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NZ Open Helicopter Championship 

78.JPGCheck this out!!!! Started in 2005 here at North Shore, this great event has combined with the amazing Whitianga Festival of Speed! Momentum is building to hold yet another event where the aim has always been to build the event into a truly competitive and fun competition that encourages all helicopter pilots to have a go! 

Contact us today if you think you want to get involved.... you won't be disappointed!!!


Check out the Festival Of Speed website

We are also delighted that the competition has been recognised by the  sports governing body  the FAI CIG, as a category 2 event, which really puts it in on the world stage.

2009 was an exciting year for both organisers and competitors, and with the World Games format including the exciting Bottle Opening event, Whitianga airfield was the place to be for pilots and spectators alike.

Spectators are very welcome to come and have a look at these great machines perform in what has become a unique annual event in the southern hemisphere and now combined with the new iconic Festival of Speed, it is an amazing weekend of everything fast and furious

If you want to get up close to these great machines, sign up to be one of the voluntary judges and be a real part of the days action.  

It really is going to be another amazing day and you could be part of something very special which only happens in the southern hemisphere....right here!!! So send your application in now and look forward to seeing you in March!!

Footage from the 2008 NZ Open Helicopter Championship event:

Please find below a report from the 2008 NZ Open Helicopter Championship event.
We look forward to seeing you in 2009!

Another Awesome Day!!!!!

29th March 2008 – North Shore Airfield, Auckland

After the disappointment of having to cancel in February due to the mini cyclone passing through, the 2008 NZ Helicopter Championship turned out to be a brilliant day with teams competing hard out…sometimes too hard…  to win the coveted BP Challenge Trophy.

80.JPGWith an Air Force Huey, a Squirrel, a Jetranger, an EC120, 2 R44’s, 2 Hughes 300’s, 4 R22’s, plus a lunchtime race against a rally car; North Shore airfield was no place for those wanting a quiet Saturday! 

Being the only FAI sanctioned competition in the southern hemisphere, for the first time this year’s event saw all four stages of the World Championship format of Navigation, Precision Flying, Slalom and Fender Rigging being completed; plus the jaw dropping bottle opening stage!

Accuracy rather than speed was the key, as both pilot and co-pilot pitted their skills against all levels of experience. Agility and manoeuvrability were vital with points deducted for time penalties and inaccurate flying.  The co-pilot played a major role in all events from spotting what was in the search zone on the navigation, to guiding the filled bucket whilst hanging out the door through the tricky slalom course!

The 12 teams were made up of a mixed bunch of aviators. From pre–ppl Pom  Andrew Cronbach , the highly competitive Hot Rox team, father and son team of the Crash Test Dummies ; but once again the stars of the day had to be the magnificent Iroquois’s with the familiar and sweet sounding thump thump of the rotor blades.

The Navigation Exercise

After a full briefing the night before and with the rain thankfully staying away, the teams started early with a allocated timed departure. Each were given a small map, instructions, a bowling skittle and two rice bags. And off into the blue they went...

79.JPGThey first had to find several map reference points, then find the cunningly disguised ‘search zone’ – a grid on the small piece of map to identify the symbols on 6 orange panels spread over a hillside. This proved to be more challenging then the crews expected with only a handful, either finding the search zone, let alone finding all the large orange panels!

Onto another identification point, they then had to find the drop zone…or not as some teams dropped their rice bags into cattle troughs rather than on the actual targets 300m away! Back to the airfield where failure to get to the arrival line in their designated time, teams were heavily penalised… but then the fun commenced, unfurling the skittle and trying to lower it into the “doghouse”.

Huey Blue conducted a text book drop, but  the aptly named ‘Catch 22”  team clearly hadn’t read the rule that the skittle needs to be attached to the rope before being dropped…..needless to say that they didn’t score that great!

Precision Flying

The next event was precision flying. In this part of the competition the helicopter is flown on a constant heading through a set of tram track lines testing the pilot’s control of forward, sideways and backwards flight all against the clock. At two ends a timed 360 degree turn is performed. As a test of hovering skill, two chains of different lengths are suspended below the aircraft; the two metre chain must remain off the ground whilst the three metre chain must touch the ground. The event ends with a precision landing measured on a fixed line.

The Pioneer Punters team got off to a good start in the jetranger piloted by Doug Godfrey and his first time co-pilot Chris du Toi ; the local doctor who by his own admission, didn’t really know what was going on but was still having a ball!! Hox Rox amended their mistake from last year and went for speed over accuracy…as did Huey Blue. However they did get a little over excited which unfortunately caused a malfunction and meant they had to sit out the rest of the day’s events. A real shame for both the team and the now gathering throng of spectators.

The Slalom

The slalom event involves flying with the co-pilot holding a bucket full of water on a five metre rope round a short tight course through twelve pairs of slalom gates in different directions. At the end of the course and again flying to a tight time allocation, had to land the bucket on a designated target, hopefully without spilling any water.

The EC120 with Riaan Cole at the helm, did fantastically well around the course again going for speed and taking the hit with a few missed gates to avoid the massive time penalties.  Andrew Cronbach, a PPL in the making in the R22, did a great job in windy conditions, whilst his co-pilot Roy hurled directions in an ever increasing volume!

Fender Rigging

New to this year’s event and completing the world four stage format, fender rigging is again a test of pilot skill and intimate knowledge of the rules. A boat fender is attached to a rope which has to be either lengthened or shortened dependant on which drum it has to go into with points awarded for accurate placement and speed. Points are deducted after one minute has elapsed with a total course time of 2mins 30secs. Not for the faint hearted but great fun for the spectators.

The competition was now really heating up, with the top teams eyeing each other and wondering how they could score valuable points. ‘The Pom’ team of Andrew and Roy were going great guns until the co-pilot dropped the fender…he’s now signed up for the cricket team. Hox Rox were hot on their heels but calm in the delivery of fender to drum and the Pioneer Punters were also starting to get into heat of battle and started to up their game….who was going to win and have bragging rights for a whole year????

And finally….. Bottle Opening Competition

It was the one event everyone had been waiting all day for….having been the star of You Tube for some time now for helo jockeys the world over, reality was here and the heat was really on. Who could have the steadiest hand to take five bottle tops off the bottle by using a normal bottle opener attached to the skid!!

It’s amazing how tense you can get when you have to concentrate so hard and with an sceptical audience daring to believe that it could actually be done. Well done it was….some made hard work of taking one top off, in ten minutes and some made it look like they had been practising all day, every day for the last year! Hamish MacLoud in Hox Rox with there highly engineered art deco opener was the star of the afternoon and managed to take all five off in under seven minutes and then after reloading another two… all hail king Hamish and the rest of us will just have to spend the next year practising!

So after a long and a very memorable day, we all retired to the club for a fantastic dinner, the odd pint of freshly opened beer swapped stories of the good, the bad and how the hell we could steal the Huey for a quick blast around the block

The final scores were:

1. Hox Rox – R44 – Hamish Macloud – Simon Tomkins

2. The Poms – Andrew Cronbach – Roy Crane

3. In Total Control –  EC120 - Tom Cashen – Rianne Cole

For further information call Roy Crane on +64 (0)9 426 8748 or +64 (0)21 340 654.


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