New Zealand Trip January 2003.
Greetings and welcome to the first Sting newsletter for 2003, late January saw me visiting Auckland in the North Island of New Zealand to deliver, test fly and train the New Zealand Sting Dealer Phil Richards.
Ask any New Zealander and they dont know where Australia is.... and ask any Australian and they think New Zealand is an outer Sydney suburb, that's the freindly rivalry which keeps our two countries close on the sporting fields and also in aviation.
The Islands of New Zealand are home to nearly 4 million people and it must be one of the best kept flying secrets in the world. The beaches, bays and mountains are pristine and unpopulated, the coastlines are rugged and the mountains are almost twice as high as Australia's largest, the airspace is empty and the pilots i met were freindy, professional and highly skilled in a country where they call a 20 knot cross wind a 'good day'.........
I met our New Zealand TL-Ultralights dealer - Phil Richards at Auckland Airport where he works as a LAME and Safety Officer for Air New Zealand, we went directly to the smaller airport of Pikes Point in the Auckland suburbs to unpack the Sting from the shipping container and assemble the plane for the first flight.
Pikes Point field is a good one.... there are 75 meter tall high voltage power lines down one side of the runway about 200 meters from the centre line and the other side is about 50 meters from a large bay which at low tide is nothing but bottomless mud flats....
An excited Phil joined me for an enjoyable familiarisation trip to the West Coast where I put the aircraft through its paces.... We were fortunate to have about 30 kms of beach to ourselves which backed onto cliffs which i guess were nearly 1000 feet high (i cant remember looking at the altimiter), the 40 knots of wind raced up the cliffs and we could do some really high speed slope soaring with the Rotax 912 happily idling away, most of the time we were able to keep 120 knots on the dial and not loose any height. After we bored of slope soaring we headed down to the black sand beach and did some high speed runs accross the sand only meters from the 6 meter waves breaking on the beaches..... This place is rough as it gets; beaten by the swells from the Southern Ocean with nothing between Antartica and New Zealand but water.
I havent had so much fun in a long time, but this was meant to be a familiarisation flight so i reluctantly gave Phil the controls and gave him the feel of the aircraft and we did some missed aproaches along the beach to get him familiar with the plane, time was running out as the sun neared the horizon so that was it for that day as we hightailed back to Pikes Point before sunset.
The next day saw us heading East to Matarangi Airfield which has to be about the prettiest place i have ever been, the wind had finally dropped and this little seaside village was putting on its best. We even flew over whales as we turned base for a landing on runway 23 and then a short stroll to the shops for a cappuchino and a debreif and a walk along the beach. But as they say... there is no rest for the wicked and we were soon off to Pikes point to give Phil's son Mark a run at the controls, wouldnt you know it as we arrived the wind was back to 30 knots and very gusty so it really gave Mark who is a commercial pilot a workout.
We have recently establised our dealer network for New Zealand.
For all New Zealand Inquiries please contact
Canada is currently under negotiation and we expect to anounce our new dealer shortly
For all other inquiries please contact Michael Coates X-Air Australia