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!