Around and about

It’s been a while! My last post was in November and it’s now well into March. I’ve not had a lot to share since then but thought it worth an update now.

First up, my posts are back on the original zkarj.co.nz domain after my foray into SquareSpace. SquareSpace is pretty good for hassle-free posting but I was forever cramming more and more into the one domain to avoid multiplying the cost. Now I’ve got one hosting account with lots of domains again. Anyway…

An early January visit to Wellington Airport netted a series of (almost) head on shots.

Mount Cook Airline ATR-GIE ATR72, ZK-MVB, is up first.

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Next is Sounds Air Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, ZK-SAA.

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Next, we switch location into the terminal, where we first see another ATR72, ZK-MVN, taxiing in to the gate on one engine.

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Then Air New Zealand Airbus A320, ZK-OXA is pushed back from the gate prior to departure.

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No longer head on, but still concentrating on noses, we see Air Nelson’s Bombardier Dash 8 Q300s, ZK-NES in white, and ZK-NEM in black. This was the first time I had seen ZK-NEM in this scheme.

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Here’s a better shot of ZK-NEM when departing later.

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Next, we have a pair of business jets. Learjet 36A N82GG sits outside while Cessna 650 Citation III N163JM sits inside.

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Getting back to noses, we see Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200, 9V-SRM, at the moment of touchdown, and through a lot of heat haze.

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All of those photos were taken in a single visit. Below are two that I took today on a brief stop while out around the town on a stunning day.

Resident Nanchang CJ6, ZK-MAO, was awaiting its turn at the fuel pump.

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Anf finally, trying to hide from me, is Agusta-Bell AB206A Jetranger, ZK-HMU. It’s hiding behind Air2There’s Beechcraft B200C Super King Air, ZK-MYM.

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Catching up

It has been a while since I’ve posted anything new here – three months. But my camera has not been idle. In fact, I’ve upgraded my camera, but these shots below are from the old one. You’ll have to wait until I have the chance to train the new one on some TTF (Things That Fly – although…)

These shots cover three trips to Wellington Airport, though all within the space of less than a week in early August.

Friday 4th August was a bit of a miserable day, as these two photos show. The shadows cast on Wellington Aero Club’s Piper PA-38 Tomahawks, ZK-WAC and ZK-TAW, suggest some bright weather, but the sodden tarmac and the rainbow in the background suggest otherwise.

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The weather is a bit more obvious in this shot of Mount Cook Airline’s ATR72-500, ZK-MCX, and Air Nelson DHC-8 Q300, ZK-NER (along with photo-bomber ZK-TAW).

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Roll forward to Saturday 5th August and the weather was a whole different affair, as seen here with Air Nelson DHC-8 Q300, ZK-NEE, lifting off into the blue sky, with the blue Cook Strait behind looking reasonably calm.

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It was also a grand day out for those who took the Wellington Aero Club Nanchang CJ-6, ZK-MAO, aloft.

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Come Wednesday 9th August, the weather had closed in again. It is winter, after all.

Mount Cook Airline’s ATR-72-600, ZK-MVH, wades through the puddles en route to the terminal, with Rescue 5 crossing in the foreground.

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Finally, this was the first time I have been on hand in the terminal for an arrival of Singapore Airlines’ Singapore-Canberra-Wellington service. Here you can see Boeing 777-200ER, 9V-SRP, a moment before touchdown.

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All of the photos from these three days can be seen over on Flickr.

Any given Sunday

I mentioned back in August that my Flickr album for Wellington Airport was nearing 1,000 images. After a recent cleanup of my photo collection, the album stood at 992 photos. Rather than wait until I had 8 new images to publish, I decided to trawl back through my collection for unpublished gems and they were the subject of my previous post.

Which brings us to the magic 1,000 photos and the promised “something special” to mark the occasion.

There have been many times I’ve headed out to Wellington Airport and come away with the feeling of “same old same old,” but in reality, there are quite a lot of interesting comings and goings if you chance to be there at the right time. What follows is a selection of 20 photos that I think portray the “less ordinary” side of operations. They are, perhaps, a reflection of what you just might come across on a visit, on any given Sunday.

Sometimes the extraordinary is the result of quirk upon quirk. For a time, Air New Zealand’s Boeing 737-300, ZK-FRE (ex-Freedom Air) wore a bright green “Air New Zealand Holidays” promotional scheme. As if this wasn’t quirky enough, there was a period where it wore a plain white nose cone giving an almost comical appearance.

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The following aircraft had a split personality. Registered to Origin Pacific for the four years it spent on the register, ATR-72 500 ZK-JSZ nevertheless spent some time operating flights for Air New Zealand wearing this curious “cross-over” scheme that was basically the original Origin Pacific scheme with titles replaced and the curious and unique, I think, blue koru on the tail.

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Other times, interesting colours resulted from the short-term needs of airlines. For a period of about six months in late 2006, early 2007, Air New Zealand leased a Boeing 737-300, G-THOE, from Thomson Airways. This colour scheme was an easy one spot from a considerable distance.

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While Wellington was frequently to see “All Blacks” special schemes in the form of Beechcraft 1900Ds and Airbus A320s, this very special one-time visit of Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300ER, ZK-OKQ, generated enough interest to attract journalists. The lowest person in this photo was a Dominion Post photographer and his published shot included my sons in the frame – seen directly in front of him in my shot.

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Sometimes new colours appear worn by new types. While foreign governments are a significant source of visitors, in this case, it was a foreign sports team. Specifically, the Bahrain football (soccer) team arrived in Wellington to play the All Whites in a World Cup qualifier game at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium. Their mode of transport being Gulf Air Airbus A340, A9C-LI.

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Wellington is no stranger to “bizjets” but in recent years it has seen a significant number of larger corporate types, such as this Boeing 737-BBJ (based on a -700 series), N7600K, which belongs to the SAS Institute.

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This aircraft is of the same type, but wears USAF serial 020042 (the initial digit generally being omitted on US military aircraft) – and little else! Technically, in USAF service, this is a Boeing C40B.

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Other US military airframes are a little more obvious in declaring their allegiance. This Boeing VC32, 990003, brought US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to our shores in November 2010 and had I been able to get a better angle you’d be able to see “United States of America” emblazoned on the side.

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USAF aircraft aren’t so uncommon in New Zealand skies, but this slightly more exotic “military airliner” has been here twice. United Arab Emirates Amiri Flight Boeing 787, A6-PFC, snuck into Wellington just after sunset on this occasion, testing my camera and my ability to operate it. The shot was 1/160″ at f/4.5 and ISO 4000!

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More exotic, still, is this Polish Air Force Tupolev Tu-154M, “101,” which drew quite a crowd when it was here in March 2007.

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When it comes to foreign military services utilising civil designs, it’s not restricted to airliners. Below you can see a US Coastguard operated Gulfstream C37A, serial ’01’, would be known as a G-V in civilian life.

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Then again, military operators also fly what could be described as “military-first” types. While there are certainly civilian operated Lockheed Hercules, this RAF C-130J, ZH874, is representative of over 98% of Hercules built for military operators. This model is known as the C.4 in RAF use.

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Sticking with the overtly military theme is this Chilean Navy Lockheed P-3A Orion,  VP-1, which dropped into Wellington briefly before heading to nearby Blenheim for maintenance with Safe Air.

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Finally, on the military theme, I tend to consider the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III a “modern” type, even though it entered service with the USAF 23 years ago. Even the RAAF, from whence this example, A41-211, comes, have been operating them for 10 years. But for comparison, the RNZAF have operated Hercules and Orions for 50 years!

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Completely changing tack now, it’s probably correct to say the greatest number of movements in and out of Wellington Airport, outside of RPT flights, would go to the many rescue and ambulance services. It’s a pretty rare visit to Wellington that I don’t see some evidence of this activity. And while our resident aircraft are super busy, we also see quite a variety of aircraft from other regions, such as this fine example from Taranaki. Agusta A109, ZK-ITR, departs the western apron after a refuelling stop.

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The versatility of helicopters also sees them used for pure convenience by those with sufficient means. In other words, when you’ve just jetted in on your Bombardier Challenger biz-jet, why not complete your journey by helicopter, as this punter did in Helipro’s AS355 Twin Squirrel, ZK-HYN.

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And then there are those times where arriving by helicopter might just make an awesome day even more awesome. Here comes the bride! Although it would have been more apropos had the lady used local Robinson R44 Raven, ZK-IDO, a BK117, such as Precision Helicopters’ ZK-IED is a sound choice for the aviating bride.

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Beyond the basic utility of helicopters are the types of specialist work only they can perform. This Boeing Vertol 107, N6675D, spent some time in the country on various lifting work, primarily logging from what I read. Note the large bubble window allowing the pilot excellent visibility straight down.

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Nearing the end of this selection, we find a unique aircraft in New Zealand skies in Yak-18T, ZK-SSR. It shares a lot of parts and systems with the more common Yak-52 but looks like an altogether nicer tourer.

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Finally, and very much in the “what do we have here?” camp, I spied ex-RNZAF BAC Strikemaster, ZK-BAC being refuelled outside the Life Flight Trust hangar, and indeed connected to a LFT vehicle for towing. The aircraft is registered to a Lower Hutt address but I do not know if it is hangared at Wellington. I have noted it operating out of Wellington on a couple of occasions.

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And so ends the celebratory post. Whether you’re a local or a visitor to the Wellington region, do pop out and see what you can spot when you get the chance. I’ve heard of far more exotic sights than these, too, so you really never know what you’ll find.

These photos have all been republished on Flickr to my latest standards, and I’ve collected them into a new album. Click any photo above to go to the Flickr page, or just head on over to the album.

One down

I took a week off work this week and didn’t have anything planned for my last day, Friday, because the early weather forecast was for a rainy day. Well, who believes weather forecasters, anyway? At least more than 12 hours out.

So with the sun shining, I decided to head out to Wellington Airport to see what would show up, with specific hopes to catch two types I’ve not photographed in action before. I succeeded with one of them.

Here is a taste of the 16 photos published today. You can see them all over on Flickr.

Air Chathams’ Convair 580, ZK-CIF, roars down the runway in an effort to get airborne. Yes, it looks like a real effort every time – not much climb rate with these things!

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Having spent so long capturing aircraft from the same spots around Wellington over the years, I’ve lately been trying for different compositions and a current favourite is this ‘over the shoulder’ angle. Here, Mount Cook Airline (Air New Zealand Link) ATR-72, ZK-MVJ, makes a dash for the air.

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Over the shoulder again, but this time arriving, Jetstar Airbus A320, VH-VGQ, touches down starboard main gear first – a bit of a theme with today’s conditions.

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I love the background and colouring in this shot of the Life Flight Trust’s Jetstream J32, ZK-LFW, as it floats in for a landing. It landed a little longer than usual due to a late touchdown and had to backtrack on the runway to make the western apron.

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Finally! I did photo this example on the ground on a recent visit, but this is the first time I’ve captured a Sounds Air Pilatus PC-12, in this case ZK-PLS, in action. My next challenge is to capture one in proper Sounds Air colours – I think there are two now.

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Also missing from my portfolio is a Jetstar DHC-8 Q300 – one of which flew over my house right after I got home. Sigh!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the shots over on Flickr.

Best of 2015

As 2016 gets underway, I’m somewhat re-inventing my online presence again and this time I’ve combined my ‘landing page’ and 3 main blog sites into one. As part of this change, I have been bringing over my most popular or useful content, but for ZK-ARJ that didn’t quite make sense, so I’m starting afresh.

2015 didn’t give me many aviation photos at all so I had to go through them twice to come up with my 10 favourites. Here they are in order.

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Climbing over South Waikato at sunset

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