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…


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.

Things don’t always go to plan!

So, last blog post I alluded to the fact that my next flight was going to be in the Twinstar – well, that didn’t happen! Weather meant that I had to cancel the flight unfortunately. We did manage to do our last block of groundschool though, so it wasn’t a completely wasted day.

Since then, I’ve completed my first SPIC (Supervised Pilot in Command) flight. These flights are where the instructors leave virtually everything up to us. This means it’s our choice of routes, speeds, altitudes and all air related decisions.
I chose to fly from Hamilton to overhead Rotorua and then onwards to make an approach at Tauranga before coming back to Hamilton. All was going really well up until Tauranga where my instructor decided I was doing too well and threw in a ‘problem’. He simulated that there was severe turbulence on the standard IFR route back from Tauranga and asked me what I was going to do. So, calmly, I studied my charts and found and alternative route back to Hamilton and flew it. I think I coped with it well – the instructor didn’t say anything negative about it!
Just before reaching Hamilton, he threw another problem at me and again I dealt with it swiftly and calmly.
Overall, I think it was one of my best flights to date! (Although I must admit that it did help being allowed to use the autopilot!)

As promised, I’ve got some more photos, these are courtesy of James Linsell who backseated my flight.



Lining up to take off on 36R at Hamilton

Lining up on 36R at Hamilton Airport, preparing to take off

Coming in on the approach to Tauranga

On the GPS approach into Tauranga Airport (the airport is just to the left of the compass)

Looking down the harbour at Tauranga

Looking down the beach at Tauranga from final approach with Mt Maunganui in the distance

And, as a final note, today marks exactly 7 weeks until I leave New Zealand! It’s odd to think that I’ve come so far in just over 6 months and I still have so far to go in these remaining weeks.

Note: I have just updated the photos page and the videos page with things I’ve been doing over the past couple of weeks. Go check them out!

Photo Credits
All photos in the post – James Linsell

Moving onto the Twinstar

Firstly, I apologise for the lack of updates recently. I’ll be totally honest, I haven’t done anything noteworthy! I’ve either been doing flights where I haven’t got any good pictures or been sitting in my room and eating cake that I was given in exchange for moving furniture.

On a more flying related note, tomorrow sees me take control of the Twinstar for the first time. I can’t wait – I just hope the weather holds up as these first few flights are meant to be under VFR conditions, so good weather is required.

Looking back at what I’ve been up to, I’ve finished practicing holds and approaches in the Cessna and have now moved onto flying routes in instrument conditions. To do this, we flew from Hamilton to Rotorua and then onto Whakatane. It was a great flight and the weather was really clear, so got to see some great views of further down New Zealand’s east coast.

Fingers crossed my flight goes ahead tomorrow and my next update should have some pictures!