Published On: Mon, Nov 27th, 2017

To Hastings and back!

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This past weekend I was in Hastings for Flying NZ’s annual Cook Strait regional competitions. These were hosted by the friendly team at Hawkes Bay & East Coast Aero Club at their fantastic facility near… Hastings [obviously!].

This year I was the Event Director, which as one wise person told me, meant that if there were any incidents, it’s my signature on the form… Just as well it all went well!

Getting to Hastings from Wellington is fairly simple – just around 1.5 hours each way in Wellington Aero Club’s Cessna 172S, ZK-CEO. It’s a fun flight, especially when the weather is nice, but actually good when the weather is not so nice also. I got to see both.

The first photo is from the trip north to Hastings last Friday. No wind to speak of, clear skies, great visibility, George* doing the hard work of following the magenta line [yes, that is cheating! Ha!] and a bag of lollies on the dashboard.

The Office and View from Cessna 172S, ZK-CEO, operated by Wellington Aero Club

The trip home on Monday was a little different. Still next to no wind, George put to work for some of it, but no lollies to be seen [nor as much scenery as it turns out]! On the plus side, I still spent most of the flight at around 3000′ and I was able to wash the plane gently a couple of times…

Dark clouds

Heavy rain off to the left – no flying through that!

Gloomy but better than it looks

Always return your aircraft as clean as you received it?

It may not surprise you but I spent much of this flight looking – do I have an out [yes – going back or left to the coast]and  do I feel safe [yes also!]. Lastly, I didn’t get any photos, but it is was surprising the number of farm strips or other suitable landing areas that appeared that I could have used if needed.

The competitions were on the Saturday. As the Event Director I was a bit busy to run around with the camera for that, but on Sunday I took the aircraft for a local flight an a bunch of circuits. More on that later, but all in all, a great weekend of flying.

* George – One rumour is that this originated with British pilots in WW2 and might be a reference to King George – owner of the aircraft. While there are a number of other explanations, I like this one.

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