Monday, April 05, 2010

Exotic Beasts

Listening to: Album of the Year - Faith No More

Continuing the aviation at Easter theme...

Last weekend (27th March) the Wellington Aero Club held its annual open day at Wellington Airport. As they did last year, some warbird aircraft were invited to attend to make things more interesting. There was also a bonus flypast from another transiting warbird I blogged about earlier.

While admittedly giving the open day itself a miss, it was a good opportunity to get some shots of aircraft you don't see around here very often. I've seen them all many times before at various shows, but seldom or never on my home patch. There are a couple of good spots I know near the runway ends, so I went out to get some shots of the arrivals.

First up was a T-28 Trojan (link). These were used to train pilots for the US Navy and Airforce between the 50's and 80's. The thing sticking out the back is an arrestor hook so it can land on aircraft carriers. This one has been flying in NZ on the airshow circuit on and off for close to 20 years now. I'm not sure if the aircraft name predates the condom brand, but 'Hey baby, I'm a Trojan pilot' could be an awesome pick up line under the right circumstances.....

Next was a Catalina (link), a mid 1930's designed flying boat. This one is painted to represent the Catalinas used by the RNZAF in the pacific during the Second World War. Strictly speaking it isn't a true Catalina, it's an amphibious version known as a Canso. Wartime Catalinas didn't have wheels like this one, so were exclusively water based. This version can operate off both land and water.
I missed the Corsair (link) arriving, but got some good shots of it landing here last year, so didn't worry about it too much. Although it is one of my favourites to watch fly.
The Catalina was flying joyrides around Wellington for most of the day, giving
plenty of chances to get some different angles on it. It is an interesting combination of shapes, from some aspects very elegant, and from others not so much.

The boat aspect of the design is apparent here. This would have been a welcome sight if you were bobbing around in a life raft waiting to be rescued. The Cat could not only find you, but pick you up and give you a ride home.

A Catalina take-off is interesting compared to more conventional aircraft. Given the size of the wing and the angle it is mounted, a Catalina doesn't rotate nose-up and climb so much as it simply levitates into the air.

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