29 August 2014

Tecnam Astore

The latest aircraft I've had the pleasure of reviewing for the NZ Aviation News is Tecnam's Astore (pronounced Ah-story, in an Italian accent) with the demonstrator, ZK-AST being the first of it's type to be registered in New Zealand this month.

Expect a full write up in the October issue of the paper, but for now, here are a few snaps of mine from the day.

C180 ZK-SLM, also based at Ardmore came up with us on a second flight for an air to air photography formation flight at the end of the afternoon.

Resident Ardmore photographer Colin Hunter was also on hand to capture the aircraft from the ground, and sent me these photographs departing and landing from runway 03:

24 August 2014

Girlfriend's 1st Flight

After five years of patiently putting up with my aviation obsession, my girlfriend took her own first flight at the controls yesterday in one of Auckland Aero Club's C162 Skycatchers! Conditions were perfect for it, with beautiful clear skies and a gentle south westerly breeze allowing her to comfortably complete her first official lesson.

I'd definitely recommend AAC for anyone in the area considering learning to fly themselves. The club's been around for over 80 years- the staff are friendly and passionate about what they teach, and the aircraft hire rates are reasonable. Thanks to everyone involved in making yesterday happen!

15 August 2014

Saitek Simpit

Saitek have been sending me monthly instalments of hardware from their Pro Flight simulation range since May, which I've been reviewing for them in the NZ Aviation News. The first three articles have been shared to the official Saitek blog, and can be read by visiting: www.saitek.com/blog/new-zealand-aviation/

12 August 2014

News Round Up

A350 Demo
Hot on the heels of the Boeing 787-900 hype from July, Airbus brought their A350 XWB into Auckland International for a brief visit on the 5th August as part of a world tour. Chris Gee from StereoImage had a pass to photograph the airliner, and has a public album or images viewable on his facebook page.

SQ A380
Singapore Airlines have announced they will be utilising Airbus A380 aircraft on the AKL-SIN route for the duration of the Southern Hemisphere summer season. This will make the airline only the second operator to bring the super jumbo to Auckland on a regular basis, after Emirates' three daily flights to Dubai via Australia. From October 27th this year, the aircraft will fly SQ285, scheduled to arrive at Auckland at 11.45am local, and SQ286 will depart again at 1.30pm local daily. Full story here.

Crosswind Vector
A fellow pilot I met whilst flying together in Omaka last month has set her own blog up at Crosswindvector.blogspot.com. Bernice also writes for the Aviation News, but is reserving her blog publications for more 'left of field' articles. Be sure to check it out and be amused!

New Address
I've finally got around to pairing a shortened domain name, www.ardmorepilot.com to the original free www.ardmorepilot.blogspot.com URL. Both addresses will still work when you punch them in to your browsers, but for the sake of keeping it simple, remember to bookmark the newer shortened ardmorepilot.com!

08 August 2014

R44 Flying

Today I spent some time aboard a Heletranz Robinson R44 operating from their base in Albany up to and around the Kaipara Harbour area, 30 minutes northwest of Auckland.

I can only recall riding in rotor craft three times previously (a Jetranger scenic on the Gold Coast, a door off Iroquois joyride out of Whenuapai, and a more recent low level bash in a Whangarei based Gyrocopter) but enjoyed the variety of the days flying, with plenty of off airfield landings for survey operations. Below are a few snaps taken on the job:

01 August 2014

Marlborough Strip Flying

Earlier in July I took up an invitation to attend a Strip Flying course on behalf of the Aviation News at the Marlborough Aero Club down at Omaka.

My off airfield experience was at a bare minimum, and it was thoroughly enjoyable to hone my skills and visit some challenging private strips in the region with a local instructor. An in depth review of the course structure and the days experience is published in the August issue, but for now, here are a few teaser snaps from a couple of the sloped hillsides we managed to land and take off from.

The Awatere Valley and Frank Prouting's uphill runway

Duncan Grigg's 200m launchpad

'Omaka Springs'
The club has an excellent promotional video that can be watched on youtube here, that adds motion to the above imaginary.