South Island Flyaway

As promised, an update following our 5 day trip around the South Island of New Zealand and I have to say that it didn’t disappoint! Be warned, this update is very picture heavy and may cause jealousy!

The whole idea of the flyaway is for us to chase the good weather and complete all of our IFR Routes flights in the Twinstar. Clearly, we didn’t want to just stay in the vicinity of Hamilton, so we headed off towards the South Island, spending the first night in Wellington.

Passing Ruapehu
Flying down to Wellington, passing Mt Ruapehu and Mt Tongariro – the volcanoes on the North Island

WN
Wellington
Wellington
Welcome to Wellington Airport

After spending the night in Wellington, it was time to head down to Christchurch, where we would be basing ourselves for the next couple of days.
The flight down was full of amazing scenery as we went the long way round via Nelson and Westport, allowing us to see the Marlborough Sounds and to fly over the Southern Alps.

Marlborough SoundsSun setting above the clouds
Top: Marlborough Sounds
Above: Sun setting over the clouds
Left: Me enjoying the flight to Nelson
Mountains surrounding CH   Above: Looking back at the Southern Alps from Christchurch

From Christchurch, we spent the next day touring around the South Island, ending up making approaches into Timaru and Alexandra along with landing in Dunedin for lunch and a change of pilot.

The weather closed in that night, meaning I didn’t get to fly that day, but instead went up early the next morning to get my flight in. We flew over to Hokitika on the west coast and due to the inclement weather the previous night, more snow had fallen on the Southern Alps – the views were amazing! With it being so clear as well, we could also see down to Mt Cook – the highest point in New Zealand.

Central divide  Above: Looking out onto the Southern Alps with peaks covered in snow and cloud still in the valleys
Below: Looking down the range towards a snowy Mt Cook in the distanceLooking down towards Mt Cook, covered in snow

When I got back from this flight, I spent the afternoon at Christchurch Airport waiting to fly back up to Woodbourne after the other two had been up in the morning to drop one of them off. I spent the time at the International Aviation Academy of New Zealand (IAANZ) and thanks to Ryan and Adrienne for making me feel so welcome and keeping me company for a good few hours! Good luck with the rest of your training guys!

Being based at an international airport with jet traffic meant that I couldn’t go throughout the trip without taking a few photos of planes – we are pilots after all!
One of the best photos I took from Christchurch was of a Singapore Airlines 777 taking off whilst our Twinstar was waiting at the holding point (I wasn’t in the Twinstar at the time though).

You can really see the size difference between them!

The last leg of our trip saw me flying back up to Hamilton from Woodbourne, going via Wanganui on the way. It brought an end to a great 5 days worth of flying.

Flight Map

This map shows where we ended up flying on the flyaway as a group. My flights are the black lines and the grey ones are where I either backseated the route (dark grey) or the other two flew the route and I wasn’t in the aircraft (light grey).

Finally, a big thanks to our instructor, Ash, for putting up with us this week! It took a lot of work and long days to get to where we did and he was always in the aircraft, putting the long hours in every day.

With this now complete, it’s time for me to focus on CPL revision as I now have three profile flights (mock tests) before I sit my actual CPL! I should be home in just a couple of weeks now.

PS: There will be a video of the flyaway coming soon, I just need to collate all our pictures and video and then make it and CPL comes first

Apologies for the lack of updates

Sorry I haven’t updated my blog in a while – far too much has been happening. As we get near to the end of the course, things start to pick up pace and that’s no more so than this week as I’m on a flyaway around the South Island.

I’ll promise you guys some great pictures and videos once I return!

Back to IFR flying

My recent Twinstar flights have all been conducted in visual conditions and use of the cockpit instruments has been discouraged to an extent. But now that I’ve finished that block of flights, it’s back under the hood I go as we start to do instrument flights in the Twinstar.
However, we’ve got a block of sims to come in which we’ll practice the last few things that we need to know for our second progress test which is just around the corner now. I’m most looking forward to being taught how to fly down the Instrument Landing System as then you really do feel like you’re operating in the commercial aviation world.

However, looking back, I’ve now been taught how to cope in the Twinstar if an engine fails – scary stuff I know! However, once you get the hang of it and have control of the aircraft, asymmetric flying becomes relatively normal.
I have to admit that it felt weird when we shut down an engine in the air…

vlcsnap-2013-10-09-17h35m14s110

The engine is actually stopped, it’s not just an illusion with the camera!

Having completed a few flights on the Twinstar now, I can certainly say that I’m enjoying it and that it’s the best aircraft I’ve flown so far. It’s got great power from the engines, you get to places relatively quickly and it can handle being thrown about a bit in the skies – a very versatile aircraft and I like it!

Also, it looks like our course is getting to go on some flyaways in the next couple of weeks, so fingers crossed we get to go and can head down towards the South Island!

Finally flown the Twinstar

After a long time of waiting and three cancellations later, I’ve finally managed to fly the DA42!
Yesterday afternoon, I went up for my first ever experience of flying a twin engine aircraft and I must admit that it didn’t disappoint! We covered all the usuals – flying straight and level, medium and steep turns, stalling – as well as looking at emergency descents. Descending at 6000 feet per minute is quite scary!

18L app Twinstar

 

 

 

 

 

Top: Approaching 18L at Hamilton
Bottom Left: Sunset over the wing of the Twinstar
Bottom Right: Flying along in the Twinstar

This week, I’ve also been back in the simulator looking at using the NDB to do tracking, holds and approaches, instead of using the VOR as we have been doing on our IFR flight up until now.

And it looks as if the flying is going to be fairly rapid and continous these coming weeks as CP99 are now doing their CPL Skills Tests – congratulations to all of you who have passed so far! That means that we (CP100) are soon going to become the most senior European course out here, with our skills test just around the corner.