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 will be published in next months paper, 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.

11 July 2014

ZK-NZE Photos

Persistent drizzle at Auckland International prevented any hope of a decent photograph from my 55-250mm lens as Air New Zealand's first 787-900 Dreamliner touched down late afternoon. The poor weather also cancelled the original plan for a promotional low level city overfly, and the aircraft ended up joining an extraordinary long 17 mile long final for the 05 ILS instead.




See video footage of the landing from Dan News here

787-900 Live Stream



Air New Zealand are expecting delivery of thier first Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner this afternoon, ZK-NZE, which is currently en route Seattle to Auckland.

From the airline: "Depending on weather conditions at the time it is intended the aircraft will approach the Musick Point/Browns Island area from the North/East and head west towards North Head. It will then turn to the north heading up the Rangitoto Channel towards Browns Bay then circle back towards Whenuapai before flying down the harbour towards Browns Island from where it will position to land dependent on the runway in use on the day."

Flightaware live tracking: NZ6789
NZAA ETA: 0408UTC / 4.08pm local (Runway 05R active)

09 July 2014

Personal Weather Station

As you may have noticed with the inclusion of the Half Moon Bay weather widget on the right hand side of the blog, I've recently purchased and set up my own Personal Weather Station on the roof of my house.

I ordered the Aercus Instruments WS1093 online, an entry level kit capable of measuring and recording wind direction, wind speed, air temperature, pressure, humidity and rainfall. What primarily attracted me to the kit was the inclusion of a 433 MHz wireless transmitter, capable of sending the collected data down from the rooftop to an LCD screen base station, with a USB connection for my PC.

Through this link and the included Cumulus software interface, I'm able to see a detailed real time analysis of what the weathers up to in my area- this really appeals to my weather nerd side with the program's ability to graph the different variables, and even upload the stats to the wunderground.com network for my family in the UK, or anyone else interested to see.



Below is a snapshot from the last 24 hours from my place, a good first test for the station with the Auckland region experiencing gale force winds and a barrage of fronts pass over, centred around a low pressure system lying just north west of Cape Reinga.

The three graphs here show outside air temperate, wind speed/gust speed and air pressure, reaching maximums of 14.9 °C, 73.4 km/h gusting 86.7 km/h (39G46 knots) and 1010.4 hPa respectively.


The current rainfall readings are much too high due to the collection gauge being rocked around in the gusty conditions (Stabalising the rain bucket with bracing wires should settle the readings down according to another pilot with a similar setup). I also have a feeling the wind direction sensor may need some recalibrating, and suspect the bracket the vane sits upon has been swung away from magnetic north since I hastily attatched it to the TV antenna before the rain set in on Monday.


Anyhow keep an eye on my PWS page, code name 'IAUCKLAN176' on WU if you're wondering what the current wx conditions in the East Auckland area are. Plenty of others around the country broadcast their own station info publicly too, which you zoom in and and compare through this interesting interactive map.

New Southern Sky Plan

According to the New Southern Sky air navigation plan launched by the CAA last month, ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast) capable transponders will be required by all aircraft wishing to enter any controlled airspace after 2020, or controlled airspace above 24,500 feet from 2018 onwards.

From what I can understand after reading through the NSS pages, a 1090 MHz Extended Squitter modification will need to be added to current Mode S transponders to make them ADS-B compliment, that is assuming your aircraft also has RNAV capabilities, which is what the future of IFR navigation in New Zealand is to be based upon.

Current Mode S transponders are capable of sending up to seven different information parameters per ‘squit’ transmission, although ADS-B Extended Squits can send up to 49 different parameters per second using data sourced from your GNSS receiver, replacing the information currently derived by ATC from ground based secondary surveillance radar systems.

A FAQ style document addressing the main points of the plan can be found here. The NSS also has an official twitter account @NewSouthernSky.