- Category: Upcoming Events
- Published on Wednesday, 01 June 2016 15:12
- Written by Andrew Love
- Hits: 257
Well it is that time again. We were not able to run our annual Winter Training Camp last year due to (insert excuses here).
I am pleased to be able to say that we will be running this informal training camp over 3 days at Rangitata Island Aerodrome, hosted by Russell and Linda Brodie. I am forever thankful for the access to their gorgeous airfield for these training weekends.
8th: Arrivals day, informal training (Aerobatic training, initial or renewal flight checks, bookings essential).
BBQ dinner on the airfield (will work out to $15/head).
9th: Main training day.
0800: Briefing (schedule for the day to be advised, H&S, procedures as per NZ Aerobatic Club rules. The training camp will be notified via a NOTAM and a partial box will be established).
0900 - 1200. Aerobatic box open.
1200 - 1300: Lunch.
1300 - 1700: Aerobatic box Open (closes at 1500).
1900: Dinner at the Chequered Flag Restaurant.
10th: Departures day.
0800 - 1200: Back up slot for any weather delays.
1200 (Aerobatic Box officially closes).
Accommodation: Is available at The Moth Manor, $20/person/night. Bookings essential as there are limited beds but we can arrange to take extra mattresses/bedding down in the vehicle that is heading down from Christchurch (contact me direct re accomm).
Aircraft: There will be several aircraft available for dual and in some cases solo for Aeros training (Robin, Air Tourer & TIger Moth).
We will be running through in the main, Recreational, Sportsman and Intermediate programs, from Knowns to Frees and just what ever the individual requires.
Fuel: Will be available, again please advise in advance if you require any.
Aerobatic Box: Will have markers set up along the X axis only.
Note: This is the only article regarding this event. Please visit
for further updates or please feel free to contact me if there are any questions. There is no requirement to register, so just turn up on the day. However if you do require any services mentioned above, please get in touch at least a fortnight out.
- Category: Past Events and Results
- Published on Tuesday, 03 May 2016 09:58
- Written by Simon Marshall
- Hits: 369
Saturday the 23rd of April and the weather was just what I ordered, clear sky's and little wind. So with a swing in my step and 50 pounds of equipment I headed out to North Shore Aero Club, confident that the third times a charm and the running of the Brian Langley Memorial would take place.
As I skinned my knuckles inflating MPM's tyres for Richard the competitors arrived. Distance was no object as Trish and Chris and Steve made the journey north from Tauranga but, alas, poor Darryl with EES was weather bound in New Plymouth and could not make it.
So it was with eight eager "I would rather be inverted" type pilots the games commenced. Brian would have been delighted with the turn out from North Shore Aero Club as three new faces rosed to the challenge, two of which had not even completed their Aerobatic Ratings. The briefing complete and various volunteers lassoed we were ready to commence.
With myself, Craig Vickery and Terry Johnston in position we called the first competitor in to the Box. Young Daniel in the Aero Club's 2160 was first up with resident B-Cat Chantel along side as safety pilot. Considering Daniel was new to the concept of competition aerobatics he certainly gave it a good go. Just as Trish was set to commence, pesky cloud appeared in the box causing Trish to return to terra firma to try again later.
With the box in the clear we continued. Steve in the Airtourer showed that such a machine is still a useful mount. Then followed Chris leaving us impressed with his crisp handling of his RV3. In between competitors the judging line was a hive of activity, ascertaining if any zeros were due... and yes there was a few. It was particularly pleasing to see how everyone was keen to help out, as you can imagine with only eight competitors we needed to juggle Starters, Spotters, Scribes etc.
Des managed to convince Trish to let him use her RV6 as his is still undergoing maintenance, once more this typifies the aerobatic club and it's members helping each other out.
Rob Short got two for the price of one in the 2160 as after his sequence his safety pilot, B-cat Chantel ripped straight into hers from the right seat. Following up the rear was Mr Pitts Special himself, Richard Hood flying my S1S. As many of you know my aerobatic days are over for the present so it was great to see Richard flying MPM.
We had a good mix of category's flown and like wise a varied level of experience, Intermediate to Primary and PPL to ATPL, the beauty with the format in the BLang is that percentage scored wins, a well flown Primary should take it away...... So who did take it away? In third place Trish Stephens, Second Chris Shadler and in First Place Richard Hood!!!! We were fortunate to have Stuart Langley, son of Brian on hand to present Richard with the trophy. Just to highlight how close it was, 3.07% separated First from Third.
So another successful BLang came to a close. Of course these events do not happen by themselves, we rely on the kindness of others, so I would like to say a big Thank you to North Shore Aero Club for being such great hosts, CFI Daryl Gillet for his support, Lyn in the office for being her helpful self. A big thanks to all the volunteers who helped out with Starting, Spotting, Scribing, Barbara Marshall for organising lunches. Last but by no means least Terry and Craig thanks for your time and effort on the judging line. The biggest thank you I have saved for last, Mel deserves a medal for her administrative and organizational skills with out you and Terry the paper war would of been a long and protracted affair.
Next years event will mark the 25th anniversary of the Brian Langley Memorial, however it will be known by a slightly different name. The Langley family approached me with a suggestion to rename the competition. In recognition of Paul Marshall's involvement with the launching and running of the BLANG until his battle with cancer cut short his life, and recognising the fact the both Brian and Paul were best of friends it has been decided to rename the event the "Langley Marshall Aerobatic Memorial". So it will be a big one next year, I really hope some of our South Island members can make the journey north for what promises to be a big day.
- Category: Past Events and Results
- Published on Friday, 25 March 2016 09:29
- Written by Terry Johnson
- Hits: 480
Deputy CD Report, Masterton 2016
Economics is sometimes referred to as the 'dismal science'. It kind of looks like a science but smells like astrology. Well, for the week of the NZAC nationals in Masterton, meteorology was running a close second in the dismal stakes. It's not that the weather we got was blamed on the met guys, but the forecast was anything but consistent. If you didn't like the prediction then wait a couple of hours for your spirits to be lifted, or alternatively dashed if you thought it was coming right. I know NZ can have a pretty dynamic atmospheric thingy going on which makes it awkward for the boffins to nail it every time but it did make planning a bit sketchy.
A few years ago Mel and I sallied forth with cucumber sandwiches and ginger beer aplenty for Waipukurau, the former NZAC nationals home port. After about 7 hours of driving we arrived at the gate at almost the exact same moment as the cancellation came through, so we looked at the weather map and picked the only place in NZ that looked good for the week and went there - in that case it was Karamea and it was stunning. This year the weather looked well dodgey from the get-go and we decided to head to New Plymouth as it was kind of within striking distance of Masterton (at least compared to Whangarei) but held enough interest that we could at least poke around for a few days and have a small holiday when the competition was inevitably canned. Told the boss as much too, 'I'll just be a few days 'cause there is no way this is going to happen'.
So we arrived at New Plymouth, had a fine time wandering around on Taranaki Anniversary Day (who knew?!) and plotted a course home via The Forgotten Highway (forgotten for a reason we suspect, but naturally nobody could recall what). Of course the forecast then picked up a little, and the call was made to invade the Wairarapa with our G machines instead. More cucumbers were ceremonially sacrificed and then we were off with the expectation that Grant Benns and Dave Cranna would be arriving shortly before us and we would be cavorting amongst the paddocks with box markers in the near future. But cavorting was the last thing on Grant's mind. A family medical crisis emerged almost to the second of him strapping in to the Furio with the company of Dave in the Zlin. What transpires is that cell phones are the natural enemy of the aviator and will do their utmost to thwart us at every turn and unless you plan to have some kind of emergency then leave them at home or turned off. The upshot of it all was neither Grant nor Dave was physically in attendance and the chi was a little unbalanced.
Initially present was Des in the RV-7 ZK-DES, newcomer Chris in the RV-3, and then as weather allowed we saw (in no particular order) Murray in the CT-4, Steve in the Yak 55, Richard and co in the Robin, Ross in the Airtourer, Morris in his Pitts S1, Darrel in another S1, Fred in the Lazer and David in the RV-8 rounded out the field. Andy and entourage arrived in the Arrow and a few others of us drove. This group of reprobates gave us fields for Primary, Recreational, Sports and Intermediate categories (although later we canned the Rec as everyone there was happy enough in Sports).
Unfortunately due to en-route weather and aircraft issues the field was about half of what it could have been but entropy and chaos do seem to focus on us in a way Murphy would be proud of. While I have some admiration for the pilots who arrived through the murk it would have been at the edge of my comfort zone for sure (xcountry time is an expensive distraction from aerobatic time so I tend to avoid it). Regardless, we wound up with a good number of pilots for the fairly condensed timeframe available.
With the rain on Wednesday obviously obliterating flying possibilities, Mel and I departed for the Weta Cave in Wellington and spent the day marvelling at Peter Jackson's various creations. Then it was off to the War Memorial Museum where we marvelled at Peter Jackson's brilliant WWI display. Thursday was also unflyable, and Andy arranged a tour through The Vintage Aviator hangar there at Masterton with Bevan giving us the dirt on their amazing collection of original and scratch-built WWI machines that are authentic to the last bolt. Previously I thought that WWI machines squirted oil into the faces of the pilots for much the same reason a Yak does it everywhere else, but now I know it was actually a design decision. It would be remiss not to point out that there was a car in that hangar too, the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in street legal condition. Yeah, Peter Jackson behind it all again. That mad glorious bastard. Thanks Pete.
With the arrival of Des in DES was Jeremy Miller, an aerobatics judge from Broken Hill, Australia (he claims the hill was already broken before he arrived and his alibi checks out, our hills are safe). So this year we were able to be abused in a slightly different accent to past years, and with an optimistic forecast we were looking forward to starting the competition on Friday. True to the my-word-is-my-bond Met Service, on Friday not a drop of rain fell. Sadly the cloudbase was about 7.9 octa at 1,500', but at least it was dry. Mike had departed for points North the previous evening [at least I made it to Masterton even if I didn't get to see any flying - Mike] so all the power was concentrated in my hands. At this point I realized I should have spent more time concocting evil plans in advance and now the time had arrived all I could think to do was run a competition. Dammit.
After an early briefing we sat and watched the cloud, waiting for the commencement of the competition proper. We sat, and sat, and sat. During this I was able to do a rating in DES with Richard as my usual machine NUT is currently over-ventilated and U/S (new canopy coming soon...). It has to be said, RV-7s are awesome. A lovely balance of everything that makes something like a Cessna a practical and manageable machine but with performance and visibility that leaves your will to live intact while also reminding you aviation is fun. And it lands like a sympathetic lover - "All those other pilots are awkward amateurs, but your touch is just perfect". I felt special and thought we were developing a real connection. As a personal machine I can see why they are so popular. My sincere thanks to Des for allowing me the chance to compete in his machine.
By 2pm it was apparent that competition would be constantly interrupted by cloud so we called it off for the day and decided to offer critiquing of anything that could be done in the space available, as long as it was both in an aeroplane and in good taste. I only managed to partially comply.
The next day should have started with the Mission Impossible music and a burning fuse as the goal of the day was to get everything done including prize giving and people flying home. Only by operating as a military-grade well-greased Swiss watch would this be possible and by God we had the will to make it so. It started with a 7am-ish briefing while the sky was still pink. Yes, pink I tell you. As the saying goes, 'Red sky at night, shepherds delight, red sky in the morning ... who the hell thought this would be fun and where is my coffee. I said COFFEE! I WILL cut you!'
About this time President Benns turned up in the presidential aircraft. Even before he disembarked there was the beginnings of a damp circle of drool (yes, just drool, settle down) around the highly spec'ed SR-22 he arrived in. I wanted to touch it but didn't feel worthy. If we add an 'e' to Grant's title and a couple of metres of gold braid to his shirt and then change the flag ... oh no, it's starting ...
Out on the judging line the judiciary was assembled, consisting of the venerable Martyn Gosling, the honorable Russell Bell and honcho-in-chief Jeremy Miller. Cloud was still an intermittent issue and a complimentary weather break was allowed for all and the warning given that if it can not be seen then it cannot earn any points. A few minutes went by before a hole opened up and the competition could commence.
Given the time we decided to run Primary with the two flights back to back. Not that flights have backs in any metaphorical or literal manner but I digress. Suffice to say that Primary was dispatched with haste. Sports and Intermediate knowns were next and Chris Schadler flying a very tidy RV-3 in his first aerobatic competition ever turned in a very tidy performance and was an early leader.
Round 2 was the 'Unknown' for Sports, and the new format 'Free Unknown' for Intermediate. The Free Unknown (or FU if you're inclined that way) is selected by the competitor from a pool of sequences generated by all the competitors. Each competitor is given the same bunch of figures to incorporate into a sequence, and when done they toss it into the pool, so to speak. They can then pick any one of those offerings and fly that in this round regardless of whose trembling digits and diseased imagination concocted it. There would normally be a second Free Unknown (or FU2 if so inclined) but we lacked time although there were 3 sequences ready and warm in the buffet for that one too.
Round 3 had just the Intermediate flying their free sequences. In future years the free sequences are subsumed into the Free Unknown whirlpool so this is the last time ever for the Free in NZAC. Probably. Unless it's convenient for us to do it again.
Last year we entered scores in a spreadsheet that Mike set up and that worked fairly well. This year Jeremy introduced us to the awesomeness of software that has a name I can't recall. Those who used it loved it and it makes the score entry super easy. It also does clever maths like applying the Fairplay scoring algorithm to make the judging more balanced (helps when a judge on too much/not enough medication gets a bit frisky with the scoring).
The sudden departure of clouds from the box was soon followed by an equally sudden departure of the assembled throng who had been anxiously eyeing the weather moving in from the Tasman. But first came the silverware. The headline prizes to the division winners were Richard Collett for Sports in the Robin, Ross Brodie in the Airtourer for Primary, and Morris Tull in FRJ for Intermediate. Morris also picked up Champion of Champions. Highest unknown went to Murray Rogers in the CT4. Best newcomer and Sports Unknown to Richard Collett - and it must be said that the latter trophy is the only one you can use to do an aerobatic sequence walk-through with and it fits in an aerobatic aircraft with ease! Advanced trophy, I'm looking at you. Ask Des about the dipstick award, and if you see Simone congratulate her on receiving the 'helpful person' award and thank her at the same time for helping a bunch of confused, disoriented and hungry pilots not starve or lack caffeine.
Thanks also to the efforts of Mike Slack, Grant Benns, judges Miller, Gosling and Bell and everyone else who contribute to making good shit happen, and our competitors who turn up to be abused year after year and rekindle old friendships. It was great to see you all.
Next year we plan to do it all again. Don't be shy, we'd love to see you and you certainly don't need to be an 8th level black belt to participate. We pretty much don't bite and the house training is coming on really well. Brian Langley comp at North Shore in April (details on the aerobatics.co.nz web site) and all abilities are welcome there, as are spectators and helpers.
PS Next year's Nationals are officially 22nd-25th February 2017, a few weeks earlier than traditionally held. They are also the week immediately following the airshow at Hood Aerodrome, so why not come for the airshow and stay for the competition. It may pay to book your accommodation now as no doubt it will be in high demand!