Dear readers as the season begins to change, so changes are taking place  at the Aeroclub too. Jack will be leaving us shortly and Stephen will be taking a Sabbatical. Murray, Cat and Austin will hold the Fort through the Winter. A new pilot from Brazil will be coming on board during this time and will join Austin in completing a C-CAT. 

In other news, the Regionals, this November, will be held here in our very own backyard, giving our members the home advantage. There are multiple categories to enter in, such as the precision circuit, pre-flight inspection, spot landing to name a few.  So register your interest with us and start practicing.

Less excitingly, a heads up to all members, the Club Subs are due, $65 please.  


For those concerned, put Sunday 23rd June in your calendar for the next AGM. 6 PM.

And lastly, Bob has contributed a great article this edition, of a recent engine failure he experienced in his Shadow. 


Enjoy the read everyone, and safe flying,

Stephen :-)



Jack Keenan is outbound. Jack will be departing from us on May 1st. 

His absence will be felt and we look forward to watching how his career continues to grow.

And on that note I will be making like a bear to Auckland to hibernate for the Winter and gain an Instrument Rating (hopefully) and with the chance I'll be chasing whales here again next summer.

 Whale Watching 

"Delta Oscar Papa descending 500" Not much to see in recent weeks as the Sperm Whales have gone on their annual strike, remaining too far off the coast to see. Luckily the dolphins are still hanging about in good numbers, with the odd Humpback and Orca passing through to save the day.  Demand has been steady for whale watching with the occasional, chaotic but worth it BC (Boats Cancellation) day.

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...When the Whale boats cancel and you leave Murray in the office....

 Young Eagles 

Message From the pres.

With Jack leaving, the Young Eagles program will now be run by Austin Lee.  We we will keep you posted on up coming YE days.


Hello Everyone -

Air Kaikoura has continued performing well this month so a drop off for Winter may well be expected and will enable senior management to take holiday breaks and recovery time.


Jack departs on Tuesday after 18 months of service and considerable professional advancement with C-Cat certificate, many hours experienced gained and managing Young Eagles to his credit. Thank you Jack for your time serving KAC and Air Kaikoura most capably and very best wishes for a successful career in aviation be it in the Airlines, Flying Doctor or whatever. 

We look forward to engaging Julio – an experienced pilot from Brazil to join Austin in training and validating his Instructors rating and staying with us for the next two seasons minimally.

A constant intake of newer pilots is an unfortunate aspect of being a training establishment and here I acknowledge the ongoing commitment and our Manager Murray Hamilton for his enthusiasm and local knowledge with both pilots and clients. May we continue to maintain our excellent safety record under your direction. Thank you Murray.

More clear skies and happiness aloft,


 Around the Club 

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A few of the clubbies enjoyed a day trip to Omaka in EHS with Murray to watch the Classic Fighters over the Easter weekend.  Bring earplugs next time for the F-18  fly by.

Light Easterly winds make for persistent, foggy conditions from time to time on the field, frustrating everyone. But of course it is sunny with clear blue skies over the township.




  Juliet Charlie Tango, rolling 05, outbound. 

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Interesting smoke cloud, viewed from the Whale Area of a burn off  to the South West.

 Safety Message 

This Newsletters safety message features a recount from Bob Johnston following his recent successful forced landing without power aided by Murray. Thank you Bob for sharing your story. 

It was a mild clear sky late morning by the time we departed Kaikoura on a heading of 294 deg on our first 55nm leg to Lake Station via Lake Rotoiti.  I was once again in FSG, my Shadow 2 Microlight with its 47HP 503 Rotax powerplant.

Murray Hamilton with navigator Ethan was soon on my tail in their much higher performance Highlander tail dragger Microlight JKO, with around 100HP generated from the Rotax 914 power plant. To follow later were Club members Mark and Ben with 2 passengers in the club Cherokee DUQ.


From takeoff we turned west across lake Rotorua and then climb to 4500 ft to cross Driving Spur on the Kaikouras. It’s not long before we cross the Clarence river, pass Lake McRea and into the AcheronValley near Wards Pass before having to climb to 7500 ft of the Raglan Range. The next significant river is the Wairau and Dip Flat as cloud forms below.


Cloud had formed around Lake Rotoiti and so we spiraled down under it to make on overhead join into Lake Station. Not familiar with the 11/29 strip at Lake Station, I was about a mile behind Murray but lost sight of him as he descended until I received a radio call questioning where I was intending to land as I had overflown the strip. If only I had touched the NZLE on my Ipad running NavPlan it would have displayed the full AIP runway diagram and I would have seen my flight track on the chart.


There was still no sign of Mark and Ben at Lake Station so we decided to push on to Karamea, planning to meet them there.

We crossed the Buller River at the junction of the Hope River on the Kohatu Kawatiri Highway before crossing the Owen River next to the Owen Valley East Road near Carrol Creek.



Matiri Range

Next we head up into the majestic Marino Mountains and onto the Matiri Range before Murray confirms concern over Karamea ahead being socked in with cloud. 


By now we have Ben on our frequency and so decide it best to follow the Mokininui River west to the coast at Mokininui turning S/W to rendezvous at Westport NZWS, and to see if the tortoise can beat the hares.


No such luck, the Shadow is definitely built for comfort and not speed at a 60kn cruise. As I taxi in I see Mark, Paul and crew at the pumps refueling, and Murray and Ethan already enjoying a break and a bite to eat. With a castor nose wheel and a defective left hand brake, much to the concern of the locals, I ended up completing a couple of 360’s around their new precious runway signs and navigation lights, before parking on the grass outside the terminal.

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I estimated I had used approximately 30lts of fuel getting to Westport and so emptied my remaining 15 lts of fuel into my tank to give me around 35 ltrs to complete the run back to Kaikoura.


The clouds were hanging around the western sides of the hills and forming on the western faces of the mountains but it was clear up the Buller River when we departed, so up to the Buller Gorge I headed to get a lead on the hares. 

All was good until we crossed the Matakitaki River and needed to climb to 7500 ft to cross the Ella Range. Murray was just ahead by this time and with the Highlanders 1000ft/m climb rate was soon at 8000 ft and easily above the cloud and across the Range.  On the other hand, I was steadily climbing around my 300ft/min range with broken cloud forming around the mountain tops when I noticed my engine revs had begun to decrease at full throttle from 6200 to the low 5000’s. I was by now around 6900ft, enough to pass over a saddle but each time I headed to clear sky the cloud closed in and so I had to turn back. After several attempts I decided to fly north along the Ella Range to clearer sky and where the range lowered and thankfully I got across. I backed off the engine revs to gauge how it was performing; noting cylinder head and exhaust temperatures were good and so went to full throttle again to find I had 6200rpm again.

My concern of course was now fuel although in the back of my mind was why the loss of revs? Maybe I had just experienced icing for the first time. The conditions were right, with moist cloud forming around me at altitude and at full throttle sucking in as much cold air as it could.

In the meantime Murray was on the radio checking where I was, and so I told him of my fuel concerns and he offered to monitor my progress.


Dillon Cone was our beacon as we had just flown over it a few weeks prior, and with Murray a few miles ahead we both passed its prominent peak just west of the Clarence River and home.


By now my fuel gauge was well in the red and I’m thinking a Clarence or Kahutara Valley land out, when a quiet peace came over me. No it wasn’t a spiritual realization, just a couple of coughs and the beautiful quiet of a Rotax in park mode. It had done all the work I had asked of it, and it was my fault for not providing the 96 it needed.


I still had about 18km to run, and although I had glided the girl before, this was going to truly test here ability to fly without power over a large distance. Being aware of this possibility I had maintained a height of around 7800 ft to give me options when this inevitably happened, but my first decision height was to cross the 4000 ft pass in the Kaikoura Range near Blind saddle.

I can only describe the feeling of gliding to the sound of only the slipstream, as tranquility supreme, and after trimming the Shadow out to around 46 knots she behaved like a gentle mother nursing me ever onward.



Murray picks the perfect paddock

Murray kept disturbing my bliss with, “how’s it looking”. “What height are you now”. He had turned back and he was asking for my location and how it was looking so he could show me a great paddock he knew just north of the Kahutra River below Bushy Saddle. Because I was relatively low I only got glimpses of the Clarence Reserve Road on my left, but it soon became apparent that I was still high enough to enter the valley right at the top of the Kahutara River so I could thankfully dismiss my Clarence River Valley alternative. My Shadow was looking after me and I think also enjoying the quiet ride down and down.

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The radio blasts into life with Murray announcing “I’ve got you just below me”, so tag along and follow me in. I initially suggest I’ve got a paddock on my right just cut with bales of hay I was considering, but experience rules, and so I have a front seat as Murray and Ethan turn the Highlander onto finals and completes a very short landing roll as usual.

Now it’s my turn, as I call downwind and suggest I add a stage of flaps to Murray, who replies, “no flaps” as I try to judge how long I’ll go before turning base leg. I lower the nose a little to keep the speed up as I enter base and line up for my approach. 

Well I’m writing this, so yes it was a relative soft landing, and strangely there was no relief, as it was mainly fun once the decisions were made. And thanks to Murray with all his experience looking over my shoulder. I can recommend anyone to have him around if you in a similar position.

The story didn’t end there though, as the Shadow remained in the paddock a further 2 days when low cloud around the Kaikoura Airfield kept it closed. Each day I climbed the hills to firstly feed the Shadow with some freshly mixed fuel and run the Rotax 503 up, only to sit in glorious sunshine while the airfield remained closed haven’t experienced such persistent local cloud that refused to burn off during the day, and so with rain forecast late on the 3rd day, I took off to do a recce and found the cloud still over the airport and over Lake Rotorua..

I returned to the paddock and  then thought to ring John Snushall to see if his strip at the other end of Kaikoura was accessible. It was worth a look , so once again I headed into the blue sky to head to John’s. As I was following the Kahutara East I noticed I could see it was clear over Lake Rotorua and the cloud was on the move, so I dropped height form 2000 ft to around 200ft and followed the Kahutara under the cloud.

Now Murray had warned me of the power line across Rakanui and just before the Peketa highway bridge, so I kept right up against the cloud to ensure clearance until I turned only final just before the Peketa Camp ground. The mist lowered but thankfully the Camp loomed into sight soon followed by our new Black KAC Hangar, and this time I powered onto 05.

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I had wondered why no one had responded to my radio check and position calls but soon found out after landing that I was on 123.9 instead of 124.9. To Murray’s disgust, there were a few lessons gained in this adventure. But then the experience is invaluable when all things turn out all right!   Bob.

 Safety Message - Rotax Engine Failures 

For all club members who fly ZK-TUG, or who fly other ROTAX engine aircraft.

Please note that in the event of an engine failure ROTAX engines WILL NOT AIRSTART via normal nose down process; in addition to situating the aircraft nose down, you will need to turn the key off, turn it back on and keep the starter engaged until the engine fires/restarts.