Friday, August 18, 2023

Red Baron revisited

So last night I downloaded Red Baron, the classic 1990 game of Great War air combat that occupied so much of my time visiting my three cousins as a kid, and was a major influence on my interest in the period.
Man is it fun! The graphics don't hold up and neither does the sound, but I was up until almost 0200 playing! It has a facility to record missions to tape (lol) which I kept saying no to, and wishing I hadn't after an epic 2v2 dogfight where my flight lead and I were in Morane Bullets and were confronted by two Eindeckers. 
On the first pass my lead was shot down and it was up to me to even the score...I'd damaged one of them on the merge (I doubt they'd have called it that!) and finished him off after swinging around, then his mate got some shots into me and the struts in front of me were holed. It wasn't until a few turns that I looked back and saw I was smoking: no bother, just keep turning to get him in my sights. I got in a few hits and soon he was smoking too.
Then silence...unbeknownst to me my fuel tank had been damaged - I'd not once looked at the gauge - and my engine was dead! I checked the map on my iPhone to confirm which side of the lines was ours and glided down. The Eindecker very respectfully didn't fire another shot, and I managed to just scrape over the trenches and touch down safely. Then - as if gloating over his victory - my quarry floated around me, constantly on the edge of a stall and at barely a hundred feet, for about three minutes. I was amazed how tense I felt in the middle of this 33yr-old game on my laptop, totally at the mercy of some tan and black pixels as they orbited my make-believe cockpit, waiting for his Spandau to fire.
Then he finally did it: he passed in front of my gun during his victory orbits. I hammered down the trigger and nailed him, causing him to crash a few dozen feet away.
Mission done, I magically made it safely back to base and was presented with a newspaper announcing I was now an ace. Wow!
For a game that's almost as old as I am, and despite it being a product of its time, I'm truly surprised at how engaged I am while playing it. I'm just glad I didn't have to go into the workshop at my normal time! Also you bet I included the fuel gauge in my panel scan from the next mission on!

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Happy Valentine's Day, #avgeeks!

 Hi all,

Yesterday (NZ time) was Valentine's Day and, although I'm very recently single, I had some ideas for aviation-themed Valentine's memes using my own photos (mostly - the Fletcher is a classic Wanganui Aero Work[WAW] image shot before my time). 

Here they are for your enjoyment with some necessary commentary!

Wanganui Aero Club CFI Jonathan Mauchline has restored Skycraft Scout Mk.III microlight ZK-RWW to airworthiness and has another two of this pioneering design (ZK-SLF and ZK-JJN) in the pipeline.

A fact Cessna 152 pilots know by heart.

A Tomahawk is a hatchet or small axe, ergo ZK-FRS wants to know...

Sling TSi ZK-SLN was nicknamed Nemo by co-owner Alex Kaandorp's kids for its resemblance to the Pixar clownfish character.

You know what this one's about.

See above.


Oooh, foreign language wordplay! (Thank you, Google Translate)

The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation CA-28 Ceres was an Australian agplane based on the WW2 Wirraway trainer. Six operated in New Zealand including one, ZK-BSQ, with WAW.

Again, hopefully self-explanatory (lazy?) wordplay on my part.

The Transavia PL-12 Airtruk (also known as the Skyfarmer) has a very dedicated bunch of fans. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Superphosphate is the most common[source?] fertiliser load carried by NZ agricultural aircraft. A classic shot of WAW Fletcher Fu-24 ZK-BIL at Waiouru.

The first Boeing B-52 I ever saw, B-52H 60-0059 "BOLD 59", at Wings Over Wairarapa 2021.

The first Mitsubishi Zero I ever saw - the Commemorative Air Force SoCal Wing's A6M3 Type 22 NX712Z - at Warbirds Over Wanaka 2010.

I love curvy ladies and Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXc PV270/ZK-SPI, previously featured on this blog, is always a delight to see.

Whanganui-based De Havilland DH.112 Venom J-1630/ZK-VNM has been the sole flying example of the type globally for several years.

It's me so what did you expect? 😂

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Wanganui Aero Club Open Day 2023

Hi all,

January 22 2023 was the Wanganui Aero Club's first open day since the COVID pandemic began and it was, by all accounts, the best-attended ever held.

It was wonderful to see so many people visit - young, old, couples, singles, families, all sorts of people keen to learn and see more of what Whanganui Airport has to offer.

As well as club and club members' aircraft local operators Mid West Helicopters, the New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy, Ravensdown Aerowork and Super Air also supplied aircraft for static displays. In addition Mid West operated scenic flights over the city throughout the day.

PMH Aviation's DH.83C Fox Moth ZK-APT, known as Foxy, was invited by the Whanganui Vintage Weekend organisers and it was a delight to have her here. Owners Pip and Paul fit right in with the club.

Star of the event was the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar's Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXc PV270/ZK-SPI, flown over by Sean Perrett and supported by Joe Deere. Unfortunately owner Brendon Deere was unable to attend but I'm sure he knows this special machine was received extremely warmly by visitors.

I took a ton of photos so my apologies for all the scrolling!

Ron Day and Ross McDonald came over from Waipukurau in the lovely De Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk "WB548"/ZK-ARL.

Darren Luff flew an aerobatic display in his Pitts S-1E Special.

Two of Wanganui Aero Club CFI Jonathan Mauchline's three Skycraft Scout microlights were on display in the hangar. The blue-winged ZK-RWW has been actively flying since May and the multicoloured ZK-SLF has only minor work needed before its first flight in about thirty years.

Mid West Helicopters runs the NZ Helicopter Training Academy operates from Whanganui and one of their Hughes/Schweizer 300s was on static display while another flew throughout the day.

The Wanganui Aeromodellers Club had a popular display in the main hangar and I was typically excited to see a fine Fletcher FU-24 on display!

"WE434"/ZK-VNM, formerly J-1630 with the Swiss Air Force, is owned by local man John Luff and has featured on this blog before. It was a popular attraction on the flightline and his aerial demonstration was very well-received.

Titan T-51 Mustang ZK-LSD is based at Whanganui and was another very popular static display with Wanganui Aero Club president Leroy Johnston (seen standing on the wing) and owner Mike Adams (above) showing many people the replica fighter's cockpit. This aircraft is for sale.

Joe Deere, engineer and son of Spitfire owner Brendon, flew over from Ohakea in his father's Grumman Cheetah ZK-DLI with support gear for the fighter.

Hanger the aero club cat was seen at all points around the field throughout the day. I managed to catch him taking a moment to himself in the clubrooms.

At one point there were four De Havillands on the flightline: the resident Tiger Moth ZK-BEF and the Venom, Chipmunk ZK-ARL and Foxy. Local Auster Aiglet ZK-BAQ was also out in the sun so we had four Gipsy-powered machines together.

John O'Leary's Calidus ZK-YGG was another popular static exhibit.

Paul Hally flew 32 scenics over the weekend in Foxy assisted by wife Pip (in hi-viz). The reaction of the lady in yellow upon exiting after her flight was priceless - she had an absolute blast!

Spot The Cat was a popular game amongst kids throughought the say.

Local legend Bell JetRanger ZK-HTM, which has racked up over 20,000hr, was up and down on scenic flights during the afternoon.

Spitfire Alfa Lima arrived at 1330hr and departed at 1500. The applause and cheers on shutdown were heartwarming and I'm told there were many teary eyes.



Finally, thanks to Damon Priston for this photo of yours truly chatting with Sean Perrett.

All of my photos are available here. I hope you enjoy them.