New wings over Whanganui

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2 November 2018

The New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy (NZICPA) is flying high this week after the arrival of three newly-acquired flight training aircraft on Monday, 29 October.

The planes – a twin-engine Diamond DA42 Twin Star and two single-engine Cessna 172s – were each greeted with a watery salute from a Whanganui Fire and Emergency appliance as they landed.

Among the guests waiting to welcome the planes were Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall, NZICPA chief executive Phill Bedford, representatives from Whanganui District Council Holdings Ltd and Whanganui & Partners, and Wanganui Aero Club members. Mr Bedford described the acquisition of the new aircraft as “a success for the Whanganui district.”

The twin-engine Diamond DA42 – which runs 170hp Austro Engines and features an all-carbon airframe – is a so-called “digital” aircraft where necessary flight parameters, and navigation and airspace material is shown on “TV”-like displays. This equipment allows NZICPA to complete Technically Enhanced instrument-rating training and qualification, and the systems closely represent the airliners graduates will ultimately fly. The aircraft also features more traditional instrumentation as a back-up.

Mr Bedford said one of the advantages of the dual-powered Diamond DA42 was that it gave students the experience of flying on one engine in the case of engine failure. Flight students at the academy are also taught to glide aircraft.

“The primary goal is to ensure our students have great ‘hands-and-feet’ flight training,” he said.

The two older single-engine Cessna 172 planes were fully refurbished recently by Hamilton-based company Oceania Aviation and boast Continental Diesel 155hp engines that run on Jet A1 fuel, which reduces operating costs.

Mr Bedford said New Zealand, and Whanganui in particular, was a great place to learn to fly because it offered a wide range of terrain and conditions within a relatively small area. The goal of the majority of international flight students training at the academy was to become a commercial airline pilot, he said.

“[NZICPA is] pleased to be in this very fortunate position where we can extend our path of professionalism in aviation, and we will continue to advocate for Whanganui to be known as New Zealand’s ‘flight city’,” Mr Bedford said.

Page reviewed: 02 Nov 2018 3:00pm