25 April 2015

We Will Remember Them

ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli - September 2006
Chunuk Bair, Gallipoli - September 2006
ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli - September 2006

Uncle Oliver's grave, Alexandria, Egypt, January 2010
Dad, Hokitika
Uncle Bernie, Hokitika - POW
Uncle Sol, Hokitika, POW
Uncle Bill, Auckland - POW

Uncle Joe, Wellington (no photo)

24 April 2015

Sounds Air to fly to Taupo

The Taupo District Council has signed a deal with Sounds Air to fly the Taupo-Wellington route Air New Zealand abandons at the end of this month. The six-year agreement will see the Marlborough-based air operator provide at least three return flights on each weekday and two return flights on Saturdays and Sundays, starting as soon as possible. In return, the council will guarantee the first three seats per flight. A regular review period has been built into the agreement to ensure the arrangements are working for both parties. The 45-minute flights would be on a nine-seater Pilatus PC12, a single-engine, turboprop plane widely used in Australia and the United States, and manufactured in Switzerland. There would be a fixed price of $219 per flight regardless of when booked. Concessions for 10 flights at $209 per seat would also be available. Mayor David Trewavas said since Air New Zealand announced in November it was to cut services between Taupo and Wellington he had been approached by businesses, retailers and residents concerned about what the loss of the flights might mean for the district. A request for formal feedback from the community in March had An agreement between the Taupo District Council and Sounds Air will see Taupo-Wellington flights continue. shown there was overwhelming support for the district to retain its flight connection with the capital, he said. 'There was also support for us as the leaders of the community to do what we could to secure a service and we believe this agreement places us at minimal risk for ratepayers' funds to be called upon," he said. Figures from Air New Zealand had shown there were on average 13 passengers per flight. Trewavas said Sounds Air had a solid reputation in the aviation industry having supplied passenger services for 25 years and should be congratulated for stepping up to service the provinces. Sounds Air had recently signed a similar agreement with the Buller District Council to provide services between Westport and Wellington and also served Picton, Blenheim, Nelson, Whanganui and Paraparaumu. Trewavas said he had also been given the opportunity to experi-ence a flight and was impressed with the service on offer. "This aircraft is not only a lot quieter than the current Beechcraft 1900D, it flies higher and faster. "Once you have been on it you will be convinced it is a quality service. "We have worked hard to get the best deal for the community that we could," he said. "Hopefully, people and businesses will step up and show their support." 

Sounds Air's Pilatus PC-12 at Taupo

Source : Taupo Times, 24 April 2015

22 April 2015

Caravan visits Kaitaia

A brand spanking new Cessna 208B Grand Caravan dropped in at Kaitaia airport yesterday, as a forerunner to the daily Kaitaia/Auckland/Kaitaia service Great Barrier Airlines will launch next week. The airline will make its first flight on Wednesday, the day after Air New Zealand takes off for the last time. Four small airlines offered to fill the gap left by Air New Zealand's departure, the Far North District Council deciding on Great Barrier, which would operate a smaller plane than Eagle Air's but was promising a much improved timetable. Kaitaia's business and tourism communities welcomed the news, particularly because the new service would offer three flights a day, the first departing at 7.30am. One of the gripes about Air NZ was that the morning flight left too late, forcing business people to fly from Kerikeri if they wanted a full day in Auckland. Great Barrier Airlines chief executive Mark Roberts said the company was buying a 12-seater Cessna Grand Caravan from Australia for the Kaitaia route, with a nine-seat Piper Chieftain serving as back-up until a second Caravan arrived. The Caravan that landed yesterday, to a small reception from local business people who shouted bubbly from a chilly bin, was a brand new one that Great Barrier Airlines general manager Murray Pope said was making a "promotional trip." "Cessna is showing us what a good plane it's got, and were showing Kaitaia what they will be flying in," he said. The single-engine Grand Caravan was wider than the plane Kaitaia folk were used to, a company spokesman added, while all things being equal the flight to Auckland would take a few minutes longer than with Air NZ. Great Barrier Airlines chief executive Mark Roberts said the company would start with a flat fare of $180 each way, rather than the complicated fare structure offered by Air NZ. Children aged 2 to 12 would pay $108, while infants would travel free. Weekday flights will leave Auckland for Kaitaia at 6am, 12.30pm and 5.30pm, and depart Kaitaia at 7.30am, 2pm and 7pm. Weekend flights will depart Auckland at 9.30am and 5pm, and Kaitaia at 11am and 6.30pm. Once the service starts bookings will be available via www.greatbarrierairlines.co.nz

Source : Northland Age, 21 November 2015

The Cessna 208B Grand Caravan EX N588EX which visited Kaitaia upon its arrival into Auckland on 19 April 2015

19 April 2015

Sunday Flying at Fielding

Driving down to Palmerston North today (19 April 2015) I called in at Fielding and got a few new pics

On glider towing duties was Piper PA25 Pawnee ZK-CIG
Out of the hangar for a photo opportunity was North American Harvard ZK-ENB
A new one for me was Zenith Zodiac CH 650-UL ZK-LMG 
Don't assume it will be going flying...  Another new one, X-Air Hanuman ZK-MMC being put back in the hangar
Rans S-9 Chaos - ZK-KOS I think??? Is this right??? 
An against the sun photo of Tecnam P2002 Sierra ZK-PAJ
Skyfox CA25N Gazelle ZK-PNB was another new pic for me
Meteor S.p.A Sky Arrow 480T ZK-SKO taxiing back in after a local flight

18 April 2015

Desperately looking for...

I am desperately looking for a photo of an Air New Zealand Friendship taken at Westport... I want one for a post I am doing for the last day of the Air New Zealand service to Westport which is on 28 April. If you can help please email me at westland831@gmail.com

Many thanks


Fancy a part of a DC-3 in your backyard???


Whakatane Plans Developing

The Eastern Bay’s new Whakatane-Auckland air services will be celebrated with an open day at Whakatane Airport on Sunday, April 26. Mayor Tony Bonne said the event would be a fun day out for all the family, with Air Chatham’s Convair 580 and Metroliner fleet and classic DC3 on display, plus a Vampire Jet, Yak aircraft, other classic planes, microlights and local aircraft. “We’ll also have classic cars and motorcycles, fire and rescue services and a range of other fun activities available,” he said. “The Air Chathams DC3 will be offering scenic flights and local companies Frontier Helicopters and Whakatane Aerohire will also be offering flights at an affordable cost. There’s no better way to get a taste of our new air service offerings and get to know some of the people behind the scenes, so come along and enjoy this unique aeronautic opportunity.” Entry to the open day will be via a gold coin donation, with the profits raised going to worthy activities co-ordinated by the Whakatane Sunrise Rotary Club. Food and refreshments would be available as a fundraiser for the Air Training Corps and Interact (Youth Rotary). Air Chathams Whakatane Air Services’ inaugural flight will land in Whakatane at 9.30am on Tuesday, April 28 – a special initiative by Air Chathams to ensure that connections are available after Air New Zealand’s final flight, which departs from
Whakatane at 6.50am that day. Thereafter, daily scheduled services to Auckland will operate at 7.15am, Monday to Friday, with weekday afternoon flights to Auckland departing at 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Weekend flights to Auckland will depart at 9.45am and 2.10pm on Saturdays and 11.45am on Sundays. Auckland-Whakatane services will operate at 8.45am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, with Saturday services at 10.30am and 3.30pm; and a Sunday service departing for Whakatane at 2pm. Fares from $89 (including a 23-kilogram bag) are available on Air Chatham’s Whakatane Air Services.

Source : http://www.whakatanebeacon.co.nz/2015/04/open-day-to-celebrate-new-air-services/

Air Chathams is making sure it’s Eastern Bay customers have one-on-one attention when the service launches later this month. The airline, due to take-off in Whakatane on April 28, has employed a person whose sole job will be to work with the Eastern Bay community. Airline owner Craig Emery confirmed the appointment of Grey Tinley while on a visit to Whakatane recently – one of a number of arrangements Air Chathams is making as it counts down to the launch of its Whakatane-Auckland service. Mr Emeny said Mr Tinley would be based in Auckland, the company’s operational engineering base, and had been employed to work directly with the Eastern Bay community. The company has also rented a flat for staff to use when they are overnighting in Whakatane, and has trained three flight attendants – two women and a man – to serve on the 50-seater Convair aircraft. An 18-seater Metroliner will also service Whakatane but it is the larger Convair that Mr Emeny is hoping to use to build visitor numbers to the region. “What we really want to do is to keep the Convair operating and expand the market.” He said the aircraft would be good for transporting sports teams and conference delegates and, for the first time, would allow large groups to fly into town for events. He is hoping to be able to support the tourism industry, businesses and education providers by transporting people who might just want to visit for a day. It would also be possible to arrange the schedule so the Convair would take large groups from Whakatane to other parts of New Zealand direct, Mr Emeny said. “What we are going to build is a much closer relationship with the community so we can work with the community to develop the service.” “If there are other destinations that make sense and would be good for Whakatane and the Chathams, we will be keeping our eyes open.” Mr Emeny also has ideas of organising special day trips down to Whakatane in the company’s DC3, where visitors spend the day enjoying what the district has to offer. “We want to do that in the summer and do that a lot so we build a special or unique market that you can’t get anywhere else.”

16 April 2015

Real Tonga looking at going International

Real Tonga Airlines is planning to commence international operations with flights to neighbouring Pacific islands slated for June CEO Tevita Palu has told the Matangi Tonga newspaper. Services will be undertaken once new larger aircraft are acquired, he said. Currently the carrier plies an exclusively domestic network serving Eua, Niuafo'ou, Ha'apai, Niuatoputapu, and Vava'u using a Y12 and a Jetstream 32 leased from Australia's FlyPelican (Newcastle Williamtown). An additional Jetstream, sourced from New Zealand, is expected to arrive later on in April. Real Tonga could face competition, however, in the form of a new start-up, Royal Tonga Airlines (Tongatapu), which plans to use a pair of MA-60s to operate its own international flights.  Backed by both foreign and local investors which include the former Tongan Deputy Prime Minister, Samiu Vaipulu, Royal Tonga will acquire an MA-60 from China in addition to operating the government's MA-60, A3-RTL (cn 904), once the type has been certified under Tonga's revised aviation regulations.

15 April 2015

The Return of Royal Tongan Airlines - a Second Airline for Tonga

The following was posted as a comment in the previous post

Tonga’s domestic MA60 aircraft gifted from China is expected to start flying domestically this month operated by a second carrier named “Royal Tongan Airlines”. Samiu Vaipulu, the airline’s Board Director and former Deputy Prime Minister, said today the aircraft would first service only Vava’u and Ha’apai. He said other plans are being discussed for a smaller aircraft to service the outer islands of ‘Eua and the two Niuas. “In three months time we are also planning to start flying regionally using the MA60 aircraft. We have Tongan and foreign pilots ready to fly,” said Samiu. The new company, which is said to have been set up by a group of shareholders, has an office at the Sanft Building in Nuku’alofa employing more than 10 staff. In late February this year, the airline signed a contract with the Government of Tonga to lease the MA60. This was after government took back the aircraft after terminating its lease arrangement with the current sole domestic carrier, Real Tonga.

Source : Source: Matangi Tonga 08 April 2015

14 April 2015

ATR replacing MA60 in Tonga

Tonga's sole domestic carrier Real Tonga today added extra weekly flights to Vava'u on a chartered aircraft from Fiji Airways as demand for the season increases. The airline said the 68-seater ATR72-600 was introduced to provide not only added capacity but a replacement for the Chinese gifted MA60-aircraft that Government took back when it terminated its lease with the airline in February this year. In announcing the new aircraft today, CEO Tevita Palu said that since the termination of the MA60 lease their customers had not received the best service available because they were limited to just two aircraft. "The sudden unavailability of the MA60 aircraft meant that we had to urgently re-adjust our fleet and while we are grateful that this happened during the lower demand period we regret the inconvenience. The additional aircraft and services will provide a much more stable and reliable schedule." He said the ATR72-600 is a great option because it provides them with an opportunity to evaluate the aircraft's operation with a view to providing regional services in the near future. The aircraft will service Vava'u twice a week on Mondays and Fridays throughout April and May. In addition, a second Jetstream 32 is expected to arrive in Tonga soon. He said the Jetstream's arrival was delayed because they opted to put the aircraft through major maintenance in New Zealand before bringing it to Tonga. "This will provide us with an aircraft with no heavy maintenance requirement for at least a year," he said. "With the ATR and second Jetstream, Real Tonga will have a solid fleet that will be able to effectively and efficiently manage our domestic network." 

Source : Matangi Tonga