Taumarunui Trip - 28 Nov 2010

The following photo essay was cribbed from a club report I put together for the Airline Flying Club trip to Taumarunui in November 2010.

In October 2010, Airline Flying Club CFI Rob Utting decided it was time for another club trip away to visit the Taumarunui Aero Club (TAC). TAC had a number of introductory flights they wanted to conduct and Rob had offered them the use of the AFC's Cessna 152's to run these flights. By the Monday before the trip, some 18 club members had indicated they wanted to go however this number was reduced for various reasons to just 10 names by the morning of the trip. Rob had repeatedly reworked aircraft allocations during the week leading up to the trip and was somewhat frazzled by the morning of the 28th. However, those that remained on the list duly presented themselves at the AFC clubrooms on the morning of the 28th to assist with preparing the aircraft and for the 0845hrs briefing that Rob was to give.

As with the previous Taumarunui trip, the initial leg would be from Ardmore (AR) airfield to Te Kowhai (TE). Then from Te Kowhai to Te Kuiti (TT) and lastly from Te Kuiti to Taumarunui (TM). We would then return in the afternoon via the reverse course.

Dave Underwood cleans DJN's windscreen in preparation for the flight.

The aircraft used on the day were Cessna 152 JBL, Cessna 152 JFY, Cessna 172 RG EWP and Cessna 182 DJN. Each aircraft was fuelled, oiled and taken out for an engine run prior to the briefing with all aircraft ready by 0830 except for EWP which required some compressed air to clear out the remnants of a birds nest from the engine bay before Chris declared her ready. At 0845 we then assembled for Rob's briefing in the clubrooms.

Chris Dixon works to clean the remnants of a birds nest from EWP's engine bay.

The weather forecast for the day was for clear skies and temperatures in the mid to high 20's, however as we assembled for the briefing there was a solid layer of overcast over the airfield at around 1200 feet. Fortunately the forecast was for the cloud to burn off by mid morning so the cloud wasn't going to stop us.

Rob told us that JBL was due down in Taumarunui by 11:15 so it could be used for an introductory flight scheduled for 11:30. As such Rob said he would be flying JBL direct to Taumarunui to ensure the aircraft was there in time for the first flight. The names and instructors assigned to the other aircraft were then read out and with the briefing over we all made our way to our respective aircraft.

Rob Utting briefs everyone on the days flying.

A quick discussion sorted out who would be flying each leg and with this decision made we stowed our gear, piled in and trundled off down to the end of runway 21 for takeoff. By 0940hrs all aircraft were wheels up and we were on our way.

The crews and legs flown in each aircraft are as follows.
Cessna 152 JBL - (Rob Utting)
Cessna 152 JFY - (Jarod Yates, Rob Weavers)
Cessna 172 EWP - (Chris Dixon, Dave LIttlewood, Dave Underwood and Gavin Magill)
Cessna 182 DJN - (Joseph Bagrie, Greg Hardwick, Andrew Ross and Josh Parsons)

In EWP, Dave Littlewood flew the first leg to Te Kowhai and with the low cloud base both Dave and Chris were kept very busy in the cockpit checking our track against the map. As we approached Te Kowhai we found ourselves a bit east of track so Dave joined non traffic side for runway 23 and then proceeded to make a very smooth landing after completing the circuit.

Dave Littlewood looking happy after the first leg in EWP from AR to TK.

We were only on the ground a very short while in Te Kowhai. Just long enough to quickly stretch our leg's, visit the loo and take a few photos before we climbed back into our respective aircraft and were on our way again. In EWP Dave Underwood now flew the TK-TT leg. The cloud was still overcast at Te Kowhai but in the distance towards Mt. Pirongia we could see gaps starting to appear and after about 10 minutes of flying we flew out from under the cloud to a beautiful clear day as forecast.

The winds at Te Kuiti were very light but slightly favouring the north so Dave Underwood elected to join downwind for runway 34. It was quite interesting to turn onto the base leg between the hills to the south of Te Kuiti field. At circuit height you briefly loose sight of the airfield as the aircraft passes through a saddle between a knoll on the left and a reasonably steep hill on the right.

Dave Underwood on short final at Te Kuiti airfield.

Touching down in Te Kuiti we taxied over to the club house where DJN and JFY were already waiting. Yet another quick turn round now saw yours truly fly the TT-TM leg in EWP. Tracking down to TM we passed through the picturesque King Country area spotting various landmarks and farm strips as we cruised along. In short order we were making the joining call for TM and descending non-traffic side for runway 19.

Joining cross wind at Taumarunui with the TAC clubrooms and hangar below.

As we arrived Rob Utting was already preparing for the second introductory flight of the day. A couple of other visiting aircraft from Auckland were also sitting on the flight line, one of which was Tom O'Brien in DOL. Tom had diverted to TM due to low cloud on the way to New Plymouth. He got away safely shortly after we arrived.

Rob taxies past for another introductory flight.

Also waiting for us at TM were our TAC hosts Kevin Vile and Jeanette Lei, who were busy preparing lunch for the hungry hoard of visitors that had descended upon them. Once lunch was out of the way, Kevin Vile then briefed us on the spot landing competition to be run during the afternoon.

Jeanette Lei and Kevin Vile prepare a BBQ lunch for the hungry Auckland mob.

With the briefing complete, we headed out on the back of Kevin's ute to set up the target panel and marker cones for the landing area and as we were setting up, Chris Dixon made his way out to us in JFY to demonstrate a spot landing for those novices amongst us. We were somewhat surprised to see him take a bit of a cross country route out to where we were waiting. He managed to negotiate his way out to us safely and taxied past on his way to line up for takeoff.

Chris Dixon goes cross country in JFY.

After completing a quick circuit, Chris proceeded to demonstrate a great spot landing, landing just a shade long.

Chris Dixon demonstrating a spot landing with Dave Underwood looking on.

With Chris's circuit complete, we then launched into our own circuits with yours truly jumping into JFY to have the first attempt. Approaching the landing zone somewhat high and fast, I found that trying to dump height and speed didn't work very well and I overshot the target zone to land just beyond the last marker cone. The rest of the team then proceeded to each have a turn. Video's of each of the landings are up on YouTube courtesy of Dave Underwood and can be found at the links listed below.

Name Aircraft Points Link
Chris Dixon JFY 40 http://www.youtube.com/user/undies737#p/u/12/dMs4C_NNHl8
Gavin Magill JFY 0 http://www.youtube.com/user/undies737#p/u/11/ERz_PvTqd-g
Joseph Bagrie JBL 0 http://www.youtube.com/user/undies737#p/u/10/J7IIUkSopGM
Dave Littlewood JFY 50 http://www.youtube.com/user/undies737#p/u/9/LPYsi4WidFQ
Dave Underwood JFY 50 http://www.youtube.com/user/undies737#p/u/8/90BubMFrbg0
Jared Yates JFY 50 http://www.youtube.com/user/undies737#p/u/7/__InnyHLDPo
Joseph Bagrie JBL 30 http://www.youtube.com/user/undies737#p/u/6/7OUqb0mYszQ
Rob Weavers JFY 0 http://www.youtube.com/user/undies737#p/u/5/kFmEwF1itFQ
Andrew Ross JFY 0 http://www.youtube.com/user/undies737#p/u/4/XFMNjj2xOz0
Rob Utting JFY 50 http://www.youtube.com/user/undies737#p/a/u/2/g6ND1KVjoFU
Chris Dixon JFY 40 Dead Stick Landing - No Video
Joseph Bagrie JBL 0 http://www.youtube.com/user/undies737#p/u/3/-tMEst44NSw
Gavin Magill JFY 50 http://www.youtube.com/user/undies737#p/a/u/1/Mww6alPbCjw

Dave Underwood's landing took the prize for probably the best landing of the day with an almost perfect approach and landing beside the target.

Dave Underwood looking very pleased with his spot landing.

Once everyone had completed at least one circuit, Rob Utting then had a go and slotted JFY down right beside the target panel. Not to be outdone, Chris Dixon then said he would do a dead stick forced landing circuit. He took JFY around the circuit, pulled the throttle, shut down the engine and with some nifty side slipping and judicious use of the flaps, he then proceeded to land just a little short of the target.

Chris Dixon completes a dead stick landing in JFY.

With time for one more circuit, I decided to have another go and my landing was much improved over my first attempt. Then with my flight complete, the cones and target panel were packed up and I taxied JFY back to the clubhouse. The formalities of the day were basically complete so it was time to pack up, refuel the aircraft and look at heading back to Ardmore. We had time for a team photo before we bid farewell to our hosts and clambered aboard our respective aircraft for the flight home.

Back. Joseph Bagrie, Jared Yates, Dave Underwood, Dave Littlewood, Greg Hardwick, Gavin Magill, Rob Weavers, Rob Utting, Kevin Vile
Front. Andrew Ross, Jeanette Lei, Josh Parsons, Chris Dixon

The crews for the flights home were as follows.
Cessna 152 JBL - (Rob Utting, Josh Parsons)
Cessna 152 JFY - (Dave Littlewood, Rob Weavers)
Cessna 172 EWP - (Chris Dixon, Greg Hardwick, Andrew Ross, Jared Yates)
Cessna 182 DJN - (Joseph Bagrie, Gavin Magill and Dave Underwood)

Dave Littlewood and Rob Weavers took off in JFY first with Dave flying the whole route back to Ardmore without stopping. EWP was next with Greg Hardwick at the controls. Then DJN with myself flying and finally Rob Utting in JBL with young Josh Parsons flying the whole trip directly back to Ardmore.

Turning final at Te Kowhai in DJN with Joseph Bagrie keeping an eye on proceedings.

DJN flew from Taumarunui to Te Kowhai where Dave Underwood took over for the final leg back to Ardmore. In EWP they were having a bit of an exciting time of it when the starter motor died a death at Te Kuiti. Chris Dixon had to prop swing EWP into life to get them home and Andrew Ross then flew the leg from Te Kuiti directly back to Ardmore.

Everyone was home by around 5:30pm after what had had been an awesome day. Many thanks to all those involved, especially to Rob Utting for organising the day and the instructors for making themselves available to coach the rest of us. Also a huge thanks to Kevin Vile and Jeanette Lei at Taumarunui who once again made us welcome and fed us a great meal. Hopefully we will be able to do another trip away in the not too distant future.