go-arounds, holding downwind [great practice for orbiting at a slower speed] and a weird thing of a different shape. This Nanchang is great fun! Oh yeah, my first cold start. I have more work to do on that!

I'm not explaining the "weird thing of a different shape".

I'm probably not flying tomorrow, so it may be a couple of weeks before the next flight.

Fun times!

Friday, August 02, 2019

700 reasons for a brief interlude

I recently finished another page in my logbook and on adding that up, came across another interesting, although rather arbitrary, milestone!

Yep, 21 years, 700 hours and about 14 aircraft types flown [just 8 that I'm rated in, with the 9th hopefully not too far off!]. It has been more fun than I imagined it would be when I took that first lesson aged just 26 years old on 28 February 1998!

I've landed on airfields large and small, in daytime and night time, on concrete, tarseal, gravel, grass and sand, level fields and on the sides of hills. I've flown around mountains, across islands and always managed to find my way home. Eventually [no need to comment Rob!]. I have even had 12 minutes of trying to keep a helicopter level [fail!].

I've flown over much of the North Island, some of the South Island, sometimes not seeing or hearing anyone for an hour or more, other times as close as a meter away from two other aircraft. I've even tipped a plane upside down a few times. Fun except for Mr Vomit coming to visit!😃! I've competed, judged and directed flying competitions. I now part own an aircraft [never thought that was going to happen!].

Some cheeky people would say I'm not that smart 😠, but I've managed to learn heaps from many instructors [shiny new C Cats through to grizzly old A Cats] as well as from other PPLs. I'm still learning. I have to, if I want that CJ6 rating! I've eaten more KFC than I should admit to, but hey, flying is a sport, so that's my energy source!

It has been fun times indeed and more fun times ahead!

BTW - I need another 300 hours and a world record for something. Ideas anyone?

Sunday, July 28, 2019

It continues...

3.7 hours of flying today over 4 flights and I'm still grinning!

  • Wellington to Hastings
  • Hastings to Waipukurau
  • Waipukurau to Masterton for some circuits
  • Masterton to Wellington
The excuse for the flights was to attend the Hawkes Bay & East Coast Aero Club fly in at Hastings aerodrome. A fun event with what looked to be about 30 visiting aircraft from all over the place.

After this, we heaed to Waipukurau for a snack [ok, it was on the way home anyway] then to Masterton for some circuits and a refuel. After this, we came home. I'm tired, but it was a lot of fun!

One particularly interesting aircraft at Hastings was this Staaken Flitzer Z-21a, ZK-FTZ. If you've never heard of this aircraft then you're not alone. Here's the Wikipedia article for it. It appeared to be beautifully made and with a single seat, I imagine an interesting first few flights!

Staaken Flitzer Z-21a, ZK-FTZ

Last up, here's a picture of ZK-MAO in the sunshine in Hastings.

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, operated by Wellington Wardbirds

Saturday, July 27, 2019

It begins...

As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I have bought shares in a company that runs a cool airplane. The company is Wellington Warbirds and the aircraft is a Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO.

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, operated by Wellington Warbirds
 Today were my first two training flights!

The CJ6A was designed as an ab-initio trainer for the Chinese airforce, the PLAAF. the initial flight of the type was in 1958, although MAO was actually built in the mid 1980's. Examples were still being built in the early 2000's - primarily for the export market from what I understand.

Some basic stats - it is powered by a Housai HS6A, 9 cylinder radial engine, which develops 285hp at full power. At normal cruise settings, we're crusiing around 250kph [135 knots] and burning just under 60 litres an hour of fuel. The aircraft has a Constant Speed Unit [CSU], retractable undercarriage and a castering nosewheel [so requires differential braking to turn]. All measurements [power, speed, temps and pressures] except the altimeter are metric. the altimeter was metric but was changed to one measuring in feet for [what I hope are] obvious reasons...! 😀

The CJ6A makes extensive use of pneumatic systems, to start the engine, operate the brakes [via a lever on the stick - no toe brakes here], to raise and lower the undercarriage and the flap. "Flap" is singular, as there is only one of them, underneath and extending both sides of the fuselage.

Anyway, for today's first flight I was in the rear seat. The first task was to learn how to taxi the aircraft [I still feel like a brand new student!], before taking off and heading towards Kapiti for some turns and stalls.

After landing at Paraparaumu aerodrome I received a circuit briefing*, covering all the procedures, power settings and other things I would need to know for Wellington.

Nanchang circuit briefing for Wellington
After this,  I was able to jump into the front seat. Miraculously perhaps, the engine started easily, and we headed back to Wellington for a session of circuits.

Two flights, 2 hours total time, and I still have a lot to learn, but I am acquiring the famous Nanchang Grin™.

Back at Wellington after today's training flights
You also could acquire this grin - if you live near Wellington, have a current PPL, at least 100 hours and meet a couple of other basic criteria. Let me know if you are interested in buying a share in this aircraft and we can have a chat!

* hey friends at Kapiti - you may have seen this in a briefing room - thanks for sharing :-)

Monday, July 15, 2019

Learjet 60 at Wellington

This post is of a learjet60, ZK-JAK, which I saw at Wellington a week or so ago. It's a nice paint job and I'm sure it would be fun to fly, not that I'll get the chance to... 😃

The aircraft is registered to JAK Air of a Rotorua address.

Learjet 60, ZK-JAK, operate dby JAK Air of a Rotorua address

Saturday, July 13, 2019

A look around the Nanchang

Following on from my cockpit photos from last Sunday, today I got to walk through a preflight of the Nanchang. There's a lot to do - it's not quite as simple as the C172 I'm used to flying 😁

While this was happening, I took a few photos. For some reason I did not photograph the engine when we opened up the cowling, but there are plenty of other interesting bits to see. I've also decided that with all the crawling underneath this aircraft, I'm going to need some overalls...

Due to weather, it wasn't suitable for the initial flights today and with other commitments, it'll be a couple of weeks away before I get to fly it.

Anyway, here are the photos. Please do let me know if I've mislabelled anything...

That's a big nose!

The battery compartment

Emergency air bottle for pneumatic systems

Gyroscope for the rear instruments

Inlet port for recharging the main air bottle

One big flap underneath the aircraft, extending both sides of the fuselage

Holding over the rear seat to open the baggage compartment

Markings on the rear fuselarge

Here it is!

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Nanchang time!

It has been an exciting time today, as I purchased a share in Wellington Warbirds Ltd, owner of Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO!

This is the first time I have been a [part] owner of an aircraft and I think a CJ6A is a good one to start with! Having parted with some money, the next step is to start learning to fly it. Here's hoping for some good weather over the next few months...

Anyway, until I get into it, here are some photos. First up is a file photo of mine from some time ago.

Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, operated by Wellington Aero Club

Next up are two cockpit photos - time to get comfortable and start studying where everything is and how to ready the instruments!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

No more Cessnas for me today....

After yesterday's amazing weather, it turned a little rougher today, with cloud and rain from midday. It did make for some interesting pictures those with a lot of water being blown about during takeoffs and landings.

First up was the regular Singapore Airlines departure to Melbourne which blew a lot of water around as it departed.

Boeing 777-212/ER, 9V-SQN, operated by Singapore Airlines

Boeing 777-212/ER, 9V-SQN, operated by Singapore Airlines

Boeing 777-212/ER, 9V-SQN, operated by Singapore Airlines
Next up is an Air New Zealand-operated Airbus A320-232, ZK-OXJ slowing down after landing.

Airbus A320-232, ZK-OXJ, operated by Air New Zealand
Last up is another Airbus A320-232, this time VH-VFJ and operated by Jetstar Airways.

Airbus A320-232, VH-VFJ, operated by Jetstar Airways
Here's hoping for better weather next Saturday, for another night flight :-)