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.

KP180868

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

KP180913

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

KP180968

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

KP180975

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.

KP180980

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

KP181020

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

KP180982

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.

KP181046

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.

KP181158

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.

KP181161

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.

KP170481

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.

KP170490

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

KP170484

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.

KP170487

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.

New Year

With this being the last day of my “holiday” I decided the sunshine was a good reason to head out to Wellington Airport for my first visit of 2017, and just in time to watch the Singapore Airlines 777 landing again.

Notwithstanding some blustery wind, the conditions were great for photography and netted me another 14 photos for my Wellington Airport album on Flickr.

First and last in my images, Piper PA-32 Saratoga, ZK-ZIG, of Golden Bay Air, arrived and departed via the main passenger terminal. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it anywhere other than the western apron before. All of my photos today came out super clear – so much so I reckon I could sell this photo to the lady in 1A!

K5170673

The main event, as it were. This time arriving from the south into the stiff northerly. I like how this shot turned out because there’s just enough of the seawall, the Moa Point rocks and the sea, plus a tiny glimpse of Pencarrow Head, so any local will instantly know where it was taken. Today’s service for Singapore Airlines was operated by Boeing 777-200LR, 9V-SQN.

K5170682

This little beauty snuck up on me so I was very happy my quick snap turned out OK, even if I did end up with a 1/2000″ shutter speed and a stopped prop! This is a 1955 model Cessna 172, ZK-MGR. It is relatively new to New Zealand, having been registered just a couple of years ago to a Blenheim address. All of its previous life, since 1956, was lived in the USA, where it was converted to a Lycoming engine and a Hartzell propeller added.

K5170703

I just had to capture this scene. Air New Zealand Airbus A320, ZK-OXI (which I actually had not photographed before), was pushed back alongside the Singapore Airlines 777, showing just what a size difference there is between the two. That A320 is quite a bit closer than the 777!

K5170715

A pleasing study of Virgin Australia’s 737-800, VH-YIJ as it departed RWY34. While I often try to remove or minimise fences in my photos, this time I decided just to own it.

K5170731

And finally, my most photographed A320, Air New Zealand’s ZK-OAB, rotates on RWY34. This time I minimised the fence. I could have got rid of that strainer in the corner, but the barbed wire crosses the whole bottom of the photo. Hey, you didn’t even notice until I pointed it out, did you?

K5170737

And finally finally, a little bonus. This is a quick snap I took of the progress in building Wellington’s new control tower, which is (curiously) located in the carpark of the adjacent retail centre. I was looking at it from near the runway tunnel today and thinking it looks an awfully long way back from the tarmac. I don’t know how much higher it will get, but the view of the apron directly in front of the western hangars can’t be great. This photo is taken looking roughly north, with Tirangi Road to the left.

There are another eight photos over on Flickr if you’d like to go take a look.

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.

K5160035

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.

K5160045

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.

K5160055

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.

K5160067

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.

K5160122

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

Don’t get used to this

Already I have more pics from another visit to Wellington Airport. I used to only include a selection of photos in these blog posts, but I think so long as there are 10 or less I’ll save you the bother of going over to Flickr and include them all here. Of course you can click on any one of them to head to the relevant Flickr page for a bigger version and a browse around, if you want.

First up, on arriving at the airport I missed a Sounds Air PC-12 again. One day I will capture one! I saw it taking off right beside me as I headed in to the Airport Fire Station, where I met Scott. Thanks for the quick tour, Scott! Those trucks are impressive beasts.

After a quick detour I arrived back at the airport and saw the tell-tale smoke trail of the Allison turboprops on this Air Chathams Convair 580, ZK-CIB. I’ve seen this many times before but in line with my recent efforts, I’ve gone for a closeup.

K5169115

Next up, the Execujet hangar was wide open and sitting outside was the familiar Cessna 650 Citation III, N163JM.

K5169122

And inside, tucked in a corner, was Bob Jones’s Cessna 510 Citation Mustang, ZK-RJZ.

K5169125

Meanwhile, out on the western apron, there were no air ambulances today, but quite a collection of types as shown here. From the left, RNZAF Boeing 757, NZ7571, Air Chathams Convair 580, ZK-CIE, and two Wellington Aero Club Cessna 172s. One was ZK-CEO (see later) and the other I expect will be ZK-FLT though I did not confirm this.

K5169123

Sounds Air’s ever present Cessna 208 Caravans were buzzing around as usual. Here, ZK-SAA gets airborne.

K5169127

And shortly afterward, the Aero Club’s Cessna 172, ZK-CEO headed off to the Hutt Valley.

K5169132

Finally, here are two studies of the RNZAF Boeing 757, NZ7571 departing. I had watched this loading and saw (with the aid of binoculars) that it was carrying a large load of civilians, mostly young adults from what I could see. Apart from crew, I observed only a single person in military dress. I would be interested to find out where a plane load of civvies are off to on a January Saturday.

K5169139

K5169140