Flight 58, low level flight in brisk NW conditions

Sunday today, having a lesson with Terry in low level flight, that’s at 500ft.

The plan is to go via the Ashley river towards the coast, and then North flying over the beach towards Motunau Island. Then over the hills to Omihi and Waipara, back to Rangiora.

BUT, the wind was from the NorWest, and we knew we might have to change plans……

Take off was good, but yes turbulent weather today. Taking of into the NorWest on RWY25 and leaving the circuit via the downwind leg at normal circuit height 1000ft above ground level. As soon as we were a few miles towards the coast I started descending down to 500ft, and that is quite low…. The air was a bit nicer to us down here, but as soon as we reached the hills from Amberley, the down draft of the NW wind over the hills there was really bad. I am sure it would have been OK higher up, but that’s not what today’s lesson was about. So we turned around and followed the hills towards Waipara. The idea is that you fly at an angle of 45deg with the ridge of the hill when crossing it, so that you can quickly turn if you want to for what ever reason. That’s all today’s lesson was about, knowing how to go across one safely.

When we reached the other side, I followed the State Highway up to Omihi, and turned around back towards Waipara and Amberley, still flying at 500ft above the ground. I am glad I did this lesson, not just for the low level flying and going 45deg across ridges, but also the NorWest wind, and the turbulence’s associated with it. With Terry as instructor I felt safe, but I am sure I would not have flown solo in these conditions. Not ready for it, but good to experience them. Its like being in a washing machine, up, down, left right…..Β  Just have a look at the landing video below, gives you a little bit of an idea about the wind.

I call it a solid landing, suddenly lost airspeed and got onto the ground, without bouncing !

Tomorrow possibly my “flight test” with Dave before I get my Advanced Local pilot licence. Will let you know how that went πŸ™‚

Flight 57, 3 forced Landings

Yes another Saturday, another flight. A strong NorWester blowing yesterday. Today more of that but it looked like this morning was going to be ok, just not as strong. And yes nice and calm this morning, but signs of the NW on the sky !!

Getting VERY close now to my Advanced Local pilot licence.

I met with Dave the head instructor who has been instructing me until a couple of months ago, and Terry my current instructor. They were sorting out at what stage I was and get me ready for my Advanced Local pilot licence.

While they where talking they send me off, Solo, into the local training area, about 10nm NorthWest of Rangiora, to perform a number of Forced Landings. You basically find a nice padlock into the wind, and simulate a landing , starting at an altitude of 1500ft above ground. The same height you join an airstrip.

Click HERE to see the map below:

3 Forced Landings

When I found a place to land, on the left of me, I closed the throttle, and started descending in the “down wind” leg to about 1000ft. Then turning left (base leg), still descending as the engine has not enough power to fly, until I got to about 800ft, turning into finals.

When in finals, the idea is to aim at the back of the paddock, and when you are ABSOLUTELY sure you are going to make it, you start “side slipping” in order to land just after the fence at the beginning of the paddock.

I went as low as about 100ft, applied power again and flew away 😊

In the map above you see 3 Forced Pretend Landings.

The first paddock wasn’t good ! Had a power line going straight across, not a good place to land !! I didn’t abort that “landing”, just continued this practice landing, staying well clear of the lines.

I wanted another place to practice and found one not far from there. Did 2 more “landings” and felt it was going better every time.

This is also one of these things I suppose, that you need to keep on practicing. Just like a normal circuit, but somewhere in a paddock.

When I got back, I explained to Dave and Terry how it all went, and they were satisfied.

In the mean time they spoke about my progress, and decided that there was one more thing I had to do:

Flying low level, that’s 500ft, the absolute minimum. The plan is to fly to Lees Valley at about 500ft over the ridge to get there and do some low flying there. Then back over the Weka Pass via Amberley !

After that one more thing, a test flight with Dave. He basically asks me to do a few tasks and if all of that goes well, and it should, I get my Advanced Local pilot licence.

So yes almost there ! 😊😊

Acrobatics talk

No I haven’t gone crazy !!!!Β  πŸ™‚

Won’t be doing acrobatics, but we had a very interesting talk here at the club. Our guest speakerΒ Andrew Love, an accomplished aerobatic pilot.

I met Andrew a few times in Omaka during the last two Easter shows, and knew he was building an acrobatic bi-plane. Super nice guy.

Anyway, the reason we invited him here because we want learn more from him. One thing in perticular:


A spin is a state of the plane where its not flying anymore, and literally spinning to the ground ( the earth in yoga terms πŸ™‚ )

You get into this situation when the plane stalls and basically falls side ways. Probably because one wing stalls before the other.

This is all good when you are really high and have altitude left to recover. But when low, like in your finals, or somewhere else in the circuit you DON’T want to be in this position !!!!!

To avoid this, make SURE the plane is IN BALANCE using the slip indicator. Oh yes make sure you are flying, so have enough speed πŸ™‚


Recovering , if you have enough height its “easy“, but something we might want to practice with Andrew as our instructor, in an acrobatic type plane. Its done following these few instructions:

  • Engine IDLE

  • Stick NEUTRAL

  • OPPOSITE rudder

According to Andrew, you will be out of your spin within one revolution.

Oh and by the way you could easily have dropped (fallen down) 500ft …………



Flight 56, XC ForrestField, Oxford, Amberley

The weather this weekend wasn’t looking good, so planned a Cross Country trip for today, early start as usual, before work !
Paul had just installed a new windscreen, yes looking very shiny πŸ™‚
I was planning the reverse of last week. Starting in Rangiora, via Cust, past Forest Field, do another loop around home, then around Oxford. And instead of going to Lowborn Abbey like last time, my plan was to follow the foothills towards Amberley, and then back to Rangiora via the Sefton Chipmill.
And yes that all went beautifully well !

Brand new windscreen

Took off towards the west on RWY25 and straight towards Cust, staying at 1200ft, the circuit height, avoiding any aircraft that would be joining (at 1700ft). But today was very quiet. Didn’t see any one. Heard one plane flying around Burnt Hill, sort of the direction I was going to and later on one doing circuits in Rangiora. So yes had the sky to myself !!!!

Below Forest Field. Didn’t take a photo of it last week with all the radio frequency hoha.. Its just to the right of the centre:

Forrest Field

The views are just amazing. None of these photos with my little “plane camera” justify it. You just have to experience it yourself πŸ™‚
Lots of little irrigation reservoirs on farms, lots of roads, easy to navigate as I know the area quite well.
Next I looped home again, see log at the bottom of his post, and around Oxford with the super market just left of the centre:


Now going to the North East, following the foothills, below the first hill past Oxford. It is named A9V4, funny name that I found on a topographic map, and the Lees Valley Rd going up on the right :


Ashley Gorge with the camping ground, a bit hard to see, but the bridge and river were we swim in summer clearly visible:

Ashley Gorge

Then Glentui, where we regularly go for a walk. That’s in the back, a nice peaceful loop walk there:


Here is Mt Grey with lots of forestry. I felt a bit un easy here with all the forest below me. No where to land if I had to, but NO problems so all good.
Just on the horizon on the right is where I went a few weeks ago with Terry, via the Weka pass, to Culverden :

Mt Grey / Maukatere

And around Oxford, with the new Countdown shop in the centre, back on my way home again :


Just a shot of the Sefton Chipmill here as it was’n “smoking” enough last time:

Sefton Chipmill

Yes had a good time again.
Before I left home, I checked the MetFlight weather report and it had:
15kt wind @ 1000ft 340deg,
15kt wind @ 3000ft 300deg and,
20kt wind @ 5000ft 290deg.
So thats all between North and West.
Well I definitely could feel that. Little “bumps” in the air all the time, especially flying along the foot hills, making me feel a bit up tight, basically waiting for a big one !
But luckily that never came. Just have to get used to them, and relax a bit more, but be ready for when it happens πŸ™‚

If you click on THIS LINK a new tab opens with the map you see below, GREAT :

Cross Country; RT FF Oxford Amberley RT

Flight 55, first solo XC

Yes did my first solo XC (Cross Country) today.

Basically means you leave the airport where you are based and go somewhere else and navigate a bit πŸ™‚

So yes, arrived just after 0700 I think it was and there she was :

The hanger where KNZ lives

I did all my checks, filled up the petrol tanks and rang Terry. We were talking about the wind conditions and he gave me the OK. It was nice and calm, with a bit of a NE wind, not a lot. But I know it would get stronger.

This is the map I was using for my trip:

Today’s map

So basically starting in Rangiora, going anti clockwise.

First point to fly to was the Sefton Chipmill. Easy to spot as it always has lots of white smoke coming from the chimney, but not today. Just a little bit:

Sefton Chipmill

Flying North just past Amberley, my next turning point was Dave’s property. He has his own private “SHORT” runway. I spotted it from a distance (can you ?). So yes all good :

Dave’s runway

That’s the way to Oxford. A nice day, but a bit of fog ahead of me !! I noticed it driving away from home this morning:

That’s the way to Oxford

Beautiful views:

Just a nice view

Next turning point was Loburn Abbey. I’ve seen it many times before, but never approached it from the East. But again I didn’t have any problems finding it:

Loburn Abbey

And yes getting closer to Oxford with more and more fog! Beautiful views towards the North, looking at Mt Thomas:

Towards Oxford, looking at Mt Thomas

As the fog was to thick, I decided not to go all the way to Oxford, but stay on the edge of the fog, and turn at Harewood Rd. Easy to recognize as I have driven there lots of times. Here you see the little single lane bridge across the Eyre river:

Harewood Rd single lane bridge across the Eyre river

And yes I wanted to circle around our house. Its a bit to the right from the centre, with the drive way loop and the white looking shed πŸ™‚ :

Our house
Our house

Everything was going fine, until I got closer to Forrest Field, my next turning point, the air strip not far from us. I spotted it straight away.

I saw a plane not far from me, but quite a bit higher. So I radio-ed him that I could see him. A few seconds later I saw another plane coming towards me, at the same altitude, so I started turning right, that’s one of the “right of way” rules in aviation, internationally. He descended and went under me. All looking safe, didn’t feel in danger at all at any time. Next someone called me on the radio saying that I was on the wrong frequency ! OOOOOPS

I apologized and quickly changed frequency, and reported my position, altitude and my intentions.

I completely forgot to change frequency. I blame the fog, as it changed my plans,

So important to use the right channel !!!!!!!!!!

Won’t do that again. So no photo of Forest Field.

Next turning point was Cust. Yes looking good, almost home:


I found Rangiora no problem and had a really good landing, considering there was a lot of wind now, a lot more then when I left.

If you click on THIS LINK a new tab opens with the map you see below. And if you zoom in, you can see the turning points that I photographed, GREAT :


So yes had a really good time. Seen fog from above, had beautifully views, made a mistake with my frequency (hopefully learned from it) and had a really good landing. So yes happy !!!

Oh yes rang Terry when I landed to “terminate” my SAR time ( Search And Rescue ). If I wouldn’t have arrived on time they would start looking for me πŸ™‚

Flight 54, XC to Culverden

Today I did my first real Cross Country (XC) lesson. Got an email from Terry a few days ago with his plan to fly with me to Culverden. This is about 50km in a straight line North of Rangiora.

It was a bit foggy this morning at home, but some of my plane friends told me it was nice and clear in Rangiora, so all good !

Left home at 0700, to prepare the plane and be ready for 0800. Just a beautiful day again.

Filling up

Today I mounted a camera on my headset (see photo below taken mid flight) to show you what it looks like during the flight πŸ™‚

Terry (left) and me

The video you see below is a bit on an angle, sorry… Yes in the video, you see my cap on the left. The video is 5 bits joined together:

  • 0:00 / 2:21 : Taking of in Rangiora
  • 2:21 / 4:42 : Flying towards the Hurunui river
  • 4:42 / 5:35 : Air strip in Culverden in sight
  • 5:35 / 6:12 : Flying in cross wind, last good check of runway
  • 6:12 / 6:57 : Landing in Culverden

So yes, flew from Rangiora, via Amberley (just to the West) where I changed frequency as that area is using a different radio frequency. Then via the Weka Pass to the Hurunui township, and towards Culverden. On the way I made about 4 or 5 radio calls to tell “every one” where I was, how high I was flying and where I was going ……

The air strip in Culverden is long and nice and smooth, owned by the local council. So when I arrived at 1500ft above ground level, I had a good look at the wind sock to find out the wind direction and decided to land on the “Northern Vector”, descending to 1000ft on the non-traffic side of the circuit into the wind. Then fly through the cross wind part of the circuit, into the downwind sector, still at 1000ft. Finally descending through the base sector to 500ft, and turning into the final sector into the wind again and landed.

Just landed in Culverden

We had some morning tea and a drink. before I went flying again. On my own this time, doing 3 circuits. Somehow my landings get better every time. must be getting used to doing it ! Nice photo below of me landing πŸ™‚

Solo landing in Culverden

After my 3rd circuit, Terry jumped into the plane again, and we flew back to Rangiora. Same route: 3000ft over the Weka Pass, 2500ft past Amberley, and down to 1700ft towards Rangiora. There I did a right hand circuit and landed on runway 25 (magnetic direction 250deg) and made a perfect landing.

Yes Terry was very happy with how I did everything, and cleared me to do XC trips !!!Β  I still need to call him before I go but good progress today !!!!!

Terry just checked with Mike, another instructor. They want me to do a solo XC now from Rangiora, to Oxford, to Amberley and back to Rangiora. This is about an 1 hr trip ! So that’s what I will be planning for next Saturday hopefullyΒ  πŸ™‚Β  πŸ™‚Β  !!!!

Flight 53, RW04

Decided to fly early Sunday morning. Yesterday we had strong North Easterlies, and the same forecast for today.

I arrived early, around 7, and yes the wind had already picked up. But after last weeks North West winds, I wanted to try it out again.

I was ready doing my pre-flight checks, and rang Terry. I assumed he would be home, but it turned out that he was on his way to the airport as well. Only 2 minutes. So yes when he got here, he gave me the OK to fly. I assume he wanted to see me fly, and keep an eye on me πŸ™‚

I told him I wanted to use the shorter runway (RW04) as thats pointing nicely into today’s wind.

Yes I took of from RW04, and flew my circuit. The plan was to fly a few circuits, and then decide what to do, stop or go flying somewhere. When I left there was no one else in the circuit, but soon after I took off, I had someone, Victor Charlie Charlie I think, ask me what the vector (runway) in use was. Soon I saw him join the circuit. Never saw him land, he must have been behind me all the time…

Anyway, back to my flying….

I flew 3 circuits. The first two touch and go’s weren’t really a landing. As the runway is very short, I only briefly touched down, and then applied power again. I noticed I was drifting sideways quite a bit after turning into the “Cross wind” part of the circuit (first turn left), so yes a lot of wind up there. Apart from that flying went well.

As I was flying a different circuit as the normal one, it all looks a bit different, but that was OK. I started to feel comfortable and was making my decision to leave the circuit during my third circuit.

But then ……. during my 3th final, I suddenly had a big wind gust pushing my left wing down (right wing up…) I banked quite a bit. I did a quick check of my slip indicator, to see what correction I had to make. Luckily that was still in the center.

This is when I decided to stop, and land. The landing went fine I think, can’t remember anymore really. I know I got to a stop halfway on this short runway so that was good.

After I got back to the hangar, I spoke with Terry who had been keeping an eye on me. He told me I made the correct decision. If I would have continued and vacated the circuit, he would have contacted me on the radio, to tell me to come back and land.

So yes happy I did fly this morning. Was only 30 minutes, but feeling good about it. Lots of new experiences !!! Β πŸ™‚

Flight 52, bumpy NW

Yes Saturday again, and we have had a few days of NorWest winds. The same today, but usually they are not as strong in the morning.

So yes I went to the Rangiora air strip and pulled KNZ out of the hangar. I knew it was going to a bumpy flight, but I wanted to fly, to give my body more exposure to turbulent conditions. My plan was to ask Terry if he wanted to fly with me. just as a backup, and to calm “me down”. I am not great in turbulent weather, and used to get air sick, so yes that idea worked well for me.

As soon as I had finished doing the pre-flight checks, Terry arrived, and told me to go solo in the local training area, and enjoy myself. When I told him I wanted to take him as my passenger, he was happy to do that.

So yes, I taxied to runway 25, facing almost perfectly into the wind. We took of very quick with that wind, and slowly climbed up to 1700ft and headed to the “River Junction” reporting point. from there the plan was to fly to Oxford, but we soon realized that the wind was to strong and to turbulent. It wasn’t to bad, but no going to Oxford would be unpleasant. So we turned right towards a local; airstrip “Loburn Abbey”. With the wind in the back that went really quick. With that wind our “ground speed” almost doubled. That’s when Terry decided to go back to Rangiora, and maybe do a few circuits.

So I did a standard circuit overhead join and got into the circuit and landed. We decided to do a few more circuits, so back to the runway and there I went again, still with Terry with me. I wasn’t that worried with him there and not getting “official solo time”. Β At the end of this circuit it got very bumpy for a second, just turning into final. Still feeling very good πŸ™‚

I did one more circuit followed by a perfect landing !!!!!

So yes very happy I went flying this morning. It was only 45 minutes, but my body was feeling good, and that is what I wanted to find out. And yes Terry was happy with how I was dealing with the NorWest wind πŸ™‚

Flight 51, 3 rejoins

This (Monday) morning, I was flying early, just after 0700 !

Woke up normal time for a work day, but instead drove to Rangiora 😊. The weather in the weekend wasn’t great, so decided to fly today.

Got there, ran the engine for a few minutes to warm it up. Stopped it, and did all my checks.

Spoke with Terry on the phone to discuss what the conditions were. Just a nice morning, no wind, and cloudy, just high enough to fly at 2000ft I found out later during the flight.

In the end I did 3 separate flights, with circuit rejoins and a touch and go.

First one, was a short one to a local air strip North, Loburn Abbey. Didn’t land there. That’s where I turned around at 2000ft high, and back to RT.

Second trip was East, via the Ashley river to the river mouth, turned around over the beach, same altitude, and back to RT.

Last one I decided to go West, via “river junction”, and then to Cust before i turned around again. While flying over just, I spotted Evan’s air strip (my test pilot).

All circuit rejoins went really well, as expected. Only heard one plane take off while I was flying. Pretty quiet!

Flying with low cloud went well. It must have been somewhere around 2500ft. I never touched it, but I was close 😊

So yes was a good start to the week.

Hopefully next weekend, will do a cross country to Culverden…..

Flight 50, solo standard circuit rejoins

Another really nice day today. There’s a NorWester threatening on the horizon, but still nice and calm here.

Before we were going to do anything, Terry wanted me to show some Rotor cloud. These are cloud rotating as a result of waves created by mountains. Now we have lots of those, and these ones where really prominent, very similar like the one you see here (the grey looking ones). The main reason he wanted me to see them is that you DON’T want to fly near them, as its very turbulent there ! πŸ™

Rotor cloud

Terry was going to train me officially today on the execution of a standard circuit rejoin. This is basically were you come back from a trip and get into the circuit before you land.

I have done these a dozen times before with Dave and Paul, but it was never signed off in my log book.

We made two short trips away from the circuit, one to Loburn Abbey going North, and another one to the chip factory just East of RT flying at 2000ft.

Then coming back, dropping to 1700ft, and flying flying back to Rangiora, continually looking out for other traffic.

When “overhead”, you make the radio call:

Rangiora traffic, Kilo November Zulu, is overhead, joining left hand 07, Rangiora

Basically saying, hello people from Rangiora, I (KNZ = plane registration) have arrived from a trip at 1700ft altitude and I am joining the circuit, and will land with a left hand turn onto runway 07 😊

As expected this went without a glitch. Oh yes on one of the landings, Terry closed the throttle of the engine, forcing me to do a glide approach. Basically simulating a landing without the use of the engine.

This is where you try to get to the threshold of the runway a bit too high, just to make sure you can make it, and then at the final stages, you side-slip to lose height quickly and land. All going well !

Terry popped out of the plane, and I went solo:

Vacated the circuit, flew to Loburn Abbey at 2000ft, turned around, dropped to 1700ft, and rejoined the circuit, and finished with a perfect landing.

After this, Terry officially cleared me to go solo into the local training area, with a note on my log book. One step closer to my advanced local pilot licence. Weather permitting we will do a cross country flight to Culverden in 2 weeks !! Last weeks trip was a good practice run for that.

Next week hopefully a bit of local flying with a few standard circuit rejoins !!!!

Oh yes, Terry is really happy with how I’m flying!

Happy pilot 😊