14 July 2013

SOFIA, and others

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, aka 'SOFIA' made an unscheduled technical stop into Auckland this morning en route from it's Palmdale, California home to a temporary southern hemisphere base at Christchurch.

Mike from MRC Aviation was kind enough to notify me about the diversion via email, so I got myself down to the NZAA lookout just in time to capture it's arrival on the 600D for an upcoming article in the NZ Aviation News.

I also caught ZK-OXA, Air New Zealand's newest Airbus A320 fitted with sharklets, taxiing out for a departure to Wellington. This aircraft is brand new, and was only delivered to the airline three weeks ago. You can read a little more info on both OXA and the SOFIA project in one of my June blog updates here.

Whilst waiting for the NASA 747SP, I also caught ZK-NCJ, one of Air New Zealand's five wingletted 767-300ER's, due to be replaced with the Dreamliner next year.

And last but not least, 'Black Beauty', ZK-OKQ, off to Melbourne! Some of the other 777 services have been delayed over the last two days due to the late departure of NZ1 from London yesterday due to the Ethiopian Airlines 787 catching fire and closing down the Heathrow!

05 July 2013

Recent Flying Photos

The lack of recent blog updates have been due to my life being filled with an ever changing mishmash of ATPL theory subjects self study and a sporadic mix of IFR cross country flights in the twin, both as a student, and as a backseat observer, to prepare for my MEIR conversion.

It's seems bewildering that the year has already passed the half way point- At the beginning of 2013 I certainly pictured myself having achieved much more by now than I actually have so far. The primary cause for me not already having sat my MEIR flight test is due to ZK-JED, one of the AFS's three BE76's, been unexpectedly taken offline due to the discovery airframe corrosion in June. This resulted in the two remaining twin engine trainers, ZK-WLS and ZK-EZX having to share three aircraft's worth of bookings. Unfortunately -WLS was also sent down to maintenance for a week and a half during the same month, leaving just one aircraft left for all of the current multi students to share. This frustratingly resulted in a dozens of flight cancellations for myself and the others, with a lot of time wasted in between!

Anyhow, my flight test should hopefully take place very shortly, and I'll make an effort to detail the SEIR -> MEIR training syllabus on this website once that is out the way. For now, I've uploaded a selection of photos taken during my recent cross country flights. The clearer images are using a Canon 600D, with the others from mine and my backseat passengers iPhones:

Great Barrier Island, as seen on TV on July 1st
Ponui Island
Tryphena Harbour, Great Barrier Island
An offset VORTAC approach for runway 21, Whenuapai
Feathered propeller in flight, simulated engine failure
Sunset from the backseat of the Duchess
Preparing to intercept the glideslope for a high speed ILS approach at NZAA
A grainy iPhone shot from my backseat passenger, nearing DA on the 05R ILS at Auckland International
Auckland's CBD from 4000ft
Exceptional visability over the northern Waikato region