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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Almost summer

The last weekend in October gave us the best weather in a long, long time in Wellington. Just longer than a month after the Spring Equinox, the beaches were packed and it seemed like every Wellingtonian was out doing something. Including this one.

My wife and I went out to Lyall Bay beach for a walk, and of course it is adjacent to Wellington Airport. While we were walking I saw departures of RNZAF Hercules and NH90 plus the arrival of “some kind of business jet” that I could not identify from where I was.

At the conclusion of our walk, I drove over to the airport just in time to capture the arrival of what I guessed was the same NH90 I had seen depart earlier. It turns out, it wasn’t the same one, but more on that in a moment. Here is NZ3303 creating its own heat haze to add to that of the warm Wellington day.

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Whilst capturing the NH90, I noticed a small jet sitting outside the RNZAF Air Movements hangar and determined it to be an RAAF machine. I was not wrong, as when I nipped around to the other end of the apron, I found Bombardier Challenger CL604, A37-033.

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On my way around the apron I also spotted this gorgeous Cessna 182RG Skylane, ZK-ETX.

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I also FINALLY caught an all-white DHC-8-Q300, VH-SBW (no relation to the All Black with the same initials) which is operating for Jetstar.

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Finally, when heading back to the car near the Aero Club, I spotted this gorgeous machine – Piper PA-46 Malibu, VH-BHR.

Please note this image was taken with my iPhone 8, so is not up to my usual quality standards. It was so close to the fence and I only had my 55-300mm lens with me.

It was while ogling this that I spotted Rodney and had a quick chat with him. He told me that the previously departed NH90 was a different machine and that I had missed a RNZAF 757 departure, too. He suggested all the military activity was likely related to Exercise Southern Katipo which is occurring in the Marlborough region, just across the water.

One final thing I’d like to say is that over the last week or so I have changed the size of images that I upload to Flickr. For a while now, they have been limited to 2.7 megapixels, which usually resulted in something about 2000 pixels across the long side on a regularly framed image. At this size, I was finding that my images didn’t look their best on an iPad and were quite obviously less than their best on large screens like that on my iMac 5K. Now I’ve upped my standard size to 3200 pixels on the long side. Most images will now look a lot crisper on high definition displays as a result. Square images will be enormous! Note that a handful of images will be less than this size as a result of the original not having enough pixels to offer, usually as a result of tight cropping.

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.

Propstar

I went out to Wellington Airport again today with the express purpose of photographing a Jetstar DHC-8 Q300 which have so far eluded me.

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Job done! I’d sussed the timetable beforehand and noted one was due from Nelson at 11:20. It was only after I’d made it to the airport around 11:00 that I suddenly thought about Jetstar’s reputation for timeliness! Fortunately, it was within minutes of schedule.

It was quite blustery but there was a fair amount of GA traffic about including Wellington Aero Club‘s Cessna 172, ZK-FLT and two of their Piper Tomahawks, ZK-WAC and ZK-TAW pictured here passing over the field – something both Tomahawks did in succession.

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There was plenty of other Jetstar traffic, too. Another Q300 had departed right as I arrived (before I was camera-ready) and an interesting A320 had arrived. More on that in a bit. Meanwhile, here’s VH-VGT wearing a mismatched nose cone.

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It’s often interesting to observe how the GA traffic mixes in with the commercial with this next situation being somewhat unusual to my knowledge. Aero Club Cessna 172, ZK-FLT, spent quite some time sitting at the hold point for RWY34. So much so that Air New Zealand Airbus A320, ZK-OXE, used taxiway Alpha 9 instead of the usual Alpha 10 or 11, and then proceeded to backtrack on the runway to obtain the full length.

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Finally, here’s the Jetstar A320 which had landed just as I arrived. VH-VFV sports a rather large advertisement for Sunglass Hut on both sides. Not your usual fare for special livery but it’s at least slightly less boring.

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These are just a sampling of the 25 images I have uploaded today (out of a total 160 shot!)

Welly, Welly, Welly, Oi, Oi, Oi

Apologies for the title. It’s late and it has been a heck of a day.

And it was a heck of a weekend just gone, too, with no less than three visits to Wellington Airport for the purposes of picking up and dropping off family members. As the appointed chauffeur, I took my opportunities to train my camera on activities as time allowed.

I did this both from some of my usual spots around the airport and also from inside the terminal. There is a fair bit of construction work underway and other changes are being made to the apron operations I presume in concert. Amongst other things, there’s now a great opportunity to observe DHC-8 Q300 operations with Air Nelson’s examples lining up to three at a time in front of near-ground level windows.

Below are a handful of shots to whet your appetite. There are 55 shots in total over at Flickr.

First up, here’s an active scene around the Life Flight Trust’s hangar. Pictured are the “tug”, Jetstream J32, ZK-LFW, the patient transfer vehicle and, unrelated to the activity at the time, what I believe was Helicopters Otago’s BK117, ZK-IME.

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Next up is a close-up study of Jetstar Airbus A320, VH-VGF – the airline’s all-over bright orange liveried aircraft. We can see the pilots at work preparing for an early pushback. Yes!

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Here’s another action scene with the just arrived DHC-8 Q300, ZK-NFI. We can see the flight attendant, ground handler and pilots going about their business. Not to mention the A320 pushing back in the background. ‘NFI was one of the aircraft carrying a family member.

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Over on the other side of the airport, I was checking out the RAAF C-17 (see below) when I was surprised by the arrival of Lowe Corporation’s BK-117, ZK-IBK. It’s been a while since I’ve been caught in rotor wash!

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Here’s an aircraft type relatively new to the region, and this is the first occasion I’ve got any decent photos! One of Sounds Air’s Pilatus PC-12s, ZK-PLZ sits at the gate awaiting passengers, doors wide open no doubt to keep the heat at bay.

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I’ve definitely got decent shots of Life Flight Trust’s Jetstream J32, ZK-LFW in flight before but I particularly like the angles and clarity I got this time around.

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Last up, as mentioned earlier, here is RAAF C-17, A41-211 departing in the golden light. I’ve got several shots of this with things in the foreground which (in the other two cases at least) I think give it a distinctly Wellington flavour.

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That’s all for this post, but be sure to check out the rest over on Flickr.

First of 2016

I managed to mis-time a short trip out to Wellington Airport earlier in the week. Too late to meet up with someone and too early to see much in the way of movements. I only took a handful of shots and three made the grade.

I’ve not seen a sharklet-equipped Jetstar A320 before so was pleased to capture VH-VFY departing. Another thing about my timing. A bright sunny day around noon is not ideal for photographing shiny aircraft. Thank goodness for post-processing!

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Friend of the blog Rodney commented recently about the number of air ambulances operating in and out of Wellington of late. This day was no exception with three examples present when I arrived.

Air Wanganui’s Beechcraft C90A King Air, ZK-MKG is a familiar sight and I’ve certainly captured it before, but I quite liked this new shot.

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Finally, another very familiar sight is a Bombardier DHC-8 Q300, ZK-NEH, of Air Nelson (Air New Zealand Link). This is another example of my recent practice of not always going for the full aircraft in the frame. I quite like the detail present in this shot, including a pilot.

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I noticed after posting the best of 2015 pictures that I had previously increased my Flickr upload image sizes from 1200 pixels wide to 2000 and somewhere along the line (probably as a result of a change of software) I had reverted to 1200. These new pictures are at the 2000 pixel size for your enjoyment – you can click any of them here to go to the Flickr page and see it larger.