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West Auckland Airport, 76 Green Rd, Parakai, West Auckland. Road Map.. Ph 09 420.8010
 

 

 

West Auckland Airport Parakai is available for General Aviation, drop-in visitors welcome. Radio 123.5 in MBZ.  Due to frequent skydiving, please join downwind, base or final (not overhead).  Visitor parking by the hangars down taxiway

 

Destination: Mt Taranaki Crater Lake:  Rod Willis writes of his Gyro flight to Dannevirke, and Mt Taranaki...

After attend another successful annual gyrocopter fly-in at Danniverke my friend Kevin Soper and I were keen to take a more scenic route back to home base at Parakai. Flying around Mt Taranaki was something I’d always wanted to do and ideally to take a peek into the crater lake at 8,300ft.

 

Dannevirke Gyrocopter Fly-in


After leaving Dannivirke we landed at Hawera late Sunday afternoon to refuel, assess the weather conditions and get some local advice about flying near the mountain. Light winds and few clouds made it perfect conditions for the trip. My Calidus gyrocopter with its 914 Rotax has a good climb rate when one up but not so good when fully loaded. So we proceeded to unloaded everything that was not essential for the flight; lift jackets, spare oil, tool kit, etc but we hung onto the PLB!

 

Hawera Aerodrome with Mt Taranaki in the Distance


Climb out from Hawera

 

Looking East from 4,500ft

Taking off from Hawera we headed for the mountain. Engine set to continuous maximum power and at the Calidus’s best climb rate speed of 50knots and began the long climb. We sat back and enjoyed the scenery as the mountain grew larger.

We discovered there is actually a second peak, Pouakai 4,600ft to the west main cone, with a large flat wetland area between it and the main cone, which has a river draining from the swamp.  We had plenty of time to take in all the features as we performed figure eights as we continued to climb.

The upper surface of the cloud on the downwind side of the mountain was around 6,000ft which was a handy datum to visually asses our climb rate – very slow! We finally achieved a 1000ft clearance above the cloud and were able to safely circumnavigate the cone. The shear scree slopes were incredible to see close up and gave us an appreciation of how difficult a climb it would be on foot.

It just happened that the get Great Northern Race, comprised of over 22 fixed wing aircraft from North Shore were arriving at Hawera during our ascent. I enjoyed making a radio call “Hawera traffic gyrocopter MZM 3-miles to the east of Mt Taranaki at 7,000ft and climbing slowly…”.  On returning to Hawera we got a few congratulations from the North Shore guys very surprised that a gyro could achieve such a lofty altitude.

Looking East from 7,000ft

After a continuous climb of one hour and forty minutes my little gyrocopter had reached her limit but she’d done very well to achieve 7,300ft. We called it a day, closed the throttle and began a shallow dive back towards Hawera. It’s an unusual experience in a gyro descending down thru 5,000ft in an eerie near silence.

Flight Path Track

 Talking to the locals we were extremely lucky to have day were the cone was not shrouded in cloud and light winds. We didn’t get to see the crater lake but getting so close to such an iconic mountain was a fantastic experience. 

Rod Willis

27 Jan 2020

 

 

West Auckland Airport Parakai: Facilities & Services. Visitor facilities with tea / coffee / cold drinks / toilets in Pilot Lounge.   Icecreams and more cold drinks are often available at the skydiving base across the road.  

Aircraft Engineering, Skydiving, Introductory flights and Flight Training for PPL/CPL, Microlights and Gyrocopters. Aircraft parking, Hangarage, Hangar building sites.

Phone first 09 420 8010 if you will need fuel, as sometimes we're all off flying.

Commercial opportunities exist for new operators at West Auckland.

 

West Auckland to Greymouth and back:  The DynAero ZK-WIK did a delivery of a whole-aircraft parachute to Greymouth NZGM recently.   Considering the terrain around the North and West of the South Island, its easy to see why the purchaser wanted the chute as a 'Plan B' in case Plan A didn't work out, and comforting to have one in WIK over that terrain.  

The straight line route from West Auckland to Greymouth goes out to sea and doesn't make landfall until some 270 nautical miles later on the West Coast of the South island.   A long way out to sea when that can be avoided by taking a little longer, so the route was over land to near Kapiti Airport NZPP, then across Cook St at its narrow point and over the Alps to Greymouth.

Once clear of Woodburn NZWB control, a climb to 8500ft was possible  (VFR 'Nose' altitudes:  North Odd South Even thousands + 500), and the air was a lot smoother up there.   Not quite so good was the fact that there was a 40 knot headwind... but  better than than being hammered down in the valleys.   With its turbo ZK-WIK doesn't get tired at altitude and while the Indicated Air Speed (IAS) stayed the same, it picked up another 15 knots True Air Speed (TAS) in the thin air.

   

Southern Alps on the NZPP to NZGM leg at 8500ft

 

On the way back at 9500ft,  the air was just as smooth at altitude so no need to hold the speed down to the VNO.    There is controlled airspace at that altitude in the Cook Strait area, so being passed through Nelson control and Wellington control at 9500ft made for easy flying and Cook Strait went by quickly with the benefit of a 30 knot tailwind.   Down into Wanganui for a coffee and fuel, and back to West Auckland  past the volcanoes in the central North Island.     Nice flights with a good scenery and a chance for the DynAero to stretch its legs at altitude.

 

Alps near Lake Station airfield from 9500ft.    Some deep valleys amongst the mountains.
 
 

 

Looking after the Airport's Environment:

Weed Control:   The Airport has been researching and experimenting with non-chemical control of the Alligator weed that has long invaded the ditches on the Kaipara and choked the drains.   Letting in controlled amounts of seawater has proven effective, and is much kinder to the Inanga and juveniles of other fish species that breed in the harbour, compared to spraying weedkiller or using diggers to clear the ditches.    Further work is being done in conjunction with the Council waterways biologists and the method developed is likely to be rolled out by the Council to other properties on the Kaipara Harbour and its rivers.

Bird Control:  Work on this has also been quite effective, and by studying the habits of the birds and making the airport less attractive to them, its been possible to make the birds spend more time elsewhere.   Skydive Auckland runs a bird scaring device on their swooping pond for the same reason... that's what causes the loud 'shotgun' type booms at regular intervals.   The birds are not keen to settle if they think there are shooters in the area.  With our 'Aimm' Movement Monitoring service now used by nearly half the active NZ airports, we use our client newsletters to spread the suggestions for non-lethal bird control to many other airports in NZ and Australia.

Low-emission Aircraft: The Airport's flight training aircraft have been low-emission for a long time, and produce less than half the emissions of a Cessna or Piper training aircraft.    Partly this is due to the lighter weight of the Tecnam aircraft used at West Auckland, but mainly because their 1990s designed Rotax engines are considerably more efficient than the 1950s designed Lycoming and Continental engines traditionally used for training.  The Rotaxes also use unleaded road vehicle fuel ('MoGas') getting a similar Km/Litre to an efficient car,  rather than leaded aviation fuel ('Avgas') so there is a worthwhile benefit there too...   more airports might move to Mogas aircraft if they were exempt from road taxes like those using Avgas :(.    As soon as practical the airport would like to move to zero-emission electric training aircraft and ground vehicles, and is actively investigating these.

 

West Auckland Airport NZPI from the SW, non traffic side.

 

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Coming Events:

Fri 21st to Sunday 23rd, Art Deco at Napier:  Part of Napier's Art Deco weekend.  Contact Graham on 021 4999 208 if planning to fly in to Napier NZNR.

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Sat 29th Feb,  Te Kowhai Fly-In and Country Market:  At Te Kowhai NZTE.   Food, arts and crafts, vintage cars, aircraft, complimentary drinks and snacks at pilots VIP lounge.  Contact Pete Lourie 027 666 6637 or pete@nzte.net.nz   Click here for airport details.

 

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Sun March 15th, Warbirds on Parade at Ardmore:   At Ardmore NZAR.   Open day with three extensive flying displays though the day.  Check Ardmore notams for restricted arrival / departure periods.   Click here for airport details.

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Sun March 15th, Turangi Aero Club Flyin.   At Turangi.   BBQ lunch and drink $15. Contact Alan  xpdxrd@gmail.com.

 

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Easter weekend, April 10th to 13th.  Warbirds over Wanaka:   NZ's premier air show in a stunning location.  Rides day if 13th April.  Huge variety of displays and things to do.   www.warbirdsoverwanaka.com.    Anyone intending will need to plan carefully as Wanaka has very busy airspace around this event.

 

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Easter weekend.   April 10th to 13th:   International Skydive Event at West Auckland:   New Zealand and Australian combined 'Canopy Piloting and Classic Accuracy Nationals 2020' are to be held over Easter with parachutes landing on the Skydive Auckland landing zone immediately to the North of the airport   Flight operations from West Auckland will continue as usual and parachute competitors will be briefed on the airport procedures to be followed to maintain safe separation from aircraft.   It would be good airmanship to fly a wider circuit than usual, and be prepared for busy airspace around the Easter weekend.  For details   https://skydiveauckland.com/nz-and-australian-canopy-piloting-classic-accuracy-nationals-2020?fbclid=IwAR0oQJxF8owxtoBySjIXf6_ZsXDFWLvSyRyuvP0LdFsbfdw6Yw9sVZGfw_w

 

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Proposed Northland Aviators Club events:

The Poker Run – to be organised by Paul Hopper Starting from Dargaville after lunch on Saturday 28 March 2020 and Finishing at North Shore Airfield  Tiger Club Lunch at Kaipara Flats Sunday 1 March 2020. We are planning to host the Tiger Club for lunch on their North Cape to Bluff Vintage Safari. This should be well worth attending!  Beach Landing and picnic? – to be organized by Tim Harrison Date tba  Waiheke Flyaway? – to be organized by Trevor Dance. Date tba  Possible overnight flyaway to Great Barrier Island? Date tba

 

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RECURRING EVENTS:

DARGAVILLE NZDA: Every Saturday. Fly in for lunch. Famous throught the north for it's lamb on a spit, and usually draws a good crowd of hungry aviators. Clubhouse Ph 09 439 8024. Click here for airfield details.

COROMANDEL NZCX:  Second Sunday of each month from 12:30. Clubhouse Ph 07 866 2055. Click here for airfield details.

WHANGAREI NZWR: Last Saturday of each month at hangar 10, the Western end of the row of hangars.  Whangarei Flying Club meeting at 10:30 with lunch to follow.  Clubhouse phone 09 436 4053.  Click here for airfield details.

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Tower and Engineering

 West Auckland Airport Parakai, from the NE on mid right base for 25. Click for larger photo

 

 West Auckland Airport Parakai, from the SW (non traffic side).  Click for larger photo

This is webpage is updated weekly, apart from 'Coming Events' which are updated as soon as known.Parakai Aero

 
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