Sunday, September 19, 2021

Take a guess. Where is this?

Last Saturday I got to go flying. Firstly as a passenger to another aerodrome, followed by me flying the aircraft home. We came across this strip of seal somewhere. No, we did not land there.

So, time for a quick competition.

  • Where is this runway is located?
  • Extra points if you know what its ICAO designator is/was
  • Extra extra points if you know who the operator is/was

One point for each correct answer for a total of three points on offer. No prize, except the respect and admiration of your fellow pilots!

No clues! 😁

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Lockdowns and no flying until recently

Things have been slow on the posting front recently. Until recently, all of the New Zealand was subject to a Covid19 lockdown [Auckland continues to be locked down as of writing this], so it was only last weekend that I was able to go out and have a flight.

The past couple of days I was able to get out for a trip up to Whanganui, and while there, I popped into the Wanganui Aero Club [Hi Jonathan!] for a quick look and a chat and got these photos.

The first is a Wanganui Aero Club operated Cessna 150H, ZK-CTF, with the student about to head off for some solo circuits.

Cessna 150H, ZK-CTF, operated by Wanganui Aero Club

This second photo is perhaps a little rarer - Air Chathams had a Saab-Scania SF340, ZK-KRA, off on a trip to Auckland. Rarer with Auckland still in lockdown, though once that lifts, domestic flying will get back to what has become the new normal fairly quickly.

Saab-Scania SF340, ZK-KRA, operated by Air Chathams

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Wet and windy Wellington

Here is a brief video from Wellington airport after the wind turned to the south and increased in strength and the rain set in.

#CantBeatWellingtonOnANiceDay 😂

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Currency and ballast

On Saturday. I realised yesterday that I had not flown for about a month. Furthermore I wasn't current on the C172. So, rather than a couple of circuits, I went for a dual ride to do some turns, stalls, a FLWOP, low flying and a rejoin. Fun times and I feel rather more current now.

Following this I got to be ballast on a type rating flight, as part of a MAUW [Maximum All Up Weight] check. Again, fun times, and it's always good to sit in the back as someone else is flying the plane! The aircraft was Wellington Aero Club's Piper PA28-161, ZK-KAT.

Here are a few pictures on my ballast ride.

Next weekend should be interesting also, as I'm going to fly a Piper PA38-112. Fun times indeed!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

More Nanchang flying

Last Saturday afternoon I had the opportunity to go flying in the Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO. The weather was nice enough, but a bit lumpy in the Southern Wairarapa with mild and fairly consistent turbulence from Turakirae up to Lake Onoke.

Still, it was a fun flight of just over 30 minutes. We're still running the engine a little harder as part of the run-in, so I was cruising at 270-280 km/hr [around 145-150 knots]. Still, fuel consumption was about normal for a slightly lower power setting [mind you, I did lean the mixture], so I can't wait to see what it settles at when we are back to normal power settings in a few hours.

Anyway, a couple of photos. The first is looking north over Lake Wairarapa. The second is looking to the east. Both of these photos were taken at around 1,100' AMSL. The photo was taken on my phone, hence the artefact from the prop interacting with the camera sensor...

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Cessna 182 at Wellington

Today's photo is of a Cessna 182T, ZK-JLR, which is operated by Ragged Point Ltd of a Nelson address. This was seen at Wellington on Saturday afternoon.

I think a Cessna 182 would be a really nice aircraft to learn to fly... maybe one day!

Cessna 182T, ZK-JLR, operated by Ragged Point Ltd

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

A couple of rides on Sunday afternoon

Last Sunday afternoon I was able to go on a couple of quick flights, both times as a passenger. The first was a ride up to Paraparaumu with Vincent flying the Cessna 172N ZK-EKE.  The ride home was in a Piper PA28-161, ZK-KAT, courtesy of Pete.

Both of these were fun and as always, it's great to be able to sit back and relax while someone else does the flying 😁

I've got just a couple of photos of the flight back to Wellington as we raced the daylight to get home about 15 minutes before ECT [evening civil twilight... or night time].

Sunday, July 04, 2021

PA28 at Wellington

Today's visitor was this nice Piper PA28-151, ZK-DBW. This aircraft is registered to the Canterbury Warrior Syndicate, and has been upgraded to a 180hp engine. Good to see you this afternoon Andreas! 😀

Piper PA28-151, ZK-DBW, operated by Canterbury Warrior Syndicate

Thursday, July 01, 2021

The carburettor!

It's been a few weeks since I posted - mainly weather and general busyness, but I hope to fix that in a couple of days.

Meanwhile, here's a very very interesting video on the fascinating subject of carburettors! Most of the aircraft I fly have a carburettor, and while the basic concepts always made sense, this video from Smarter Every Day takes it to a new level.

The explanations are interesting enough, but the use of high-speed footage just blows my mind as it shows fuel and air being mixed and sucked along toward an engine. The video is almost 25 minutes, but if you have even a passing interest in aircraft engines with carburettors, or small engines in lawn mowers etc for that matter, this is a compelling and very interesting video!

Enjoy the video!

BTW - while not covered in the video, it's easy to visualise how carb icing occurs and why it's important to be on top of it.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Another Nanchang flight today :-)

It has been a fantastic day in Wellington today... the start of winter has come with light winds and blue skies... combine that with a week off work and it's a great day for a flight.

I took the Nanchang CJ6A for a flight around the southern Wairarapa area - around one hour to see most of the sights... nice.

The engine is still being run in, so I was operating it at slightly higher power settings which increases fuel consumption and a little extra speed - can't wait until we can get it back to normal power settings to operate it most efficiently.

Anyway, a couple of photos - the instrument panel then me squinting into the sun 😃

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

Squinting into the bright winter sun

Saturday, May 22, 2021

First Nanchang flight in a while...

I had my first Nanchang flight today, since early January. Unfortunately it needed some maintenance and combined with people being busy, it has only been back for a week or so.

The aircraft has had a top-end overhaul and is flying really well. We're running at higher power settings to bed everything in, so we chose a cross country flight instead of circuits. On the plus side, we were cruising at about 280 km/hr [150 knots], and occasionally up to 320km/hr in a descent [about 175 knots] instead of the normal 250 km/hr [or 135 knots]. The sights appear and disappear reasonably quickly at those speeds...

Today's flight was an attempt to get to Nelson, Greymouth and Franz Josef airports, but with cloud on the way to Greymouth, we ended up diverting back to Motueka. Motueka, aside from any other interesting things, has a small food and coffee outlet on the field, called Hanger Round. How appropriate.

Hanger Round happen to do really a mean cheese, bacon and caramelised onions toasted sandwiches. They also sell Foxton Fizz. Awesome!

Anyway, just over two hours flying today. It was a lot of fun and it'll be happening again soon enough. With the combination of currency, speed and changing plans, there are no photos from the flight - just one after we landed back at Wellington. Maybe next time!

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

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Air NZ A320-232

A few days ago, an Air New Zealand operated Airbus A320'232, ZK-OJB, delivered some passengers to the military apron at Wellington. This will have been one of the regular Covid-19-related transfers around the country.

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

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

Friday, April 23, 2021

Christchurch Airport freight operations

Following on from my recent visit to Christchurch Airport, I have finally extracted an image form my camera showing a couple of Airwork operated Boeing 737's parked up on what appears to be a dedicated post/ courier apron. 

Airwork operates a number of Boeing 737 aircraft on freight operations around New Zealand, including ZK-FXL [a B737-4D7] and ZK-PAT [A B737-4Y0].

Boring 737-4D7 and -4Y0, ZK-FXL and ZK-PAT, operated by Airwork Operations

Image quality is not great - I was in the Koru lounge at the time - but good enough 😀

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Lancair ES

Another nice visitor to Wellington last Sunday was this Lancair ES, ZK-EDZ. This aircraft is registered to an Upper Moutere address.

The Lancair ES is an amateur built aircraft with a reputation for performance in a small package. With a 310Hp engine, cruise speed is around 190 knots. It apparently has a range of about 1200nm, which would be [just] enough for a direct trip from Auckland to Sydney in no-wind conditions [highly unlikely] or more practically, a one stop trip via Norfolk Island on the way over.

There's still a question about whether you'd want to, although it would probably be a lot of fun!

Lancair ES, ZK-EDZ

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

An MBB BO105 helicopter at Wellington

Sunday's "unusual" visitor was an MBB BO105 DBS-4 helicopter, ZK-IAA. This aircraft is registered to the AMH Trust, at a Nelson address.

It's a great looking machine and as far as I can tell, one of only two in the country.

MBB BO105 DBS-4, ZK-IAA, registered to AMH Trust

The Trans-Tasman bubble

It'll be no surprise to anyone in New Zealand or Australia that we now have a Trans-Tasman bubble operating, meaning that, with a couple of conditions, people can travel between the two countries with no need to enter quarantine on arrival.

It is a reflection of how well New Zealand and Australia have managed the Covid 19 pandemic, albeit with a number of hiccups, and a bit of good luck in place of good execution at times. Still, the results are what count, and they are really good so far.

This means that from Monday, there was a significant increase in flights across the Tasman with Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown receiving their first green flights [or no quarantine required] flights in around 12 months. Progress feels good.

Today's picture is of the first Qantas flight to land at Wellington utilising the provisions of the bubble. It's a Boeing 737-838 registered VH-XZF.

Boeing 737-838, VH-XZF, operated by Qantas Airways

* for those moaning about the slow vaccination programme, yes it feels very slow. Still, looking like it will be faster than Australia...

Sunday, April 18, 2021

A quick trip to Christchurch

I had a quick trip to Christchurch on Saturday, meeting with the rest of the Flying NZ executive team. 

While flying myself to Christchurch is fun, this time I went on Air NZ, with both flights operated by ATR72-600's. I didn't get many photos, but here are a couple from the trip home. They were all taken on my cellphone... which shows 😀

First up is a picture from Air NZ's Koru Lounge, looking towards the north-west. That's an Air NZ A321-271NX which has been pushed back.

View from Air NZ's Koru Lounge in Christchurch

Once on the ATR72, I was sitting in seat 6D, which is not great for photos with the big engine right out side, but hey, I could have purchased a better seat and choose not to, so it's all good.

ATR-GIE ATR72-600, operated by Air New Zealand

This next picture I am very pleased with. It's a picture of Christchurch International Airport [NZCH] soon after take-off. Where were effectively in a wide and high right hand downwind position as we headed back to Wellington.

View of Christchurch International Airport [NZCH]

It was an evening flight, so last up is a view of Wellington City as we descended to land. Unfortunately, my camera doesn't really handle the dark so well, but it's all I got... Interestingly, with the reduced light, the propeller blades do look better... just not the rest of the photo...

Wellington City

Thursday, March 25, 2021

A couple of Cessnas at Wellington

Here are photos of a couple of Cessna C172's that have visited Wellington over the last couple of weeks.

The first is a Cessna 172M, ZK-DRQ, which is registered to a Hamilton-based syndicate.

Cessna 172M, ZK-DRQ

The second aircraft is a Reims/Cessna F172P, ZK-NAC, and is registered to the Air NZ Flying Club at a Christchurch address.

I assume that NAC in the registration refers to the old name for Air NZ's domestic operation, the National Airways Corporation. From their Facebook page, it appears that the flying club is a part of the Air NZ staff social club.

Reims/Cessna F172P, ZK-NAC, operated by the Air NZ Flying Club

Reims Aviation was a French company that licence-built some Cessna aircraft for a number of years, including the ubiquitous C172 series of aircraft.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Southern Wairarapa, Lake Onoke and the Baring Sector

Here's a brief video from a flight on 14 March, where I fly south down the southern Wairarapa toward Lake Onoke and Palliser Bay, then return to Wellington via the Baring sector.

The aircraft was Wellington Aero Club's Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE. The video is sped up 6x as otherwise it would be very boring 😀.


Leave me a comment if there are more areas around Wellington or the top of the South Island you'd like to see in a future video. No promises, but I may be able to do it!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

A channel introduction video

I've just published a new channel introduction video. Hopefully this gives a small taste of what you can see on this blog and on my Youtube channel!

Enjoy the video!

For a direct link to the Youtube channel, click here. Remember to like and subscribe to be kept up to date the all the latest content.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

White Silence - the story of the Erebus disaster

I have recently started listening to podcasts. A bit late to the trend I suppose, but, as they say, better late than never. I've selected a couple of aviation podcasts [and a couple that are not at all aviation related].

There is one about the Air New Zealand Erebus disaster on 28 November 1979 that I have found very very very interesting. Flight TE901 was operated as a scenic flight to Antarctica and utilised one of Air New Zealand's [then] state-of-the-art McDonnell Douglas DC10-30's, ZK-NZP.

The podcast is called White Silence and has been produced by two media organisations, Stuff and Radio New Zealand.

Erebus was, and remains, New Zealand's biggest aviation disaster, and perhaps one of the biggest disasters in aviation - certainly in the top few when it occured.

The introduction on the linked website starts with the following

On November 28, 1979, an Air New Zealand jet took off from Auckland Airport on a sightseeing trip to Antarctica. There were 257 people on board. Hours later everyone was dead.

That's a blunt, but pretty good summary of what kicked this off, although it doesn't even start to touch the impact on New Zealanders at the time, and in some ways, to this day. The politics, the trauma, of the subsequent investigations and retribution handed out are almost unbelievable 40 years later and are well covered in this podcast series.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry [presided over by Justice Peter Mahon] gave rise to one of the greatest statements [in my not-so-humble 😏 opinion] ever uttered by a judge, aimed directly at the airline and its actions and testimony after the accident. This statement was

An orchestrated litany of lies

Imagine this statement being levelled at any participant in a Royal Commission of Inquiry! An orchestrated litany of lies! And this, in a day when the airline was not only owned by, but in some ways, controlled by the Government. Whether fair or not, it was [and probably remains] as divisive and controversial a comment as it may appear.

If you have any interest in aviation, and particularly aviation disasters, this is almost certainly a must-listen-to podcast. It is consumed in eight episodes ranging in length from around 30 minutes to just over an hour.

Click on the image above [or click here] to access the podcast. It is well worth the listen! The website also contains links to other pictures, video and other interesting information.

Note: The above image is from the White Silence podcast website.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Overflying Paraparaumu airfield

This short video shows me flying overhead Paraparaumu airfield [ICAO code NZPP] in February. This was part of a fun flight from Wellington, around Kapiti Island, overhead NZPP and back to Wellington.

Enjoy the video!


If you like this type of content, then please like and subscribe the video on my Youtube channel. This feedback shows me that you appreciate the content, and finances permitting, I'll make more of them!

Sunday, March 07, 2021

First Qantas arrival in ages

Today saw thew first arrival of a Qantas aircraft into Wellington in ages - probably close to 10 or 1`1 months [that is, since the Covid 19 border lock-down].

This was not the resumption of business as usual however, but a one-off flight to repatriate some cricketers who may well have just been beaten by New Zealand's Black Caps national cricket team. It's not a great weekend for Australians as I heard that there netball team lost to our national team also.

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of today's arrival of the Qantas-operated Boeing 737-838, VH-VZT.

Boeing 737-838, VH-VZT, operated by Qantas Airways

Boeing 737-838, VH-VZT, operated by Qantas Airways

Thursday, March 04, 2021

A recent flight up Transmission Gully

Enjoy the sights of the northern Wellington region as we track north up Transmission Gully, a new northern route in and out of Wellington. I've finally sorted the camera configuration, so hopefully this looks better than some previous videos.

It seems that like all new roads, it is much delayed, but it due to open in September 2021.

Enjoy the video and come back later this year to see if there's a new video of an opened road! 😁

Like this content?

I am hoping to do a few more of these types of videos, showing off parts of New Zealand as I fly around. Like and subscribe on my Youtube channel to get notified of new videos as they are released.

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

The Marlborough Sounds

Here's a brief video of a recent trip across the Marlborough Sounds [at the top end of New Zealand's South Island] and what turned out to be smooth flying conditions and good visibility.

The aircraft is Wellington Aero Club's Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE. As I mentioned in the previous post [with content from the same flight], there's still a bit more fiddling to do with the camera settings, but I'm getting there!

Next in-flight video will have the camera's Linear mode set on. I can't wait! Ha ha

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Visitor from Nelson Aviation College

Last weekend, a Cessna 172S, ZK-NAX, from Nelson Aviation College visited Wellington.

Cessna 172S, ZK-NAX, operated by Nelson Aviation College

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Arrival into Motueka aerodrome

Following on from my last video of the 34 Owhiro Departure from Wellington, my destination on that flight was Motueka aerodrome [ICAO code: NZMK].

Motueka is located near the top of the South Island and is a really nice place to visit, even if this visit was just long enough to refuel the aircraft then the pilots.

The flight itself was across the Cook Strait, then the very scenic Marlborough Sounds [I might do another video on this], then on to where this video starts, crossing Tasman Bay. It's a nice part of the country to visit!

Camera settings are much better than last time, but still not quite right. I figure I may as well use the Go Pro's setting to generate a linear image. This crops down the field of view, but I think does make for a better result. That of course is for another day.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

34 Owhiro Departure video

This is a short video of the 34 Owhiro departure from Wellington recently. 

This was the start of a flight to Motueka, near to top of New Zealand's South Island. The aircraft is Wellington Aero Club's Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE. EKE is a wee bit special - it has a 180hp engine and a STOL kit. On this flight, with 120litres of fuel and two people on board, the takeoff roll was around 100 meters [maybe slightly over]. Not bad performance!

Anyway, enjoy the video. There will be further videos over the coming weeks, hopefully including the arrival into Motueka as well as video from across the Marlborough Sounds 👍


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

First flight with a new camera...

Here's my first flight with a new Go Pro camera. Unfortunately I had one of the settings wrong which makes for a very "interesting" effect. Accidentally shows off one of the great capabilities of the camera!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

MAUW Checkride

I got to be a passenger last weekend while another pilot underwent a Maximum All Up Weight [MAUW] checkride as part of his type rating on the club's Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE.

It's actually nice to be a passenger for once and to be able to sit back, relax and enjoy the view, while someone else does the hard [fun] work. Fun times!

Anyway, here are a few photos from the flight around the Wellington circuit.

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

The old prison at the north end of the Miramar Peninsula

Right hand downwind for runway 34, looking back to the airport

A view to the south-east from the circuit

Final approach for runway 34

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Flight inspection time

Saturday afternoon saw the regular navaid inspection activities being undertaken at Wellington.

At it's simplest, it appears the navaid inspection involves checking that navaids are calibrated correctly, using an aircraft, in this case a Piper PA-42-1000 Cheyanne, appropriately registered ZK-FIS and registered to the Airways Corporation of New Zealand [provider of all ATC and AFIS/ FIS services in New Zealand].

Inspection runs consist of a number of approaches testing different navaids and appear to all be conducted at fairly high speed and definitely not configured for landing... 😀 Looks like fun times for the crew, although I imagine hard [and exacting] work also!

I'd be very keen to find out more, so if anyone who has any first-hand knowledge of this if happy to provide some details, I'd be keen to hear from you. Perhaps I could put up a post providing more details of this essential calibration service.

Anyway, here are a couple of photos on ZK-FIS as it overshoots after an inspection run.

Piper PA-42-1000 Cheyanne, ZK-FIS, registered to Airways Corporation of NZ

Piper PA-42-1000 Cheyanne, ZK-FIS, registered to Airways Corporation of NZ

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Crazy glider record

I know gliders routinely undertake cross country flying, but this is crazy!

A trans-Atlantic trip by a glider. In 1943.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Cessna 525A

Last weekend saw the arrival into Wellington of a Cessna 525A Citation, ZK-XXK, after a short flight from Hamilton. This aircraft is registered to a company called Wellington Jet Charters.

Cessna 525A Citation, ZK-XXK, operated by Wellington Jet Charters

Cessna 525A Citation, ZK-XXK, operated by Wellington Jet Charters

Thursday, January 14, 2021

First photo from 2021

This is from the first set of photos taken in 2021. It's an Air New Zealand-operated Airbus A321-271NX, ZK-NNC.

Airbus A321-271NZ, ZK-NNC, operated by Air New Zealand

Anyway, I'm back at work now, so back to weekends only. However, and while not confirmed, I'm hoping there will be some exciting news on offer for Q1 in 2021. You'll all have to wait and see what this might be though... 😀

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Last photos from 2020

Here are some of last photos I took in 2020. The first is from the Wexford Rd lookout and is of an Air New Zealand-operated Airbus A320-232, ZK-OXK.

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

On the last day of 2020, comes a photo of another A320-232, this time VH-VGA, which is operated by Jetstar Airways.

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

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Socata TB9 Tampico

A recent arrival at Wellington is this Socata TB9 Tampico, ZK-TBA.

Socata TB9 Tampico, ZK-TBA

Sunday, January 03, 2021

Robinson R44

Late last year [31 December to be precise], this Robinson R44 II, ZK-IGK, was parked up at Wellington.

Robinson R44 II, ZK-IGK

Friday, January 01, 2021

A new year? Must mean it's time to fly!

It's a new year and what better way to celebrate than go for a flight? 😁

Better still, this flight bought up my 50th hour in the Nanchang, in around 18 months since I started learning to fly it, even with a big Covid19 lock-down in the middle.

Even better still to have a passenger, so welcome aboard Wayne! 

Today's flight was around an hour out to Palliser Bay for a look around. We stuck to around 1500' the whole time and watched the hills, the sheep, more hills, a lighthouse and a few cars, houses and rivers float by at 250kph.

A great way to start a new year!

Anyway, just one photo [thanks for this Wayne] of the Nanchang Grin after our flight [see below for details on how to obtain your own Nanchang Grin].

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

Want your own Nanchang Grin? Shares are available (as at 1 January 2021). Click here for details on Trademe!

PS: I'm thinking this would have been the first Nanchang CJ6 flight anywhere in the world for 2021 [departure around 11:30 local time]. happy to be proven wrong, but equally happy to be right! 😂😂