Go Flying Australia Podcast 009: New Zealand Pilot Rick Watson – Crosswinds, Tecnams and crazy flying weather

Summary: Interview with Rick Watson who is a Recreational pilot and captain of a flying club based in New Zealand.  Rick and I have a great chat about a number of things including Tecnam aircraft, the awesome scenery in New Zealand from the air and the joys of crosswind landings.

Show Notes

Rick is from Thames on the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand.

Ricks Background – started flying helicopters in 1987 and transitioned onto fixed wing aircraft a few years later.  He started his Multi Engine Command Instrument rating but did some damage to his ear and lost his commercial medical certificate and was unable to pursue commercial aviation.

Rick now flies a P2002 Tecnam Microlight aircraft which has a Rotax 912 engine.

NZ microlight requirements:

– Class 2 medical from GP

– Curriculum (Hours and Exams) are the same as the Private Pilot License (exams are sat with the CAA)

Rick is the Club Captain of the Hauraki Aeroclub.

Ricks notes that General Aviation is in decline in New Zealand as the maintenance costs of older aircraft is increasing.  Aeroclubs and Schools which own Recreational (Microlight) aircraft are doing well.

Rick had a Fly inn at Thames at which 38 aircraft turned up even though the weather was marginal.

Rick notes that a lot of Microlight aircraft are professionally factory made aircraft.

Rick talks in detail about Tecnam aircraft.  Rick notes that you can pick up mid range second-hand Tecnam aircraft for $NZD 75,000.wpid-img_20150504_180415.jpg

Rick regularly attends a Fly inn breakfast at Dargaville in New Zealand.  Around his local there dis great scenery and in some locations you can land on the beach.

Challenges experienced in Flying in New Zealand – Rick notes that weather can be a major issue.

Nice locations to fly in New Zealand – Coromandel loop around the peninsula, hugging the coastline, flying over the locations of the films Narnia and Lord of the Rings.



At 5,500 feet in New Zealand you can see from coast to coast.

Memorable Flights – Cross Country trips to Queenstown and Filming from a helicopter in Queenstown.  Video for illustration purposes only.

NZ Aviation Videos – Tokoroa Airfield (Crosswind Landings).  Video for illustration purposes only of the types of crosswinds encountered in New Zealand.

Rick notes that he is obtaining his Microlight instructor rating at the moment.

We chat about Rick’s past flying the Hughes 300.

Controlled Airspace in NZ – Rick notes you can fly around the country without talking to a controller using the VFR lanes.

Warbird Scene in New Zealand

Warbirds over Wanaka

Wings over Wairarapa

Classic Fighters Omaka

Strikemaster’s in New Zealand

We chat about the Hauraki Aeroclub based at the Sir Keith Park Memorial Field named after a famous NZ World War 2 aviator.

Hauraki Aeroclub Facebook

Rapid Fire Questions

Dream Aircraft – SportCruiser

Favourite Aviator – Patty Wagstaff (Aerobatic Pilot)

Favourite Aviation Phrase – Aviate, Navigate and Communicate, Fail to Plan, plan to failure and height is your friend.



Hauraki Aeroclub Website

Hauraki Aeroclub Facebook

Rick’s Youtube Channel