Tuesday, February 26, 2019

From the Koru Club in Wellington

If you follow this blog, you'll know that I recently travelled to Auckland for the Flying NZ National Championships.

I flew up on Air New Zealand and having a flexitime ticket, I was able to fly on one of Air New Zealand's brand new Airbus A321-271NX aircraft, ZK-NNC. There's something nice about being able to fly on a shiny new aircraft, even more so with comfy seats [near the front at least] and working wifi!

While waiting for my flight, I was able to take some photos of the arrival of this A321 and a few other aircraft. The photos were taken through glass which is not the best, but here's what I got.

Airbus A321-271NX, ZK-NNC, operated by Air NZ

Airbus A321-271NX, ZK-NNC, operated by Air NZ

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

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

Bombardier DHC-8-311, ZK-NEM, operated by Air Nelson/ Air NZ

Saturday, February 23, 2019

I got one flying photo...

I've just gone through the few photos I took on my DSLR at the recent Flying NZ National Championships. I had a sum total of one airborne aircraft on it :-) To be fair, I had a couple of photos of the flight lines also...

ZK-FPG is a Cessna 152 and is registered to Tauranga Aero Club. here it is about to touch down on Wednesday.

Cessna 152, ZK-FPG, operated by Tauranga Aero Club
Next up are two pictures of the flight line. The first includes the main North Shore Aero Club office and other facilities, the second is the parking aero on the cross runway, which was closed for the event.

Friday, February 22, 2019

More from the Flying NZ Nationals

Here are a couple of pictures I forgot to include in the previous post!

One of the challenges of a big competition is the early starts. Some days, I was up before 6am to get ready, with briefings from 7am the normal situation.

On the plus side, staying in Orewa, I was never far from the ocean. This following picture was taken on my phone camera.

The beach at Orewa
Lastly, a selfie [a rare kind of photo from me!] at the dinner and presentation event!

Lastly, the all-important judge's badge!

Flying NZ National Championships

Last week was the Flying NZ National Championships, this year hosted by North Shore Aero Club, on Auckland's North Shore at Dairy Flat.

Like last year, I was assisting in an official capacity, this year as the Deputy Chief Ground Judge. This meant two things - a lot of standing around in the hot sun, and, unfortunately for me, no flying this year. It also meant not much time for photography, although there is a lot of this scattered around Facebook in particular.

I flew on Air NZ to and from Auckland and, due to my being late to book accommodation, I managed three motels in 5 nights. The trip to Auckland was interesting, as it was my first flight on an Air NZ Airbus A321-271NX [an A321NEO], ZK-NNC. Somehow I scored a ride in seat 7C and the free wifi was working. A win all around!

The event itself was a lot of fun, with wildcard events on Wednesday, competitions on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and the dinner and Championship presentation dinner on Saturday. While I wasn't flying, I was assisting with any competitions requiring a landing grid [and ran the grid for the Jay Peters Professional Pilot competition], as well as being a judge in the 2 and 3 ship formation competitions. I also got to present the awards along with Paul and Lisa on Saturday night. It was a very busy time!

Anyway, here are a few photos from the trip.

The trip started in the Koru lounge in Wellington. Yum.

This was followed by boarding onto the A321.

Airbus A321-271NX, ZK-NNC, operated by Air New Zealand
The legroom was good in seat 7C.

The seats up front are quite comfortable. The sculpting provides good support without appearing to take much room away.

This must be my seat. The IFE system worked well, and was quite responsive. The only issue I had was that the computer and I have a difference of opinions as to my date of birth. No biggie, it just meant I could not access some personalised information, like my airpoints balance.

Lollies! Not sure where they went, but I have not eaten then, nor found them... I must go and have another look!

North Shore Aero Club were our hosts for this competition. They have a nice facility, fleet and are friendly yet professional. This would be a great place to learn to fly if you're on the Shore.

North Shore Aero Club facility
Flying NZ has just produced these fantastic sipper bottles! They are well insulated, with ice lasting for several hours, even with the very very hot days out on the landing grid. They'll keep hot drinks hot also. Well worth the small cost! I might get another one :-)

Flying NZ insulated sipper bottle
There's always something funny happening at a competition. Someone [who will remain nameless], called out that I have "nice legs". I'll take the compliment, even if I'm a bit suspicious about the sincerity of the comment! ha ha!

Anyway, that's it for this post! I may have a few more photos, but they are for another day.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Young Eagles visit to RNZAF Base Ohakea - Biggin Hill!

Following the visit to 3 Squadron and their helicopters, we had yet another treat - a visit to Brendon Deere's Biggin Hill hanger!

After a quick briefing, including an introduction to the aircraft in the hanger and "if there's an earthquake, please protect the Spitfire!" :-), we were able to have a good look around.

The WW2 historic warbirds were all airworthy and flown periodically. the Bell UH-1H Huey could be made airworthy and the Aermacchi MB-337 I'm not sure. Anyway, here are the aircraft. Check out the website for details of all these aircraft.

First up is the Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX. What an awesome machine!

Next up is the mighty Grumman TBM-3E Avenger. This was, by far, the largest aircraft in the hanger.

Last up from Biggin Hill is the Aermacchi MB339CB. 

Now for the very last photo from this series. Thanks to Iain Latter for supplying this image of the 18 aircraft that flew into Ohakea. This was taken from the control tower. Thanks Iain!

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Young Eagles trip to RNZAF Base Ohakea - Helicopters

After lunch, the group headed to the relatively new helicopter complex, where the RNZAF's NH90's and A109s are housed.

The AgustaWestland A109 LUH [Light Utility Helicopter] is operated by 3 Squadron as the initial type for pilots streamed onto helicopters after their initial Wings course [on the T-6C Texan II].

AgustaWestland A109 LUH, NZ3402, operated by RNZAF

AgustaWestland A109 LUH cockpit, NZ3402, operated by RNZAF

AgustaWestland A109 LUH cockpit, NZ3402, operated by RNZAF

Next up was a visit to the heavy-hauler, the NATO Helicopter Industries [NHI] NH90. This is a huge helicopter! If I heard correct, at a pinch, they can put around 20 people seated in the back. That's big!

NHI NH90, NZ3303, operated by the RNZAF

NHI NH90 tail, NZ3303, operated by the RNZAF

NHI NH90 cockpit, NZ3303, operated by the RNZAF

Again, it was awesome that the RNZAF personnel gave up their time to show us around these awesome aircraft and especially to take the time to talk with the Young [and not so young] Eagles about these impressive pieces of kit!

Monday, February 04, 2019

Young Eagles trip to RNZAF Base Ohakea

Last Saturday, Wellington Aero Club and Kapiti Aero Club Young Eagles groups [plus a bunch of us older people!] were privileged to travel to the RNZAF's base at Ohakea for a visit. Most of us were able to fly in, with just two people having to make the trip by car. I flew three Young Eagles in, in Cessna 172S, ZK-CEO.

The flight up with a bit breezy and lumpy at times, but everyone had fun [and nobody chucked... yay! ha ha]. I have been to Ohakea once previously, but this was via a different route. This first image is my Avplan track of the flight. Look carefully and you'll see the planned arrival vs what we were asked to do. The red line is the plan, the green the actual route.

While there, we were treated really well by the personnel who greeted us and showed us around. After arrival, each aircraft was marshalled into place. I wish I had a picture of this - it's probably the tidiest gaggle of GA aircraft you've ever seen parked up :-)

After arrival, first off was a trip to the tower, followed by a visit to the 42 Squadron hanger, with its Beech King Air B350 aircraft, plus a couple of Harvard airframes [one being restored].

Beechcraft B350, NZ2353, operated by the RNZAF

A retired North American Harvard airframe, NZ1009, this one is for display only
Following this, we headed to 14 Squadron's Beechcraft T-6C Texan II's. These are awesome aircraft [specs here], especially when you think that these are the very first aircraft that many trainees get to fly!

Below are NZ1404 and NZ1407. What's not shown is there was an ejector seat beside NZ1404 that people could sit in [and pull the lever]. It was deactivated of course, so no new holes in the hanger roof! If I heard correctly, pull the lever and 4 seconds later you have a canopy over your head. A tight squeeze for me... I'd have to lose a bit of weight perhaps! Ha ha!

Beechcraft T-6C Texan II, NZ1404, operated by the RNZAF

Beechcraft T-6C Texan II, NZ1407, operated by the RNZAF

Beechcraft T-6C Texan II, NZ1407, operated by the RNZAF

Last up before lunch [which was very nice], was a visit to the Texan II sims. these are fixed based sims, with amazing visuals. I'm a little jealous that I didn't get a chance, but at least the Young Eagles did!

Texan II sim!
That's all for this post - there's another one with helicopters up in the next couple of days... then maybe another surprise after that :-)

For now, a huge thanks to all those that made the day possible and very, very interesting! The RNZAF of course, as well as Young Eagles coordinators at Kapiti Aero Club and Wellington Aero Club. Thanks guys!