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The local club owned two Rans S-6ES's, ZK-JOR and ZK-JOL. JOL is probably one of the most used microlights in New Zealand, having just over 2200 hours on the airframe. It still looks like new, which is a testament to the club and maintainers. After a bit (lot) of help from my Bank Manager, I now own ZK-JOL.

The Rans S6 is an excellent example of a second-generation microlight. The third generation (Technams etc) are metal or composite construction and can be quite advanced aeroplanes - retractable undercarriage, variable pitch props, air conditioning, the works!

This is the cockpit of ZK-JOL, the dual wave-it-around-the-sky sticks are obvious, and the make-it-louder knob sticking out of the dash.

I've learned that I prefer dual control columns like this, that way I can fly left handed and write with my right hand - absolutely vital for someone with a poor memory to deal with Air Traffic Controllers!

Note the flap handle between the seats - all "standard" controls for an ex-G.A. guy like me.

Instrument panel RANS S-6ES
  RANS S6 ZK-JOL, short finals at Rangiora

The twins are powered by a Rotax 582 64hp two cylinder, two stroke, dual ignition aero engine. I believe that the "Blue top" 582's have a good reputation for reliability, when looked after.

This is JOL (obviously) on short finals to runway 07 in Rangiora.


JOR seems to handle slightly better at low speed, but they're both lovely aircraft to fly.

The only slight caveat seems to be the amount of rudder they require, especially for an ex GA pilot. I only used the rudder on a Cherokee on birthdays and other special occasions.

Rumours are that the club Rans's were fitted with non-differential ailerons to suit their role as trainers. It certainly works!


The gorgeous wooden props are very special, often outperforming OEM equipment. They're made locally by Thompson Aeronautical. Far too pretty to hang in front of an oily old engine.

Here's a later generation Rans S-6 with a Rotax 912 80hp (or 100?) 4 stroke turning a 3 bladed propeller. The wing is also a new design, resulting in a faster, nicer handling machine.

There's a good photo on the excellent nzcivair web site comparing this aircraft to JOL:


Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Tr.9 fly by
  Skyranger Aerovee There's a heap of aircraft at Rangiora, including this Aerovee Skyranger. The Aerovee is a 4 cylinder 4 stroke engine based on the Volkswagen flat four.

One of my favourite aircraft is this Jodel D.18, powered by an historic Continental C75 engine. According to the NZCivAir site, it was originally fitted to an Ercoupe which flew from Belgium to New Zealand in 1947!

Details here: http://nzcivair.blogspot.co.nz/2011/12/jodel-d18-zk-edr.html

Jodel D.18



February 2014 update: Life owning a microlight aircraft is certainly interesting! JOL's Rotax 582 starting leaking oil (how does a two stroke leak OIL?!) which has been fixed by The Landing Spot - it was the rotary valve seal (if I understand correctly!). JOL is now purring along, running better than ever. I'm still on the lookout for a good engine simply because of the number of hours mine has done, but I'm a lot more comfortable about flying it. I'm still over-committed on finances but puddling along!

Flying-wise, I still flare like I'm driving a Cherokee, which is way too high in a RANS. I have to check forward and do a mini-approach sometimes, and my crosswind work needs practice. However this is all part of learning (or unlearning and relearning as the case may be) and I am really enjoying it.


I'm trying to fly after work while we have those beautiful long summer evenings, but so far have only managed a couple (weather and commitments). To quote Ned Stark, 'Winter's comin'" so I'd better make fly while the sun shines!


All shiny after I learned how to wash a fabric aeroplane!

April 2015 update: The last few months of 2014 was spent doing an engine change on JOL, under the watchful eye of The Landing Spot.  It took a fair old while because we threw in an extra modification to help with future maintenance.  Thanks to Grant's help JOL now sports a two piece engine cowl which will allow the entire cowling to be removed without having to remove the porpellor.  JOL's club owned sister-ship, JOR, has had this facility since construction.

The engine swap came about becuse I was given the opportunity of purchasing a lower hour unit with a good history and known maintenance schedule.  The previous unit was still flying well despite it's advancing hours.

I'm currently working my way through my advanced local training, hopefully will complete this soon.  There's no rush (especially on my budget!) as long as I keep flying regularly.



  Fun with a GoPro

Circuits at NZRT

  Touchdown, Culverden

Touchdown at Culverden - keep that nose up for as long as possible.  Note Iceman the Instructor bracing for impact

    And, just to show that it really flies, here's a video off the strut-mounted GoPro.

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Onwards to Warbirds over Wanaka 1996 >>>----->

(c) Copyright Brian Greenwood 2015