27 April 2014

Warbirds Over Wanaka 2014

I didn't manage to make it to the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow this year, although have kindly been given permission to share these brilliant photos from a former workmate, Mr Rob Pine, who was fortunate enough to be there himself.

He had travelled down by road, and was more successful with his journey than a large contingent of the North Island based Warbird aircraft who were unable to attend due to a nationwide storm system that covered the country in the days leading up to Easter.

Pages more photos from other enthusiasts can be viewed on the Wings Over Cambridge forum.

24 April 2014

Climbing the Ladder

After two years of working as a drop pilot up North, I've recently stepped up to the next rung of my career ladder by accepting a job offer as a survey pilot for P.A.S. Ltd back at Ardmore.

I had already made the decision to shift to Auckland at the end of March, with the lack of parachute drop work making it difficult for me to cover my bills in Whangarei as the peak summer tourist season wound down.

My intentions at this time were to continue flying the skydivers over the weekends, although just a few days after returning home, I received a phone call that changed these plans. I had originally left a message enquiring on what minimum requirements the company held for new recruits, however it turned out that I actually already met the experience criteria and there was a new opening for a flying position.

Fast forward through a C310 type rating, ten hours of line training and a Part 135 OCA examination, and I now get to call a high performance light twin my new office!

The company has contracts nationwide for aerial survey and photography work, and I'm really enjoying the variety of flying I get to do going 'A-B-C' rather than just up and down from 'A-A' each day. Specific detail of exactly when and where I go flying remain confidential, however the cross country multi engine time on commercial air transport operations is exactly the sort of challenge I was looking for.

I'm also really pleased that I was given the opportunity to work from an Auckland base, with many other GA pilots I know of having to move far away from home to seek employment. Additionally- the 'ardmorepilot' blog title makes sense again, and I hope (with the permission of my employer) to start adding some photographs from my travels here in the upcoming months.

For now I'll just attach this single shot below of a runway 03 takeoff, caught by resident NZAR photographer Colin Hunter a few weeks ago. Pretty good looking machine I reckon!

18 April 2014

iPad Aviation Apps 2014

My blog statistics show that the iPad Aviation Apps post has been the most viewed page here over the past two years, although the information it holds has now become superseded as developers release newer replacement software.

This new article serves as an update for 2014, with Airways NZ currently offering official licensing to four different Electronic Flight Bag apps for the Apple IOS platform, which I’ll briefly summarise below. Each app mentioned here include detailed flight planning capabilities, real time navigation with zoomable 125:000 scale moving maps and are also all iPhone compatible.

Official Website. App Store Link.
Base app price: Free
1 year subscription: $129 NZD, although currently at an introductory price of $99 NZD.
(Itunes store price is $164 NZD)
- Free 1 month trial
- Licensed Airways New Zealand VFR and IFR maps, plus full AIP documentation
- Weight and balance software
- SIGMET data overlays
- iPad microphone used as engine timer when background volume reaches certain level
- GPS track recording
- Scratchpad

- Home flight simulator integration
- Terrain / airspace lateral view for climb and descent planning
- CASA approval for paper chart replacement, CAA to follow?

Official Website. App Store Link.
Base app price: Free
1 year NZ VFR subscription: $124.99 NZD (or $99 NZD through AvPlan Online Store)
1 year NZ IFR subscription upgrade: $109.99 NZD (or $79 NZD through AvPlan Online Store)
- Free 1 month trial
- Licensed Airways New Zealand VFR and IFR maps, plus full AIP documentation
- Weight and balance software
- Geo referenced airport and approach diagrams
- IFIS integration for ATIS and NOTAMs
- METAR overlay (only at AA, WN and CH)
- Two finger distance measuring for reporting position on the fly
- TOD/TOD/PNR calculations
- Weight and balance software
- Geo referenced airport and approach diagrams
- Ability to sync with other IOS devices
- CASA approval for paper chart replacement, CAA to follow?

Official Website. App Store Link.
Base app price: Free
Licensed Airways New Zealand VFR 1 year subscription $199.99 NZD or $100 NZD for vector drawn maps
- Free 1 month trial (with 30 minute flight limit)
- Scratch pad
- Rotatable map

- Full GPS navigation, live NOTAM and weather feed, and worldwide Airbox vector mapping
- No AIP volume inclusion
- I experienced frequent crashing whilst creating flight plans on my iPad 2 running iOS 6

Air Navigation Pro
Official Website. App Store Link.
Base app price: $64.99 NZD
North Island 2014 VNC map: $55 NZD
South Island 2014 VNC map: $55 NZD
Geo referenced VFR approach plates: $47.75 NZD
Geo referenced IFR approach plates: $87 NZD
3D terrain data: $80 NZD
- Licenced Airways New Zealand VFR and AIP enroute pages, plus Vol 2-4 charts
- NZ elevation and free open source map included
- METAR/TAF overlays
(only at AA, WN and CH)
- GPS powered ASI, VSI, VOR, ADF gauges selectable
- Rotatable map
- Home flight simulator integration
- Desktop synchronisation with Max OSX
- Adjustable brightness for night flying
- GPS track recording and live flight online sharing
- Maps do not update when new VNC cycle begins (November each year), so further purchases of new maps are required in app, unlike AvPlan, OzRunways and Runway HD which run on a subscription basis for 1 year from purchase date.
- As of April 2014, certain aerodromes such as Tauranga that have multi page VFR Arrival Procedures have been known to only display the first page of the set, missing out information such as altitude limitations and holding positions.

Unfortunately the once popular EFBNZ has been removed from the Itunes store by developer George Richards due to a high level of rude and demanding complaints he received concerning the inclusion of adverts in the free app. Users wishing to access the latest AIP plates in flight can alternatively do so through visiting www.aip.net.nz website in an internet browser and accepting the terms and conditions, if within 3G range from their mobile data provider.

As an aside, I used Air Nav Pro for my first year flying with an iPad, then RunwayHD for my second year. I’ve recently swapped to ‘OzRunways 4’ which appeared to be the best value for money subscription at the time. The OzRunways developers have also optimised the app to be backwards compatible and less battery demanding on older units, and thus far it has served me well.

Feedback is welcome via the comment box from pilots who use these apps and can add any additional features, or particular pros and cons for general aviation flying.

11 April 2014

Cirrusly Good

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to have a fly in the new 2014 Cirrus SR22 GTS that's currently in New Zealand for a nationwide demonstration tour on behalf of the manufacturer.

It was the first time I've flown both a N registration, and ADS-B transponder capable aircraft- taking the route NE- WP- AA- LAKES- HN at 8000 feet IFR as part of a review for next months NZ Aviation News.

I won't spoil the article too much- but this aircraft a serious amount of bells and whistles. The Garmin Perspective glass cockpit was super impressive!

Below are a sampling of photos of the machine, N802DK, which is currently making its way south, stopping off at regional airports on its way to the Warbirds over Wanaka airshow at the end of the month where it'll be on static display to the public.