17 March 2014

Lusi in the sky with Diamonds

I was hoping that the passage of Cyclone Lusi over New Zealand this past weekend would have generated some frenzied weather related blogging material for this update, however after all the media hype in the days leading up to her arrival over the country, the storm turned out to be rather anticlimactic!

Earlier forecast charts had shown the category three tropical cyclone (with sustained wind speeds of 64-85 knots, and gusts of 90-121 knots according to the Australian TC intensity scale) was to make landfall somewhere between Cape Reinga and the Bay of Plenty, with one map showing the eye of the storm tracking directly for Ocean Beach just down the road from me in Whangarei. However forecasters also emphasised there was a large element of uncertainty as the storm moved south towards our cooler waters and began to lose its strength. Hatches were battened down, VFR flying canned for the weekend and I made a beeline down to the retaliative safety- and plentiful rainy day entertainment- of Auckland in anticipation of some severe meteorological conditions as per Civil Defence issued instructions.

Anyhow come Friday night, the centre of the system was sitting slightly norwest of North Cape, and Lusi ended up sliding down the western coast of Northland during Saturday daytime with the worst wind and rain positioned out to sea away from civilisation. We still had a decent increase in wind and rain in the city, although nothing tremendously exciting got reported on the news that evening- waves crashed over the main street of Paihia in the Bay of Islands, and temporary power outages to 7000 North Shore homes seemed to be about the extent of mother natures inflictions.

The NZWR TAF for Saturday afternoon showed gusts of 35 knots at the airfield, with the NZAA forecast displaying 40 knots on the ground. Both the Far North and Tamaki AFRORs had a 50 knot NE wind at 1000 feet AMSL, increasing to 55 knots at 3000 feet and remaining that strength all the way up.

MetService data showed an average of 60–80mm of rainfall over Northland for the entire weekend, with both Kaikohe and PuhiPuhi recieving in excess of 100mm. Auckland only tallied up 25–40mm in comparison. Easterly wind gusts of 139km/h at Cape Reinga, 95km/h in the Hokianga harbour and 115km/h at Marsden Point refinery were the maxiumums reached on Saturday, with 113km/h at Whangaparaoa and 90km/h on the Harbour Bridge seen in the big city. Air NZ Link flights between Auckland and both Kerikeri and Kaitaia were cancelled due weather, although other domestic routes south of the Bombay's seemed to operated according to schedule.

10 March 2014

Postcards from London

Following on from my 'Postcards from LA' update, next up are a selection of aerial and aircraft photos snapped 12 hours later whilst paxing aboard NZ2 as we arrived into London Heathrow.

Earning morning reflections from the River Thames
Holding in the Lambourne stack
Central London, many laps later
The Shard, Europe's tallest tower at 1004 feet AGL
British Airways A320
El Al Israel Airlines B747
ZK-OKO, dressed up as Smaug from the Hobbit movie franchise
British Airways Concord 'Alpha Bravo'
Wingview on the return flight to New Zealand

Postcards from LA

I had to make a brief trip to the UK for a funeral in late January, flying over to London via LA with Air New Zealand. I took a DSLR along in my carry on, just in case I spotted anything of interest out the window from my seat in row K. Below are some of the photographs I took on the descent and landing at KLAX. 
Naval Auxiliary Landing Field San Clemente Island (KNUC)
The never ending southern suburbs of Los Angeles
Parallel approach with a Southwest B737
The Southwest 737 about to overtake us
A Volaris A320 from Mexico
Heavy metal tail lineup
El Al Israel Airlines B777 getting airborne from 25R
Late model 737's
Lift induced vapour condensation on takeoff
Climbing abeam a hazy Santa Monica beach