Catching up

Well I've been doing a lot of non flying things recently which have meant I've missed out on a lot of opportunities to exploit the excellent flying weather NZ has at this time of year. I have done a few aviation related activities so I shall summarize them for you.

I attended the annual CAA Pilots Safety Seminar, an excellent forum for learning neat tricks and tips. This years topic was an adaptation of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) concept of "Time in Your Tanks" fuel management. Just so you know, CASA is the Australian Equivalent of our CAA. As a concept I like it because it works much more instinctively and you know fairly well how much time that whirly thing in front of the plane will continue cooling you down and making its terrible racket. I read somewhere that people call the propeller a fan for cooling the pilot, because one it stops he starts to sweat profusely. What I found amazing was that the case studies they presented (sadly all fatalities) all had pilots with over 500 hours total time. I wondered if complacency must have slipped in somewhere? We'll never know unfortunately.

The next act of aviation I committed was the dual section of my BFR revision. Jonathan and I took JGP out to the Eastern Low Flying Zone. For the uninitiated, a Low Flying Zone is a specifically designated area where the minimum height laws do not apply for training purposes. We are allowed to fly as low as the instructor thinks is necessary to teach a particular point. It comes in handy when you are learning precautionary landings. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the farmers who graciously allow us to buzz around their lands at low level. I always take care to stay as far away from stock as I can, but most of them are so used to having planes buzzing around their heads they don't really bat an eyelid anymore. Low flying is really the only portion of the PPL training that I cannot practice on my own so it was good to get in and give it a good hour of flying. I was surprised I was not as rusty as I expected I would be. I even got to do a favour for the Aero Club. A former member of the club recently passed away and his family requested a 172 do a flyover of the burial committal. We did a couple of passes at 500AGL and 120 knots, which was perfectly legal because the graveyard was outside the city limits. I got to fly too which was cool because Jonathan was there the Club could charge them for that portion of the flight and I could claim it all as dual. I did a nice 45 degree bank as we flew past on the second pass. I found out later that the family was still inside the graveyard chapel at the time but they definitely heard us go past and thanked the Club for doing it.

The third aviation event was a trip to the Royal New Zealand Airforces Open Day at the Ohakea Airbase. Chris had planned to fly down, and indeed the weather conditions really didn't get any better than what they were, but due to an unserviceable aircraft and a minor oversight on Chris's part we couldn't secure a plane and so we drove the 350km down to Ohakea. It was my first time on base and my first impression was how clean everything was. The apron looked like it had been recently waterblasted, and indeed so did the buildings! We arrived just after the beginning of the flying display, but after reviewing the schedule we decided to spend time wandering around the static displays before finding a spot on the flightline to watch the flying.

I took a few snaps myself but I decided since Chris had his DSLR still camera I'd use my camera for video. So here's my 3 best videos of the day. If you listen closely you can hear Chris's DSLR shutter going off in continuous mode as the planes fly by. Enjoy.


Chris Nielsen said…
Cool, thanks for putting them on Youtube mate. Thanks also for driving us down. I had no idea it was possible to go to Ohakea for the day, although I suspect it stuffed you more than it did me :-)
Evan said…
Were you using a dedicated video camera rather than movie mode on a digital still camera? The video was lot clearer than most of the grainy rubbish I usually see on YouTube.

Good videos.
Euan Kilgour said…
All my movies are shot on my Canon S3 IS digital still camera in video mode. For some reason which escapes me its much more tolerant of changing light conditions in video mode than it is taking stills and apart from the stupid autofocus meaning you need to frame the subject carefully its a great video camera.