24 April 2015

Whakatane Open Day

Whakatane Airport is hosting an open day this Sunday to celebrate the launch of Air Chathams new air service to Auckland. Their Metroliner and Convair will be open to explore on the ramp, whilst their DC3 and other local operators will be offering scenic flights around the region.

Gates open at 10am with a gold coin donation on entry. More details here.

22 April 2015

Blue Bridge

Going night flying has become less of an inconvenience now the clocks have been rolled back, with ECT striking just after 1800. Yesterday evening I was safety pilot for a friend logging some time in the 310, and caught this snap of the Harbour Bridge lit up in blue as part of the 2degrees 'Play the Bridge' promotion as we flew over Auckland:

20 April 2015

From the NZAA carpark

Had the camera handy whilst waiting for a mate to arrive at NZAA on a gloomy afternoon last Wednesday.

ZK-NZG, ANZ's latest 787-900, delivered 5th Dec 14. The airline now have firm orders for 9 more airframes to bring the fleet size to 12 by 2018. This week it was also announced that the type would be used on the Auckland - Nadi route from November.

ZK-OXA, the airline's first Sharklet equipped A320 operating domestic-only duties.

ZK-NEG, one of the soon to be repainted teal tailed Air Nelson Q300's.

B-HXH, a Cathay A343 holding its control surfaces into a brisk crosswind as it taxied for departure. Not long after, the rough weather resulted in a China Southern B773 making a late go around after a bounced touchdown on 23L. Then on Saturday, another CX A343 made the call to divert to Ohakea through 1300 feet on the approach. A wet runway with gusts of 30 knots were recorded at the time.

The Auckland based Sleepyhead Dassault Falcon 900EX conducting local training exercises.

B-2007, operating flight CSN305 on it's second approach after going missed.

Ex Vincent Jetstream 31 ZK-JSH, now flown under Air Freight NZ's AOC.

Jetstar VH-VFJ arriving from Christchurch. It started and finished the day in Melbourne.

ZK-SFK in from Great Barrier, with a Dash 8 banking left in the distance.

In other news from the top of the food chain- ANZ have disclosed Houston, TX as their latest long haul destination from Auckland commencing this December. Refitted 772's will fly the
11,990km route, making it the longest non stop flight on the international network. Continental Airlines had hoped to connect the same two cities in 2011 with their Dreamliner, but the link was never secured.

LAN Chile have replaced their daily A340 Santiago/Sydney to Auckland services with 787-800 series as of April 18th. This route takes advantage of the May 2014 FAA approval for 330 minute Extended Diversion Time Operation ETOPS approval for the 787.

09 April 2015


I was fortunate enough to be put to work on heli-surveying operations down at North Canterbury's Puketeraki Range recently. Alpine Springs Helicopters provided the pilot and turbine powered MD/Hughes 500 (ZK-HSD) for the job, which required the recording of a network of GPS co-ordinates over the rugged otherwise inaccessible foothills on a perfectly calm blue sky morning.


Whilst flying from Woodbourne to Ardmore last week, an unusual cloud growth on the horizon of an otherwise flat status layer caught my eye. It became clear as we crossed the Taranaki coastline at 7000 feet that the build up was a pyrocumulus development generated from a sizeable bush fire below.

Both myself and another pilot in the area reported the fire to air traffic control, but did not hear any further information other than the cloud tops had grown above 8000 feet about 20 minutes after this photo was taken.