As the silly season descends

Just a quick catch up.

Three things I want to talk about.

On November the 20th 2014, at 9am, I walked out and strapped on WAM for a trip around the circuit.  Oh great you think, just another circuit trip, but this was no ordinary flight.  It marked 10 years to the hour that I did my first solo in WAM.  The weather that morning was not really good for a first solo student with a steady 8 knot crosswind, but after 10 years I handled it OK.  Actually, I relished the chance to practice my crosswind technique in conditions which were good for practicing without being too scary.

The second thing was I managed to tick off something on my list.  I went for a ride in the clubs twin comanche with instructor Peter.  No, I didn't get to fly, but since it was an IFR trip I learned a great deal by sitting there with my mouth closed and my eyes and ears open.  So many times on the radio when flying VFR I would hear things like, "XYZ cleared to Nowhere in Particular at 8000 feet via Hotel Five Alpha, Buden one departure, squawk 5555, start approved time now 36."  After actually flying it I get a much better idea just what it all means.  We flew a Buden One departure until Christchurch Control cancelled our SID and cleared us to intercept our track direct Tauranga via our published IFR route at 7000 feet.  We'd normally fly lower but there was reported glider activity enroute and ATC wanted us well above the action.  The day was an excellent VFR day with a just bit of fair weather cumulus around not not much wind to speak of.  We flew a VOR/DME approach into Tauranga for a low approach and overshoot, then flew a missed approach to climb back to 8000 feet for the return trip.  Once we hit a certain DME arc we had to fly along the arc until we reached a point called Tayla, where we entered the hold.  From there we were cleared to descend to 3000 feet.  We went IMC briefly twice on the descent, once passing 7000 and again at 4000.  I wondered aloud how students on their multi IFR checkride manage to dial correct course adjustments into the autopilot while the plane is bucking around in IMC so bad you can barely read the instruments let alone set a specific heading.  Peter laughed and said, you just do what you gotta do.  When we popped out of cloud just before we hit 3000 feet and I could see Hamilton Airport in the distance with Runway 18L's threshold right out in front of us like magic.  Peter called final approach fix and we were cleared to land.

I have some American friends visiting this weekend, so last weekend I went and flew the route I want to take this weekend.  The weather on the day was perfect for flying, high overcast skies, not much wind to speak of, excellent visibility.  My photographic partner in crime Chris rode shotgun, testing out his new equipment, including a wide angle lens.  I really enjoyed this flight, although my Raglan landing was not as good as I wanted it to be (I made up for it with a much better one back in Hamilton).  Here's a rough rendition of the clockwise route we flew, starting at Hamilton airport which is the top right hand corner of the polygon.

Chris has kindly given permission for me to link his quite exquisite photos, if you look carefully at the map above I have placed the approximate location they were taken in order.

1. Westbound looking towards Kawhia Harbour
2. Interesting rock formation off the coast at 700' AGL and 123 knots
3. More of the same rock formation
4. Raglan town centre as we descend to join downwind for 05
5. Our trusty steed ZK-WAM parked at Raglan
6. Turning east inland and direct back to Hamilton at 1800 feet.  Raglan harbour mid rear and Mr Karioi rear right.
7. 2300 feet crossing the Hakrimata's and looking back towards Raglan Harbour and Mt Karioi
8. Westbound inside Hamilton Control Zone at 1700 feet, looking south.  The inverted T intersection mid shot is the bottom left hand corner of the western low flying zone.  There was a helicopter operating in there when we flew past but I can't see him in this photo.
The weather for this weekend is not looking promising, so I may need to throw this plan out and think of something else to do, but it was a good trip.  I want to wish all my readers the heartiest seasons greetings and I hope you all have a happy and safe holiday.  I'll see you next year.


Rodney said…
Looks like you had a nice time - IFR and VFR! Hope you had a good Christmas break :-)
ZK-JPY said…
Peter wasn't wrong about flying IFR... Haha!

Nothing like flying/bouncing around the inside of cumulus... With 30kts across the hold! :P