Friday 31 March 2023

Last out - Shut the door.

Today was the last day of operation for Heli Maintenance Ltd at Christchurch International.
The last helicopter rolled out today following a major rework was the Robinson R44 Raven II ZK-IJM c/n 12432.

The familiar "Heli Maintenance" doors being shut behind it for the final time.

Hamilton 31 March

A visit to a busy Hamilton today was rewarded with the former Skydive Wanaka PAC 750XL ZK-LAE in an exotic new paint scheme.  It is destined for export to Poland for the skydiving company Skoczek based at Nowy Targ Airport.

A search of the Polish company's website showed their header photo has already been updated to show the impending PAC 750XL arrival.

Nearby was Andy Stevenson Aviation's Gisborne based 1960 model Cessna 172A ZK-BWL

And across the other side at Helicorp was the Hamilton privately owned Bell 206L-3 ZK-HEL5 which has not been blogged here before.   This arrived from Canada in mid 2021.


Wednesday 29 March 2023

Around Auckland 29 March

Outside Airbus at Ardmore today was the MBB BK117D-2 ZK-IXO which originally arrived from Japan back at the beginning of 2022.  It has undergone a long refurbishment and conversion for its forthcoming medevac role with Search & Rescue Services Taupo and as can be seen it will be finished in Westpac colours.

Locally based Hughes 369E ZK-HTU3 has had a change in registration style with its previous "TU" updated to "HTU".

And over at AKL International the latest Airbus A321neo added to the Air New Zealand domestic fleet is ZK-OYC which was delivered into Auckland on 21 February.    This is the 3rd domestic A321neo and will be followed by 2 more this year, and 2 others in 2026.


Yak Aerobatics at New Plymouth on 25-3-2023

After a trip into town with the North Shore Aero Club members we were delivered back to the airport mid afternoon to find Brett Emeny leading the local flight of the Yak Aerobatics team in some practice for Classic Fighters in two weeks time.  They looked pretty tight:

The Yaks were ZK-YKA leading with ZK-YAK2 on his Starboard and ZK-PTE2 on his Port, with ZK-YRA in the rear.

There will be 9 Yaks in the full team at Classic Fighters.

Tuesday 28 March 2023

Bell 206L-3 ZK-HYR (6)

Refurbished by Oceania Aviation at Ardmore over the last year is the 1983 Bell 206L-3 ZK-HYR6.  Imported from the USA in early 2022 this is now for sale.


"The Catalina" at New Plymouth on 25-3-2023

 Again thanks to the North Shore Aero Club, we carried on from Peter Vause's hangar to visit the tower and then along to Brett Emeny's hangar for a visit to the Catalina:

Seen through the hangar doors it looks impressive.  Brett explained that the aircraft is actually a Canadian built Canadian Vickers PBY-5A Canso that was built in 1944 (with the constructors number CV 357).  It saw service with the RCAF from March 1944 based out of Nova Scotia.  You can see more of its long history in a photo below.
"The Catalina" ZK-PBY2 at New Plymouth was registered in New Zealand on 23/3/95 to The Catalina Company NZ Ltd of Papakura.  Actually the first ZK-PBY was also a Canso (c/n 22022) that was acquired by a syndicate of 30 members that ditched  in January 1994 on its way across the Pacific between Hawaii and Tahiti while being delivered to New Zealand.  Thankfully all the crew were rescued.

We could climb around inside to see the cabin and cockpit.  Here is the distinctive Port side blister.

And looking out the blister with Brett's Yak 52 ZK-YKA outside.

Here are photos of information on the Catalina from the rear cabin wall.  Click twice to enlarge (I am sorry, they could have been sharper but I think you will be able to read the details)

The all steam gauge panel with the throttles overhead.  Brett told us that the control wheel rotates through one and a half turns which makes it interesting!

Brett in his happy place explaining the cockpit to Rodger Coleclough.

As well as telling us about the aircraft in Peter Vause's hangar Brett also graciously gave us a lot of his time talking about the Catalina, its history, how much work has gone in to keep it flying here and some of the adventures he and others have had in it.  But he said that it is now time for another group of Catalina enthusiasts to carry on into the future so it is for sale.

Thanks very much for your time Brett.

Monday 27 March 2023

Question time winner

Our question time aircraft is the Champion 7EC Traveller ZK-CXZ c/n 7EC-682.
Brett C scores the chocolate fish by providing all the answers.

Cessna A185F ZK-WAP

An aircraft that has seen little coverage on this Blog is the Auckland based Cessna A185F ZK-WAP which paid a short visit to Pauanui airfield this afternoon.   Originally imported from Canada back in 1995 it has been with its current owner since 2006.


An Interesting Hangarful at New Plymouth

The North Shore Aero Club's trip to New Plymouth had visits arranged and the first was to have a look at the aircraft in Peter Vause's hangar:

In a nice symmetry there was a Yak 52, a Trojan and a jet (L 39) down the left side...

Then the Falco in the middle with the other jet at the back being a DH 115 Mk 55 Vampire...

And on the right side another Trojan and another Yak 52.

Brett Emeny graciously gave a lot of his time explaining about the aircraft and answering questions.

Sunday 26 March 2023

A brief Rangiora drop in.

 A brief stopover at Rangiora this afternoon (Sunday 26th) found the following of interest.
Cessna 172M Skyhawk ZK-DST2 c/n 65499 spent most of its first 20 odd years in the States as N6587H and in storage in El Pase, Texas, following damaged in mid-1975.
Performance Aircraft of Dallas Texas restored it on 05-01-1995 as a Penn Yann conversion and sold it to New Zealand.
It was crated into New Plymouth and became ZK-DST2 on 25-03-1996 with Peter Vause of Oil Field Equipment Rental Ltd (DST being Drill Stem Testing). 
Replaced by the Cessna 182S ZK-STC it went to Able Tasman Aviation Nelson Ltd in November of 1998. And from September of 2001 it transferred to DFB Holdings Ltd of Christchurch. 
It then spent nine months with Flight 2000 Ltd of Ardmore from December 2001 until returning to DFB Holdings with whom it is still listed.

An unexpected arrival was the Hughes 369 HS ZK-HJB3 c/n 110291S from Wanaka and Fairlie.
After a refuel it moved off to another local airstrip.
Built in 1971 as N9078F it went off to Norway as LN-OQV and then to Sweden as SE-HEY until returning to the States as N3223S in 1995.
Imported into NZ by International Heliparts NZ Ltd to become ZK-HJB3 on 06-06-1995 for delivery to W J Bird of Auckland. Current owner Paul Sumner of Rotorua took it on from October 1998.

In the circuit was the Australian Aviation Works Karatoo J6C ZK-KTW c/n 004MS of the Flying Road Cone Syndicate of Rangiora.

Nicely planted on the strip was the Rans S-6S Coyote II ZK-MLD c/n 09991341 from the Rangiora based S & B Syndicate.

Pipistrel Alpha Trainer LSA ZK-TGS c/n 926 AT 912 LSA of Tie Upp Aviation was also busy in the circuit.

NZNP back to NZNE by VL 3 on 25-3-2023

Our flight back from New Plymouth to North Shore in John Crone's JMB VL 3 ZK-VLT was very different to the lower level scenic route we took to fly down to New Plymouth:

We lifted off Runway 23 at New Plymouth around 4 pm and headed North.

This time John elected to fly higher so after clearing the New Plymouth control zone at 4,500 feet as instructed we climbed up to 6,500 feet and headed for North Shore on autopilot.  It was very smooth up there.

We weren't slouching around as you can see from this shot of John's panel, which shows a groundspeed of 173 knots - that's 320 kilometres per hour!  (Click to enlarge to see the panel better).

Then we came down in steps to be under the Auckland International airspace.  Here we are flying past the Manukau Heads at 2,500 feet, still on autopilot.

Over the Waitakeres with the Upper Nihotupu Dam and reservoir down there.

 Through Whenuapai airspace with the air base down there and it is a very short flight to North Shore for the mandatory overhead rejoin.  We arrived back on Runway 21 after exactly 1 hours flight time!

ZK-VLT ready to put away in the hangar.

Then around the corner to compare notes with Rodger Coleclough who was just behind us in his Cirrus ZK-WHL

Thanks very much for the great day out John.

NZNE to NZNP by VL 3 on 25-3-2023

When I talked to John Crone last week I had no idea that the North Shore Aero Club were organising a flying trip down to New Plymouth by DC 3 and that he was planning to fly down in his brand new JMB VL 3 ZL-VLT.  However when he invited me to come with him I very quickly answered Yes!  

John picked me up at 8.15 am at Warkworth and we drove down to North Shore where his aircraft is hangared, and after fuelling up (95 Octane Mogas for the Rotax 915i) John pulled it out into the sun and went through the extensive checklist.  Then we put on our pouch lifejackets and strapped in.  We were going to fly down with Rodger Coleclough who was flying his Cirrus, and we decided that because it was such a lovely morning we would take the low level scenic route.

ZK-VLT shining in the sun.

John setting the twin Dynon screens.

Take off on Runway 21 at North Shore points us in the right direction for New Plymouth.  It sure accelerates quickly!

More detail of the twin touch screens - so much information!

On final for the grass Runway 32 at New Plymouth with 37 degrees of flap the wind in the nose.

Just after we arrived (1 hour 5 minutes flight time) the DC 3 arrived from Ardmore.

ZK-VLT in front of the tower at New Plymouth...

And viewed from the tower (where we had a guided tour).  It looks fast even standing still!


Amongst the visitors to Pauanui airfield this weekend was the Hawkes Bay & East Coast Aero Club PA28-181 ZK-FQQ.   This was originally imported in 1985 from the US as ZK-TJH,  briefly becoming ZK-PLH in 1988 before moving to ZK-FQQ in the same year.   The Aero Club acquired it in 2014.

A making a very quick fly by was the Whitianga based Pitts S1-SS ZK-LOL which was registered in late 2022.