Flying with Rodney

As part of a trip to Wellington, I hatched a plan to go up flying with another kiwi pilot and fellow blogger Rodney. The lovely Susan had managed to score us some very cheap tickets to fly to Wellington commercially (much cheaper than the price of gas for driving down), so around 10 weeks ago I had emailled Rodney and he thought it would be a brilliant idea to go up for a scenic flight around Wellington.

Rodney kindly collected us from our motel and we turned up at the Wellington Aero Club, where Rodney flies from. Eventually our plane, an Archer which Rodney had booked for 10.30am arrived back from the previous booking and he got to work pre-flighting while I snapped some photos of our mount.

Eventually we got strapped into our life jackets and taxied out onto runway 16 and with very little ceremony we were off! (Film to follow when edited)

I had listened into the Wellington ATIS and the wind was pretty light but I was amazed at how smooth the flying conditions were. Remember Wellington NZ has a reputation of being a bit of a plane bender but conditions were nothing if not docile.

If I recall correctly we were cleared for an Eastborne departure so we turned left and flew up the entrance to Wellington Harbour.

As you can see here, there was a bit of cloud cover overhead but the visibility was excellent. This photo looks northwest back towards Wellington City, although most of downtown is obscured by the pillar. In the foreground is the seaside suburb of Seatoun.

Here is the Department of Conservation controlled island of Matiu (formerly known as Somes Island). The largest island inside Wellington Harbour, we visited the island briefly a few days earlier by ferry, but it looks heaps better from the air.

Looking north up the Hutt Valley, showing the Hutt River and on the left hand side of the river, the main fault line running through New Zealand. The quarry you can see in the centre left of shot is where both the Helms Deep and Minas Tirith sets for the Lord of the Rings Films were located.

Looking west towards Mana Island off the coast. In the back ground you can see the South Island!

Pretty much taken straight after the previous photo, looking north at Kapiti Island.

Rodney then proceeded to descend and we orbited Mana Island from about 1500 feet. You can see Kapiti Island to the north in the distance and the North Island mainland to the right.

After the orbit we headed south and Rodney put us in a cruise climb to regain some altitude prior to rejoining Wellington airspace. This photo looks southwards. On the left is the North Island and in the background is the South Island. If you look closely you can see the Kaikoura Ranges with snow on them.

Here's my last airborne photo of Rodney commencing the Sinclair Arrival procedure. We need to remain on this side of that little witches hat looking island just off the coast in the middle of the photo.

It was an awesome flight, much better than I could have hoped for. When Susan and I flew out of Wellington commercially later in the day the wind had picked up to around 15-20 knots and the cloud was moving in preceding a cold front. I will post video of the takeoff and landing later when I edit them appropriately.

PS. As this blog site has been updated with a new template, I will now post in larger text to make it easier to read. Enjoy.


Rodney said…
Nice photos Euan! It certainly was a good flight - very enjoyable for me also. Good to catch up and meet Susan.


Beautiful photos. Looks like an amazing flight. I always love going for a flight when traveling somewhere new.
ZK-JPY said…
Sweet... next time I am down in Wellywood, I'll have to drop Rodney a line and see if he wants to take me flightseeing! :)

I think my favourite shot has to be the Hutt Valley one... it really shows off why this land is known as 'The Shakey Isles'!!

ps. hurry up and get the vids up! ;)
Rodney said…
@ZK-JPY - Better still, jump in LMA and fly down here yourself!

Either that, or give me a bell a few weeks out and I'll organise a plane... Always happy to show people around... looks like I might have to do a tour of Auckland and Hamilton to catch up on some flying sightseeing... ha ha ha