28 February 2012

This Sunday at AR

Should be a good one, especially with the Strikemaster vs drag car races around 1pm. More info at www.ardmoreshowdown.co.nz

For anyone planning on flying in for this, NOTAM A0453/12 states that the aerodrome will be closed for aerial displays from 12:20pm to 2:20pm local on the 4th.

White Island Scenic

I spent my Tuesday morning sitting in the right hand seat of ZK-TAG whilst a good friend of mine flew around the Bay of Plenty hour building. Cradling my ole man's new DSLR camera, I snapped the following pics as we orbited over the now broken-in-half Rena shipwreck, Whale Island and White Island.

White Island was somewhere I've wanted to fly over for a while, being NZ's only active marine volcano just over 30 miles off the coast of Whakatane. We made a full stop landing at WK to check in with the local scenic flight operator before heading out to the Volcanic Hazard Zone ourselves. The images below this paragraph are from our brief visit and include an air force King Air and a local grunty looking Aviat Husky.

NB: The middle shot of White Island also made it onto the TV3 news weather broadcast this evening- I'm pretty chuffed with that seeing as it was my first time testing out the Canon 600D!

20 February 2012

Drop Rating

I've recently completed my parachute drop rating with Southern Air Services- which involved a day of ground work and theory at Thames Aerodrome, and then a day of flying with Skydive Ballistic Blondes at Whangarei Aerodrome later in the week.

The practical part of the training involved me flying 6 sorties with sports jumpers, who climbed out onto the strut of their special fitted C172 once I'd lined them up into wind over a drop zone at a predetermined altitude. For the first five, the instructor kneeled down in the back and talked me through the procedures, from giving area traffic and the skydivers 3,2, and 1 minute warning, to closing the large perspex vertically hinged door using rudder and aileron to blanket airflow! 

Everything had been doing like clockwork until the last drop of the day which I was to do solo. A bank of CB cloud had been building up on the ranges adjacent to the aerodrome, and a big fat cumulus had parked itself right overhead the DZ just as I was about to take off. I was given instructions on how to line myself up, and was planning on making a 180 degree turn around the cloud to the right, in order to line the aircraft door up for the jump run; however, the cloud was wider than anticipated and I ended up turning through about 270 degrees to get around it. This meant that as I approached the white X on the grass next to the runway below, the jumper had to fall out into a tailwind- a big no no if it was a breezy day as once their canopy opened, they would have drifted well away from the landing area. Thankfully the wind was sitting around 5 knots all afternoon long, and everyone, including me, made it down to terra firma in the right place!

There was another CPL holder doing the course on the same day as me, so I got to sit in the back for most of his sorties to observe procedures, as well as a taking a flight up to 12,000 feet on a tandem drop flight with the company line pilot. Below are a few snaps from over the two days; firstly on the way back to Ardmore from Thames with a friend in ZK-CIT, and the rest from sunny Northland with ZK-JIB last Thursday!

Hotel Du Vin VRP
Canopies away!
Descending through 7,000 feet-ish
Cumulonimbus heads over Bream Bay
Marsden Point

08 February 2012

Aerobatics Again

This afternoon I went for a flight in an aircraft I haven't been up in since 2007, Andrew Hope's 7GCBC Citabria! Unlike my previous lessons in ZK-CIT, I was riding in the backseat this time, and the PiC in the front was an ex AFS classmate who has recently completed his aerobatics rating with Andrew.

The following clips are from my digi camera, mounted on the rear lefthand window. This proved to be a heck of a lot more stable than my handheld recordings from my first ever aerobatic flight, and represents the motion of the aircraft really well. (The original Citabria aerobatic clips can be found at the bottom of the Video Gallery page).

Combo: Loop and Stall Turn

Aileron Roll

TB10 Tobago Flying

Within the last sever days, I have flown on a Boeing 777, Airbus A320, Socata TB10 Tobago, Boeing 737 and American Champion Citabria. The triple seven was on the way back from England, where I have spent the last month on holiday, hence the lack of updates on this blog.

The A320 was from Air New Zealand's new domestic fleet, which I grabbed a cheap flight down to the capital on over the weekend to meet up with some friends for a birthday party near Masterton. This is where the TB10 came into play, with another mate flying ZK-JIG up from Dunedin, stopping in Welly to pick me up. (The 737 then carried me home on Waitangi Day, and the Citabria will feature in its own story next post!)

JIG is owned by Mainland Air and features a CSU prop and an average cruising speed of 115 knots. We didn't do any fancy manevers on the short hop over to MS and back, but considering I was fairly hungover on both flights and didn't throw up, I'd call it a good ride. Here are some uncaptioned cellphone photos from the flight back from the Wairarapa to the city on Monday for your viewing pleasure: