Dec 2015 Newsletter here

Last month of the year and into the silly season.
Everything needs to be done by that magical date or else wait 3 weeks.
The predicted drought is yet to bite locally although other regions are not so lucky. Time will
tell what it has in store for HB.
The grass on the field is really growing and the mowing team are doing a great job keeping
the runway and taxi ways tidy. The seed heads are now high enough to contact the props so
confine your manoeuvring to the mown areas only. It’s my favourite time of the year when at
last we can mow a narrow strip and force people to stay on it, rather than wander all over the
field. Last week I took Hamish Ross out to Bob Gunsons in the Rans and that was a good test
for keeping straight. The mown strip there is barely wider than the wheel track. Good
The Rans has had a busy month. We have tweaked the prop and she is performing pretty
much as she did originally. Ross Hatfull is very close to soloing in her again and then we’ll
get him into his Jodel D9. He has one exam to go to complete the 6 required for his RAANZ
We welcome Will Riddell and Mike Fleming as new members to the club. Will as a flying
member on the 152 and Mike an associate member. Mike flies his cub, BPM, out of Hastings
and is part of the exec team at HBEC aeroclub.
As part of the annual maintenance check on BEF, the Tiger, last month, a crack was found in
one of the engine mounts. This is still being repaired as I write so unfortunately she is out of
the air until further notice. The joys of operating old aircraft.
The xmas party is being held next Sunday the 13th Dec. more on this later.
The annual New Years day fly in to Betty and Athol Sowrys strip at Woodville is planned
again. This is always a great day and a wonderful BBQ lunch is always served for a $10
donation. This year, Betty and Athol made a generous donation from the 2015 fly in to the
Club for the xmas party. This as well as a donation from Dianne and Peter Harris from the
dinner night they guest cheffed at earlier in the year, will mean that the children will be well
catered for at this years club party. Thank you very much for your generosity.
The J3 cub, AHD, has some new tyre tubes and a new ARA and is now back in the air.
Expect to see more of this wonderful aeroplane gracing the local skies, although owner, John
Armstrong has had an op on his own starboard wing and will be waiting for a little more
strength and dexterity in the control system before exercising the old girl.
Lindsay McNichol has been exercising the Yoeman Cropmaster in the local circuit from time
to time. It is being housed at Robin Langslow’s hangar at Otane until Lindsay gets his hangar
built on the Waipuk field. He is going through the consent process with CHB District Council
at the moment so hopefully that goes ok although going on recent publicity, I wouldn’t hold
my breath.
The following from CC Richard Bradley.
Members and Families Christmas Party.
Sunday 13th December.
Father Christmas will arrive about 5-30 with a barbecue tea to follow. All children will get a
small gift purchased with funds donated by two of our members. The club will provide steak
and sausages and we would be most grateful if you are able to bring a salad of any sort to go
with that or a sweet slice to have later. Thank you.
The club will be attending the News Years Day fly in at Atherby Farm near Woodville. This
is reputed to be the first fly-in in the world for the year. Athol and Betty put on a very good
lunch for a small donation and there is always a good crowd and a number of interesting
aircraft present . Please let Ross know if you are interested so arrangements can be made.
We are presently working on a date for the Bone of contention clay bird shooting challenge
with Dv and Hs. A venue has been chosen which is very interesting and we are trying to find
a date when there is nothing else on but looks like Mid Feb 2016 .
As our club is not a member of Flying NZ we are not directly represented at a National level
as a club but many of our members belong to other organisations who are . These other
organisations include RAANZ, SAA, Gliding NZ and AOPA. All these organisations belong to
a National organisation called NZ Aviation Federation. {Stick with me –this is important}
NZAF has recently had considerable success negotiating various concessions with the CAA.
First up is a reduction of $100 in the medical application fee. In my opinion it is still far too
high but this is a good start. The ARA is to be extended to two yearly for private aircraft
starting in the New year. This is a considerable saving obviously. Free Met for everyone--just log on to IFIS and save the login and all information is availble there for FREE at the
click of a button. It is understood that solo on an RPL is still in the pipeline so this will
almost elimate medical costs for those who want to learn on or continue to fly a GA aircraft
and carry one passsenger. [Pilot plus 1.] With loans from their members NZAF was able to
increase its share holding in ASPEQ Ltd [google it] to 70% and this is already proving to be
a very worthwhile investment. CHB aero club made a loan to NZAF for this purchase at a
very good interest rate. AOPA members also have a DOC concession available for a small
cost so we can land on DOC strips [Boyd] whenever we want. In the North Island we only
have two but there are dozens in the SI and this is a very worth while membership to have if
you are going down there. You can support this excellent work by others in gaining these cost
concessions for us by joining any one of the organisations mentioned above. AOPA
membership also gives a considerable discount on fuel with Z energy and Fly buys on every
Fiordland Trip May 2016. Expressions of interest to Richard, Barry or Ross.
Happy and safe flying to you all in 2016. Richard
The following from Adam Butcher. One of CHB Aeroclub’s success stories.
The Kepler Track Overfly $225 per adult.
The Kepler Challenge $230 per adult.
Hi, my name is Adam Butcher. In 2004 I achieved my PPL with Ross Macdonald at the CHB
Aero club. I moved to Waipukurau to immerse myself in the culture of the Aero club and
Tiger Moth, and thoroughly enjoyed my 2 years in town. 11 years on, I’ve been fortunate to
be able to follow my dreams of flying vintage aircraft, having enjoyed a variety of
commercial flying in NZ and Australia.
3 years ago I moved to Te Anau, a little township 2 hours south of Queenstown and Milford
Sound. We’re lucky to enjoy a seasonal tourism offering on the shores of Lake Te Anau - the
second largest lake in NZ (although the greatest volume of fresh water in Australasia). I
arrived here with tasks - one being to fly the DH Dominie around the National Park giving
scenic flights. Thank you Ross for teaching me about historic British aircraft, it’s all come in
handy many times over!! There’s nothing like managing a 10 seat 2.5 tonne taildragger with
neglibgle differential braking, a fully castoring unlocked tailwheel, fixed pitch propellers,
and a large slab sided fuselage to capitalise on every bit of the basic training that the Tiger
offered. Go and fly that special aircraft, you owe it to yourself!! The lessons you’ll learn will
come in handy at the most unexpected times in any aircraft you choose in time.
One of the joys of living on the edge of the Fiordland National Park is the easy access to the
60km long Kepler Track – one of the great walks of NZ. One of 9 in the country, 3 of them
here in Fiordland. There’s something about this place that makes me feel at home. Perhaps
the large amounts of oxygen, the freshness of the air, or the freedom to exist without crowds
of people impeding progress. Having flown around the track in the Dominie, and then again
in C172, 206, and 185 I felt I had a pretty good idea of what this walk consisted of. 5.6km of
easy flat walk from the Control Gates on the Waiau River to Brod Bay, and then an 8.2km
climb up to the Luxmore Hut at 3,560ft. Then a bit more of a climb on the ridge lines, some
switch backs down into the valley on the other side, a walk out to the next lake south and
In July this year two things happened. I signed up to run the Kepler Challenge, and started
helping with winter maintenance on ZK – DRH, the local C206 Float Plane. The Kepler
Challenge because… well… I like a challenge, and the float plane because it’s something
that has always fascinated me, and I wanted to learn as much as I could about the aircraft
during heavy maintenance. I was very lucky to be offered flying time in exchange for my work
on the ground, and imagined a couple of hours to balance the time I spent taping rivet lines
in fuel bladder tank cavities, fitting new mixture and throttle cables, finding and removing
corrosion, and listening to everything the engineers had to share.
Then my training started. For the Kepler Challenge, and for managing an aircraft on the
water. Love at first flight with the float plane. What an incredible freedom to be able to
access parts of the park which had not been an option previously. It doesn’t feel strange to
land on water if you’ve thought about what you’re about to do. There’s no moment of panic
as you flare looking for 3 green. It’s just the right place to be, and the landings are smoother
and easier to grease on than a land plane. Having large floats feeling for the water through
ground effect gives the feeling of landing on a cushion of air prior to settling gently on the v
of the Edo floats.
Training for the Kepler was a little less love, and a little more hard work!! I’m pretty slack at
training for running races, justified by needing to keep reasonably relaxed and refreshed for
flying. However, the thoughts of 60km of alpine track to conquer did make me sit up and take
notice. Having only run 30 km previously in the shorter Luxmore Grunt, I figured I was going
to have to be a little cleverer about planning this time around.
Very surprisingly I was put through a rating. I tend to never have expectations about what
may eventuate, and was delighted to have this opportunity. I felt much less guilty when I
understood this gave the company redundancy in time should anything change. There were
some days of pretty intense concentration when learning step turns on the water (getting the
aircraft “up on the step” at speed and flat turning holding wings level with out of turn
aileron – Tiger taught me a part of this lesson) and rough water handling. I truly enjoyed the
sailing aspect of the rating – taxiing towards a beach, turning at the last moment while
shutting down and raising the water rudders, and then “sailing” backwards onto the shore
with the wind and steering with rudder. Very rewarding when achieved, an interesting
exercise for picking the winds and water movement to end up in the right spot.
I’d like to say that the Kepler Challenge training was going as well, but for many reasons
which don’t seem too important now, I was putting in less time than I imagined. I’d run
around the township every now and again, and took a little boat to Brod Bay to run up the
hill a little. I really enjoy being out there, but it seems to take me a moment to remember to
go and do it. Funny!! I was enjoying the brief excursions, and celebrating every moment of
living in a beautiful part of the world. Perhaps I had it in my mind that it was going to
manageable – after all, I’d flown around it many times, and knew every turn and landmark.
During the last month many things have changed. The ownership of Wings And Water has
changed, and I’m now a fulltime float plane pilot, working for the new owner. A very new
float plane pilot with lots more to learn, and really enjoying the challenge of operating
commercially vs. flying when the weather is good without the addition of ensuring a smooth
ride for passengers with a well flowing commentary. Interestingly, the challenges are not so
much with flying, but with learning routes and alternates, and understanding the weather. As
I sit here writing I’m constantly torn, thinking I should be taking people flying as the sun is
out, the winds are light, and there are enough blue patches to brighten travellers spirits. Yet
all the passes are closed, there are 4 kt winds gusting 30kts in Doubtful Sound. Every now
and again the office will get a wind gust which howls through the window seals, which
reminds me I made the right decision.
Saturday was the big day. By uncanny coincidence it turns out I had been preparing for the
Kepler Challenge more than I realised. In addition to the minimal training I had put myself
through with the support of other running friends, I had also been consuming carbohydrates
in the form of beer and doughnuts during the week prior. At 6 am the starting horn sounds,
and 450 lean, keen, running machines jog off into the Beech Forest. Gear checks are
compulsory due to the changing nature of the weather, and with a predicted -6 for wind chill
on the ridge, having a survival blanket, gloves, hat, extra thermals, and a seam sealed jacket
and over pants seemed a fair call. The initial challenge is taking it easy at the start to ensure
you have sufficient at the end of the race. To keep this in perspective, 60km is running from
Waipawa to Napier, but up the side of a 4,829ft mountain and associated ridge lines.
I could bore you silly with every last detail, but here are a few highlights…. It was
fascinating to experience such a change in weather in a relatively small area. Face numbing
wind with low cloud and ice flakes on the tops, sheltered forest with an almost tropical feel,
open spaces with sunshine, grateful for sun showers to refresh. 9 hours and 2 minutes later I
finished the course. I experienced the residual effect of consuming food and water, and the
bursts of energy generated. I hit a wall at 42km, and had to observe the way I was running
and coach myself back, over the next 6km, to a form which would allow course completion. I
celebrated rests and stretching breaks, and while it felt contrary to making progress, these
stops most certainly allowed my body to make it through. I realised that “knowing every turn
and landmark” had no relevance because my 10kph made for a very different navigation
exercise to one conducted at 200kph!!
Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Isn’t this appropriate for anything we do
in life? I’ve flown routes on Google Earth using the flight simulator option and a joystick
(have you tried this?) to gain a better geographical knowledge of the Fiordland National
Park. I’m constantly referring to maps before, during and/or after flight – not to learn the
route I’m following, but the one I’ll need when I’m not able to continue as planned. I study
the weather for the south west corner of the South Island constantly to try to accelerate my
understanding of trending patterns. I’d always wondered if the gear lists were a little over the
top for the run. As it turned out I would have been in trouble if I didn’t have that gear to call
on. How often do we truly prepare for the terrain we’re flying over vs. our departure point
and our expected destination climate?
The day after the Kepler Challenge was an interesting one. My body was tired, and
intelligence was a little distant. My legs felt they’d done enough for a while, and chose the
couch. 2 hours in the bath after the race, and an afternoon on the couch snoozing has me
feeling far better, and mobile today. It’s quite emotionally still quite draining – anything
marginally tugging on my heart gives me a big lump in my throat and dust in my eyes. Funny
how our body deals with exhaustion.
I have a lot to be incredibly grateful for. For having the good health and fitness to be able to
enjoy this beautiful country we live in. To be able to act as an ambassador for aviation and
for NZ tourism when showing our visitors around our corner of paradise. To have been
extended the opportunity to fly floats 3 minutes from my front door, and to have a solid
background in aviation which has allowed this progression.
It’s incredible what we’re all capable of if we have a desire, and truly wish to follow through
on things which are important to us. I wasn’t sure that running 60kms was the cleverest
move, but I’m very grateful for the effort my body put in. No blisters, no cramps, no more
aches than you’d expect, and now enjoying reflecting positively on the day out.
When you’re passing feel free to pop in. I’d love to share what I know of the area and float
planes, and show you around my new home. Keep safe with your flying, and remember – like
some of my recent mooring attempts in a rolling swell and high winds – you can always have
another crack at a situation if you have back up plans and options. On a number of occasions
now I’ve reached out to dock and only been centimetres away, and yet let the aircraft drift
away, start up and have another go – rather than being the guy on the wharf or in the water
watching the aircraft only centimetres away drawing away from me!! Even though that may
mean putting pride on hold momentarily. And when you know the time’s right to commit, you
might choose to come and experience the Kepler Track – either as a stunning 3 day walk,
staying in beautiful huts – or in just one day if you’re up for the Challenge.
$230 to enter the race, or $225 to come and experience the track and it’s surrounds from the
water and the air with me in the float plane in 20 minutes……. You have options!!
Regards to you all, celebrate the wonderful atmosphere of the CHB Aero Club, and fly the
Thanks Adam. It’s great to see someone living the dream, having started that dream at
The other thing you can thank Adam for this month is that there is little room left or any star
Tough!! I can’t let you finish the year without some higher learning:
Jupiter, Mars and Venus are all in the morning sky. Saturn joins them at the end of the
month. At the beginning of December Jupiter rises around 2:30 a.m.; reducing to 12:30 a.m.
by the 31st. It is a bright golden-coloured 'star' shining with a steady light. Venus is up
around 4 a.m., a brilliant object bright enough to cast shadows in dark locations. Mars is
between the two bright planets, looking like a medium-bright reddish star. Jupiter and Mars
rise steadily earlier while Venus stays put in the dawn. In the second half of the month Mars
is near, then passing below, the bluish-white star Spica the brightest star in Virgo. At the end
of the month Saturn emerges from the dawn twilight below and right of Venus, at the bottom
end of the diagonal line of planets. The crescent moon will be close to Venus on the morning
of December 8th.
The Geminid meteor shower peaks on the morning of the 15th. The meteors appear to come
from the constellation of Gemini, low in the northeast at midnight, moving to the north by
dawn. The meteors are clumps of dust from a comet. Friction with the air heats them up and
makes the air around them glow.
That’s all from me for the month and the year.
I wish you all a happy festive season and hope that 2016 brings you all happiness, health and
Most of all I wish you safe and enjoyable flying.
Take The Spoon Out Of The Sink.
Stop Press!!
As I go to print, heard today that the medical application fee went up to $403 due to the
lesser number of medicals being processed. The reduction that Richard mentioned in his
piece is not yet set in concrete but looks achievable due to negotiations along the line of the
medicals helping to keep the public safe by preventing pilots becoming incapacitated at the
controls and airplanes raining down on the innocent public. Despite the fact that this has
never happened yet in NZ. So—the “public” are looking like they will be charged for half the
cost of the class two medical.
Ross Macdonald