Helicopters at the old Kaikoura Railway Station.

I passed through Kaikoura twice in the last three weeks and captured three of Kaikoura Helicopters machines on site. When not on site they are hangared just out the northern end of town.

Below is Robinson R44 Clipper 11 ZK-HLE2, c/n 10466, in landing mode on 23-02-2010. It was acquired new via Skysales Aviation in October of 2004.

Above is Robinson R44 Raven 11 ZK-HLD5 c/n 11972, as seen on 07-02-2010. Also purchased new via Skysales in July of 2008.
Above is the old timer of their fleet. The Bell 206B JetRanger 11 ZK-HBO2 c/n 570. This was listed to Kaikoura Helicopters on 21-05-2002; prior to this it had been on lease from James Scott.

They have recently acquired the Robinson R44 Raven 11 ZK-HLM2 c/n 12466 (which has been a stock helicopter with Skysales) and their Robinson R22 Beta ZK-HKK3 c/n 4134 which they picked up on 22-09-2008 has been traded back to Skysales and was re-registered as ZK-HQZ2 on 10-02-2010.

Rutan Proteus photo collection

NASA has nice photo collection. If you like the looks of the Proteus (in my opinion it is one of the most beautiful aircraft ever done), have a look:

Airplane design from structural efficiency point of view combined with aerodynamics point of view - multi-domain optimization

So far I have been looking only the aerodynamics side, but it is quite evident that compromises are needed on the aerodynamics side to achieve the best structural efficiency. I think one good example is Virgin Global Flyer (Scaled Composites model 311). I have not analysed yet the structure, but common sense says that trimaran has weight placed more evenly along the wing span avoiding a very large point load in the middle where the single fuselage would normally exist. The trimaran may have more wetted area than a single fuselage, but on the other hand, weight savings in the very high aspect ratio wing and space gains for the extra fuel are in this concept very important factors.

I find the trimaran configuration quite interesting - several different engine placement configurations for example can be used with this configuration without changing the aerodynamic shape of the concept very much. It is also interesting because it allows placement of the main gear away from the center fuselage and thus provides greater stability on the ground when the aspect ratio is high even if there is fuel placed to the wings very far away from the center of gravity. And as can be seen the same design suits several different missions: Global Flyer is very much like White Knight 2 with SpaceShipTwo under it on the center. Almost the same configuration, adapted to different kind of mission for very different kind of parameters (Global Flyer = long range cruise, White Knight 2 = optimized for climb).

Global flyer drawing Google found from some site
Wikipedia has another great photo, this is from front

The configuration is not really so new and not so unproven either, as people might expect, here is one example where a similar configuration has been used a long time ago:
Northrop Widow
The only difference here is that the Northrop Widow was optimized for different mission than either of the abovementioned and that it had piston engines in front of the outer "fuselages" which were interconnected from the tail section similarly than in Adam A500 whereas the Global Flyer and White Knight Two have two separate tails. It is quite apparent why the tails are separate in these aircraft - because the outer fuselages are placed so widely apart from each other, connecting the tails would have made the tail unnecessarily large which would have caused negative effect for the drag despite it would have had fewer intersections. On the other hand, I have been looking different HALE concepts, and it is quite apparent that the number of intersections is not the major drag source in high altitude aircraft, but the induced drag is, and to minimize induced drag, more intersections can be allowed as the penalty from them is lesser than limiting the aspect ratio would be. This is why there are even some concepts considered at the moment which have wing struts - even if everybody knows that they produce drag, in some concepts, the significance of that drag can be proportionally small whereas the increased aspect ratio has major effect on minimizing the total drag of the aircraft. HALE aircraft have to be quite different than those which are designed to cruise at low altitude, the drag percentages of each contributors are quite different and "one size does not fit all".

It is quite interesting area to explore when the structural efficiency is added to the equation in addition to the aerodynamics and the result is a compromise on both structures and aerodynamics instead of being optimized for either aerodynamics or for structures. The mission parameters tend to heavily affect both and best suited results can be achieved by combining these two and by knowing the intended use exactly, potentially bigger gains can be realized than in a concept that is a general purpose in everything (GA = GENERAL aviation).

TAV ready for takeover

Skopje Airport
After numerous delays the Turkish company, Tepe Akfen Ventures, will take control over Macedonia’s 2 international airports, Skopje and Ohrid, on Monday March 1, the A1 network reports. TAV will control the airports until 2030 and will invest 200 million Euros for the upgrade of existing facilities and the construction of new ones. According to the deal signed between TAV and the Macedonian Government 2 years ago, TAV has to construct a completely new modern terminal at Skopje Alexander the Great Airport with the existing runway being enlarged while communal infrastructure, a car park and a cargo building would be built together with the main project. Meanwhile, Ohrid’s St. Paul the Apostle Airport would go under complete reconstruction and modernization with a new car park, cargo building and VIP section to be built. Finally, the project outlines that a cargo terminal would be built in Štip in Eastern Macedonia.

Speaking to the media, TAV said that Macedonia urgently needs a national carrier. Nearly a year after the collapse of MAT Macedonian Airlines several companies have tried and failed to create an airline in Macedonia. Jat’s Aeromak did not receive a license permit while Dubrovnik Airline’s Mont Air license request is still pending, despite the airline’s optimism with one aircraft already painted in Mont Air colours. Finally, Kontiki Travel, a tour operator in Serbia, announced that it was creating Mat Airways although there has been no fresh news on this project of late. TAV says that with fierce regional competition, Skopje and Ohrid airports can only grow if Macedonia has a national carrier. This, in turn, would lead to lower ticket prices for Macedonian travellers. TAV has said that it is trying to attract companies to set up an airline in Macedonia.

Furio LN27 RG: By Falcomposite Out Of Falco

In my last post on Falcos at the SAANZ Flyin, I made the comment that the Furio was inspired by the Falco.

The Northern Microlight Flyin at Parakai yesterday offered a good opportunity to compare the old and new "thoroughbreds".

In this view you can see the close resemblance between ZK-LLG and ZK-TBD. Both aircraft are dimensionally very similar with the Furio being about 170mm longer while the wingspans are almost identical. Both have top speeds of around 220 mph with 180 HP motors and rates of climb in excess of 1000 fpm. The Furio is around 60 Kg heavier and has 400 Kg of useful load against the Falco's 300Kg. However the big difference is that the Furio is made from a small number of pre moulded carbon fibre components whereas the Falco is made from wood which needs a lot of work to achieve the compound curves.

15 Furio kits have been sold to date, in counties including Australia, South Africa and the USA. At least 3 other kits have been sold in New Zealand, with the second aircraft, Neil Sutherland's ZK- NJS close to being finished at the Falcomposites hangar at Ardmore. This aircraft is painted Ferrarai red. Another example is being built in Queenstown and is also well advanced.

The Furio's lines are every bit as stunning as the Falco's but modern moulding techniques have made attaining the curves much easier. ZK-LLG even has the name "Furio" moulded into the top of the wing without effecting the smooth surface!

And finally another view of the Furio landing after a its demonstration at Parakai.
The Furio has a website if you are interested: http://www.falcomposite.com/

A couple of Cessna 185's

On my recent doddle around the top of the South I came across these two Cessna 185's
ZK-VKE Cessna 185A c/n 185A-0297 was registered to Hugh Bethell ; now of Waikari, North Canterbury; on 04-07-2005. It was spotted on the Pirikawa strip alongside SHI north of the Clarence River on February the 8th. Its colour scheme has changed slightly since its arrival here. The dark blue fuselage strip was originally a dull yellow. It served in PNG from new in 1962 until moving to Australia in the 80's. It ferried into Auckland on 22-04-2005.

Below is the Cessna 185D ZK-CKO c/n 185D-0790. Imported new into NZ by Rex Aviation and registered on 16-02-1965 for delivery to Wanganui Aero Work. After another half a dozen owners it was listed to F J Larsen of Upper Waitotara on 09-08-1973. By 1978 it was relisted to F J & J W Larsen and traded under the name of Ngamatapouri Air Service. A name change under Jim Larsen to Remote Adventures Ltd of Wanganui was listed on 08-01-2004.
It is based at Takaka and caters for walkers of the Heaphy Track and the odd charter. It is also still seen at Jim's farm inland from Wanganui.
An earlier blog on this aircraft can be seen at :-

Tough start for Croatian airports

Rijeka Airport
In January, passenger numbers at Croatian airports declined significantly compared to the same month in 2009. All of the major airports, with the exception of Osijek and Rijeka saw passenger numbers slide. Zadar and Pula suffered the most with passenger numbers declining by 38.3%. Split saw 22.832 passengers, a decline of 15.7% compared to January 2009. The country’s largest airport, Zagreb, experienced a 10.4% decrease, handling 124.676 passengers last month. The reduction in passenger figures can be somewhat justified. In January 2009 Croatia hosted the World Handball Championships which caused an increase in passenger numbers. The cities that hosted the event were Split, Zadar, Osijek, Varaždin, Poreč, Zagreb and Pula.

On the other hand, Osijek and Rijeka, the two cities which did not host last year’s event managed to increase their passenger volume by 122.2% and 35% respectively. However, it should be noted that Osijek only handled a total of 80 passengers compared to 36 last year, explaining its remarkable growth.

Below you can view January’s 2010 results for Croatian airports:

AirportPassengers JAN 2010Passengers JAN 2009Change (%)
Zagreb124.676139.119 10.4
Dubrovnik17.95718.053 0.5
Pula1.2392.009 38.3
Split22.83227.079 15.7
Zadar1.7692.867 34.9
Osijek8036 122.2
Rijeka636471 35.3

Auster c/n 2341 is in good hands.

The link below should take you to the original blog seeking the whereabouts of the Auster J1 c/n 2341.

Well I had the pleasure of checking out its bits and pieces the other day.
It is in very good hands with Steve, not too far from Nelson.

Omaka 22nd of February

Joining overhead at Omaka late on Monday morning.
By my count there are eighteen aircraft (or representations) in this view above.
Care to name them ?
64 kts and 470 feet and turning finals for 30.
Woodbourne is in the distant left.

Jat / Airbus talks

Jat wants ATR instead of Airbus
The French Minister of State for foreign trade Anne-Marie Idrac has arrived in Belgrade for talks with Serbia’s Ministry for Infrastructure with the aim of resolving Jat’s 12 year old order for 8 Airbus A319s. Idrac, in contrast to statements made by East European Airbus vice president Andreas Kramer, said that Jat Airways can purchase regional aircraft from France in exchange for the 8 Airbuses. “The agreement in 1998 is still in force but is not active due to many reasons. One of the reasons I’m in Belgrade is in order for discussion to begin with the aim of resolving this issue”, Idrac was quoted by the Beta news agency. Idrac added that if Jat were to purchase smaller regional jets it would have to sign a new agreement, although she did not specify with whom.

Serbia’s Minister for Infrastructure, Milutin Mrkonjić, said that Serbia was interested in finalising the dispute between Jat and Airbus. He said that he hopes Airbus will be a new partner in Jat’s fleet renewal process.

Jat is keen on modifying the Airbus order to ATR aircraft. Its previous attempts to do so have been rejected by Airbus. Jat has a mixture of Boeing and ATR aircraft in its fleet. It has never had any Airbus aircraft in its ownership.

Question time # 88 resolved

Told you it was easy !
cessna185 wins the prize with J31.
It is indeed the arachnid nesting area under the port wing of a BAe Jetstream J31.
In this case it is ZK-JSI which is parked up along with ZK-JSA at Nelson airport.
Both are still currently registered to Inglis Aircraft Ltd.

ZK-AAS at Rockville 1930.

The above shot is a copy of a photograph on display in the Collingwood museum.
It is listed as "McGregors' Gypsy Moth at Rockville 1930".
Rockville is about 5 or 6 clicks southwest of Collingwood; heading towards Bainham.

DH.60G Gipsy Moth ZK-AAS c/n 1111 appeared on the NZ register in August of 1929 with Hamilton Airways Ltd after import by the agents Air Survey & Transport. In the above photo it carries the fleet number 2 and has some other script on the engine cowling. By November 17th of 1930 W L Oldham appears to have been the operator; It was damaged at Mangere on (next day) 18-11 1930. It was obviously rebuilt following extensive damage. It went to the Wellington Aero Club on 04-01-1933. It suffered some damage at Rongotai on 02-09-1933 but was finally cancelled following extensive damage inflicted during a forced landing near Cape Campbell on 25-12-1936.

P.S. Lying in bed last night and reading the latest copy of NZ Aviation News (as you do) I came across a brief mention of this aircraft in the "Air Mail" section.

Strike cancelled

Normal flight operations on Friday
A strike by Croatia Airlines’ cabin crew has been cancelled after the airline’s management and cabin crew union came to a decision late on Wednesday evening after talks which lasted 12 hours. Thus, all flights will operate by their usual schedule on Friday when the strike was expected to begin. The two sides agree that they will commence new negotiations regarding the modification of the collective work agreement. Croatia Airlines’ management initially planned to introduce a 10% pay cut, a 30% per diem decrease and the loss of other benefits such as meals, annual bonuses and solidarity bonuses. The new terms will be known after talks between the 2 sides resume although the president of Croatia Airlines’ cabin crew union said that the two sides compromised and met half way.

The news will be welcomed by Croatia Airlines’ passengers. The Croatia Airlines cabin crew union said it was forced to go on strike due to unacceptable behaviour on the part of Croatia Airlines’ management.

Question time # 88

A nice easy one to finish the month with.
What aircraft type do we have here ?

Paradise P-1 Insured By Travers

Here’s some notes from a release sent to me by Chris Regis of Paradise Aircraft, maker of the all-metal P-1 SLSA I’ve featured here in the past.
Paradise started in Brazil in 1985, and has its HQ and a big new factory there, as well as the U.S. presence which Chris wrangles along with his dad, Gen. Mgr. Paolo Oliveira.

I also did a story then about Dylan Redd, a paraplegic young man who flies a specially-modified all-hand-control P-1.
Chris is one of the people I look forward to running into at airshows. His constant smile and genuine, sunny disposition bring a lift to the heavy workload.
Back to Paradise, which has just partnered with
Travers & Associates, an aviation insurance brokerage established in 1950.
The company covers P-1s based in the USA with
favorable rates.
Chris Travers
, Sales Mgr. for the insurance company, says: “Paradise aircraft are one of the most insurable Light Sport Aircraft in the world. The outstanding safety record, parts availability, and docile nature also make them one of the least expensive Light Sport Aircraft in the industry to insure.”
Specifics: "A Paradise P1 valued at around $100,000 will cost approximately $1,400 per year to insure for personal use, which would include $1,000,000 in liability coverage.”

I posted Mike Adams’ (V.P., Avemco Insurance) comments here the other day. Insurance underwriters have to make it their job to understand the inherent risks of aircraft coverage, so Travers Insurance’s enthusiastic support of the P-1 is not to be taken lightly.
Chris Travers goes on to say he’s impressed with the 33 knot (full flaps) stall speed and stability of the P-1.
Insurance folk also like welded steel tube crash cages and beefy landing gear too: LSA that have them, including the P-1 (solid aluminum mains), have lower bodily-injury claim rates.
Travers, like Avemco, quotes rates based on the plane’s market value, pilot experience, and other risk factors.
“Because Paradise Aircraft are typically safe and reasonably priced, our rates tend to be very affordable. We work with sport pilots to put together a comprehensive program based on their experience and how often they fly."
I really enjoyed flying the P-1 at Sebring '09. Very stable, easy to land, comfortable, plenty of room behind the seats for storage. The P-1 is a sturdy, proven design worth looking into.

Scale RC Helicopters-How to Guide

I didn’t get the idea of somebody spending countless hours in building a scale rc helicopter model instead of buying one from the store until I built one myself. It came to me that building a scale rc helicopter is a fun of its kind and is not less thrill than flying one.

It gives a lot of accomplishment feeling when you plan, create, machine and build a scale rc helicopter from zero. When you complete building it and everything fits together to give the right look and feel, the happiness you get from it is just immense.

The larger the size of the scale rc helicopter the more realistic it will feel and look but the cost involved will increase in proportion to its size. Scale rc helis can come in 1/30th to ¼ scale sizes, you can choose the size according to your budget. Good scale rc helicopters are made and designed not only to look like actual helicopters but to perform, sound and fly like the real ones too.

There are numerous competitions around the world that are arranged to judge the most closely resembled scale rc helicopter. The professional scale helicopter modelers go to every detail of not only the outside of the heli but all the minor details of inside of the cockpit as well.

scale rc helicopter, scale remote control helicopter

Building a scale rc helicopter can e as simple as buying a kit or it can be as difficult as creating everything from scratch which includes planning and designing. However, if your aim is to fly a scale model helicopter, your best bet is to learn it on Pod and Boom helicopter.
A pod and Boom helicopter is consists of a Pod in the front which encapsulates the machinery of the helicopter. At the rear end of the Pod extends a long tube pipe which usually made up of aluminum, called Boom. The Boom holds the tail rotor of the helicopter.
So, the Pod and Boom helicopter is the basic helicopter design which serves as the base for a scale rc helicopter. Scale Remote Control Helicopter is nothing but a Pod and Boom heli covered in a scale fuselage.

You must have understood by now that the right way to build and fly a scale rc helicopter is to first fly a Pod and Boom Helicopter but still I give you the main reasons to chose them as your first basic learning choice:

beginners rc helicopter

-It becomes very simple to put a scale fuselage on the pod and boom model once you understand the mechanics of it. If you try put together the scale helicopter fuselage in the beginning, the whole process becomes complicated and frustrating. Because you will be required to make some dynamic and static adjustments to your scale model after it is built and when you try flying it the first time. Understanding the ins and outs of the pod and boom basic model makes the whole process understandable to you to the extent that you can do all that adjustments easily.

-Good quality large fiber glass fuselage do not come cheap, in fact a good one can cost you more than the pod and boom kit. You crash your scale fuselage in your first flight and nothing is more disheartening than this because even a small crash will make it useless.

- You need to have a Pod and Boom basic model helicopter in any case even if yu want to fly a scale model, so why not clean your hands on the basic model, understand its mechanics and then buy a scale model fuselage to fix it on the pod and boom model. This is the right way of doing it.

The important thing in deciding which pod and boom rc helicopter kit to buy is that you must make sure that the fuselage of the scale rc helicopter you want can get fixed on the rc helicopter kit you are buying.

If you want to become an aerobatic rc helicopter pilot than scale rc helicopter models are not the choice for you, because the fuselage adds extra weight on the basic model and that is a hurdle in making advanced aerobatic maneuvers.

scale rc helicopter, rc helicopter fuselage, remote control scale helicopter

The choice of material is also a point to consider when buying. The best remote control fuselage and pod covers are made from under mentioned materials:

Carbon Fiber is much expensive material used to make fuselage and pod covers and that is why it is not usually used. However it is the lightest and strongest material. We have seen the price of carbon fiber to come down in recent years which makes it certain that it will be used in making fuselage and pod covers commonly. Be careful in grinding and repairing a fuselage made up of carbon fiber because its dust can cause severe lung infections.

Fiber Glass is the best material for making large rc helicopter fuselages. It is more expensive than other materials used and also is heavier. Cold weather and vibration tolerance is good in fiberglass and it is also easy to make it look like new after little damage.
Polystyrene is used for building mini rc helicopters. It is cheap but provides good cover for small and light rc helicopters.

Polycarbonate is also a light and inexpensive material but used for small rc helicopters. Cold temperatures make polycarbonate brittle in nature that’s why it is not advisable to fly them in winters.

Austin's jet design

x-plane.com website had looked a bit boring lately, Austin's long and interesting changelogs are hidden deep under the menu structure, looks like a design of a web designer lately.

But luckily yesterday I realized that Austin had added a link on top of the page. Small link on top of the web designer blob and that goes directly into an interesting page. Now today there are two links (as there is 9.50 beta for X-plane available too), but this one was particularly interesting in the topic of this blog: The Laminar Research X-1 Cavallo is conceived

Croatia Airlines heads for strike

Unhappy cabin crew to go on strike
It is a week of strikes in the aviation industry. First Lufthansa’s pilots launched a 4 day strike which was suspended late on Monday evening. On Tuesday, the air controller’s union in France began a strike creating delays at Paris airports. Furthermore, British Airways cabin crew voted in support of a strike and Greece’s air controllers are also heading towards a second strike in as many weeks. Croatia Airlines is the latest to be added to the ever expanding list. Cabin crew of Croatia’s national carrier will stop work on Friday, February 26, over a 10% salary decrease. Last ditch negotiations between the management and cabin crew failed, although it did better with 4 other unions which will not be striking.

The cabin crew are unhappy with a proposed 10% pay cut, a 30% per diem decrease and the loss of other benefits such as meals, annual bonuses and solidarity bonuses. The leader of the cabin crew union announced that the union has already agreed to a 5% pay decrease but will not agree to 10% or a per diem decrease of any kind. A total of 160 cabin crew members will be on strike on Friday although, due to law regulations, 20% of cabin crew will have to work which would allow 11 flights to be carried out, Croatian business magazine “Lider” reports. However, as each strike day continues a smaller amount of cabin crew will be required to work.

An airline statement reads that the strike will cost it 600.000 Euros per day, which the cabin crew have labelled as misleading. The airline’s modified schedule for this Friday can be viewed here. Croatia Airlines will publish Saturday’s schedule (February 27) today at 15.00 CET on its website.

Why Diamond uses Wortmann FX63-137?

I have been thinking over and over again why Diamond has chosen the Wortmann high lift airfoil FX63-137 on its aircraft. However, I am suspecting what might be the reason (not confirmed though since anybody on Diamond booth e.g. in Oshkosh is usually never able to answer to my questions). Here is my theory about it:
- The FX63-137 has high L/D at fairly high alpha and thus Cl (as the airfoil is such that the Cl rises rapidly as a function of alpha). This is maybe not the best configuration for cruise where a low drag bucket at low Cl is desirable. On an airfoil which has best L/D at low Cl, the climb has more D component (because high lift devices cause drag) and while getting more L with high lift devices. It might be close to the optimal climb optimisation on the chosen aspect ratio on those planes and compromise is drawn to cruise and it is not seen as a bad thing because competition is not faster but usually slower, it does not take so much to win e.g. a C172 in efficiency and speed after all. So it might be that with a lower drag cruise airfoil e.g. DA42NG with the very heavy diesel engines might have somewhat poorer climb rate on single engine situation or it might not climb alltogether if the airfoil was not optimised to provide low drag on high Cl.
- Comparison between the DA40 and Cirrus SR20 kind of potentially shows this: the Diamond shows significantly better climb rates with a quite similar AR and quite similar wing loading (SR20 takes some toll on that, but not that much in comparison if a light loaded SR20 and heavy loaded DA40 is compared), despite of the fact that the SR20 has more sophisticated flaps and the SR20 has 20 hp more engine power available.
- This can be also evidenced on best climb rate speed: with similar wing loading, the best climb rate speed is much higher on the SR20 than it is on the DA40, which partly indicates that the sweet point in the L/D occurs at lower alpha on SR20 than on DA40. SR20 also requires quite accurate angle of attack and thus speed to climb optimally whereas the DA40 is not that critical which would also indicate that the low drag bucket of the FX63-137 is broader than on the (according to UIUC data site) Roncz airfoil on the SR20.

So this is just my home-brewn theory style thinking, is based on collected information and my experience with flying the Diamond DA40, DA42 and Cirrus SR20 and SR22. I might be wrong as always, but here is some food of thought if you have been thinking why there is this airfoil with high L/D at high Cl and the airfoil also has fairly high pitching moment which some find undesirable because of for example trim drag.

Lufthansa dismisses Croatia Airlines

No deal with Croatia Airlines
Europe’s largest national carrier, Lufthansa, has dismissed media speculation that it will purchase Croatia Airlines, a fellow Star Alliance member. The Croatian website “Tportal” has been informed by Lufthansa that it has not been negotiating with Croatia Airlines about a possible acquisition. Lufthansa refused to comment on additional speculation surrounding the possible purchase. In a statement, the airline said: "We have very good cooperation with Croatia Airlines that we hope will continue. At present, we are concentrating on the integration of Austrian Airlines, British Midland Airways and Brussels Airlines into the Lufthansa Group". Croatian daily “Jutarnji List” reported that Lufthansa was interested in taking over Croatia Airlines after an interview with the CEO of the Croatian national carrier who said that his company had financial problems and could only be saved through privatization.

Meanwhile, about 4.000 Lufthansa pilots have gone on strike for 4 days in a dispute over job security. The carrier has cancelled about 3.000 flights and has warned of delays both domestically and internationally. The strike will also disrupt flights operated by low cost subsidiary Germanwings. Croatia Airlines announced that the strike would not affect the Croatian national carrier, although it will affect the airline’s passengers transiting through Germany to onward Lufthansa flights. Zagreb Airport said that only the Lufthansa flight from Zagreb to Frankfurt scheduled for 14.35 had been cancelled on Monday. Croatia Airlines said it would be willing to accept Lufthansa passengers on their routes between Germany and Croatia. The strike has since been suspended.

In Praise of Skyhawks

I was stimulated to blathering by a couple comments on my 2-part post on Santa Monica Flyer's Charles Thomson the other day.
Thanks always for all comments: very helpful and thought-provoking.

Comment from Anonymous:

Bad rap for the 172 in general. It's one of the safest airplanes to fly, and it has the track record to prove it.
I like the Piper, but let's give it a few years in the air and then compare it to a 172.
Sounds a little like the arrogance of youth. You might want to be careful with that while you're in the air.

AnotherAnonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome looking plane! I want to come fly it. Good luck to you!!

Thanks to both of you. Starting off, I never meant to give the impression Charles Thomson was bad-rapping the C-172. He was justifiably critical of the Skyhawk that broke in flight and delivered him directly to the scene of a nasty crash afterward.
Fortunately there were no major injuries.
But imagine losing power at 1,000 over dense suburban L.A...no thanks.
Obviously Charlie was knocking that particular airplane, and old trainers in general, not the C-172 in particular.
It's no secret our economically-challenged GA training industry has increasingly been forced to use often-dilapidated airplanes just to stay in business.
And of course many fresh versions of the 172 abound since Cessna, as a quick trip to Wikipedia confirms, reintroduced the design in 1996. (Yikes. It's been that long already?)
More than 43,000 Skyhawks in total have been built! There's no bad-rapping such an incredible success story: it's the most-produced civilian airplane in history.
I share the universal high regard for the C-172 and C-150/152 designs. Got many hours in both types myself. They've done their job magnificently!
Still, let's do some straight talking. Of the scores of Cessna 172 photoships I've rented for P&P shoots over the years, the majority were, well, kinda ratty.
Most were flight training airplanes. Often they smelled bad, looked worse, parts were falling off, paint was turning to powder, screws inside and out were missing, and while they weren't unsafe (I'm still here), they sure were way past their prime, (or midlife...or even seniorhood.)
That's not a rap against the airplane.
It is a rap against the extended service life too many schools are forced to put on those airplanes.
Of course, why would a flight school spend $200,000 or more on a new 172 when so many used Skyhawks and 150/152s are available for far less?
That rationale extends to LSA too: If schools can pick up three or four decent C-152s or 172s on the used market for every new $100,000 LSA, why wouldn't they continue to do so? The economics here are a no brainer.
Still, we're talking about perceptions here.
If you're 16, or 18, or 21, do you want to learn to fly in an airplane twice as old as you are? Or if a young newbie's school has newer 172s, but he/she can save $25 or more per hour of instruction by learning in an LSA, which choice do you think they're likely to make, at least for primary instruction?
The notion of students, young and old, being turned on by shiny new airplanes is a human one. We can be excited about that, because God knows GA needs fresh juice.
As the commenter above points out, we don't know how LSAs will hold up.
That's not really at issue though. Sure, the stellar training longevity of Wichita Tin may never be equalled by any LSA. Right now, the job is to keep GA alive, and growing again.
So let's get down with the idea of turning students on to flight again.
I submit that Light Sport can, and already is, doing exactly that.

Nose Gear Collapse Tutorial

Here's a fascinating example of why I love the Net and how it can affect our lives for the better.
Surfing around for LSA tidbits to share with you, I came across an excellent YouTube video.

The poster (mikehoverstreet) spent a fair amount of time crafting this thorough Anatomy Of An Incident discourse, including a scrolling commentary on post-crash theories as well as his ongoing uncertainty about why the accident happened.
There are multiple benefits for us here:

* The pilot's no-ego willingness to take responsibility in the service of greater understanding, (even though many commenters place blame on the instructor!)
* Multiple observations and postings that serve up a consensus on the actual cause
* The value of sharing insights - both in the vid itself and in the many comments, most of which were clearly posted by experienced pilots.

My challenge to you: After you've seen the video, but before you read the comments posted below, study the crash and the slo-mo versions again until you have your own theory as to what happened.
Then read the comments.
Do they jive with your own conclusions?
Were you surprised?
In the pre-web past, how else would we have learned from this incident, unless we read it in an article or were one of the fortunate few in this pilot's circle of acquaintances?
Viva la Internet!

Save Our Souls

Union blasts Government exploits
The independent Serbian aviation union has called upon the Serbian Government to help Jat Airways in its time of need. The union states that the Government has acted irresponsibly towards the airline and its employees. “Somehow foreign carriers in Serbia receive better slots, slashed handling prices and discounted fuel. Unlike other Government owned companies, Jat has never had the right to control its own finances”, the statement from the union reads. “The Serbian Government should only look at the way their British and Austrian counterparts have acted by bailing out their respective carriers numerous times. Everyone wants to take something from Jat but nobody wants to give something back. It’s time that the management of the carrier is not chosen purely on the basis of their political affiliation and privatisation is a must”, the statement reads.

Meanwhile, Jat’s CEO Srdjan Radovanović has admitted that his optimistic 2010 recovery plan is unlikely to be carried out in full due to “unforseen circumstances”. Radovanvić states that Jat’s Macedonian subsidiary Aeromak has failed to receive necessary permits from the Macedonian Government, despite being guaranteed such rights in 2009 from the Macedonian Minister for Transport and Communication himself. The Sky Srpska project in Banja Luka, in which Jat will play a part of, has also been delayed. The CEO states that the airline will probably finish the year with a loss and should be happy with anything over 1.2 million passengers.

Despite its troubles, the airline is said to have had a better than expected February with passenger number anticipated to rise. In March, the airline will launch its summer timetable and select a new company to provide its on board catering service. Despite the lack of information, the lease of 2 Boeing B737-700 aircraft has not been cancelled and has so far not been delayed.

Falcos at SAANZ Tauranga Fly In

The Falco (Italian for Falcon) was designed by Stelio Frati in Italy in 1955, and it certainly has stood the test of time as an aircraft with wonderful lines - try putting some other 1955 aircraft up against it! It has been called "The Ferrari of the Skies" and it surely has Italian flair. In the 1970's the design was purchased by Sequoia Aircraft Corporation of Richmond, Virginia, USA. They have produced kits for the Falco up until today.

The Falco provided the inspiration for the New Zealand designed and built all composite Furio.

Two of New Zealand's Falco's were at the recent SAANZ flyin at Tauranga, looking stunning.

New Zealand's first Falco was ZK-TBD which was built by Syd Jensen at Kerikeri. Commenced in 1980 progress was rapid and outstripped the supply of kits from Sequoia Aircraft. It was completed by 1984 but was not registered until 15/4/86. The aircraft moved with Syd to Taupo where I saw it in Peter Dyer's hangar in the 1990's painted white. It was sold to Graham Hodge of Christchurch on 1/2/95 and it was based at West Melton. Enter Giovanni Nustrini of Technam Aircraft whose father Luciano bought his Falco I-ERNA to New Zealand and registered it as ZK-RNA in 1986, and who was tragically killed in the aircraft in 1999. Giovanni Nustrini really wanted a Falco of his own and he bought ZK-TBD on 18/5/02. He then tidied it up and painted the aircraft yellow.

There are interesting stories to be told about Syd Jensen and Luciano Nustrini in other posts.

And the other North Island Falco at Tauranga was George Richard's ZK-SMR, also in yellow and for sale. ZK-SMR was first registered on 9/12/03 and is based at Parakai. George has a very good website detailing the building and flying of his Falco - go to http://falco.co.nz/ .

There are 2 other Falco's currently registered in New Zealand - Arthur Dovey's ZK-JPG at Wanaka, and Bruce Fraser and Russel Woods ZK-FWA at Christchurch (I am not sure if this aircraft has been completed).

Can anyone provide more information on Falcos in New Zealand?

Spanair to Belgrade and Zagreb

Soon in Belgrade and Zagreb
Spain’s Spanair will commence services from its hub in Barcelona to Belgrade and thus reinstate flights between the 2 cities after almost 20 years. The 3 weekly service will commence on April 15. The airline originally planned to commence flights from Madrid as well, however these plans have been put on hold. The airline is still to receive an operating license from the Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate although this formality is expected to be finalized within the next 2 weeks.

JAT Yugoslav Airlines’ services to Spain were one of the last European destination expansions it carried out. Flights to Barcelona commenced on March 28, 1986 and were terminated in December 1991. JAT also operated flights to Madrid.

Spanair will conduct the new service using its Airbus A320 aircraft. The airline also announced that it will introduce 3 weekly flights from Barcelona to Zagreb from April 19. It will be in direct competition with Croatia Airlines on the route. All flight details can be found on the right hand side in the new route launches section.

Ubiquitous Pazmany PL 2 at SAANZ Tauranga Fly In

Trevor Parker's Pazmany PL 2 ZK-TLP was at the SAANZ flyin at Tauranga, looking immaculate as usual. This aircraft must have been at every AACA/SAANZ flyin that I remember and is a past Grand Champion. Trevor built ZK-TLP at Te Aroha during the late 1970's and 1980's. I was also living at Te Aroha during the late 1970's and I saw first hand the excellent standard of the build. The PL 2 is a much more complicated aircraft to build than the recent Vans models and was built from scratch using a set of plans.

ZK-TLP was first registered on 18/12/87 and it is powered by a Lycoming 0-320 engine of 150 horsepower which gives a 135 knot cruise. Trevor told me that the aircraft has now flown more than 1600 hours and has flown the entire New Zealand coastline apart from about 50 kilometres in the Catlins area.

There have been 2 other Pazmany aircraft built in New Zealand: PL 1 ZK-PAZ which was exported to Australia as VH-TEZ, and PL 4A ZK-PLF which is still current.

Skopje and Ohrid on the rise

Crisis over for Skopje and Ohrid
The Macedonian capital Skopje and the lakeside resort Ohrid registered an increase in both the number of flights and passenger traffic in January 2010, when compared to the same month in 2009. A total of 953 flights were operated out of Skopje’s Alexander the Great Airport and Ohrid’s St, Paul the Apostle. This is in comparison to last year when the total number of January flights stood at 905. The number of passengers at both airports amounted to 47.355, an increase of 13.5% compared to last year when the 2 airports boasted a total figure of 41.723 passengers. Thanks to Skywings International (operating under the name Air Lift Service), the airports saw a 156% increase in the number of charter flights.

Despite the void left by the collapse of MAT Macedonian Airlines, the 2 airports are recovering from the global financial crisis which hit passenger figures in March 2009. While Macedonian airports did not see an immediate increase in passenger numbers following the visa liberalisation for Macedonian citizen, the effects are now starting to be felt. The following table displays the current share of flights each scheduled airline holds out of Skopje:

AirlineShare (%)
Adria Airways17.7
Austrian Airlines17.7
Jat Airways11.2
Montenegro Airlines11.2
Turkish Airlines11.2
Croatia Airlines9.6
Czech Airlines8

Trislander ZK-LGF

The Trislander at North Shore 2Feb10. It did not look at all ready for commercial passenger operations at that time
I assume 'revoked' has a different connotation from 'withdrawn' or 'exported'?

Trislander ZK-LOU was the one that had the propellor depart in-flight in July 2009. Possibly it is still under repair?

Santa Monica Flyers II

Wrapping (that’s moviespeak) yesterday’s item with Charles Thomson and Santa Monica Flyers, the erstwhile flight training entrepreneur happily reports a good start. “I haven’t done any marketing whatsoever; it’s all been word of mouth. People were waiting for a light sport airplane in this area.”
Note: Photo at right is Charlie's SportCruiser.
That’s a scenario many LSA operations can envy. It doesn’t hurt to be smack in the middle of a huge megalopolis and general aviation mecca either.
Thomson believes the wish to fly is universal. “Flying provides the connection between man and God. Look at angels: people with wings. It’s sad to me that someone might go through life and never fly.”
Yet his business philosophy is anything but idealistic: He charges students less than some local schools for instructor time, but gives a greater percentage of the hourly fee to instructors.
“I can get the best instructors that way. Some schools charge $80/hour...and only give $18 to the instructor! We charge $50 and give instructors more. There’s no need for a school to make a huge profit on that aspect of the training.”
Student rental rate for the SportCruiser after a modest membership fee is $105/hour wet. Rated pilots can get a block rate of $110/hr.
“That’s cheaper than most Cessna 172s - which are typically 20 years old and more. I tell students they will probably spend $3,500 to $4,500 to get their Sport Pilot license. That’s been our average.”
Here’s wishing the best of good fortune to Charles Thomson as well as his “rival” on SMO, Karine Noel, whom I profiled here a few weeks ago here. She teaches on a Flight Design CTLS, which means students have more LSA training choices.
It’s also kind of a neat update to the classic Cessna/Piper rivalry that’s been part of general aviation, and Santa Monica Airport, for generations.

GBA Trislanders

Registered 16Feb was another Trislander for the Great Barrier Airlines fleet, ZK-LGF. This machine was imported via Vanuatu at YJ-LGF, this registered applied for its delivery flight only. The aircraft arrived at Auckland on 26Nov last year in a distinctive red scheme. It still wears the red and was sporting just LGF and Great Barrier titles at their North Shore maintenance base in late January. Interestingly, 18Feb saw the aircraft's registration cancelled as 'revoked'.

Does anyone know what has happened to LGR and LOU?

"New" Schweizer

Colin Hunter photo

Sporting its newly acquired ZK marking, Schweizer 269C-1 HNC is captured here outside the Oceania hanger at Ardmore 19Feb, the day the helicopter was first registered. This is the latest machine for recently formed Helicopter Flight Training of Ardmore, operating out of the Tecnam hanger. HNC has been imported from Australia where it wore the marks VH-XLM.
Helicopter Flight Training also registed Schewizer 269C-1 HQO today, 19Feb.

Airbus ready to talk

A 12 year story
The vice president of Airbus’ Eastern European sales branch, Andreas Kramer, has said that the European aircraft manufacturer is ready to finally settle its agreement with Jat Airways which ordered 8 Airbus A319s in 1998. The aircraft, which never arrived, were supposed to be delivered to the airline between 2000 and 2005, with the final payment for the aircraft due in 2017. The order is worth 500 million Dollars while Jat has so far deposited 23.5 million. The airline says that the agreement was extremely damaging to the carrier and was more of a political stunt by the then Government, with the President of Yugoslavia signing the order in France in 1998.

Speaking to the media Kramer said, “It is our wish to meet with Jat’s management and discuss possible changes and modifications to the order so the aircraft could finally be delivered. Many parts of the purchasing agreement have to be changed, including the price which is no longer adequate to that of 12 years ago. We realise that Jat does not need this amount of aircraft and does not have the means to finance them. Thus, we have prepared a new solution to the problem”. Jat’s management met with Airbus last month. At that meting Airbus proposed 2 solutions to the problem. One was to slash the number of ordered aircraft from 8 to 2 or 4. However, they would immediately be sold to another airline and Jat would lease the aircraft from that airline, which is the only way Jat could afford to operate the aircraft. The other proposal Airbus brought to the table was for the airline to purchase 1 Airbus A319CJ (corporate jet), which Jat rejected due to its high costs. Jat’s proposal for the carrier to receive 1 ATR72 in exchange for the 23.5 million Dollar deposit was overruled by Airbus.

Jat said that having Airbus aircraft in its fleet would cproduce extra costs as the airline would have to train its pilots and cabin crew for the aircraft while Jat Tehnika does not possess the necessary certificates for the maintenance of Airbuses.

Another LSA Flight School Lands in So Cal

Charles Thomson sounds wise beyond his 21 years, all the better since he’s just started up a flight training operation at Santa Monica Airport (SMO) in the general aviation-dense L.A. Basin.
NOTE: photo at left is a SportCruiser I shot at Sun'nFun '07, Thomson is not the pilot.
Santa Monica Flyers is its moniker, and transplanted Brit and CFII Charlie seems ideally suited to the task of teaching people to fly...since he could easily have died himself in a recent training accident.
“Starting a flight school came out of my anger and annoyance at my own student pilot experience. I found it too expensive, and during my Commercial check ride, a throttle linkage on the Cessna 172 broke. We were only 1000' up in this old airplane with steam gauges, the airplane’s horrible inside and out anyway, and then it breaks and tries to kill me! We had a bad crash.”
“I feel that training in a Light Sport aircraft has got to be the future of flight training if general aviation is going anywhere. LSA training has to be cheaper, more fun, safer, nicer and it’s done in newer aircraft.”
Now that Piper is marketing the PiperSport, its rebadged version of the popular SportCruiser, (Santa Monica Flyers trains in one), Thomson feels flight training will only improve.
“It’s already been busier than I expected. People were champing at the bit to fly the SportCruiser. Once Piper announced, well, we were already ahead of the curve.”
The SportCruiser is “a great little plane, I absolutely love it.”
He’s hoping to become an official dealer for Piper in the area, and is glad the company will supply parts and maintenance for existing SportCruisers as well as the PiperSport.
“Santa Monica Flyers is my first business. I wrote letters to every SportCruiser owner in America. The volume of responses was astounding! People fell all over themselves to say nice things about the airplane and encouraged me to start a school with one - even people who already had their own flight schools.”
His confidence suitably bolstered, he bought the SportCruiser and jumped in with both feet.
---inflight photos courtesy Piper Aircraft and CSA

—more on Charles Thomson and Santa Monica Flyers tomorrow.

Croatia Airlines under Lufthansa

Lufthansa looking for another purchase?
Following the announcement by Croatia Airlines’ CEO, Ivan Mišetić, that only privatisation could save the airline from collapse, Croatian economic analysts believe that the airline could soon be under Lufthansa’s wing, which has supported the Croatian national carrier since the early 1990s.

Lufthansa and Croatia Airlines signed a strategic partnership agreement in 2004 when Croatia Airlines become a regional Star Alliance member with the support and sponsorship of Lufthansa. It was in fact Lufthansa which provided Croatia Airlines with 3 Boeing B737-200s in 1993 at a heavily discounted price. All of these factors, including Croatia Airlines’ route network would, analysts believe, be enough motive for a Lufthansa purchase.

Croatia Airlines did not wish to comment on the speculations. In a statement released by the airline it said, “The privatisation of Croatia Airlines is a possible future business move. Whether it will take place and in which form will be up to the owners, the Government, to decide. We can not speculate about future owners or partnerships”.

Adding to the airline’s big losses is the monopoly it is forced to operate under. Croatia Airlines is only allowed to buy its fuel from Croatia’s National Petroleum Industry (INA) which the carrier believes is too expensive while airports across the country have enforced new, more expensive, handling fees under the Government’s order. Analysts predict that Croatia Airlines is far from bankruptcy because, as in the past, the Government will continue to cover all of the airline’s losses.

Do you think that Croatia Airlines should be bought by Lufthansa or another airline? Send a comment.

Adria dumps Ohrid

Farewell to Ohrid
This summer, Slovenia’s Adria Airways will no longer be featuring Ohrid in its timetable. The seasonal summer service has been cut in face of low interest and sliding passenger numbers. Ohrid is the latest in a string of destinations which have been terminated or downgraded as seasonal summer services. Other destinations include Bucharest and Oslo (cancelled) while Madrid and Barcelona are operated only on a seasonal basis. On the other hand, the airline will launch 6 weekly flights to Belgrade on March 1. Adria did mange to finish 2009 as the second largest EX-YU airline in terms of passenger numbers, behind Croatia Airlines but in front of Jat Airways. The airline carried 953.400 passengers, a decline of 13.6% compared to 2008. Meanwhile, Croatia carried 1.700.300 passengers while Jat managed 935.900.

As previously reported, Adria Airways will relocate to Maribor during runway upgrades at Ljubljana Airport which will be carried out from April 7 to 20. Other airlines have also announced their alternatives with easyJet temporarily suspending its London Stansted route during this period. Jat Airways will move its services to Portorož and Turkish Airlines is reportedly also considering serving Maribor. It is unclear at this point what alternatives will be chosen by Air France, CSA Czech Airlines and Montenegro Airlines.

This summer, Jat will join Edelweiss Air as the only confirmed carrier that will be operating to Ohrid. Jat will, for a second year in a row, operate direct services to the lake side town, rather than via Skopje as it has done previously. The 2 weekly flights commence June 1 and can be found in the new route launches section.

Jat returns to Banja Luka

Déjà vu
Five months after terminating services from Belgrade to Banja Luka, Jat Airways will commence flights to the city during the 2010 summer season. The airline plans to reinstate 3 weekly flights from March 28. The service is to be operated by the ATR72. The line was put on hiatus in October and officially suspended in December 2009. The airline is in the process of acquiring flight permits which would allow it to operate flights from Banja Luka to several European destinations, although whether it will receive such rights remains to be seen.

Jat’s off-again on-again flights from Belgrade to Banja Luka failed to attract passengers in the past 2 years. Speaking to a Belgrade newspaper, a spokesperson from Jat said that in 2008 the airline carried 2.678 passengers on 170 flights to Banja Luka. The average cabin occupancy index on these flights amounted to 26%, meaning that there were approximately 17 passengers on each flight. Results for 2009 were even less impressive. “In October we transported a total of 45 passengers", a Jat spokesperson said. The CEO of Banja Luka Airport said that the airline did not terminate flights due to low interest but rather due to the fact that it did not have any available aircraft.

Last year, Jat Airways’ CEO, Srdjan Radovanović stated that the airline would carry 50.000 passengers from Banja Luka in 2010.

Soon to become ZK................

At North Las Vegas January 2010, Rob Leach photo

1984 Beech C90 N814CP (LJ-1127) is making its way down the Pacific on delivery to a flying school based at Palmerston North.

The King Air has been at North Las Vegas since December 2009 where it was fitted with ferry tanks and its been cooling its heels waiting for the winds between the mainland USA and Hawaii to die away from their peak of 160kts at 20000ft!

It departed North Las Vegas for Santa Maria 10Feb, then headed off for Hilo on Hawaii's Big Island the following day. Wind conditions were more favourable than expected so it diverted to Honolulu where it remained until 16Feb waiting for Tropical Cyclone "Rene" to move well away from Samoa. N814CP initially departed for Pago Pago direct however diverted to Christmas Island for a fuel stop and is now on its way to Pago Pago again. Looks like it will make Auckland either late 17Feb or sometime 18Feb.

Is it a 'AWK?

The Cessna 560 Citation N596VP c/n 560-0396 arrived in NZ from Australia and was registered ZK-AWK/2 on 20Nov2009. This did not last long, as the aircraft was cancelled on the 8th January as being sold abroad. It became N3937E while avionics work was carried out. The aircraft is seen here at Auckland International today, clearly marked as ZK-AWK, but this registration is not current on the CAA website.
No doubt all will become clear with time.
Presumably the ZK-AWK allocation has some significance. I cannot visualize any connection with the Tiger Moth topdresser ZK-AWK operated by Airspread Ltd., Mt Maunganui back in the 1950s!

(Acknowledgments to the MRC Aviation website for some of the details)

American Eagle Flies East

Soon to be a part of the GA flight line at a quaint country strip in western Mass. is the American Eagle.
It's new home will be at
Great Barrington Airport (GBR), typical of small airdromes throughout our great land with its 2,585' paved strip, flight training and repair stations, charter ops and a loyal cadre of hangar-flyin' pilots, some of whom I met the other day when I dropped in to say hi.
The lovely airport is five minutes from the cultural mecca of Great Barrington, nestled in the Berkshire Hills, a great place to live and a draw for Gothamites (NYC) to the south and Bostonians to the east.
The strip was converted from a potato field in the '20s, (maybe that explains its appeal to those of us of the Irish persuasion.)
One regular who's flown out of GBR for decades, after I asked him when the new Eagle SLSA would arrive, shot back, partly in jest, "Whattya want one of them for?"
Once I told him a bit more about the industry and my little corner of it, we had a good yak about things all pilots love to talk about, starting with airplanes and ending with...airplanes.
The American Eagle is an all-metal, ASTM-certified (#62, Nov. 2007) high-wing airplane produced wholly in the U.S.
Plans are to train with it and also rent it for $100/hr.
It's an attractive airplane, and Cessna flyers, the yoke's on you - two of them in fact.
I'll report on it once I get a checkout, likely in March when we'll be looking for signs of Spring.
Apparently the production Eagle is built and just waiting for good weather to relocate to GBR from its birthplace - which, fittingly, is Oshkosh, WI.
---photo courtesy Eagle Aviation

BH’s B737-700s delayed

The waiting game
The arrival of 2 B&H Airlines Boeing B737-700 aircraft has been delayed by more than 2 months. The aircraft, complements of Turkish Airlines, were initially planned to enter service on March 28. The first revenue flights were to be performed by the aircraft on route from Istanbul to Sarajevo, while the other from Sarajevo to Zurich. The arrival of the aircraft has now been moved to June 1. B&H Airlines will, until that date, continue to use its Boeing B737-400 along with 2 ATR72s. The B737-400 was to be returned to its owner upon the arrival of the -700 series aircraft.

B&H Airlines will operate the new aircraft on services to Istanbul, Copenhagen, Zurich, Düsseldorf, Gothenburg and Stockholm. The airline’s planned new service to Amsterdam may be delayed until June as well. As it currently stands, the B737-400 is to perform its last revenue flight on May 31 as flight JA102 to Istanbul, departing Sarajevo at 18.30 and it will not be returning home. Any further developments on he arrival of the new aircraft will be reported here.

De Havilland Twins at Avspecs

On my way down to the SAANZ flyin at Tauranga, a call into Avspecs at Ardmore found some very interesting projects in progress. While they are not ZK registered, they have strong links to New Zealand and I think we can be proud that they have been restored to such an excellent standard here. The first restoration was G-ADDD which is a DH 89A Rapide for Jerry Yagen of Virginia Beach. This is spectacularly painted up in the Guards colours of the Prince of Wales flight.

This is the second Avspecs restoration for Jerry Yagen, the first being Curtis P 40E 41-35927 which first flew in April 2003 and went on to win Grand Champion warbird at Sun'N'Fun 2004 and the Silver Wrench Award for the best fighter at Oshkosh, also in 2004.

And hidden deeper in the hangar you can make out the shape of a Mosquito! This restoration is a product of the woodworking skills of Glyn Powell who over many years has made up male fuselage plugs for Mosquito fuselages - a monumental project in itself, and Avspecs. This aircraft is also being completed for Jerry Yagen and is expected to fly in late 2010/early 2011. When completed this will be the only airworthy Mosquito in the world. There is a much better photo of the Mosquito in the February 2010 edition of New Zealand Aviation News.

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