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 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.


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


A little bit of Welly

I had a day off work, the sun was out, and I was encouraged to leave the house. You know what happened next.

There wasn’t a whole lot of traffic, but what was there was somewhat interesting, and I took photos from a bunch of different spots.

Speaking of spotting spots – I was up on the seawall at the south end of the runway when someone yelled “Restricted area!” from a moving vehicle. I didn’t see them so don’t know if it was AvSec or any other airport authority. I did move on not long afterwards but had AvSec decided to come and have a chat, they would certainly have had time before I left. I know there are “Restricted Area” signs, including one I passed by the windsock, but I’ve been going up there for YEARS as have all manner of people including groups of kids, walkers, dog walkers, mountain bikers, and I’ve even been up there when AvSec staff were around and they said nothing. Heck, I have a photo of an AvSec officer in the area with some other people. What’s the deal there? I note they are making it incredibly difficult to park anywhere nearby now.

Anyway, first up from the handful I’ll include here, I was rather pleased with this angle on Air New Zealand’s second youngest Airbus A320, ZK-OXL, which is now just a little over a year old.


With the recent retirement of (almost) all of the freight Convairs, Air Chathams’ examples become more of a rarity. Here, ZK-CIF departs RWY34 at a fairly sprightly rate of climb for the type. Must have been lightly loaded as there wasn’t a whole lot of wind.


I think this is the first time I’ve seen Sounds Air’s corporate-configured PC-12, ZK-PLZ. It’s certainly the first photo I’ve taken. I was intrigued by the three different types of chocks in use.


And finally, a new airframe for me, I think, is Singapore Airlines’ 777-200ER, 9V-SQK. I was astonished at how quickly it slowed on the runway after touchdown. I believe it is required to take the full length before exiting, but from what I saw it would have had no trouble exiting RWY34 at A4, possibly earlier.


Interestingly, this was the second 777-200ER I had personally sighted on the day. From home, I watched 9V-SVI operating SQ297 pass by at around 16,000ft over Cook Strait on its way to Ohakea, where it was diverted due to fog at Christchurch.

It flew on to Christchurch in the early afternoon, arriving four hours behind schedule.

I published a total of 24 photos from this visit, which you can find over on Flickr.

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!


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.


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.


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!


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.


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?


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.

Widebody wonder

I managed to get to the airport today just in time to see the third arrival of Singapore Airlines’ SQ291 flight from Singapore and Canberra, along with quite few other spotters, as this was the first arrival on a weekend day.

I’ve noticed some negative slant in the media referring to this as Wellington’s first (so called) “long haul” flight, due to the stopover in Canberra, but there is never any such slant on NZ1 to London, which necessarily stops in Los Angeles. The Boeing 777-200ER travels nearly a third of the distance to Singapore before stopping and only spends about 90 minutes on the ground in Canberra where, importantly, passengers do not need to deplane. Furthermore, there is no need to do the hustle between terminals in Auckland nor worry about a delay on a domestic leg affecting connection to the international.

I wholeheartedly support Singapore Airlines’ commitment to Wellington with their imaginative routing and hope other airlines see fit to do the same.

Anyway, here are a small handful of photos from today.

First up, 9V-SRM (the second airframe to be used on the service after 9V-SRP flew the first two services) approaches the threshold of RWY16.


Next we see a magnificent profile moments before touchdown. I congratulated myself on having put my wider zoom lens on the camera before departing today. This is a very modest crop on a 31mm focal length image!


And finally a shot of it parked at Wellington’s infamous “Rock” international terminal, by this time swarming with airport workers who have around 5 hours to turn it around for the return trip.


Oh, and one more thing. Here’s a bonus pic of a Jetstar regional DHC-8 Q300, VH-TQD just starting its engines for a service to Nelson.