Thursday, February 27, 2020

Flying NZ National Championships and International Wings Trophy #2

So, what did I get up to during the competitions? Well, I had work to do each day.

On Wednesday I scribed for one of the Wings 3-Ship Formation judges. This is a competition where teams of 3 aircraft fly a formation routine and try to impress the judges with their skills. The scribe assists a judge by writing down the scores as the judge calls it, leaving the judge to concentrate on watching the flying.

Later on, I was running around assisting where I could collecting results and helping to add them up.

I also helped with ground judging a bombing competition [yes, bombing], where competitors fly low overhead and drop an object, trying to hit the target. From memory, the target was threatened a couple of times, although it is usually the safest place to stand...! Once the "bomb" is dropped, the ground judge measures the distance and direction from the target and radios the competitor so they can adjust their aim next time around.

Near the bombing target was the airport's fire rescue training device. It's an old de Havilland Devon - ex RNZAF and civil register by the looks [ZK-UCO appears to be the old civil registration]. I think it would require a little more than polishing to get this running again...!

Airport Rescue training device
The bombing target was also in line with, but well separated from, the grass runway. It made for a nice little video of an aircraft coming in to land.

Other days I continued to help with checking judges scores, trying to obtain completed score sheets, occasionally round up competitors and the like. In other words, general dogsbody.

Thursday was the main competition day for me, with three competitions to compete in!

First up I was part of Wellington's Wigram Cup team. This is a team of four people, for four competitions, where competitions are scored in their individual competition as well as as part of the team.

It's the premiere event [aside from the Wings Trophy] and so keenly contested for. I was in the Wigram I/F ("partial panel instrument flying") event where I fly without being able to see outside and with some instruments off or covered up. Fun times!

Second I flew in the Streamer Cutting. This is where we throw a fully biodegradable toilet roll out and then fly around trying to cut it with the wing. Each competitor gets two attempts and the combined score for both attempts decides the winner. I had never flown the aircraft before, but it was an Alpha R2160, ZK-SWZ, and so aerobatic, as was the instructor/ judge.

Alpha R2160, ZK-SWZ, operated by Southern Wings

Lastly, I was dispatcher in the Liferaft Dropping competition. This is a bit like the bombing competitions, except it is a 15kg object that gets dropped. The pilot flies and the dispatcher tosses the liferaft out on command. Fun times!

I think I'll put the results in the next post, so hang about a couple of days and you'll find out what happened!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Flying NZ National Championships and International Wings Trophy

This past week has been a fun and busy time.

From last Tuesday I was in Tauranga [NZTG] for the annual Flying NZ National Championships and this year, it included the International Wings Trophy competition between New Zealand and Australian teams.

The original plan had me flying the Nanchang up on Tuesday, but with awful weather, that was scrubbed in favour of me buying an Air NZ ticket. I can confirm that it is very very expensive to buy a regional ticket for same-day travel, but beggars can't be choosers and I did have air points, so it was slightly less painful. I also made use of one of my lounge passes to have a feed and a drink before departing.

Our other two aircraft [Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE and Piper PA38-112 Tomahawk, ZK-WAC] were similarly delayed, but they were able to fly up on Wednesday which was good.

Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE, operated by Wellington Aero Club

Beer and pretzels in the Wellington Koru Lounge
The event itself was a large one with competitions from Wednesday until Saturday and the presentation dinner on Saturday evening.

In addition to the Wings team from Australia, there were competitors from Whenuapai [north Auckland area] down to Timaru, many of whom flew their aircraft in. Unfortunately, as I was both helping on the official side and competing, I didn't take a lot of photos. The following two show a tiny proportion of the registered aircraft.

Local and competitor aircraft

Local and competitor aircraft
As much as it is a serious event, there is also a lot of fun. I haven't heard of any mascots being stolen this year, but there was a pirate flag raised between the Australian and New Zealand flags... the words say "Rebel 'til I die". I'm not saying who put that up [but wasn't me!].

Anyway, it was a busy week. the next post will cover what I got up to during the week, and the third post a couple of key results. The last post will have a couple of very interesting aircraft you may not have seen before.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Cessna 172N

Here is a picture of Wellington Aero Club's owned and operated Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE. It's not quite a "standard from the factory configuration", as it has a couple of interesting mods.

The first is a 180hp engine, instead of the standard 160hp engine. The second is a limit of 30 degrees for the flap [due to the changed engine]. The third change is a STOL kit, which combined with the 180hp engine means it gets off the ground rather quickly.

The last mod is perhaps unexpected. Under the right wing, there is a camera hatch, complete with mounting bracket for a go pro style action camera and a cover. I think this might be the only one in the country [on a C172 at least], but I'm happy to be corrected on that one.

Want to fly this? Contact Wellington Aero Club. They are very happy to help you fly this or one of the other aircraft in the fleet.

Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE, operated by Wellington Aero Club

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Airline pilots, on video, still have a sense of humour

Most airline cockpit videos I have seen, everyone is extremely straight-laced and there's hardly a misunderstood, or just missed, radio call.

This one is a little different with a crew that is professional but still very obviously have a sense of humour. It is well worth watching for just under 15 minutes. Ther are a several good snippets of information about how they are flying the A350 [tl;dr it is highly automated], although it's the last 5 minutes that the dry sense of humour comes out best.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Gulfstream G650 at Wellington

A couple of weeks ago [I'm in catch up mode!], this really nice Austrian registered Gulfstream G650, OE-LTF, was parked up at Wellington. The aircraft is operated by a company called Avcon Jet.

Gulfstream G650, OE-LTF, operated by Avcon Jet
Also at Wellington, but this time departing, was this Cessna 510 Citation Mustang, ZK-VXM, which is operated by Skyline Aviation. Not a great photo, but it looks great!

Cessna 510 Citation Mustang, ZK-VXM, operated by Skyline Aviation

Friday, February 14, 2020

HBBPC 2020 - Cessna taildraggers

In this final planned post from the Healthy Bastards Bush Pilot Champs for 2020 [the final planned post, but I might put one or two more up later...] I have photos of some of the Cessna taildraggers that competed.

First up is a Cessna 185, ZK-CAK, which is registered to a Wakefield address.

Cessna 185, ZK-CAK
ZK-BYJ is a Cessna 180C and is registered to an Oamaru address. I understand that in a past life it was operated by Mount Cook Airlines [happy to be corrected on that if I'm mistaken].

Cessna 180C, ZK-BYJ
Lastly, ZK-BJX is a beautifully presented Cessna 180, with is registered to Palms on George of a Pukekohe address.

Cessna 180, ZK-BJX

Thursday, February 13, 2020

HBBPC 2020 - Various taildraggers

The HBBPC bring out a few less common types to compete, and here are a couple of them.

The first is a Maule M-6-235, ZK-MTP. This aircraft is registered to a Blenheim address. It looks great with those big tires on it.

Maule M-6-235, ZK-MTP
Second is this large and [awesomely] noisy North American Harvard. I didn't catch the rego, unfortunately. The fluorescent livery stands out really well!

North American Harvard

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

HBBPC 2020 - Super Cubs

Healthy Bastards always has a good select of Piper PA18 Super Cubs entered and this year was no exception. Here are a few of the Super Cubs that competed [I know I missed ZK-BTU for some reason...].

This first one, is a PA18A-150, ZK-BOY. The "A" means it is an ex-agricultural model, and the -150 is [should be] the engine horsepower. This is a local machine, being registered to a Blenheim address.
Piper PA18A-150, ZK-BOY

ZK-CVC is a PA18-150 model and is registered to a Seddon [so fairly local] address.

Piper PA18-150, ZK-CVC

ZK-BTX is a PA18 model and is regstered to a Hastings address.

Piper PA18, ZK-BTX
ZK-JLB is a PA18-135 model and is registered to a Blenheim address.

Piper PA18-135, ZK-JLB

Lastly, this is ZK-BKN, which is a PA18A-150 model and is also registered to a Blenheim address. I have many good memories of this aircraft from when it was at Wanganui Aero Club a few years ago. This was the aircraft I received by PA18 rating, which was my first, and so far remains my only, taildragger rating. Fun times!

Piper PA18A-150, ZK-BKN

Friday, February 07, 2020

Waitangi Day Nanchanging

Last Thursday [Waitangi Day in New Zealand I went on a longer trip in the Nanchang. The plan was to fly from Wellington down to Rangiora, then up to Kaikoura and back home to Wellington.

I didn't quite get to Rangiora as there was some lower-level cloud a little north of Rangiora and with me being very unfamiliar with the area and in an aircraft with limited fuel [the Nanchang has 2.5 hours endurance], I elected to divert up to Kaikoura.

Aside from the cloud which stopped me, it was a fantastic day for flying! After crossing Cook Strait, I flew along the Awatere Valley to Molesworth Station. Here are a few photos from the Awatere Valley. It's a beautiful part of the country - I think I'll have to come here in winter.

I eventually got up to 8,500'. It's the highest I have taken the Nanchang so far. Full throttle was reached between 5,000' and 5,500' but it still generated about 600mm mercury power at 8,500', which is what is used for a local cruise, so I suppose that is not bad.

This photo is about 10nm prior to Molesworth Station and appears to have an airstrip on it. Google maps suggest it would be about 550 meters long.

From there I turned south directly on track to Rangiora, before turning north and landing at Kaikoura. Whale watching was in full force with boats and aircraft out - rather interesting hearing the aircraft coordinate their activities as I was flying in and out. A quick refuel and I headed back to Wellington.

The next two photos were taken as I crossed the Waiau River as I headed north to Kaikoura. What an amazing piece of the country! I was at about 2,500' at this point.

The obligatory picture of a cool aircraft at a really nice airfield - ZK-MAO at Kaikoura airfield.
Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, operated by Wellington Aero Club

All up, it was about 2.5 hours of flying and at least that much fun! For my final image, here's my track from the trip.

Thursday, February 06, 2020

HBBPC 2020 - Various taildraggers

This is the first of three posts with some of the taildraggers at the HBBPC.

The STOL competition has three categories - microlight, light touring and heavy touring. Within these, many of the taildraggers may have had a slight advantage [except for the microlight category where those awesome Zenair CH701's took out the first 3 places], but it still comes down to pilot skill.

Anyway, on to the taildraggers.

First up is a Zlin Aviation Savage, ZK-KSC, registered to a Mairehau [Christchurch] address.

Zlin Aviation Savage, ZK-KSC

Next up is a SkyStar Kitfox IV, ZK-JFA, of a Kaiapoi address.

SkyStar Kitfox IV, ZK-JFA

The next aircraft is a Titan T51 Mustang, ZK-TCV. Unlike some of the other T51's in the country, this one is registered as an amateur built aeroplane, instead of a microlight, due to its MUAW being over the microlight category. It has a beautiful finish on it and is pretty much local being registered to a Nelson address.

Titan T51 Mustang, ZK-TCV

Last up for this post is a Murphy rebel, ZK-VAN, truly is local, being registered to a Blenheim address.

Murphy Rebel, ZK-VAN

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

HBBPC 2020 - Tricycle aircraft

As you might expect at an event promoting strip flying, there were a lot of taildraggers entered, although there were also a lot of tricycle undercarriage aircraft. Many of them were C172's, although there were a few different types on offer.

Here are a few of them.

First up, a Cessna 172A, ZK-CKX, which is registered to a Timaru address. Being an A model, it certainly is old, but that's no impediment to a precision landing comp.

Cessna 172A, ZK-CKX, registered to a Timaru address

Next up is a Piper PA38-112 Tomahawk, ZK-EQH, which is operated by Marlborough Aero Club. It's a really good example of a Hatchet having been well looked after by the aero club.

I think this was flown by several pilots in the precision landing comp and from memory there was an instructor on each flight. The reasons include one competitor being an Englishman who doesn't have a New Zealand licence and a couple of Marlborough Aero Club students. It's great to see some students having a go!

Piper PA38-112 Tomahawk, ZK-EQH, operated by Marlborough Aero Club

Next up are three of my favourite aircraft from the comps. They are all Zenair CH701 STOLs and just looking at them you can see they are built for short takeoffs and landings. Needless to say they pulled off some impressive performances on the day, with ZK-NVY, ZK-JUG [previous post] and ZK-TIA getting 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in the microlight category of the STOL comp.

I think if I were to own a microlight, one of these would be high on the list!

Zenair CH701 STOL, ZK-TIA, registered to a Rangiora address

Zenair CH701 STOL, ZK-SLO, also registered to a Rangiora address

Zenair CH701 STOL, ZK-NVY, registered to a Merivale [Christchurch] address

Monday, February 03, 2020

Healthy Bastards Bush Pilot Champs 2020

Last Saturday was the annual Healthy Bastards Bush Pilot Champs at Omaka aerodrome.

The champs have been running for eight years and this was the second time I attended, although to spectate, rather than compete, this time. The event is becoming a fixture on the aviation calendar with entries increasing every year. I think I might have to have another go next year - at least in the precision landing comp, but maybe the takeoff and landing comp also.

The day, of course, was filthy hot with very little breeze. Really for these events [including I would suggest the spectators] you want 20-30 knots wind and colder conditions Still, it is what it is and a fun day appeared to be had by all.

Anyway, this and next few posts will have a selection of pictures from the day. Enjoy!

First up is the Boeing-Stearman A75N1, ZK-KJO. This is an awesome looking WW2-era trainer from the USA. I reckon it would be fun to fly, and who doesn't like an aircraft with a nice big radial at the front?

Boeing-Stearman A75N1, ZK-KJO, operated by Classic Aircraft Sales Ltd
Next up is an entry from Wellington Aero Club and their CFI trying out the precision landing comp. Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE, is not quite what it seems, with a 180Hp engine and a STOL kit. This was the aircraft I flew to and from Omaka, although as noted above, I wasn't competing.

Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE, operated by Wellington Aero Club
The Healthy Bastards would not be the Healthy Bastards without Dr Dave and his passion for every pilot being a healthy bastard. This Cessna 172 is Dr Dave's personal transport which he uses to fly IFR all around the country, conducting aviation medicals and capturing dinners. Interesting perhaps is that it is an R172K, which I believe means it is a Reims model.

Cessna R172K, ZK-RJG, operated by Bulls Flying Doctor Service
Always a crowd favourite are the Zenair CH701 STOL aircraft. ZK-JUG [pictures of ZK-SLO and ZK-NVY will be in subsequent posts] is about to land. These aircraft are impressive... another aircraft I would like to fly one day! This one is registered to a Kaiapoi address.

Zenair CH701 STOL, ZK-JUG
Anyway, that's it for this post. there will be several more over the next couple of weeks with some of the interesting range of aircraft that competed.