Mil Mi8 pics from Taupo


Just been away for a week and a half ski holiday down at Tongariro staying in Ohakune and making a few side/day trips along the way. One of those diversions was to stop in at Huka Falls in Taupo and check out the once mighty, now static, Mil Mi-8 which is parked up next to HelicopterTours office. Supposedly the machine was used to do some heavy-lift forestry work in NZ after it was imported and in a former life is alleged to have been a personal transport for Fidel Castro.

What an amazing machine, and great that the tour company allow punters to have a peek inside. Check out my flickr photo set for a few internal shots, including cabin and cockpit, to get a sense of the scale of the monsters. Very cool.


RAZBAM Fairchild Metroliner discounted


RAZBAM have discounted their excellent rendition of the Fairchild Metroliner (FSX & P3D) to $20 usd. At this price it really is a bargain, a number of included and 3rd party Kiwi / Aussie liveries available as well. This machine seen more commonly in Australia these days but also operating in NZ on overnight postal duties and as an air ambulance. At this price you’d be crazy not to grab it if your a fan of retro turbo props

The Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner or the Fairchild Aerospace Metro is a 19-seat, pressurised,  twin turboprop airliner first produced by Swearingen Aircraft and later by Fairchild at a plant in San Antonio, Texas, United States. The Metroliner was an evolution of the Swearingen Merlin turboprop-powered business aircraft. Ed Swearingen, a Texas fixed base operator (FBO), started the developments that led to the Metro through gradual modifications to the Beechcraft Twin Bonanza and Queen Air business aircraft, aircraft he dubbed Excalibur.

see the RAZBAM store for details

SimFlight Review of MILVIZ – BOEING 737-200C


Whadya mean you haven’t bought a 737-100/200 series for your FSX sim yet? With two excellent models on offer from CaptainSim and Milviz there’s no excuse. You better check out the following review by Rick Desjardins of the Milviz offering just in case you’re still sitting on the fence. NZ and Oz liveries as operated real world are available for both:

The B-737-200c model depicted in this package is a highly detailed replica of its real-life counterpart. The model was created by using high quality digital photos, plans sourced directly from Boeing and many, many countless hours of testing, revising and testing again… I thoroughly enjoyed flying the Milviz 737-200c and highly recommend it. I felt that the overall look and feel of the aircraft were realistic and that the developers found a good balance between complexity and usability making it a great fit for every level of pilot, and also very importantly lots of fun to fly.

read the full review here

JustFlight BAe 146-200/300 for 6 euro!!!


Jeeze, I dont know how they do it, but who really cares if we can buy add-ons at this price huh. Justflight have a deal on for their (well, was built by CLS originally) BAe 146 jet-liner. In years gone by this was a regular fixture on both sides of the Tasman with many of the big operators. Still run by a few charter airlines now but not as common a sight. Get in on this action while the deal still stands, there are Qantas, AirNZ, Ansett and Vincent skins available for it too:

Short haul – high density! With its high T-tail, stubby undercarriage, drooping anhedral wing, four engines and highly distinctive butterfly-style air brakes, you can’t mistake the 146-200/300! The 146 design was originally started by Hawker-Siddeley in the UK in 1973 and production started in 1983. Now Just Flight brings you the superb 146-200 and 146-300 for FSX featuring a highly detailed external model, 21 authentic airline liveries from around the globe, an extremely accurate virtual cockpit (VC) and even a cabin view.

see the JustFlight sale page

Singapore Airlines flying A380 to Auckland


This will be popular with Auckland spotters no doubt :) Singapore are to replace their existing 777 services with A380s from October, joining Emirates on the far west apron…

Singapore Airlines will fly the world’s largest aircraft on the Singapore-Auckland route from late October, it announced today. The 471-seat A380 will be deployed daily on flight SQ285, departing Singapore at 2050hrs and arriving in Auckland at 1145hrs the following day.

see: Yahoo article

RNZAF Texans on their delivery flight


Well they’re on their way. The first two of an eventual fleet of 11 trainer aircraft in the form of T-6 Texans are on their delivery flight to Whenuapai in New Zealand. Pretty exciting times for RNZAF and great fun for kiwi simmers. Time to break out that IRIS Texan model and get virtually airborne. Aviation News have a post this week re the news and route as the machines pass through the UK:

Two Royal New Zealand Air Force T-6C Texan II trainer aircraft arrived at London-Stansted Airport on 2 August 2014 on their delivery flight. Tom Gautier was there for GAR. The first Saturday of August saw the arrival of two of the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s brand new training aircraft. The announcement that the RNZAF would buy 11 T-6C variants of the Texan II was made on 27 January 2014, by the Minister of Defence, Dr Jonathan Coleman.

There’s an Air Force PDF publication that makes for interesting reading with an article on the history of the purchase. Check it out over at

“The $154 million package includes ground simulators, classroom and computer-based training packages to complement practical flying experience in turbo-prop T-6C
aircraft. The T-6C has a proven track record in service with other militaries, and meets the NZDF’s performance and safety standards. “The new system is expected to be operational for the first  trainee intake in early 2016. It is estimated it will produce up to 15 graduate pilots and 12 Qualifying Flying Instructors per year over the next 30 years,” Dr Coleman said.

VirtuaCol Saab 340/2000 release


If you’re a fan of turbo-prop airliners and running FSX you will no doubt be missing the Saab 340 options of old under FS9/2004, especially given the history of operations in NZ and current usage in Australia with Rex and the like. Although there are the FFS and FFG options the payware FFS model doesn’t work in FSX and neither vendor are around these days for updates or support. Razbam are supposedly working on a new model which will be great when its released but in the mean time you might want to look at the payware release from VirtualCol this week. This colombian outfit have a number of products in this sort of sector, and to be fair they are at an entry level fidelity, we’re not talking PMDG sort of quality here. The price is set to suit though and I picked up this release from them earlier in the week and am pretty happy. Check out the screenies for yourself, hopefully I’ll do a detailed release some time soon…

see the VirtuaCol product page

FSLabs A320 Beta Test Applications


An Airbus fan with a little time on your hands? You might wanna get on over to FSLabs and put in an application for their Beta test team, looks like its gonna be a great product assuming they ship it before everyone’s already bought from the competition?

It’s hard to believe that it’s now been a good four years since we started developing our A320-X for Flight Simulator – time flies! Every day that goes by, every time we check a new piece of code into our source control system, every new piece of 3d modeling that fits into place, we are a tiny step closer to finally giving you the fruits of our labor, so you can also enjoy what we believe will bring flight simulation to a new level. For that to happen, though, we need your assistance – you’ve been consistently asking for this and we believe that we are now at the point in development where it’s necessary to expand our beta test team.

see the forum post

A350 visits Auckland


Plane spotters have really had a good run lately in NZ. Sounds like an excellent turnout to see the lovely looking and briefly visiting A350 which was in Auckland this week. Mike Condon has posted some great shots of the machine on the tarmac and taxiing for departure. Was a 23L lift-off so a little trick to get shots I imagine. On the simming front, has been suspiciously quiet re the A350, there was an early announcement from AFS Designs who are known for models that are on the lesser detail end of the spectrum, surely there’s an announcement from one of the big guys soon?

As “Airbus 305″, F-WWYB lifted off Auckland’s runway 23L at 1658 into a strong (and cold!) southwest breeze for its direct flight to Santiago, Chile following LAN’s Airbus A340 over the same route which had departed around 20 minutes earlier. It was great to see such a large number of aviation enthusiasts braving the elements to catch its departure!

see MRC blog post for more pics