18 June 2021

Blast from the Past #9

De Havilland 83 Fox Moth ZK-ASP at Matamata, ca. 1957-1960

 ZK-ASP was originally Air Travel (NZ)'s pioneer Fox Moth, ZK-ADI. After seeing RNZAF service during World War II it was added to NZNAC's fleet again for service in South Westland. It is still wearing its NZNAC colour scheme here minus its Māori name Mimiro.

ZK-ASP       DH.83 Fox Moth                                                                 c/n 4097

ZK-ADI       29/01/1935      Air Travel (NZ) Ltd, Hokitika

See : http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2016/09/air-travel-nz-new-zealands-first-airline.html

                     00/00/1943      Registration cancelled

NZ566          12/04/1943      Royal New Zealand Air Force...impressed

See : https://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2021/05/in-my-previous-existence.html

ZK-ASP       06/08/1948      NZNAC, Wellington - named "Mimiro"

See : http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2012/07/hokitikas-nac-de-havilland-days.html

                     03/12/1953      W.K. Wakeman, Christchurch

                     28/07/1954      Air Contracts Ltd, Masterton

                     18/01/1957      A.H. Blechynden, Hamilton

                     06/04/1959      R.N. Rae, Rotorua

                     10/11/1960      S.M. Marker, Christchurch

                     09/10/1961      J.H. Switzer, Christchurch

                     29/07/1968      A.J. Evans, East Tamaki

                     18/03/1970      R.M. Robertson, Auckland

                     20/04/1971      D.K. Lilico, Auckland

                     15/11/1972      R.M. Robertson, Auckland

                     15/07/1975      Registration cancelled

N83DH         23/09/1975      Hamburg Aerodrome Inc, Lakeview, New York

                     00/12/1984      Registration cancelled

G-ADHA     03/12/1984      B.D. Woodford, Hamble

                     15/04/1985      Wessex Aviation & Transport Ltd, Hamble

                     03/02/1997      Registration cancelled

ZK-ADI       04/02/1997      Croydon Air Services Croydon Aircraft Co Ltd, Gore

                     14/02/2001      Croydon Aircraft Co, Mandeville, Gore

                     30/08/2001      Double U Anchor Ltd, Paraparaumu

                     11/06/2002      Croydon Aviation Heritage Trust, Mandeville

                     12/11/2002      Croydon Aircraft Co Ltd, Mandeville, Southland

17 June 2021

Norfolk Island Saab Service Commences


Norfolk Island will see their new Air Chathams' aeroplane today with Saab 340 ZK-CIZ operating the Auckland to Norfolk Island flight, 3C 401.

Air Chathams' flights to Norfolk Island resumed last week with the first flights being operated by ATR 72-500 ZK-MCO. The Saab 340s will now take over the Norfolk Island flights which operate on Thursdays. Air Chathams are adding a second weekly flight in each direction on Mondays from the 2nd of August 2021. 

Ownership Changes


A little piece on the Stewart Island News Facebook page reports that Raymond Hector retired as a Stewart Island Flights' pilot on the 15th of June 2021. 

Raymond and Bill Moffatt established South East Air Ltd on the 14th of May 1993 using Cessna 185E ZK-JEM for beach operations to Stewart Island's west coast beaches, Codfish Island for the Department of Conservation and general New Zealand wide charter flights.

South East Air Ltd bought Southern Air 1997 Ltd in April 2000 and the trading name for the airline was changed to Stewart Island Flights with Stewart Island Flights Ltd being established in March 2009.

Raymond and has wife Lynne have sold their shareholdings in the company to Leon and Antony Bax.

The Stewart Island News Facebook page said, "Thank you Raymond for the many years you piloted us safely across the Strait."

A full history of South East Air and Stewart Island Flights can be found here... http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2010/05/nzs-southern-most-airline-part-4.html

16 June 2021

What do you do with a third Jetstream?


Originair introduced its third Jetstream, ZK-JSJ, into service this week! The introduction of another aircraft to the Originair fleet provides the airline the capacity to not only increase current scheduled services but also supports its increasing demand in charter services. CEO Robert Inglis said “Covid-19 issues have delayed the preparation of this aircraft for service however, the delay has been worth waiting for, as the aircraft looks and performs like new”. Nelson’s aircraft interior experts, Generation Global, have refurbished the aircraft and the Freightways NZ Ltd owned Fieldair at Palmerston North, have carried out all engineering work, including fitting overhauled engines, undercarriage and propellers. Aircraft testing has been carried out recently by the Company’s Training Captain and crews. Inglis said “Initially the aircraft will be used to increase the Company’s popular direct services from Nelson to Palmerston North to four flights each weekday with two Sunday services. The introduction of another aircraft to the fleet also provides the airline the capacity to not only increase current scheduled services but also supports its increasing demand in charter services”. 

Source : Originair Facebook page

15 June 2021

Blast from the Past #8


TEAL's Lockheed L188 Electra ZK-TEA at Whenuapai

14 June 2021

JSJ in Service

It looks like Originair's BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-JSJ entered service today operating ORIGIN 335 from Palmerston North to Nelson and the return service ORIGIN 332.

13 June 2021

Utah Williamson Burnett's Private Air Service


The Manapouri power station was built in the 1960s. This project involved the construction of an underground power house and a 10 kilometre tail race tunnel to carry water from Lake Manapouri to Deep Cove in Doubtful Sound as well as the Wilmot Pass road. The contract was let to an American-New Zealand consortium of the Utah Construction and Mining Company, in association with Burnett Motors Ltd of Ashburton, and W Williamson Construction Company of Christchurch. The joint venture became known as Utah-Williamson-Burnett.  

To facilitate accommodation for the workers in the remote Deep Cove the 1930’s era TSMV Wanganella trans-Tasman passenger liner was saved from being scrapped. The ship sailed to and was moored in Doubtful Sound’s Deep Cove in August 1963. For the next six years the ship provided hostel accommodation for the construction workers. In April 1970 a tug towed the Wanganella to Hong Kong in theory to be repaired and returned to service. Faced with prohibitive costs the ship was sold in Taiwan where she was scrapped.

The Wanganella moored in Doubtful Sound. A magnificent history of the Wanganella can be found here http://ssmaritime.com/Wanganella.htm

In 1960 the Wilmot Pass walking track was the overland access between the western side of Lake Manapouri and Doubtful Sound. The 21 km unsealed road was constructed between 1963 and 1965 to accommodate heavy equipment transporters moving equipment loads from ships off-loading at Doubtful Sound for the power station construction. With a large work force at Deep Cove and with a lack of overland access an air service was essential. Initially Southern Scenic Air Services' Cessna 180 floatplanes and Tourist Air Travel's Grumman Widgeons were used to provide air access but it was clear a larger aircraft was required.

On the 15th of September 1963 it was announced that Utah-Williamson-Burnett had acquired a newly refurbished 12-seat Grumman G73 Mallard from Trans Australian Airlines. It was envisaged that the Mallard would make at least one return flight a day between Deep Cove and Invercargill carrying passengers, workers and freight as required. Ex-Fleet Air Arm and Southern Scenic Air Services' Te Anau Cessna 180 floatplane pilot Don Nairn was been appointed chief-pilot for the Utah-Williamson-Burnett operation and he flew the aircraft across the Tasman along with a Trans-Australian Airlines check pilot and an engineer. Don Nairn wrote in NZ Wings, I had never seen a Mallard, but as I had previously flown four Grumman types during the war, including the Goose and Widgeon amphibians, I was eager to get my hands on another of their pedigree line of aircraft. VH-TGA left Sydney for Norfolk Island on the 12th of October 1963 and then flew on to Whenuapai the following day. A TAA co-pilot was arranged to fly with Don Nairn on the ferry flight and for the first month of operations. It was placed on the New Zealand register as ZK-CDV on the 15th of October 1963. (The aircraft retained its TAA colour scheme, and hence the logo at the head of the post is because it featured on the aircraft rather than being representative of the consortium)

 Pilot for the amphibian operation Don Nairn in front of the Grumman Mallard. Source : Grumman-Mallard aeroplane, at Invercargill. Whites Aviation Ltd: Photographs. Ref: WA-61278-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23254592

Operations began on the 29th of October 1963 with the Mallard flying from Invercargill to Deep Cove at the head of Doubtful Sound. The normal payload of the aircraft was one ton, this being made up of passengers, freight and mail. The aircraft was also used as an air ambulance and could carry seven stretchers. Don Nairn, the operation's pilot explained the logistics of the Deep Cove flights in NZ Wings in 1996. All I was required to carry was an assistant to help with mooring and to operate the anti-squat strut at the rear of the hull. I was given Louis Walkenshaw, a keen Utah William Burnett staff youth the next day, and we flew into the Cove with an initial load of freight to test out my planned procedures for mooring and disembarking onto an anchored floating pontoon at Deep Cove. Prior to leaving for Melbourne to collect the Mallard I had asked to have a long low pontoon made up and anchored a couple of hundred yards out from the Wanganella as a temporary loading platform. This would have to be used until a turnaround area was built ashore, which was estimated to take only a few months. However, Deep Cove wasn't named on a whim and the steepness and depth of its shoreline were such that it took almost two years of spoil dumping before an area large enough to run the Mallard ashore was completed. To enable me to bring ZK-CDV alongside the pontoon I had a long floating rope run out straight downwind from the pontoon by one of the company's launches which always stood by during my takeoffs and landings. After landing I would taxi across this rope with my assistant standing in the bow with a boat hook. The moment he had a turn of rope around the bow cleat I cut the engines and drifted to a halt as we weather-cocked downwind, then my bowman slowly pulled us alongside the pontoon where another helped to secure us. The loads of men and freight were offloaded onto the pontoon and we were all taken by launch over to the ship, where I found out who and what were intended to go back to Invercargill. 

A couple of magnificent photos of the Grumman Mallard ZK-CDV at Doubtful Sound's Deep Cove. The Mallard and the pontoon.

 The Mallard and the Wanganella, both moored in Deep Cove

Don Nairn continues, Throughout all the first two years the Wilmot Pass weather remained the key to my ability to get directly into and out from Deep Cove. The weather there is the fastest changing of any I have experienced, anywhere I have flown. Many a time I came in through the pass under broken cloud, only to find the whole Deep Cove area completely closed under eight/eighths cloud by the time I had unloaded the plane. I then had to return to Invercargill by flying the 22 miles down Doubtful Sound and then around the coast. This took one hour 15 minutes, compared with the 45-minute direct flight. In his autobiography, Gold Wings and Webbed Feet, Don talked about at times having to land on the Sound closer to the sea and then having to taxi for up to two hours to reach Deep Cove.

Utah Williamson Burnett was not keen to have fuel available for me at Deep Cove because of the fire risk, so I had to leave Invercargill with fuel for the 45-minute trip over, plus 30 minutes' gas for possible abortive attempts to get out of Deep Cove, then an hour 15 to come home around Puysegur Point, plus the mandatory 45 minutes reserve. All this added up to a disposable load of one imperial ton only, generally eight or nine passengers with the heavy weights of luggage and tool kits people took into the Cove with them. On occasions we took the full 12 passengers with little or no luggage. Except for emergency rush flights in the case of serious accidents, the Mallard was always loaded to its limit of 12,500 pounds. For the first two years before the Wilmot Pass road connecting Deep Cove with West Arm on Lake Manapouri was completed, the only access to Deep Cove was by sea from Bluff, walking from West Arm or flying in by water-based aircraft. Helicopters were not around in our part of New Zealand then. Nearly half the direct flight into Deep Cove was over the 6000 foot mountains of Fiordland, but for many weeks of the year these are under cloud and I would fly below the cloud base to West Arm. Then I would fly between the mountain ranges and around the corner up to and through Wilmot Pass if it was still open, or else backtrack and proceed through some of the escape routes I knew from my floatplane days. In these conditions the Mallard's manoeuvrability and beautifully harmonised controls were appreciated to the full, as I was always faced with running into below-VFR conditions around the next corner. 

Apart from Fiordland's weather, the second problem I faced was that of landing on glassy water when I flew from brilliant sunshine into the inky blackness of early-morning shadow which would cover the entire Deep Cove area during the winter. Under these conditions it was invariably flat calm so I used to set up an instrument approach from well up the sound and set my altimeter to the height of a feature, known to be 100 feet above sea level, as I flew past it. I then sat glued to the DIG, ASI, A/H and altimeter until, at a rate of 100 feet per minute, some 60 seconds later I could sense the downwash from the motors on the elevators and feel the Mallard gently enter the water. It was like descending into a black inkwell as at no time during these landings was I able to make out the actual surface of the water. When both the West Arm-Deep Cove road and my turn-around area near the Wanganella were finished, life on the job became comparatively easy for me. Gone were the obligations of trying everything to get into Deep Cove when I was urgently needed to fly casualties to Invercargill. When the weather was unfavourable all I had to do was take the plane to West Arm (Lake Manapouri), to where the injured personnel would have been brought by road over Wilmot Pass.

One year on from the first flight, by the end of 1964 the Mallard had made 896 flights, 648 of these into Deep Cove and of those 126 were around Puysegur Point carrying 6,082 passengers, 321 tons of freight and a number of air ambulance cases. 

When the road over the Wilmot Pass was completed at the end of September 1965 the aircraft's role changed. Workers shuttled to and from Deep Cove by launch over Lake Manapouri and then bus over the Wilmot Pass. The aircraft use was reduced to being used for the transport of urgent supplies, the carriage of VIPs and as an ambulance. 

With the demand for the aircraft greatly reduced in November 1967 the Manapouri Messenger reported that the Mallard was to be given to the Fiji Government for use as an air ambulance for Fiji, Tokelau and Niue Islands. However, the departure of the aircraft, a Grumman Mallard, will depend on how quickly arrangements can be made for a suitable replacement aircraft to serve the power scheme. The assistant Commissioner of Works, Mr F. R. Askin, said recently that the Ministry of Works and the contractors were studying several possible replacements. Union officials on the project site have been given an assurance by the Ministry of Works and the contractors that continuous air-ambulance cover will maintained. The Chairman of the combined union's committee at Deep Cove (Mr R. P. Green) said in a telephone interview that the committee had first learned of the decision to transfer the. Mallard from the Manapouri area some weeks ago. Although there was a road into the works site, the frequency of accidents made it necessary to have an aircraft "on the job", Mr Green said.

Utah Williamson Burnett's Grumman Mallard at Invercargill

Grumman Mallard ZK-CDV on the turnaround area Deep Cove with the Wanganella behind 

The decision was overturned and the Mallard remained in service until December 1968. Two weeks before the Mallard ended service a massive explosion severely injured a number of workers. The weather is Deep Cove prevented the aircraft flying there but with the road over Wilmot Pass the wounded were ambulanced to Lake Manapouri's West Arm from where they were flown by the Mallard to Invercargill. All seven stretchers were in use. 

The final flight to Deep Cove was operated on the 10th of December 1968. The Grumman Mallard flew a total of 2,763 flights between Invercargill and Deep Cove (162 of them going round Puysegur Point)  supporting the Manapouri Power Project, carrying a total of 13,526 passengers, 287 stretcher cases and walking wounded and 737 tons of freight.

In early 1969 the Mallard was flown to NAC in Christchurch for some refurbishment and a new paint scheme for Fiji’s Air Pacific carrying the name "Na Secala." ZK-CDV was cancelled from the New Zealand civil aircraft register on the 21st of February 1969 being registered VQ-FBC in Fiji.

And a final word on ZK-CDV from Don Nairn, The Mallard proved to be ideal for this project. Anything smaller would have been inadequate, and anything bigger would not have been able to turn around in the many places in Fiordland which I confidently flew through in the Mallard. It was a real pleasure to handle, both in the air and on the water where its take-off performance was effortless.

12 June 2021

Originair's ZK-JSJ

Thanks to Terry for this superb shot of Originair's newly refurbished BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-JSJ which had just shut down after a short test flight.

Terry said, I was walking to the pilot he said it had all new gear and brakes etc, had a look inside and everything has been redone - very nice aircraft! 

Originair Took delivery of the Jetstream yesterday, 11 June 2021, after its refurbishment at Fieldair Engineering at Palmerston North. The aircraft has operated for a number of operators in New Zealand under three different registrations (see https://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2021/04/now-it-is-zk-jsj.html) before taking up its current registration . It flew from Palmerston North to Nelson today as OGN 33.

ZK-JSJ joins Originair's two other Jetstreams, BAe Jetstream 31 ZK-JSH and BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-JSK. Ex-Inflite BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-ECI is also registered to Originair. This particular aircraft, that has sat outside at Paraparaumu for some years, was previously used by the airline in full Originair colours, see http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2015/08/originair-new-cook-strait-carrier.html

Congratulations Originair. This is certainly one to look out for in the next week or so... And maybe to stimulate some discussion, I wonder if this will open the door for some expansion?

Originair's third BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-JSJ at Nelson on 12 June 2021

A Mount Cook Badge Mystery

In the last few days someone wrote to me saying, "You don't know me, but I got your contact details from your '3rdlevelnz' blog - which I've dipped into and is v.interesting & informative reading, even to a non-aviation buff, like myself. So, thanks for making such a resource publicly available.

I'm hoping I can pick your brains a little, to help solve a couple of small, but longstanding conundrums - which I think are probably NZ aviation related." Here are his conundrums and questions...

As part of a large estate lot, I came by an unassuming but interesting little badge (below) which I recognised as a Mount Cook Lily and thought was v.reminiscent of the Mount Cook Group's logo. Having lug-type fixings, I think means it must most likely have been a cap badge, but probably not from a pilot/F.O.'s uniform, since aircrew tended to have more elaborate bullion/embroidered badges.

Comparing it to examples of the Mount Cook Airlines/Group logo, it's clearly of identical design, especially with the white/turquoise colourway. This makes me think it has to be somehow related to the company, if not the airline itself... the best suggestion I can come up with, is that perhaps it's part of a Mt.Cook Line bus driver's uniform?

If it is part of a ground rather than air transport Mount Cook Group uniform, then you may not be familiar with it, but I'm hoping you might perhaps recognise it.

I've also recently picked up another old Mount Cook Lily enamel badge (although it's a well-known misnomer, as I understand they're actually members of the buttercup family!). This one obviously bears far less similarity to the company logo, but since it's definitely of NZ origin ('Mayer&Kean' of Wellington maker's mark), I'm sharing it on the off-chance it might have some sort of connection. Just a wildcard, this one!

Finally, I come to the real curiosities: I have two other rather intriguing Mt.Cook Lily badges, below, completely different to the others - separately acquired, but clearly a pair of the same origin. I originally thought the 'Q'town 1938' badge could've been linked to a horticultural or floral event, perhaps (there was a floral event held that year, by the Queenstown Horticultural Society... but in Queenstown, Tasmania!). However, then finding the 'Mt.Cook 1937' version meant there must be some common theme that explained the geographical connection - and the only thing linking them that I can think of, is the Mount Cook & Southern Lakes Tourist Co. My best guess is that maybe the badges were produced to mark the beginning of the company's first passenger air services at these locations? Perhaps given out to staff and/or passengers on the inaugural flights?..

As I understand it, from my limited researches - mostly your excellent blog! - the Mount Cook Tourist Company's aerodrome at Birch Hill Flat was officially opened in May 1936, with the company announcing in August of the following year that they hoped to start an air service between Christchurch, Mount Cook and Queenstown as soon as the summer of 1937-38. However, with delays in government approval of the entirely new aerodrome at Frankton and then the required construction works, Queenstown aerodrome wasn't licensed & operational until late 1938 - I'm guessing scheduled services started around early November (I've searched newspapers online, but can't find any more detailed info).

This timeline would be consistent with the 1938 badge being to mark the commencement of services from Queenstown. However, with the aerodrome at Mt.Cook licensed & open in mid-1936, but the license for scheduled services not being applied for until Oct 1938 and approved soon after, the timeline of the 1937 badge doesn't align quite as neatly. My best guess is that, as the aerodrome at Mt.Cook was completed in 1936, passenger flights of some sort between there and Christchurch/Timaru were trialled the following year, before full operations commenced in late 1938. This would comport with the earlier badge's date, but I'm really not sure if I'm right as it's pure conjecture on my part - and if the 1937 badge can't be tied to the introduction of airline services at Mount Cook, then it casts doubt on the 1938 one for Queenstown... nonetheless, though, the combination of the Mount Cook Lily with its strong company association, the 1937 & '38 dates right around the period when the critical infrastructure and Mount Cook Airways, itself, was being established and the badges' obvious link with Mt.Cook & Queenstown; this all compels me to think there really must be some connection with the company and its prewar commercial airline operations.

This is the best sense I can make of these timelines. I'd be v.interested to hear your opinion and whether you've seen either of these badges before... or perhaps, corresponding ones for Christchurch and/or Timaru?

Anyway, this is just a bit of personal research to better identify some items in my collection... but, I think they've all got a 'story to tell', so if you're able to cast any light on the possible history of any of these badges, I'd be fascinated to hear and most grateful.

If anyone can help can you please write a comment or email me at westland831@gmail.com and I will pass your message on. My one thought would be the last two badge might relate to Queenstown Mount Cook Airways http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2017/05/queenstowns-first-scenic-flyer.html but the 1937 and 1938 dates aren't quite exactly right for when the service started... And would pilot badges be used that early? And why date them? Or it might relate to the bus service? Any thoughts? 

11 June 2021

Blast from the Past #7

Pan American World Airways' (Pan Am) Douglas DC-7C N774PA, Douglas DC-7C "Clipper Pacific Trader" at Whenuapai


10 June 2021

Cleared for RNAV approach


Just over a month ago Barrier Air announced that they would launch Auckland-Whitianga flights on the 16th of December 2021. Flights will operate twice daily on weekdays and daily on Saturdays and Sundays and depart as follows for the 30 minute flight;

Monday - Friday

0730 and 1530 Auckland - Whitianga

0830 and 1630 Whitianga - Auckland 


0730 Auckland - Whitianga 

0830 Whitianga - Auckland


1530 Auckland - Whitianga 

1630 Whitianga - Auckland  

The service has come another step closer with work underway for the recommissioning of the GPS approach into Whitianga. 

Barrier Air's CEO Grant Bacon kindly answered a few questions about this next step in the development of the new service...

There was already an IFR approach into Whitianga... So why had it lapsed? What was the process of reactivating it?

It had been decommissioned quite a few years ago. We are going through a process to recommission it and it is very similar to the previous approach.

So how has it been working with Airways in this process?

Airways has been fantastic during the process. They have made something we were not sure would even be possible a reality.

Why was the approach be decommissioned?

From what I understand at the time no one really used it at a viable level so they didn’t see the need to keep it active.

With a new destination such as Whitianga, what training will your flight crew need and what shape will that take?

The route overall is very similar to Great Barrier but there will be a route check for each pilot and we will do a fair amount of familiarisation flights prior to the commencement of the service

I see there is a GPS route from Whitianga to Great Barrier Island - Is this a future route possibility or just offering the airline some flexibility?

There is no intention to operate to Great Barrier direct at this stage. Passengers will transit via Auckland and we now have through fares so people can travel from Kaitaia to Whitianga via Auckland or Great Barrier Island to Whitianga via Auckland.

So it has been a couple of months since the new service was announced. How is it looking? 

The feedback from the market has been better than expected and I think we are in for a good summer.

A big thanks to Grant and I'm looking forward to trying out the new Whitianga service and I've already booked my ticket.

Norfolk Island service resumes


Air Chathams have resumed their Norfolk Island service today. The airline suspended the service on the 20th March 2020  in the light of the Covid pandemic. This service was operated by recently retired Convair 580 ZK-CIE. 

The airline did operate a repatriation flight with Fairchild Metroliner ZK-CID on the 31st of January 2021.

Today's first flight of the scheduled service is being operated by ATR 72-500 ZK-MCO though flights will normally be operated by the company's Saab aircraft. The ATR flight was piloted by Matt Emeny and Paul Cattermole alongside Nikki and Alana looking after the cabin. 

Norfolk Island back on the departure board

And an article on the service resumption...

Air Chathams return to the Norfolk Island route today marks the first time New Zealanders have been able to fly direct to the Australian territory in 15 months. Auckland Airport’s General Manager Aeronautical Commercial, Scott Tasker, said Air Chathams had delivered important domestic airlinks since the start of the pandemic, so it was great to see them restart a regular service through to Norfolk Island. "Regionally focussed airlines like Air Chathams have played a critical role in keeping New Zealand communities connected over the past year, particularly those domestic airfreight connections that allowed fresh, high-quality New Zealand produce to get out to overseas markets," said Mr Tasker. "The Norfolk Island service not only creates another opportunity for travellers to discover a new destination, but also keeps the local community connected for freight and any essential travel." Air Chathams will make the round trip from Auckland every Thursday carrying up to 30 passengers, increasing the frequency to twice a week in August. It joins other new services launched since trans-Tasman quarantine-free travel opened in mid-April including Air NZ’s new twice weekly service to Hobart, Qantas flying to the Gold Coast four to seven times a week, and a Qantas service to Cairns up to three times a week for the winter months. "Quarantine-free travel has seen thousands of travellers catch a flight every day between Auckland and Australia or the Cook Islands since it began nearly two months ago’" said Mr Tasker. "While our aviation and border processes now include a health protection layer to ensure our countries can continue effectively managing COVID-19, it’s been fantastic to see friends and whānau reconnecting in our international terminal again. These are important steps on our path to safely reopening to other countries, particularly in the Pacific." Mr Tasker said trans-Tasman cargo connections were also benefiting from more frequent services. "If you look back to this time last year, sometimes we saw on ly one passenger flight a day on the trans-Tasman. Now there’s an average of 12 a day flying between Auckland and Australian destinations. Although passenger aircraft flying cargo-only filled the gap in airfreight demand, having quarantine-free travel has added about 17% more cargo capacity across the Tasman," Mr Tasker said. "As we continue to manage our country’s response to the pandemic, maintaining and growing these air cargo connections will also be important for our economic health."

Source : http://www.voxy.co.nz/business/5/388569

09 June 2021

Blast from the Past #6

Keeping with the web feet theme of the last few days... here is another blast from the past from Bruce Gavin's collection... 

For more on Mount Cook Airlines' amphibian air services see...


Mount Cook Airlines' Grumman Goose ZK-DFC at Tryphena on 4 June 1973.

08 June 2021

Souped Up Classic Otter

After my post on Volcanic Air's DHC Otter landing on Lake Rotorua Matthew Beaven decided I needed some more Otter photos and sent these through which he took at Nadi on 21 December 2018

Pacific Island Air's Texas Turbine DHC-3T Super Otter DQ-PIA

Pacific Island Air's Texas Turbine DHC-3T Super Otter DQ-SEA

Ironically, the day I took the Otter he took Pacific Island Air's DHC-2 Beaver DQ-GWW at Motueka - on 5 June 2021

Back to Nadi, Pacific Island Air's DHC-2 Beaver DQ-GEE

Pacific Island Air's BN Islander DQ-DBV, ex ZK-DBV

Pacific Island Air's BN Islander DQ-SLM


07 June 2021

More on the Baa Service


The boat was not available, so 160 lambs took the plane to Napier instead. On Thursday, Air Chathams successfully completed its first trial stock flight, carrying 160 lambs on a plane for the flight of one hour and 45 minutes from the Chatham Islands to Napier. Air Chathams owner Craig Emeny​ personally piloted the Convair 580 plane, along with Daryl Pettit​, and he was hoping it could result in a further 15 flights carrying hundreds more livestock from the remote island to mainland Aoteroa. Air Chathams general manager Duane Emeny​ said it was the first time the company had ever transported live animals on such a scale. “Back in the 1980s my father used to do some animal transfers, and we are talking 2-3 transfers on very small aircraft, but this is the first time we have done an entire flight with an entire cargo aircraft.” Emeny said it was a project they had been working on for the past six weeks, as they were asked for assistance by the Chatham Islands Shipping Company. “They had a bit of an issue with their scheduling and needed to send their ship up to Norfolk Island, so they asked us if we would be able to do something on the off-chance really. “We put together a trial flight and next week we will catch up with them and work with them on what they thought about it all. If they are happy, then we will be doing a further 15 flights throughout June.” The lambs were placed into specially designed metal bins, which met regulations for live-animal carriage, and then loaded on to the plane. “We considered having a shepherd on board the flight but as it was only an hour-and-a-half trip, we decided we did not need one. We did have our flight crew plus one additional member in case they were needed.” After the flight the sheep seemed to be “in pretty good spirits” and his father Craig was “pretty chuffed” with how the flight went. Emeny said flying stock across New Zealand was something that was not usually done. “The only live animal transfers that are done on scale are the racehorses, which go up and down the country or across the Tasman for the big races. “We are not sure if we are the first to do this in New Zealand but I have not heard of it happening and especially from somewhere as remote as the Chathams.” Emeny said the trip was significant as it was the last year the company would be operating the Convair aircraft, which was reaching the end of its life. “It just shows how versatile that aircraft is and how much we are going to miss it. It is an old aeroplane with a 1950s design. But it has just done such an amazing job for us as an airline.” Emeny said the company had decided to invest in more modern aircraft as “hardline regulations” meant it would have to invest more money in the Convair fleet. SPCA was approached for comment for this story.

Source : https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/125363869/in-pretty-good-spirits--the-160-lambs-that-took-a-firstofitskind-flight-from-the-chatham-islands-to-napier