Safety and ops info

Safety and ops info

Here we offer some unofficial – but hopefully useful – advice about our region’s aerodromes and local airspace, plus general stuff that might not appear in AIP Vol 4, or Notams.

The club takes no responsibility for the accuracy of this information. Local aviators will let us know of local issues, and then we’ll post the information here.

If in any doubt, double-check it.


Non-standard turns at Hastings

There has been much discussion lately, in the lecture room, at the bar, and at safety sessions, about the popular practice of making a “non-standard turn” when vacating from the Hastings airfield to the east from either 01 or 19.

Visitors and club members need to be aware that this is not permitted. Another aircraft could be joining from the east into the crosswind. The bang could be significant.

All turns in the circuit are to be made in the circuit direction.

Gliders frequently operate at Hastings and they use the “non-traffic” area with a right-hand circuit. Either avoid this area or exercise caution within it.


Operations and Safety Guide

The club’s Operations and Safety Guide is located here and there is a link to a downloadable, print-ready copy in PDF format. There are also links to CAA and RAANZ websites, to access copies of their various report forms.

The document will be amended from time to time, so please pay the occasional visit to the Guide page and check the Updated date for the latest version.


Pilots, know your Vs

by Ken Mckee

It was one of those typical sunny Hawke’s Bay days and Fred decided to fly to Feilding and visit friends there.  He took his pilot friend Joe and they had a nice flight to Feilding.

Later that day when returning to their home base in Napier, Fred noted that the westerly wind had picked up and said to Joe: “Better tighten your harness, it could get a bit rough”.   As they got in the lee of Wharite Peak, they encountered severe turbulence and Fred needed to use maximum aileron to maintain level flight.  For the comfort of those on board, Fred immediately reduced the normal cruising speed of 90 knots even though the top of the green arc was 95 knots.  Should Fred have been thinking of anything else?

Aircraft have many operating limitations that can be found in the Flight Manual.

One of these is expressed in terms of airspeed or velocity (V).

Pilots need to be familiar with the airspeed limitations of the aircraft they are flying.  The following is a simple explanation for a complex subject and applies to single-engine fixed undercarriage aircraft.

If the limiting airspeeds are exceeded, the aircraft will suffer structural damage.

If the limiting airspeeds are exceeded and the aircraft is at the same time subjected to added ‘G’ forces, the aircraft could suffer catastrophic structural failure.

The following are the most important limiting airspeeds:

  1. Vne or Never Exceed.
  2. Vno or Maximum structural cruising.
  3. Va or Maximum Manoeuvring.
  4. Vfe or Maximum Flap Extended.
  5. Vs or Stall.

Vne is marked on the airspeed indicator (ASI, Fig 1) with a red line. This speed must only be approached in calm air and must not be exceeded under any circumstances.

Vno is marked on the ASI as the upper limit of the green arc. This speed is the maximum normal operating speed and at which only normal, gentle flight control movements are permitted.

Va should be placarded, ideally adjacent to the ASI.  It is also known as the maximum rough air speed.  This is the maximum speed at which one of the flight controls can be moved abruptly and/or to its maximum deflection in one direction.

Note that moving the flight controls abruptly from maximum in one direction to maximum in the other direction can cause structural failure at less than Va.  Va is calculated by multiplying the square root of the positive limit loASIad factor (G) by the clean stall speed (Vsi), at MTOW.

Vfe is marked on the ASI as the upper limit of the white arc.  This is the maximum speed at which the flaps can be extended.

Vs is marked on the ASI as the lower limit of the green arc.  It is the airspeed at which the aircraft will stall with no additional ‘G’ forces applied.

On the airspeed indicator, the flap speeds are in the WHITE arc, the normal operating speeds are in the GREEN arc and the caution airspeeds are in the YELLOW arc.

When the flaps are extended, the airspeed must be in the white arc.  Flying in the green arc should be safe in all normal flying conditions.  When flying in turbulent or rough air, the airspeed should be less than Va.  Flying in the yellow arc requires caution and is only permitted in smooth air.

Remember, the elevator controls the airspeed.  In order to reduce airspeed when suddenly encountering rough air and the airspeed is above Va, it is sometimes necessary to not only reduce power but also to gently raise the nose attitude.

If at any time you think you may have overstressed an aircraft, speak with a qualified person and if necessary have the airframe inspected by an IA before it is flown again.

By the way the Va of Fred’s aircraft is 83 knots.


The southern end of Waipuk’s runway can become soft after prolonged rain. Soft areas will be indicated by cones directing you to the displaced threshold. Expect to find a healthy layer of Central Hawke’s Bay sheepshit on your aircraft after a successful landing, when the flock of cost-reducing sheep are mowing the grass. It’s a small price to pay for not paying a landing fee. Ample supplies of soap and water are available, and Ross Macdonald can be relied on to help you scrub your aeroplane back to near-new condition. December 15 Update: Waipuk reports that there are no sheep on the airfield at present. We’ll let you know when the flock returns.


When on finals for runway 19 in a strong westerly, be aware of the line of trees bordering the threshold on your right, and aim to land late. Or make use of runway 29 (remember to call it). Watch out for the displaced threshold on runway 11. It’s there because of power lines on the approach.

When joining overhead, which is not advised, you might meet a transient glider or sight our unpleasant Regional Prison just east of the airfield. Overhead joins are not recommended – check the aerodrome’s AIP plate. Straight-ahead departures from 01 will put you in Napier controlled airspace, and right turns after a 01 departure may get you into trouble.

Nordo aircraft are based on the field.


From Alistair Matthews and the team at the Marlborough Aero Club: please take note when flying into the Omaka Airfield.

A couple of incidents on the airfield have highlighted a threat to our safety which has always been there and will be there for all of us to continue to manage and reduce by appropriate action.

I am talking of the thresholds of runway 01 and 07 which cannot be seen from each other because of the vineyard between. We have had two close calls in quick succession; no pilot was doing anything wrong, but we need to raise awareness.

How can we reduce this threat? Start at the beginning, when you start to taxi for either (or any) runway. Make your taxi call and listen out for any replies or calls from other aircraft. Look around as you taxi for aircraft on the ground or in the sky. Get that situational awareness going, note who is doing what. We know that the wind can often be between 01 and 07 so one pilot thinks it favours one but another pilot thinks it favours the other. Neither is wrong and it is perfectly OK to take a runway with a crosswind, but you must be sharp as to what is happening on the other runway.
Convention has us using the same runway others are using, if possible. But it may not be: 01 is longer and may be required by some for performance issues.

Prior to lining up, a radio call and a good lookout, all around, pause for a moment to check on what is happening. Another fish hook: aircraft do not require a radio to land at Omaka so do not rely on that, however use it if you have it. The Mk 1 Eyeball is the big thing, but you cannot see through a vineyard!

If you heard or saw an aircraft on your taxi out, ascertain where it is prior to lining up, spot it, or call up “Aircraft joining Omaka, your position please”. Don’t roll until you know where it is.

Another threat is that looking from 07 to 01 finals, aircraft can blend into the hillside; check carefully.


This is a pilot’s paradise, with the motor camp less than 50 metres from the strip and the buzzing village centre a short walk away. But there are traps for the unwary on approach to runway 23. As the customary sea breeze wafts over trees to the starboard just beyond the threshold, wind-shear is often created – leading to a sudden loss of lift and airspeed. This was encountered by many flying in for the 2016 Black Sands event, and two HB aviators found the same conditions in late November. Be prepared, and land late if need be.

How to find a harp in a cloud

If you have ever been tempted to just nip inside that little cloud and see what a wrestler’s armpit really looks like, here’s a simple tip. Don’t. Many a World War II fighter pilot died trying it. For microlight pilots, it’s illegal.

Forget your flash EFIS display with its artificial horizon. It’s just there for showing off to people on the ground – or perhaps monitoring a correct turn or climb, if you seek great accuracy.

Unless you have several dozen hours of instrument flight training and the instrument scan is now second nature, you will lose all your senses within 30 seconds. Death or serious injury is the most predictable result.

Here’s a cautionary tale from a microlight pilot who, suffering from an attack of Pressonitis (also known in New Zealand by the less elegant term of get-there-itis), was lucky to survive a moment of sheer folly:

Cross-control stalls

It’s strange but true: the only group of pilots who are tested on cross-control stalls are CFIs. Yet this is the stall that often causes the low-altitude stall spin accident. A cross-control stall occurs while in a skidding turn caused by excessive bottom rudder. By bottom rudder, we mean that if we are turning right, the bottom rudder is the right rudder.

In this situation, the low wing – which is effectively being slowed down by the excessive bottom rudder, will stall before the top wing – which is being accelerated by the excessive bottom rudder. When this happens, the aircraft rotates to the right and the nose drops.

The natural reaction is to pull back on the yoke and apply left aileron, both of which are incorrect. If you do this, the aircraft will continue to rotate and it will enter deeper into the stall. The correct reaction is to apply forward elevator and opposite rudder. Of course, the real solution is to not create a cross-control stall.

You can initiate a cross-control stall from a slipping turn as well, but this is not so dangerous. When we stall in a slipping turn (that is, with excessive top rudder), the top wing stalls first and effectively levels the wings. This presents a much more normal picture to the pilot and almost acts as an automatic recovery.

The Airplane Flying Handbook describes the cross-control stall as a stall from a skidding turn because it requires proper technique to recover and, if not performed correctly, can result in a spin.

This edited article comes from

The comments beneath the article are also of interest.

To which we also add:

A side-slipping descent, unless unusual circumstances apply, often indicates a poorly constructed approach.


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