Return to Ohakea in the TA-4

Tonight was time to return the Skyhawk to Ohakea. The weather was pretty bleak at Whenuapai, and there was a lot of other traffic departing, so it took a while to get in the air. This was also the first time I’ve followed the actual aircraft checklists!
Once out of Whenuapai, I headed for Tauranga to buzz HMNZS Canterbury, which had arrived earlier in the day. Not long after clearing Auckland I spotted a fast moving target on radar, locked it up and identified it as a Skyhawk coming the opposite direction, and really moving. This was too good an opportunity to miss, so I set up for an intercept, and then joined on Skyhawk 14 as we bumped down through the clouds heading back to Whenuapai.

Once ’14’ slowed to start the approach I broke off an resumed my flight to Tauranga, blasting across the Firth of Thames at low level, then up and over the Coromandel, andfinally down the coast to Tauranga. Spotted Canterbury tied up at the container terminal, so dropped down to rigging height and zipped past at 400+ knots ūüôā
From Tauranga I climbed up above the clouds and headed for Ohakea, which would take me over Taupo, the desert road and Waiouru. Over Lake Taupo I once again dropped to low level, and made a bee line for Waiouru. It is a very good thing that I had written a Radar Altitude warning into my sim software… really hard to visually judge your height over the lake at high speed!
From the Southern end of the lake the cloud was getting thicker and lower, so I spent a bit of time navigating my way around clouds, then flew into a clear patch part way across the desert, and could easily see Tongariro.

Nice ride up the mountain, then back down and across Waiouru!
The low level transit back to the Manawatu was great, winding down river valleys, trying hard to stay out of clouds!
Arrival at Ohakea was tricky, with a strong gusty Southerly blowing… good crosswind practice!

0.8 Hours in the logbook, and a big smile!

More 3D Modelling

Wrapping up my hook lever design, with final dimensions and shapes tidied up…. ¬†One day when the 3d printer is quiet I’ll *finally* print this ūüôā

Website updates

There have been a number of updates taking place on the website over the past week. ¬†Most are behind-the-scenes, and others are in testing for a future release. ¬†Tonight’s most visible update is the addition of a “Subscribe” option, on the right hand menu. ¬†Subscribers will get an email notification when the page is updated, which will save you having to read my “I’ve updated my website….again” posts on Facebook!

A productive evening

It started with the aviation headset project, and just kept rolling along this evening!

After building and testing the MIC adaptor I mounted the finished unit in the Arrow, and had to go for a test flight (obviously!).  I started the sim, configured and tested the mic, then took off from Whitianga in *awful* weather, heading for Tauranga.  Unfortunately I discovered a potential scenery fault with the sim crashing to desktop not long after leaving Whitianga heading along the coast.  More testing and investigation to follow!

I recently installed Pete Dowson’s Auto-Save, which, as the name implies, automatically saves your flight at pre-determined intervals… so when the sim re-started after the crash, it returned to a point within a few minutes of the crash. ¬†My flight plan was quickly amended to head for Hamilton instead, climbing up through the cloud and off towards the Waikato, and eventually a rainy, cloudy arrival into Hamilton.

Next up was some messing around with the AFCS, or autopilot, in the Skyhawk. ¬†For a while I knew that a bunch of settings got messed up in an update, but I haven’t gotten around to fixing it… but tonight I finally did. ¬†Settings corrected, and tested, and some enhancements made. ¬†Once again, with mods made, I had to do a test flight, so with new check-list in hand I started up and blasted off from Whenuapai in the same awful weather as I encountered in the Arrow, rendezvoused with an Orion, and just as I pulled the trigger to take a guncam shot a background application failed, and caused FS to hang! ¬†It seems it really was a night for sim-work, not sim-flight!

After shutting everything down I headed back to the workbench to play with my remote Mancave door light controller… ¬† Good fun!

Next on the Workbench

I decided that I wanted a *cool* way to switch on an exterior light for the Mancave. ¬†I didn’t want a sensor light, and I wasn’t going to dig a trench for a cable from the house. ¬†I know there are all kinds of funky remote controlled lights, wifi enabled power controllers and many other home automation gadgets, but I wanted something a bit different, and most of all… cheap!

So, I bought a $12 remote car lock kit from Aliexpress and played around with it…. ¬†pretty cool, and lots of possibilities, starting with the light above the door, and who knows what else!

Aviation headset adaptor

After a quick google search showed up a design for an aviation mic to pc adaptor, I did some testing.

This has now been tested with a helicopter (single plug, with an adaptor cable) headset and a Telex airliner style headset and seems to work pretty well.

How-to Article on

If all goes well I will install this in the arrow, which will bring me one step closer to having the sim online on VATSIM!