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Magnificent men and their flying machines

Watching the planes come and go

A favourite trip for our boys is to the small local aerodrome.

Driving in, many of the hangars are hidden from view and you don't get a true appreciation for just how many there are, nor the number of planes housed within.

This visit though, we got to see heaps of planes in non-stop action, due in part to an instructor being there to assess the trainee pilots for their commercial pilot's license.

Every 5 minutes there was a plane re-fueling, taking off, taxiing or landing - enough action to keep Kita interested as well.  

We learned that there were 4 different types of fuel available at the aerodrome from petrol to A1 aviation fuel; and that the Stinson we saw filling it's wing tanks right next to the fence could fly for 4-5 hours on around $300 worth of gas.  Did you know that the pilots hook on an earthing wire from the fuel pump to the plane to stop sparking and explosions when filling?!

We met a lovely lass from India, who was one of 2 international students studying at the flight school.  She already had her private pilots license and counted on being in New Zealand for 9 months before leaving with her commercial license.  What dedication! [At least 4 of the pilots we saw were females, which is cool.]

A previous visit we talked with a chap from an aerial mapping service, and that was fascinating.  Finding out about the planes; where he had flown; the cameras; and the answers to any question the children asked.  I would have loved to 'interview' the guy and find out more.  

People's lifestyles and the opportunities for them to use their skills interest me.  I want to understand why they do what they do, how they learned for it, what it means on a day-to-day basis, where they want to go with their job etc.  There is so much that we don't know that goes on all around us in our own community.

There are apparently 136 airports / aerodromes / heliports etc in New Zealand.  If you have a young lad I'd recommend packing some snacks or a picnic lunch and heading out for an hour or two.  Perhaps phone ahead and find out if there are going to be any scheduled transits, but otherwise just get out for a different place to have lunch.

Ready for take-off at Bridge Pa Aerodrome, Hastings

The flying station wagon - love it!