15 May 2015


Whilst browsing an American site recently, I stumped across the great new flying app named Cloud Ahoy. It works with both Apple and Android mobile devices and utilises GPS signal recording to build a 3D dimensional flight log that can be viewed inside Google Earth after landing.

For flight instructors, a paid version is available that allows thorough debriefing through an online interface. Groundspeed, heading, vertical speed and interpolated wind data is all available as you replay the flight in real time (or fast forward)- free for the first 35 days then $45US a year for a subscription.

The free version works just as well, although with limited sharing and exporting options when compared to the premium package. This screen capture below shows what users can see whilst logged into their accounts, with this zoomed out example covering a training flight I conducted with our new pilot out of Ardmore this afternoon:

I found the app's ability to record takeoff and landing times in UTC format particularly useful, and very handy for confirming the accuracy of the scibbles on my kneepad when filling in my flight logs and logbook totals at the end of a busy day. This example below showing a sector between Ardmore and Te Kuiti the other week, with the three dimensional altitude path on the right of the time data:

The US version allows pilots to overlay the plots onto IFR charts with instrument approach paths also showing up in 2D and 3D modes. Perhaps we'll see this functionally for NZ in the future if it proves popular with kiwi aviators!

27 April 2015

Whakatane Photos

Following on from my last blog post, I flew down to Whakatane with a friend on Sunday to attend the open day on behalf of the Aviation News, check out the Air Chats fleet and meet some of the faces behind the operation.

The turnout from the locals was spectacular despite the showery weather- I estimate a crowd of several thousand with the huge line of cars stretching along Aerodrome Road being one of the first things I noticed as we popped out the clouds on approach.

Brett Emeny bought his Vampire over from New Plymouth which he threw around fast and low in the overhead to the delight of the spectators, followed by a three ship Yak 52 formation. Cirrus SR 22 demonstrator ZK-CNZ was also in attendance, as were Sun Air with Aztec ZK-PIX promoting the inclusion of NZWK in their provincial route structure.  

Metroliner ZK-CIC on the apron
ZK-CIC's flight deck
ZK-AWP, one of the two remaining airworthy DC3's in the country
AWP's flight deck
Up front in Convair 580 ZK-CIE
East Bay Aviation's C182R was busy on scenic flights all day
Brett's Vamp outside the funky looking terminal
Up the tailpipe of the de Havilland Goblin powerplant
The Yak 52's making the most of a lapse in the weather
Snapped a few minutes later, taxing in after the display
Seneca ZK-DCP's panel on our return journey
Cheesy selfies at 9000'
Textbook Easterly weather conditions, with the Kaimai's sheltering the Hauraki Plains
In between cloud layers, nearing Auckland

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.