NZTG- NZRO- NZAP- NZRU- NZPM- NZMS- NZWN
After a weeks worth of improving my simulator’s performance, by means of editing .cfg’s, recording scenery and installing a new graphics card, I was ready to continue my tour of New Zealand that I had been looking forward to flying all week long.
As I started up the 206 at Tauranga (NZTG), the weather looked more ‘Thick Grey Cloud-ish’ than ‘Long White Cloud-ish’, but that wasn’t going to put me off! I taxied to the grass runway 7L, and was soon up and away, banking over the city harbor as I turned to a heading of 147 degrees for my next destination, Rotorua (NZRO) which was only 27 miles away.
I had previously purchased the REAL NZ Rotorua addon which includes the city airport, the lakefront seaplane base, plus photoreal scenery for the surrounding area, which I was currently flying above. I tuned into the tour for the Bay of Plenty district’s largest town’s airport, and was cleared for a touch and go on runway 18.
I followed the coastline of the large Lake Rotorua, and was soon bouncing down onto the sealed runway next to the realistic updated airport, only 11 minutes after I had taken off. (screenshot 1
I pulled up as the tarmac came to an end, and climbed up to 4000 feet for my next hop to Taupo (NZAP), another lakeside town, 40 miles away at a heading of 175 degrees. Instead of following my GPS route, I took advantage of my VFR flight plan and decided to take a cruise overhead the city centre (screenshot 2
), which I had stayed at a few years ago on the way to the town’s famous thermal geyser park. All I can remember was that the whole town smelt like rotten eggs, even from inside the hotel but fortunately I couldn’t smell a thing from inside my plane on flightsim
After reaching the photoreal boundary, I began to follow a river to the south, and soon tuned into the unmanned UNICOM frequency at Taupo airport. Recently there has been a big debate between a few pilots on TV, who think NZAP is too dangerous to fly into, with many sightseeing aircraft, parachutists aircraft, dozens of helicopters and Air New Zealand link B1900d’s all servicing the airport with no ATC to control them. However, as I made my decent, I seemed to be the only aircraft around- yet if I had landed here a week later, this would be a different story, with the GNZLAP (Great New Zealand Light AI Project) being released as freeware on August 8th.
It was great to see an actual township (not included in the default scenery) thanks to the new redbaron landclass that I am using along with their mesh and topo scenery. (screenshot 3
). As I descended low over the rooftops, I couldn’t keep the aircraft straight, and after checking my fuel selector, I realized that I had to it switched to draw from the left tank rather than both at the same time, and due to that, one wing was lighter than the other causing a banking effect. I quickly radioed the UNICOM, and changed my t&g on runway 18 to a full stop landing, where I filled up my tanks to 100% again and switched the fuel selector to the centre.
After just a few minutes on the ground, I taxied back to the active runway, and took off for my next destination, Waiouru (NZRU), an airstrip that sits on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu, the most recent volcano to erupt in New Zealand back in 1996.
I climbed up to 4000 feet, and pointed my nose at towards the Central Plateau mountains on the horizon, which where a good 40 miles away. As I reached the bottom of Lake Taupo, the country’s largest lake (formed from a caved in volcanic crater), I crossed over the default/photoreal scenery boundary for the Turangi area which just happens to be re-released as freeware very soon at windowlight.co.nz (screenshot 4
At this beautiful location, I was pretty much dead in the center of the North Island, and surrounded by lots of high terrain and volcanoes. I flew off coarse again, exploring the dramatic Tongariro National Park, and climbed up to 7000 feet to get a nice view down upon Mt Tongariro and Ngauruhoe (screenshot 5
I was now within 30nm of NZRU, but didn’t have a visual on it yet thanks to the unsettled weather, and the mighty snow capped Mount Ruapehu sitting dormant right in front of me. The volcano truly did look spectacular in all its 20m mesh detail as I passed along it’s eastern side, marveling at the very iconic landmass. I was going to try and reach the summit, but with the airstrip getting closer and closer, I ran out of time and had to make an extremely steep descent down from 8000 feet for my next touch and go landing.
With no manned ATC here either, I picked runway 13 for the t&g, which I performed via ‘spot’ view thanks to the beautiful backdrop behind me (screenshot 6
), 33 minutes after leaving Taupo.
After a short roll, I pulled back on the yoke hard to avoid colliding with the low power lines, then climbed up to 5000 feet for the 55 mile hop to Palmerston North (NZPM), which after his recent visit , John Cleese said "If you wish to kill yourself but lack the courage to, I think a visit to Palmerston North will do the trick” referring to how boring he found it… and because of this, I had never seen the need to fly here virtually ever before, even though it is one of the largest settlements in the country.
Heading at 161 degrees, now clear of the Turangi photoreal area, there wasn’t any exciting scenery to enjoy, just plain green rolling hills for as far as the eye could see (screenshot 7
). After 22 minutes of flight, I tuned into Palmerston tower, who directed me in for a touch and go on runway 8, leading me right above the town of Feilding (screenshot 8
) and past Ohakea RNZAF base, before I turned for finals (screenshot 9
) and I felt my wheels make contact with the earth once again.
A few seconds went by, and then once again I headed skywards following a departing ANZ ATR as I became airborne towards my next stop, Masterton (NZMS), only 40 miles away.
I flew the c206 by hand for 18 minutes, keeping the nose pointing at a heading of 157 degrees towards the NZMS, crossing the foothills of the Tararua Range, causing the wings to rock with turbulence.
The landing at Masterton was uneventful, and just as quickly as I had descended, I ascended again for my final hop for today’s leg, to the nations capital city, Wellington (NZWN) which was only 45 miles south from my current position.
Again, I didn’t follow my GPS route, but decided to explore a close by region just to the west, for which I had a photoreal addon installed. The redbaron landclass worked particularly well here, blending almost seamlessly in with the Godzone textures (screenshot 10
) which also looked great combined with the 20m mesh (screenshot 11
After my detour over the mountains (very small mountains might I add, nothing compared to what we will see later in the South Island), I banked right for the trip to towards the capital, and cruised along over the Hutt Valley (screenshot 12
It is a shame that I started the tour this early, as in a few weeks time, REAL NZ are also releasing a payware photoreal scenery expansion for the whole Wellington area, which would have really been neat to include in this tour. Instead, I had the old freeware Godzone photoreal scenery installed for the area, which is made from a colorized black and white image (screenshot 13
) and available on avsim.
Once over the harbor, I tuned my radio in to the final frequency for the day, and was cleared to land on runway 11. I descended smoothly, and made what I think must be the best landing I have ever done in the c206, then parked up in the empty GA apron to complete leg 2 of the Long White Cloud Tour.
I hope you have enjoyed following me down the North Island, and that you will join me once again next weekend as I venture across Cook Straight for a whole new experience!
Last edited by ceetee on Sun Aug 06, 2006 9:07 am, edited 2 times in total