Sunday, June 26, 2022

Been a while...

 ... since I last flew - one month to be precise.

Today's flight was just a series of circuits at Wellington International Airport, in the aero club's Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE. Fun times, with sweet clearances, no delays and great weather.

Anyway, here's a reminder of what this awesome machine looks like.

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

Next up is a small video of today's Fiji Airways departure to Nadi [NFFN]. This is a Boeing 737-MAX8, DQ-FAD. It is good to see the regional operators returning to Wellington as the Covid restrictions are reduced.

This was shot on my new Samsung A73, so I'd say the image stabilisation is pretty good!

Saturday, June 18, 2022

This would be nice!

This would be a nice little machine - two seats, 1200km range, turboprop, 800kg MAUW. Christmas present for me anyone? 😁

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Avweb ditching video

Here is an interesting video on ditching survival rates, from Avweb. Take it how you want, but there would seem to be worse options than ditching [in some cases] and if landing in the water is your best option, then it is highly survivable.

Enjoy watching, it's only 5 minutes long.

Thursday, May 05, 2022

I would actually like this

Here is an interesting aircraft and one I would love to have a go in one day [no chance, of course!].

It's an English Electric Wren, 99 years old [in 2022] and has a massive 3hp engine! Fun times!

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Another hour in a Cessna 172

Saturday was a chance to take a couple of people for a flight to the Marlborough Sounds. The weather was nice - a bit breezy, but nice enough.

Yet again πŸ˜‚ I have managed to not take any photos of my own, but in a one hour flight, we managed to get across to the Marlborough Sounds, taking a look from Long Island down to Picton then across to Port Gore, before returning to Wellington.

The flight path

Friday, April 29, 2022

Murphy Super Rebel

There was an interesting visitor to Wellington last weekend, a Murphy SR2500TD Super Rebel, ZK-MSR. This is registered to a Tauranga address, although I understand it has just been sold and will be moving shortly.

I don't know too much about the aircraft, but it's a Canadian designed homebuilt, seat four, it looks great and I'm rather jealous of anyone who gets to fly one of these for fun! πŸ˜€

Also, the bear on the tail looks cool also!

Murphy SR2500TD Super Rebel, ZK-MSR

Thursday, April 28, 2022

An hour in a Cessna 172

Last weekend [Monday to be precise] I had a flight in a Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE. I was by myself, so rather than just go sightseeing, I thought I would practice some manoeuvres instead. So, after just one hour, I had practiced turns, stalls, FLWOP, constant radius turns, then rejoined with a short approach to land.

Fun times! No pictures from the flight, just this screen grab from an app.

The flight path

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Propeller from a World War 1 aircraft?

Here's an interesting picture of an old propeller, apparently from a SPAD aircraft with a 200hp engine.

It appears to have been made by a company called Hispano-Suiza. It would be really good to know if there is more history to this propeller, and particularly if it could be confirmed as a type that would have been fitted to a World War 1 SPAD aircraft.

If you do know more, and particularly if you have links to information to support your views, please leave a message. I'm definitely keep to learn more!

Old propeller

Old propeller - do you know more?

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The Boss

Monday's flight was in the Club's Cessna 172S, ZK-CEO. It was a quick trip across to Omaka aerodrome to pick up a couple of people and return home. It was a fantastic day for flying with bright skies and light winds - almost the perfect day for a flight across Cook Strait.

Cessna 172S, ZK-CEO, operated by Wellington Aero Club

While crossing Cook Strait I had radar monitoring, and this was followed by a very welcome clearance to "track direct to Omaka, 2500 feet or below" - a sweet clearance that saved me from having to descend earlier and navigate the transit lane. Nice. On arrival, a slight change of wind meant and overshoot and reposition for another vector. All fun. Heading home a short time later was another easy flight across Cook Strait and back into Wellington.

The only real challenge was someone flying around Omaka/ Woodbourne with a stuck mic. Heavy breathing is not really wanted on the frequency 😬, especially with various aircraft wanting ATC clearances and the like. Oh well, these things happen, nothing to get too excited about.

Flight track

Sunday, April 10, 2022

All fingers accounted for

Saturday was another day to head to Masterton airfield and continue my flight training on the Piper J3C-50, ZK-AHD, with Wairarapa Flying Tigers.

Today's flight was more upper air work - stalls, steep turns, slow flight, slips and an overhead rejoin. I was also seated in the rear seat, which was an interesting experience with limited visibility, but one I'll get used to since this aircraft is flown solo from the back seat. Next lesson will likely be lots of circuits. That'll be a lot of fun!

Not only that, but I am also learning some of the ground stuff, like starting the engines of the J3 and the de Havilland DH82A Tiger Moths. These aircraft don't have starter motors [it seems to be just additional dead weight to carry around 😁], so they start using the Armstrong method, or swinging the propellers by hand. Fun times, and at the end of the day, all fingers are accounted for.

Only two photos from today, of two of Wairarapa Flying Tiger-operated de Havilland DH82A Tiger Moths, ZK-ANL and ZK-BLK. Once up to speed on the J3, this will be the next bit of fun.

de Havilland DH82A Tiger Moth, ZK-BLK, operated by Wairarapa Flying Tigers

de Havilland DH82A Tiger Moth, ZK-ANL, operated by Wairarapa Flying Tigers

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Time for a clean

I went flying on Sunday afternoon. The aircraft needed a wash prior to the flight... so, no, this was not after my flight... Clearly the previous flight had some fun 😏

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

Monday, April 04, 2022

Cessna 152

One visitor to Wellington on Sunday, a Cessna 152, ZK-NAK, which is operated by Nelson Aviation College.

Cessna 152, ZK-NAK, operated by Nelson Aviation College

Monday, March 21, 2022



A fairly cryptic title I suppose, but very relevant to this post, as I had my first flight in a Piper J3C-50 Cub, ZK-AHD last weekend! What a fantastic experience!

Piper J3C-50 Cub, ZK-AHD, operated by Wairarapa Flying Tigers

This aircraft is operated by the Wairarapa Flying Tigers, alongside their Tiger Moths, and DHC Chipmunk [although this is awaiting servicing at the moment]. It is powered by a Continental A50, developing a massive 50hp* and has a max all up weight of 498 kgs. Definitely the lightest aircraft I have every flown and very definitely the lowest powered, by a long shot. Climb is a sprightly 60-65mph [no, not knots] and stall is about 35mph.

The panel is appropriately vintage as well

Piper J3C-50 Cub, ZK-AHD, operated by Wairarapa Flying Tigers

What a fantastic and fun machine it was to fly!

For this first lesson, it was turns, basic stalls, slow flight, an overhead rejoin and some circuits including 3 pointer landings and a wheeler landing. We actually tried two wheeler landings, but one was so bad, I went around. Fun times!!

Piper J3C-50 Cub, ZK-AHD, operated by Wairarapa Flying Tigers

The aircraft was flown with the door open [as I suppose a Cub should be flown...😁]. The speeds are quite sedate which provides more time to think about this, but with just under an hour in the seat today, there is certainly still more work to be done before I'm competent to take it up myself.

Fun times, and I'm definitely going back for more!

Piper J3C-50 Cub, ZK-AHD, operated by Wairarapa Flying Tigers

My understanding is that after a Cub rating, there may be an opportunity to do a Tiger Moth rating. That would be fun also!

* 50hp would be a similar number of horses as I have years... low power, young years? 😁

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Two flying tigers

Yesterday I went on a trip to Masterton. I flew the Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO, over there and back. In between times, I had a nice meal at the Kittyhawke cafe.

I also got to see these two de Havilland DH82A Tiger Moths, ZK-ANL and ZK-BEW, starting up for a flight. One day πŸ‘

It is great to see these awesome aircraft still being used regularly. There's even a chance I may end up flying them one day. Stay tuned.

de Havilland DH82A Tiger Moth, ZK-ANL, ZK-BEW, operated by Wairarapa Flying Tigers

They are also available for joy rides if you are interested. Wairarapa Flying Tigers is the place to go to find out more.

If you're a pilot and are interested in flying these wonderful aircraft, you can use the same website to make contact with Wairarapa Flying Tigers.

Monday, March 07, 2022

A quick trip to Paraparaumu

I was not planning to do any flying on Sunday, and I didn't. I did however sit on board as a passenger as the Club's Piper PA38-112, ZK-EQX, was flown to Paraparaumu for some planned maintenance.

Not much to say about the flight, except it was a bit windy in Wellington, but surprisingly nice in Paraparaumu. Anyway, here are a couple of pictures.

Runway 34 at Wellington. I hate rolling shutter...

A bit of new road, not currently in use. Near Mount Wainui

Final approach into NZPP. That's the Paraparaumu Town Centre in the middle

Sunday, March 06, 2022

Taupō again :-)

The weather yesterday was just about exceptional. There was little wind, the skies were fairly blue apart from some high cloud through the Desert Road, with just a wee bit of anti-cyclonic gloom [see, I sound fancy!] limiting the visibility down to around 20-30 km in places.


Flying past Mount Ruapehu, on the way home

Knowing that there was likely to be very nice weather a few days out, I booked the Nanchang CJ6A for most of the day, and planned a trip from Wellington to Taupō and return. Originally, I was going up the coast to near Whanganui, then up the Desert Road, then returning back via Masterton. The return trip changed for reasons I'll explain later.

Also on the way home. Lovely weather!

The first change was that I flew into Whanganui for fuel. The Nanchang only has 2.5 hours endurance. Given a legal minimum reserve of 30 minutes, we are down to 2 hours flight time. With the Club [sensibly] wanting an extra 15 minutes reserve, we are down to 1 hour and 45 minutes. The flight was planned for 1 hour and 28 minutes, so quite doable. That anti-cyclonic gloom I mentioned? Probably better to have a few more minutes reserve up my sleeve, so I popped into Whanganui for fuel. Hello Jonathan and Zac.

ADSB-In is nice, but eyes are important

Turns out it was all no problem. It all cleared up as I got closer to Waiouru. Still, I'm never heard anyone complain about having more fuel than they needed to have at the end of a flight.

Taupō is a great aerodrome to visit any day. The cafe in the terminal is always a great place to stop and have a snack. Also, hello Anthony and Alex. Bacon butty and Pepsi Max - the lunch of Kings!

It was then that a small issue was found. I use an iPad Mini 6 for my aeronautical charts and navigation planning. It works great, but on longer flights may need a recharge. I have a backup that is usable [on the phone], but it's not ideal.

As it turns out, the cable I selected has a feature. It charges the phone but not the iPad??!?. So, rather than fly through some less familiar airspace, I came back via the same route [but without stopping in Whanganui]. Home in around 90 minutes, and the iPad had plenty of juice for the entire flight [and would have for the original plan... but you know... threat and error management and all that]. Also, NZWU and NZPP available should I have been concerned about fuel [which wasn't an issue].

The naughty cable now has two new features - after confirming that others cables work fine, I chopped the ends off and have ordered some replacements. I guess that just goes to show the importance of testing equipment before I head off..

Munted cable

Anyway, that's today's trip.

Nice equipment :-)

Where to next??

Monday, February 28, 2022

A new shirt, and a slightly older hat

Last Saturday's flight to Hawera was the first outing for my awesome new Nanchang branded polo shirt. It looks good alongside my slightly older baseball cap hat also.

I might be biased 😁

Branded polo shirt and baseball cap

Monday, January 31, 2022

Must not fly again in January...

... because I've already done about 15 hours this month...

This evening's chariot was Wellington Aero Club's latest acquisition, Piper PA38-112 Tomahawk, ZK-EQX. What can I say. It is a Tomahawk. It flies like a Tomahawk. Take-off was fine, stalls were fun, turns good, landing about perfect.

I promise, no more flying in January 2022. I'm done for the month!

Piper PA38-113 Tomahawk, ZK-EQX, operated by Wellington Aero Club

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Kia ora Palmy

Another weekend, another flight! Yesterday's flight was planned as a quick trip from Wellington to Palmerston North, across to the Wairarapa and back to Wellington. I had never flown into Palmerston North in daylight [I did a dual night cross country in there some years ago] and with the amazing weather we have had recently, well, why not!

All went well, until I had my entry clearance into the Wellington control zone... some spotted a drone flying around, which caused a few delays. For me, it meant diverting to Masterton for fuel and returning a little later than expected.

As for photos - these are courtesy of Ady who came along for the ride. Thanks for sharing!

These first few photos are from the University arrival into Palmerston North's runway 25 and the departure on a Hiwinui departure.. In the first photo, the airport is is in the centre of the photo.

Left base for NZPM, runway 25

Short final for NZPM, runway 25

After the touch & go on the Hiwinui departure

A view across the Manawatu Gorge

Next up are some pictures heading south passing [what I think is] Eketahuna, with a couple of controlled burn-offs in progress. It's easy to see the wind direction and strength. A nice gentle northerly.

Eketahuna, heading south

Somewhere north, heading south :-)

In the next photo, we are near Featherston [that's the town you can see in the photo], on the way to Mount Matthews, for our first attempt at getting into Wellington.

Hello Featherston!

Next up are two photos approaching, then inside, the Orongorongo Valley. These were taken just before I had been given a control zone entry clearance, which was just prior to a drone was reported to be flying around. This meant a diversion to Masterton [which we had flown past earlier] for fuel. The Orongorongo Valley is where a lot of basic mountain flying training is undertaken by Wellington Aero Club.

Approaching the Orongorongo Valley, just east of Wellington

In the Orongorongo Valley, just east of Wellington

After all that, we returned to Wellington a couple of hours later than expected. Still, it was a nice day to fly down the Wairarapa Valley and across Palliser Bay to return to Wellington.

Southern Wairarapa and Palliser Bay

Finally, if you were flying a drone/ RPAS* near Wellington Airport on Saturday... please don't. It is dangerous and highly disruptive. You could end up in prison... and they don't allow you to fly your drone in prison either 😬. has some great information to help keep you out of trouble.

* RPAS - Remotely Piloted Aircraft System, aka a drone.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Nice [slow] trip in a Tomahawk

Last weekend I had a quick trip to Whanganui for a couple of hours.

The only aircraft that was available for the timeframe I wanted it was a Piper PA38-112 Tomahawk, ZK-FML. It's a nice machine [like all the PA38's operated by Wellington Aero Club]. I have good memories of learning to fly in the Tomahawk... but... it is a bit slower than what I usually fly these days.

For a Tomahawk, it's reasonably quick at around 95knots at normal cruise power, but that's still quite a bit slower than the C172 at around 110knots, and the CJ6A at 135knots. Still, there are worse ways to travel around πŸ˜ƒ

Another reason for taking this aircraft is that it needed to be left at Paraparaumu airport [NZPP] that evening for some planned maintenance. So, on the way back, I stopped at NZPP and left it there. I was fortunate enough to find another pilot driving back to Wellington, so I didn't even need to get the train home [not that the train is a bad way to get home either...]. All up, it was 2.3 hours of flying [instead of well under 2 hours in any of the other aircraft] and a car ride back to Wellington.

While in NZPP I got a couple of photos on my phone. First up is ZK-FML all tied up the for evening.

Piper PA38-112 Tomahawk, ZK-FML, operated by Wellington Aero Club

Next up is the resident Aviat Aircraft A-1C-180 Husky, ZK-USK. This is operated by Kapiti Districts Aero Club on behalf of the owner and is a fabulous looking aircraft. Everyone who has flown it seems to rave about it also!

The last aircraft I photographed is definitely not a usual resident. It is a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, ZK-MCL, which is operated by Milford Sounds Flights of a Queenstown address. Before you ask, I have no idea what it is doing up this way, but still a nice aircraft to see.

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, ZK-MCL, operated by Milford Sounds Flights

Anyway, that's the flying done for another day. Hopefully I have something this coming weekend. Something a bit faster and maybe across to a different island.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

The flight home from Christchurch

I took a couple of photos on yesterday's return flight from Christchurch. It was a very nice day to be in the air - even nicer that I could sit back and relax.

Awatere Valley, Marlborough and the salt lakes

More smooth seas coming in to Wellington

Saturday, January 22, 2022

A visit to Christchurch

In what was my first commercial flight in over a year, I had a trip to Christchurch earlier today. The occasion was a Flying NZ executive team meeting [our first face-to-face meeting since the conference last year].

After the meeting a couple of us ended up in the Koru Lounge for a bite to eat and a quick drink. It was fairly quiet but the food was nice enough. This was about the first time I have taken my DSLR camera out of its bag in several months also. Both flights were with Air NZ on their ATR72's. 

I'm glad they were booked on Air NZ instead of Jetstar, if only because Air NZ is still requiring vaccination passes, while Jetstar does not seem to be routinely checking for vaccination passes. I'd rather fly knowing the person sitting next to me is vaccinated, than not being sure... The statement from Jetstar's webpage [, as at 22 January 2022]:

Excuse me while I grab a pinch of salt to read that with...

Anyway, here are some photos from the Koru Lounge.

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

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

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

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

Sunday, January 16, 2022

A fun time in Masterton

For the first time in many years, Wairarapa and Wellington Aero Clubs held an inter-club competition last Saturday. These used to happen regularly, but haven't for a few years now. There is even a rather large and impressive cup, the Liverton Cup, on offer.

The competitions

The day consisted of three competitions taken from the excellent [I may be biased!] set of competitions run by Flying NZ for their regional and national competition events. We also used the relevant safety standards promulgated by Flying NZ, especially for the landing grid set-up and operations.

The three competitions were:

  • Precision circuits [based on the Wigram Cup Senior Landing comp]
  • Non-instrument circuits [based on the Wigram Cup non-instrument circuit comp]
  • Forced landings without power [based on the GM Spence competition rules]

To give different people a fair go, there were three categories, Junior [student pilots], Senior [licenced pilots] and Special [CPL, instructors and other "special" people πŸ˜†]. It was a friendly get-together, with an emphasis on having fun and learning something and serving as an introduction to pilots from both clubs who had not experienced competitions before.

I had planned to spend most of my day running the landing grid... but I found out partway through the day that someone had entered me into the precision circuits and forced landing competitions. They also decided that I would also use the Nanchang CJ6A, ZK-MAO. Funny people.

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

As it turned out, I only had time for the forced landing competition. I flew it fairly well and had a lot of fun doing it. Rumour has it, I may have landed on the grid also, which was very helpful for the end result.

That might be the last time anyone enters me in a competition without asking first 😁.

Kiwi Coffee and Kai Catering

Kiwi Coffee and Kai Catering provided delicious food in the afternoon and evening. Yum! Apparently they cater all over the place, and I'm sure Wairarapa Aero Club will be happy to have them back another day. The owners of the food truck came along for a ride in Wellington's Cessna 172N, ZK-EKE - a nice little 20 minute trip. Check out their FB page for some photos and video of the flight.

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

Flying Tigers

The Wairarapa Flying Tigers were out in force, providing rides in their two DH82A Tiger Moths. Very impressive machines, and I know everyone enjoyed their rides.

I signed up as a member of Flying Tigers a while ago, but being busy, yet again I managed to fail miserably at going for a ride. Sad. Another day.

The end result?

Everyone had fun and I'm sure most people learnt something [I learnt that I should be more careful about applying sunscreen everywhere exposed... Grrrr!].

I actually had fun gliding the Nanchang onto the ground - that last 500' is always the fun bit. I also flew the Nanchang to/ from Wellington - again, good fun.

Congrats to Wairarapa Aero Club who took out the Liverton Cup this year. We'll be back next year to take it back!