Sunday, 20 December 2015

Youth in Aviation Field Day 2016

The Wellington Branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society is organising a second Youth in Aviation Field Day for Sunday, 13 March 2016 at Hood Aerodrome in Masterton.
The Field Day is aimed at Year 10 to University students who are interested in aviation either as a career or a recreational activity.
Registration will be available through high schools, scout groups and Air Training Corps Squadrons in the Wellington and Wairarapa regions.
The last Field Day in 2014 saw 45 students hear from speakers covering commercial, recreational and military aviation.
Last time prizes for winners of an essay writing contest included three flights in light aircraft and a visit to an air traffic control tower.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Inaugural Meeting of the Bay of Plenty Branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society

We are forming a new Branch.

We aim to provide a forum for aviation professionals and enthusiasts to network in New Zealand and around the globe. We hold monthly meetings to explore progress in aviation and review its vibrant history.

When: Friday, 7 August 2015 – gather at 5.30pm to start at 6.00pm – first Friday of the month

Where: Classic Flyers, 9 Jean Batten Drive, Mt Maunganui - the ‘Boeing Room’ – on the first floor

Meeting Format:

  • Introductions and acknowledgements
  • Keynote address - by Air Vice Marshall Peter Stockwell, OMNZ, AFC, FRAeS, RNZAF (Rtd)
AVM Stockwell retired from the RNZAF after 41 years in April 2014, having led the RNZAF as the Chief of Air Force for four years. He was awarded the AFC in 1995 and was made a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 2014. On leaving the RNZAF, Peter moved to Hamilton where he is currently the Chief Operating Officer of CTC Aviation NZ. The company operates a large flight training school of at Hamilton International Airport. Following his move, he was made an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit in the 2014 Birthday Honours. He will be accompanied by his wife Mrs Ali Stockwell

  • Plans for the Branch
  • Conclusion

Other Information:

  • In New Zealand, the Society comprises an elected Council with Branches in: Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Blenheim and Christchurch
  • The Aero Society includes a range of professional members and those with a passion for aviation
  • The meeting coincides with the Friday Happy Hour at the AvGas Café and bar at Classic Flyers which offers those attending the opportunity to pick up a drink or snack before the meeting. The assistance of Classic Flyers is gratefully acknowledged in providing the venue at its celebrated aviation museum.

We look forward to welcoming you to this exciting event and hope that you will then decide to join this new aviation focus group in the Bay of Plenty.

For more information, contact Des Underwood, the Convenor of the Bay of Plenty Branch, at:
Email: desunderwood @ Mob: 027 452 4767

Monday, 15 October 2012

Prize awarded for the top aeronautical engineering project at Auckland University

Each year, members of the Auckland Branch support engineering students by helping judge the final year projects.  The Branch also awards prizes for the top aeronautical engineering project.

The Society's judges this year were two graduates of the School of Engineering; Richard Leaper (now with Altitude Aerospace Interiors) and Gerard Robertson (Air New Zealand).  Richard and Gerard have several years' of judging experience at these project presentation days, which they describe as both a privilege and a pleasure (while also feeling about a million years old compared to the students).

Judge Gerard Robertson, Immediate Past President of the RAeS NZ Division

This year, the Branch prize went to Muhammad Abd Hakim and Ahmad Abu Zamir, for their work on the “Structural Design and Analysis of Multipurpose Unmanned Aerial Vehicle”.  The judges were impressed with the work they had done, evaluating different configurations and constructing scale models of structural elements.

Judge Richard Leaper from the Auckland Branch

The Auckland Branch intends to continue its support and hopes to extend it by suggesting suitable project topics and providing mentoring during the academic year.

Bruce Cunningham, WW2 Lancaster pilot, who attended the Bomber Command Memorial unveiling in London on 28 June 2012

Wellington Branch Meeting, 5:30pm for 6:00pm start – Wednesday, 17 October 2012
National SCOUT Centre, Level 1, 1 Kaiwharawhara Road, Wellington, NZ

This month the Branch is welcoming Bruce Cunningham who was selected as part of the New Zealand delegation that travelled to London earlier this year to take part in the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial in London by Her Majesty the Queen.
Bruce served as a Lancaster pilot and was shot down during a bomber raid over Europe. All of his crew members were able to exit the aircraft without serious injury due in no small part by the emergency actions
instigated by Bruce. He became a POW and has some interesting experiences to recount.
Following his return to New Zealand he continued to work in the accounting profession in which he still has an involvement! He is a well known figure with his familiar hat as a collector on Poppy Day each year and is probably the oldest collector in our local area.
Bruce is the oldest living Life Member of the Wellington Aero Club where he served with distinction as Secretary for a number of years. He was also the Secretary of Gliding New Zealand for a lengthy period.
Bruce found the visit to London to be a remarkable experience and he will be sharing some of these
memories with us. The Branch can look forward to a very interesting and informative presentation.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

The 2012 Malcolm Wightwick Memorial Lecture

6:00pm – Wednesday, 19 September 2012
National SCOUT Centre, Level 1, 1 Kaiwharawhara Road, Wellington, NZ

de Havilland: The man and DH aircraft types to the end of WW2 with emphasis on impacts on
New Zealand by Des Underwood

Aircraft enthusiasts will know that the “DH” designation is attributed to aircraft types designed by the aviation pioneer and aircraft designer Captain Geoffrey de Havilland (later Sir Geoffrey, OM, CBE, AFC, RDI, FRAeS) who was known as ‘DH’ to friends and colleagues. He was awarded an OBE in 1918 and AFC in 1919. He was made a CBE in 1934 and was a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

The memorial lecture will relate the story of ‘DH’ who determined that the only way to learn about aviation was to build and fly an aircraft of his own making. On achieving this notable feat in 1909, DH’s career in aviation design blossomed prior to WW1 and led to a lifelong involvement in aviation in a company that he founded.

The de Havilland Aircraft Company, went on to produce a range of mainly light aircraft and small airliners all part of the DH brand. These aircraft were mainly developed in the UK but some were produced by a number of subsidiary companies in Canada and Australia. In other areas, including NZ, the aircraft were and sold and supported by a variety of regional agents and service centres.

DH types featured in a number of record breaking races and events including the DH 88 Comet Racer. One of these Comets was flown by Arthur Clouston to Blenheim as an add-on to the Australian Anniversary air race from the UK.

In noting the 75th anniversary celebrations of the RNZAF this year, it is notable that DH types have made-up some 21% of all types purchased and operated by the RNZAF (both in NZ and overseas). This made de Havilland the largest RNZAF aircraft supplier. The DH82 Tiger Moth was built in NZ at the factory of the de Havilland Aircraft Company at Rongotai on the site of the current passenger terminal at Wellington Airport.

The first DH type in NZ dates back to the Imperial Gift aircraft of 1919. A large variety of DH types have been imported over the intervening years and still fly today with numerous private operators, as well as the RNZAF Historic Flight.

An important part of the development of the DH brand in the UK involved the DH Technical School. From 1922, the DH Tech School produced aircraft apprentices who contributed hugely to the skill and talent needed to staff and manage the multi-national company that DH Aircraft Company became. As Malcolm Wightwick was a ‘De Havilland’ apprentice who served with the company both in the UK and in NZ, this lecture attempts to connect DH’s impact on aviation in New Zealand with Malcolm’s appointment at the Rongotai facility in 1964, his notable contribution to the Royal Aeronautical Society in NZ and especially the Wellington Branch and the NZ Division.

The presenter’s introduction to aviation started with the Tiger Moth in the Ag role and barn-storming at air shows in the eastern Bay of Plenty and followed his own engineering career with the RNZAF, where he was involved with a number of DH types. The lectures will be supported by photos and video clips.

Coincidentally, the first flight of a ‘new’ DH 98 FB Mk 26 Mosquito is due to fly at Ardmore on 29 September 2012 following its re-build by AvSpecs.

To learn more of Geoffrey de Havilland, the DH aircraft types and their relevance to NZ till 1945, then plan to attend the 2012 Malcolm Wightwick Memorial Lecture.

Monday, 13 August 2012

RNZAF introducing A109LUH into service

On Wednesday 18 July 2012 Wing Commander Shaun Sexton, RNZAF gave the Wellington Branch of the RAeS and update on introducing the A109 Light Utility Helicopter (NZ) into RNZAF service. Wing Commander Sexton is CO of the Helicopter Transition Unit (HTU) at RNZAF Base Ohakea. He was introduced by his air force colleague Squadron Leader Dave Forrest who is the Air Force representative on the Branch Committee.

Shaun noted that that while six aircraft had been purchased for the RNZAF only five would be available as the operating fleet, with the sixth aircraft being reduced to spares to support the fleet. These aircraft had been acquired by the Ministry of Defence contract from Agusta-Westland in Italy where a project team led by WgCdr Barry ‘Patch’ Nelson together with a number of other aircrew and engineering officers and SNCOs to oversee the build and manage the relationship with the manufacturer from the Cascina Costa site adjacent to Milan’s Malpensa airport.

For those who didn’t get to the meeting these RNZAF photos [to come] will provide an impression of the introduction of this new aircraft type at RNZAF Base Ohakea. The HTU was established at Ohakea initially to manage the NH90 IIS but the follow-on A109 contract meant that the HTU needed to be expanded to accommodate IIS for both new aircraft types. Shaun indicated that the HTU now operates from the new hangar complex near State Highway 1 and accommodates both aircraft types with a simulator complex in the tall building directly behind and new aircraft engineering and maintenance facilities have been built and are being equipped in the same site. Along with the HTU, these new facilities will be used by the Joint Project Office to accommodate reps from the various stakeholder groups responsible for their part of the IIS and the Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) programme that is now in progress to prepare standard operating procedures among other things.

To put the A109 size into perspective, Shaun indicated that the A109 was in the 3 ton class, with Huey at 6 ton and NH90 at 10 ton. He noted that the primary role of the A109 was helicopter conversion and noted the importance of and that the first aircrew conversion course was currently in progress but that ab initio helicopter conversion had yet to be planned. The first course is aimed to allow qualified aircrew to progress to the NH90 and SH2 Seasprite with the minimum of transition time. The acquisition and use of simulators forms an important part of the helicopter conversion courses and the simulator is now in use.

Meantime, separate from the HTU the RNZAF rotary wing operational tasks continue to be delivered by 3 SQN with Huey’s that operates from the arch hangar that was once the home of 75 SQN.

Thanks to WGCDR Shaun Sexton for his time to brief the Branch on the introduction of the new helicopter type into the RNZAF. It was great to hear the professional manner that this programme is being managed and the new facilities have been provided to support them.

Des Underwood AMRAeS,
Vice Chairman,
Wellington Branch

Friday, 27 July 2012

Bryan Wyness FRAeS 1941-2012

The New Zealand Division was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Captain Bryan Wyness in a motorcycle accident. A former Air New Zealand pilot and senior manager, Bryan was a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, Chairman of New Zealand Region of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators and a Commissioner of the New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission.

With interests ranging from motorsport to opera, Bryan was a real gentleman who lived life to the full. RIP