2020 Newsletter #2, The Covid edition.

Hi Everyone, 

I am pleased that all of our Aerobatic Club members, that I am aware of, have survived the first wave of the Corona virus and level 4 lockdown although many have taken a massive hit to their aviation careers and we all hope for a good recovery. Some have even thrived in their progress on their aircraft construction or preparations for the aerobatic season. 

The new committee of Morris Tull, Andy Love, Grant Benns, Terry Johnson and Russell Bell have been putting the lockdown time to good use. It was an ideal time to review our Nationals and look at all the things we did well and what we can improve on. We are re writing some of our procedures to reflect the ideas learned and I thank the committee for their ideas and time.

We have advanced our preparation for our regular events and the new North Island Akrofest. The National Aerobatic Championship that we had in March 2020 completes the season in two ways; the AGM is held to elect the new committee and it is the end of the use of last year’s sequences with all events after the Nationals now to use the 2021 sequences that are now published on the NZAC website at www.aerobatics.nz and are also loaded in www.OpenAero.net in the library file under 2021, NZAC.  Both Grant and I were working on this project independently at exactly the same time, great minds think alike and it is great to have such common strategies in the team.

As I said in my Season Opening newsletter #1, as the new President; My goals and challenges for this season will be to ensure it is fun, to keep doing what we do well, try to help get more competitors to all events and increase our judging pool plus encourage more volunteers to assist and I call on all of you to try to convince at least one person each to come along and give it a go, they will not regret it.

If you have any ideas to improve the club or enquiries, you can contact me here at president@aerobatics.co.nz or tull@eim.ae

Good communication is always a core role of the committee, the committee has confirmed that the Website at www.aerobatics.nz is our primary source of information so we ask you to keep an eye on it for the latest rules and news and sequences. We have an automated Mail Chimp system that delivered this newsletter from the website. 

Please also follow our Facebook page at “New Zealand Aerobatic Club.”

At the competition events, we plan to use WhatsApp groups more to ensure fast messaging of the day’s news and information to supplement the briefings so please install WhatsApp on your phone if you do not have it already.

The beginning of the season is a good time to confirm we are using the best tools, software and Apps. I encourage you learn these useful tools, even if you are in the more junior categories, there are benefits. 

Sequence design and printing. www.OpenAero.net is the most important; this is the software that all free or free known sequences must be designed in and submitted to the Event Organiser. You will be familiar with these as the end result is the sequences cards that you have been flying with. In addition to designing your sequence, you can also change many things about the presentation, scale, size of notations, placing of turn arrows, and direction of turns, size of presentation of individual figures and size of printing out the Pilot cards. You can take the ones already formatted in the library and improve them to your liking, and size of card that suits you and your cockpit. Check out Grants excellent article on using OpenAero here, Aero Sequencing– Kiwi Flyer Issue 60.

The Box; yes, you are supposed to fly in the box so the more you know about it, exactly where the corners are, what visual references are around and where the wind is coming from, you can significantly improve your performance and positioning in the box. You will see many of the experienced competitors using a model aircraft and a photo of the aerobatic box to think about where you might want to enter the box given the crosswind, which way you should turn for wind corrections, how many ¼ turns add up to going in the right or wrong direction.

I strongly suggest you all print out the photo of the box as big as you can and use you model to figure out then burn the sequence into your brain before you go and start wasting avgas.

You can draw a box where you regularly practice using these tools;


Here is our Masterton box. http://serega.aero/boxCalc/acrobox.html?hdg=223&la=-40.981557311928704&lo=-184.36069294139654&zo=16

Here is our proposed Mercer box. http://serega.aero/boxCalc/acrobox.html?hdg=292&la=-37.2681169225122&lo=-184.87984167248638&zo=16

Here is our proposed Omaka box. http://serega.aero/boxCalc/acrobox.html?hdg=266&la=-41.5449166467072&lo=173.92127732531438&zo=16

Another App for IPhone and IPad is the free Acrobox Flight III app. Load it from the app store on your IPhone then open and save these links; for Masterton, Omaka and Mercer boxes. This app even allows you to fly with it and shows you your position in the box.

First you need to install AcroBox on IPhone or IPad, then click the link below to open in AcroBox. Save it as a bookmark.
Mercer box acrobox://aerial?latitude=-37.2681648&longitude=175.1203489&rotation=293&name=Mercer%20box
Masterton box acrobox://aerial?latitude=-40.9817168&longitude=175.6391493&rotation=225&name=Masterton%20box
Omaka box acrobox://aerial?latitude=-41.5451925&longitude=173.9212928&rotation=267&name=Omaka%20Akrofest

I also have another one used by the organisers of the international aerobatic competitions.

Establish a Contest Box graphic on Google Earth.zip

Scoring software. We will continue to use Akro4 software developed by Nick Buckenham if CIVA. It is free to download and if you are likely to be assisting in running any of the events, the sooner you learn this better.

So I hope you may find these Apps useful and they may occupy your lockdown time with something useful.

Aviation News has kindly given us all free access to the May edition of the Newspaper, click the link.

The May edition of Aviation News is out on schedule and, as far as we’re able, fault-free and full of good stuff. As it’s digital only, access the link:http://www.aviationnews.co.nz/uploads/Products/product_253/001A_AVNEWS_0520.pdf Some of you will have received this link via other means. The good news is that you won’t be forced to read it multiple times, but please do savour it. Every word is hard won and the result of the sweat of somebody’s brow, perhaps even more than usual in these uncertain times.More good news: everybody is encouraged to disseminate this edition, to spread the word that Aviation News is alive and well. It might even encourage more people to read it regularly, so please pass on this link. Thanks John King

As I put this newsletter together, I received news that’s almost worse than being in lockdown, Oshkosh is cancelled for 2020! This virus has devastated aviation and now the biggest and best airshow in the world is also cancelled. Please be safe out there.Regards to all, 

Morris Tull
President, NZ Aerobatics Club

And now a message from the VP.

Hi all,

I just wanted to give our membership an update in regards to our South Is event, at Omaka. For those that haven’t attended this competition, we first held this event in Nov 2015, celebrating 70 years of the Pitts Special and the first ever Aerobatic Competition on the mainland. Since then, we have slowly expanded the event with its own unique flavour but in line with our Club Procedures Manual and international rules.

For me, the unique aspects of this competition include the hospitality of the Marlborough Aeroclub and Aviation Heritage Centre and the addition of the Vintage Class which has a set sequence, flown twice by aircraft that must be pre-1960, taildragger and lacking an inverted oil/fuel system. This has been created in memory of a very good friend of ours in the NZ Tiger Club, Wayne Edwards. Wayne flew his Tiger Moth in the Recreational class in 2017, and he impressed everyone present with his gritty determination to figure out how to present his aeroplane for maximum points. 

In 2019, we had over 20 competitors flying Primary through to Advanced. We saw significant growth in the membership with new competitors, many whom also flew at our Nationals earlier in 2020 along with several who had been absent for many years. 

Without repeating all the MSM talking points, we have a unique and very challenging situation facing us in 2020. That said; it is my intention to run the event again in Nov, at Omaka Aerodrome. The Aeroclub are right behind us, as is the entire aerodrome community at Omaka. Some of you may have noticed in the advertising and marketing that I refer to the event being a fly-in, as well as a competition. Well, I was inspired by the EAA when I flew in to Oshkosh in 2012, with a friend in his Tiger Moth. Seeing how they run these events in the US, and the passion shown for grassroots flying, gave me the inspiration to try and build this event as not only an Aeros comp for us lot but crucially, a gathering for all aviators. We have seen significant interest from the likes of the Nelson and Canterbury Aeroclub, with several club aeroplanes turning up to watch the flying which has been fantastic. With the World-class museum on site, there is no reason not to come along. While encouraging itinerants at the event can create added challenges for our organizers, it nevertheless keeps in line my passion and inspiration of continuing what Paul Poberezny intended, when he and several others founded the EAA in the early 1960s in the US. 

One thing I have always been aware of, and constantly tell myself, is you never know who you are talking to at an airfield. You might just inspire someone to take up flying lessons, or buy an aeroplane and take the plunge, so making these events and gatherings accessible is crucial, in my view. Breaking down the barriers between the small groups within GA, you could say. The Marlborough Aeroclub now have their own Aeros trainer, an extremely tidy Air Tourer 150. We are continuing with our venerable Alpha, at the Canterbury Aeroclub. With several experienced Instructors available at both Aeroclubs I am encouraging both to engage with the membership to offer this concept as not only a great learning exercise and a great way to improve one’s mindset but let’s face it, it is such a hoot and hugely rewarding. 

Another event being run this year at Omaka, the weekend before the South Island Akro Fest, is the FlyingNZ Alpine Area Rally. I am heading up a week early to setup the aerobatic box markers so that we can run the same briefing/event format for both events. We did this a few years back with great success.

I trust everyone is safe and well, and I look forward to catching up with everyone around the traps over the Spring and Summer ahead. And if you are talking to someone about flying, let’s see ourselves as sales people for our Club, our Sport, what we love and enjoy participating in the most. Turning aeroplanes upside down purely for the fun of it. You just never know who you are talking to.

Andy Love

Vice President, NZ Aerobatic Club


And now from Grant Benns, Event Organiser Extraordinaire.

Planning continues for the inaugural North Island Akrofest, awarding the Langley Marshall Trophy, which should be happening soon (mid-June?) at Mercer Airport. 

Held over two days, you will have at least three opportunities to fly in front of the Judges. Hangarage and accommodation available on-site, unrestricted airspace overhead – start practicing, even if just in your head or around the ‘lounge-box’, by downloading the 2020/21 Known Sequence for your category from the NZAC website or check out OpenAero/Library/2021/NZAC. You will have to fly this twice, plus an Unknown too. 

More details soon. And, as a teaser, here is our proposed Box…

That’s it team. Safe flying and see you soon.