25 April 2011

Classic Fighters Airshow - Part 3

Now that I've uploaded a selection of my own amateur snaps, I've had time to scour the web and discover what proper photographers have captured from the Classic Fighters event. Below are some links that I recommend are well worth checking out:

I'm sure as the week passes, heaps more images will be added to the web. I expect I'll either update this post or create a new one if I find anything really special. Feel free to contact me with your own images or links to albums if you would like them published!

Classic Fighters Airshow - Part 2

Following on from the Classic Fighters Airshow - Part 1 post, here are 23 more photos from my trip down to Omaka on Saturday.

Doug taxing out for the second time that day in ZK-WDQ
Adam Eltham, an AFS instructor, in the Miles Messenger
The Messenger again, from the port side
The Ardmore PBY Catalina lifting off
Weta Workshops Panzer Tank
Peter Vincent demoing his Dash 8's STOL ability- no brakes!
Nieuport 11 Bebe
Sopwith Camel
Manfred von Richthofen's, aka The Red Baron, Fokker dr.1
TAF parked under a rainbow
Roaring Forties Harvard team
RNZAF Huey- must be one of it's last public displays
Three badass looking Hawks
Titan Mustang
General airshow ambiance...
A Marlborough Helicopters Bell 206 parked next to the car
So yeah, not the greatest photos in the world but then again, I'm not a professional! In summery, I'm glad I made the decision to go down having not been to an airshow since 2009. 

The gloomy weather didn't hinder proceedings like I was expecting, the low cloud kept the aircraft low close to the audience, and helped echo the rumble of the engines back towards the ground too. I only remember two light rain showers passing over all day, not a biggie... However, white smoke against grey clouds didn't really seem worth it, and the Yak team playing "U2- Its A Beautiful Day" over the airshow speakers during their display wasn't the most suitable of soundtracks.

I caught the 4pm flight from Woodbourne back to Welly, another nice and rough crossing of the Cook Straight. Before takeoff, we held at the runway threshold for five or so minutes as the pilot explained "there are a fair few birds on the runway, so because we don't want a birdstrike, we've called someone to come and scare them off". It was the first time I'd ever experienced a good ole rough landing at WN, much more enjoyable than mundane on profile and centreline touch downs!

Boarding at WB
Visiting light aircraft parked up next to the terminal
Climbing over the vineyards
Cruising through the scud
The Wairau Bar, where a Nanchang made a FLWOP in 2010.
Possible Altocumulus Lenticularis cloud
ZK-OAB on the ramp as I disembarked in Auckland that evening

24 April 2011

Classic Fighters Airshow - Part 1

After plans to fly a C172 down to Marlborough for the Omaka airshow fell through, I booked myself in with Air NZ to get down to Blenhiem on Friday. The flight was via Welly on the 737, then connecting to a B1900d to get to nearby Woodbourne. However, the booking was only a standby seat on staff travel and the flight was full, so I ended up getting transferred to a flight to Nelson on the Dash 8- meaning that I've now flown on every aircraft Air NZ have in service, bar the new 777-300.

The Cook Straight crossing was the choppiest I've ever experienced, with the passenger next to me clinging to the seat in front with closed eyes during the roughest of turbulence. Thankfully, the mates I was staying with in Blenhiem came and picked me up, and it was only a 1 and a half our-ish drive up state highway six back to the place we were staying.

On Saturday morning, the weather forecast looked terrible with 40 knots at 2000 feet and a very colorful rain radar. I was even considering changing my return flight to Sunday in case the Saturday show was canceled, however, even though the clouds were overcast above Omaka aerodrome it turned out to be a pretty sweet day.

Unfortunately the FW-190 spat a part of a cooling fan out at the propeller grounding it for the weekend, and the Strikemaster wasn't to display. One rumor was that it had a technical fault, and another said it was due to unsatisfactory wet runway performance at Woodbourne where it was based for the weekend- however, it unexpectedly managed to fly on Sunday, by which time I was back in Auckland.

Highlights for me were seeing the P-40c perform for it's first and last time in NZ before being shipped off to Texas- Hearing three Allison V12 engines in formation together was real decent. Doug Brooker's Spitfire finally managed to fly in front of a crowd without any issues too. I'll never get tired of seeing/hearing him gun it past the crowd line at full throttle. Another bonus for me was seeing Brendon Deere's Mk IX Spitfire in the flesh for the first time, a very photogenic machine.

I'm not going to even pretend like I have a decent camera, just a Panasonic point and shoot, but I still snapped a few half arse shots as I walked around the show. There must have been hundreds of photographers there with lenses on there DSLR's longer than my arm- I'll be sure to track down some of their images and link them from this blog in the future, but for the time being, here are a few of my captures.

A mean Piper Pacer owned by a friend of a friend. More photos here.
Doug Brooker's Tr. IX Spitfire
ZK-SPI, Brendon Deere's Mk IX Spitfire
And again, side on
Kermit Weeks in the Albatros DVa
Awesome sounding twin radials of the DC-3
Another mean sounding machine, the Goodyear FG-1D Corsair
Yak formation
Fokker dr.1 Triplane
A snippet of the WW1 dogfight reenactment

Appropriate rego on the PiperSport LSA SportCruiser
ZK-TWK, the P-40c awaiting it's flying slot
Simon Gault's Thunder Mustang
ZK-TAF, our country's resident P-51 Mustang
The gull wing design needed for ZK-COR's 13 foot 4 inch propeller
TAF taxing for takeoff
P-40 'Currawong' Kittyhawk
TWK taxing
Beautiful sounding Hawk formation flyby
TWK on ground roll
Alright, so that's the first half of my photos. I'll upload the next 23 in a new post. Hopefully these snaps, even though they are low quality, give an impression of what the show was like for those who couldn't make it to Omaka. Cheers for now!

20 April 2011

Strikemaster 70 Flies!

Just as I was leaving Ardmore this afternoon, I heard the unfamiliar roar of a jet engine, looked up, and saw the Strikemaster 70 blasting overhead. It's first flight since it's restoration- not sure if it will make it down to Omaka at this stage, as it's only two days away, but you never know!

Andrew Hope recorded this video below of it's first takeoff around 4.30pm:

The FW-190 also made it's maiden NZ flight down at OM today, as did ZK-TWK, the P-40c Tomahawk on Sunday at AR. Photos here and here. However, the wx forecast for the weekend has changed from clear skies and light winds to heavy precipitation and strong north westerlies... watch this space! 

Edit: And as of July 2012, you can now go for joy flights in the Strikemaster! Check out jetfighter.co.nz

18 April 2011

Not a Good Day For It

With the Auckland TAF reading like this, it wasn't surprising that my handling flight was canceled this afternoon. I'm not too fussed though, as I got to enjoy a four day weekend, and also had time to book myself a flight down to Blenhiem for the bi-annual Omaka Classic Fighters airshow this coming Friday.

I haven't been to an airshow for a few years now, with Omaka being the only large event on the NZ display circuit I've never actually attended. The focus here is restored vintage aircraft, with 7 Fokker Dr.1 Triplanes living resident at NZOM.

This year is particularly special, with the Ardmore based TR-IX Spitfire making it's airshow debut, along with a Focke Wulf FU150 just imported and assembled this week, and one of three P-40c Kittyhawk's worldwide, also recently restored at Ardmore, flying for the first time (see here) since 1942! As well as numerous other warbirds from both WW1 and WW2 eras, an ex RNZAF BAE 167 Strikemaster jet, also currently undergoing revamp work at Ardmore, is expected to possibly fly at Omaka, something I'm particularly keen to see.

Through Air NZ staff travel, I managed to wrangle myself return airfares via Wellington for just $116, leaving Friday arvo, staying the night with mates and getting back to Auckland after the show on Saturday evening. The weather forecast looks pretty sweet too, so definitely something to look forward to at the end of the week!

I don't have a decent camera to take with me this time, just a point-n-shoot, but I'm sure I'll have some photos to stick on the blog once I get back. Check out the official airshow website here.

15 April 2011

Video Gallery Updated

Today I finally got around to updating the Video Gallery page on this website, something I've been meaning to do for quite a while. If my plane hadn't gone in to maintenance this morning, I would have had five flights on five consecutive days due to the lovely calm weather we've been experiencing in Auckland lately... but it wasn't to be. Instead I studied my ground work and spent a few hours uploading clips to youtube.

Anyway, I've added 11 new videos to the page and rearranged the order of things. Check it out by clicking the tab under the main banner, or following the link here.

Oh, and to add a little colour to this post, here's an old photo of a RNZAF CT-4 performing a 'burn out' at Taupo A1GP circa 2008.

14 April 2011

Another GPS track

Using MotionX on my iPhone today, I recorded my flight path from this mornings lesson in case we practiced any forced landings, which I could then look back at and review my paddock selection afterward.

It turned out that I spent my time in the air flying steep gliding turns and low flying, so I didn't get to use this GPS track for it's intended purpose. However, whilst low flying, I practiced a constant radius turn over the Pokeno paddocks, which worked out great. It was much easier (than last time) with light winds over land, with a clump of trees as a reference point and several definitive waypoints throughout the turn to follow. All I needed to do was keep the trees in sight at the end of my wingtip, fly straight for a few seconds, then turn marginally towards it to keep it running parallel with me, and repeat about 30 times. Easy.

It looks a little messy with all the other medium/steep/climbing turns I was making prior to the constant radius one, but you can still clearly see a big ole near perfect circle at the bottom left of the map. Click the link at the bottom if you wish to see an expanded view of the entire flight.

13 April 2011

New Vincent Aviation Livery

Recently registered ZK-VAB was unveiled in its new paint scheme during an air to air photography flight over the Cook Straight yesterday. Today it will be departing to Darwin to join another Saab 340B operating over there.

Apparently Vincent are planning to repaint the rest of the fleet in this new scheme in the near future. Credit goes to Rob Neil of Pacific Wings Magazine for the photos- It looks wicked!

Gold Coast Chopper Flight

Just when I thought I'd exhausted my back catalog of aviation related photos stored on my laptop, I remembered I had a folder of snaps from a scenic flight I took over the Gold Coast, Australia back in 2007.

This was my first flight in anything other than a fixed wing aircraft- the machine being VH-COW, a Bell 206B Jetranger operated by Ocean Air in the Daydream Island Resort livery. However, the day I went for a fly, it was based at Dreamword theme park from where it was doing scenic flights over Surfers Paradise.

Hope Island Golf Course
Looking towards Surfers Paradise
The Broadwater
South Stradbroke Island
Surfers' CBD
Seaworld theme park
South Stradbroke again
Runaway Bay
Coastal Helensvale
The Nerang River
Back at Dreamworld