18 August 2019

Whisper Jet departs

Departing Auckland yesterday to return home to Bankstown in Australia via Sydney was BAe 146-200QC  VH-SAZ which has been operating services between Auckland Christchurch on behalf of Parcelair to cover two of its Boeing 737-400s while they were having air frame checks.   

The first flight from Auckland to Christchurch was operated by BAe 146-200QC VH-SAZ (callsign Pionair 31) on 10 July 2019 and the final flights were operated Auckland to Christchurch as Parcelair 31 on 16 August 2019 and Christchurch to Auckland as Parcelair 32. 

Thanks to Abarth 695 for these great photos of the Whisper Jet on departure for Sydney.

 BAe 146-200QC VH-SAZ at Auckland on 17 August 2019

14 August 2019

A Sad Adieu to MRC Aviation

It is with great sadness that 3rd Level New Zealand farewells the MRC Aviation blog, the first of the three sister blogs that record current aviation news and preserve it for posterity.

Mike was instrumental in the formation of both the NZ Civil Aviation blog and this blog. He is a friend to many in aviation circles in New Zealand and has done so much to preserve the aviation history of the last thirty years. He will be sorely missed.

I would like to acknowledge Mike's help for so much help in this blog and our friendship that goes back to Hokitika days. So it is with sadness a bid adieu to MRC Aviation and to Mike later in the year.

All the best to you Mike and the all the whānau in your new adventure 

13 August 2019

Nomads for Sale

Currently being offered for sale by Oceania Aviation are Air Safaris two GAF N24-A Nomads NZ-NMD and ZK-NME. The advert states "these twin-engine Utility/Commuter aircraft with its impressive short takeoff and landing capabilities are on the market and ready for their new home. With a window for each passenger and a large side door for easy freight loading, this aircraft is ideal for a small tourism operation or parachute operation with the large side door. With the low capital cost, there is a good return on investment. Both aircraft come with a huge spare parts inventory. Buy one or buy both - you won't want to miss out."

Air Safaris has operated Nomads since 1981 when the company introduced two GAF N22 Nomads, ZK-NOL and NOM. These were later replaced by larger GAF N24 Nomads with ZK-NMD/1 being registered to the company in late October 1985. Over the years the company has operated six of the N24 model Nomads, ZK-NMC, NMD/1 NMD/2, NME, NMG and NMH. These were primarily used for tourist work but they were also used for an air service between Timaru and Christchurch on behalf of Air New Zealand.

ZK-NMD and ZK-NME are the last flying Nomads in New Zealand. I'm a little annoyed I never got to fly in one!

GAF N24 Nomad, ZK-NME at Timaru on 21 November 1991.

11 August 2019

Peninsula Air Travel

After the Midland Air Services link to the Coromandel ended in early 1963 two parties moved to fill the void to provide a service for the region. With his job with Midland over, John Munro set about seeking financial backing for a replacement service. This was forthcoming from Gordon McCallum of Manurewa and Bob Ross of Papakura who both owned property in Mercury Bay. Munro, as trustee of the yet to be formed company provisionally known as Whitianga Air Travel Ltd, filed an application for an Air Services Licence. Members of the Mercury Bay Aero Club, and the local community also believed the basing of an air service at Whitianga was essential.

By mid 1963 the Aero Club set about seeking its own Air Transport Licence. Within the small community tension developed between the two groups with their rival proposals. Some potential investors in the Munro led proposal withdrew once they learned of the Aero Club's plans. The applications were set down to be heard by the Licensing Authority in a two day public hearing held at the Fire Brigade Hall in Whitianga on 5 and 6 November 1963.

John Munro's, still to be formed company sought a non-scheduled air service linking Whitianga, Whangamata, and Thames with Ardmore and Whenuapai. Also sought were air charter and air taxi rights (including scenic flights and joyrides) from Whitianga, Whangamata and Thames to any licensed aerodrome in New Zealand. These services were to be operated with a six seat Cessna 205. The right to use additional aircraft at peak times was also sought.

The Aero Club sought to operate an air charter and air taxi service (including scenic flights and joyrides) from Whitianga to any licensed aerodrome in New Zealand with one four seat Cessna 172D. Both groups sought support for their proposals. The Munro group's support included the Whangamata Settler's and Ratepayer's Association as its success would give Whangamata an air link. The Mercury Bay Aero Club had won the support of its sister organisation the Auckland Aero Club. Neither club wanted a potential commercial rival in the vicinity.

Both groups presented their proposals on the first day of the hearing, and negotiations between the two parties before the second day, arrived at a compromise. The new, and as yet unnamed airline, gained the rights for non-scheduled and air charter services, with the proviso that it base at least one aircraft at Whitianga, and that the Mercury Bay Aero Club be the first party approached should an additional or replacement aircraft be required. The Aero Club won rights for scenic flights and joyriding from Whitianga, and if it had the consent of the new airline, air charter services from there also.

Peninsula Air Travel Ltd was chosen as the name for the new company, and arrangements were made with Aircraft Hire (NZ) Ltd of Masterton for the lease of Cessna 205 ZK-CFF. Air services certificate No.93 was issued on 20 December 1963. Services began prior to Christmas and a high frequency schedule was operated over the busy holiday period. The aircraft was fitted with racks so that paper drops, similar those previously operated by Midland, could be made at Coromandel, Colville, Hahei, Tairua, and Whangamata. The aircraft could also be equipped as an air ambulance.

Peninsula Air Travel's Cessna 205 ZK-CFF at Christchurch

Relationships between the two operators were soon ruffled again. In March 1964, the Aero Club complained to the Licensing Authority that Peninsula was using Cessna 172 aircraft hired from Executive Air Travel Ltd (a subsidiary of the Auckland Flying School Ltd), to fly passengers into Whitianga on its behalf. Peninsula in turn accused the Aero Club of operating in quasi-commercial opposition by allowing members to hire the club's Cessna for friends to fly to other centres, even if the hirer did not actually fly in the aircraft.

Matters came to a head at the end of June, when Munro withdrew the hired Cessna 205 from Whitianga because of mounting financial losses. The long-off peak season, and aircraft lease payments which continued whether the aircraft was used little or often, had proved too much for the company to sustain. In its place Peninsula arranged with Executive Air Travel Ltd to offer a replacement service with Cessna 172 aircraft, but this involved the aircraft being based at Ardmore, not Whitianga as the licence required. Peninsula's licence also required the company to use the Aero Club's Cessna 172 as the first alternative, if it was to operate an aircraft of this type. To avoid additional losses to the company, the aircraft would from then on operate only if it had a minimum of two booked passengers. So Whitianga was without a locally based licensed aircraft for emergency use, and had seen its air service disappear once again because the licensed commercial operator could not sustain profitable operations. The hiatus continued for several months with the service only being flown when at least a break-even load was available. By August 1964 both the Mercury Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Whitianga Town Board had passed resolutions seeking a review of Peninsula's Licence.

To resolve matters a three-day sitting of the Air Services Licensing Authority was held in Whitianga from 3 to 6 of November 1964. The Authority, after hearing the evidence, stated, "This Authority is not generally favourably disposed to an Aero Club being in possession of a commercial licence." However it granted the Aero Club non-scheduled rights for services between Whitianga, Thames, Ardmore and Whenuapai, and air charter rights from Whitianga, with one Cessna 172 aircraft and one additional aircraft of similar capacity. The application from Peninsula Air Travel to use a Cessna 172, based at either Ardmore or Whitianga as an amendment to its licence, was declined.

F B Gavin, ‘The Coromandel Connection’ in Taking Off by Richard Waugh, p.103-106

07 August 2019

air2there Asset Disposals 2

Following on from the post earlier this week on air2there's assest disposals Simon has sent in this picture of the hulk of their Cheiftain, ZK-MYS, which was scrapped last year and sitting in a house movers yard at Waikanae but is now at the Foxpine airfield at Foxton. MYS was removed from the fleet before the airline went into receivership

The hulk of Chieftain ZK-MYS at Foxpine on 4 August 2019

06 August 2019

Post updates

For those who keep copies of the airline profiles in recent days I have updated the following profiles - the additions come to end of the posts...

Air Chathams
incorporating the Whanganui ATR operation

Barrier Air
incorporating the extended Kaitaia service

Fly My Sky
incorporating the end of the Whangarei service

Sounds Air
incorporating Caravan ZK-SAW leaving the fleet

incorporating extended services to Gisborne and Whangarei 

05 August 2019

Sunair's Weekday Business Flights

Sunair resumes weekday flights between Gisborne and Tauranga/Hamilton and Whangarei and Tauranga/Hamilton. The Gisborne flights will operate twice daily on each weekday with the Whangarei flights operating daily with a morning departure and evening return. The flights have been operating on Thursdays and Fridays since the 1st of April but from my observation there has not been a large uptake. Daily flights will offer a great appeal.

Before Sunair's ground the Gisborne flights were operating most days so I hope they can build their passenger base again.

04 August 2019

air2there Asset Disposals

From the Companies Office website I have found the following information on the disposal of the air2there assets... The receivers' report notes,

There is a cross guarantee dated 22 April 2013 to which Air Wellington Limited (In Receivership), Air2there.com (2008) Limited (In Receivership and in Liquidation), Kingair Limited (In Receivership) and Richard Charles Baldwin (Receivers appointed over specific assets) are a party. The level of indebtedness each entity may be required to meet under this agreement is unknown, although the total Group debt is $3.3m. 

Unsecured creditors are not expected to receive a distribution of funds.

In regards to air2there the receivers' report notes;

Air2there had three employees, all of whom were made redundant prior to our appointment. The Company records show a preferential claim of c.$40k outstanding to employees.

During the period covered by this report (23 November 2018-22 May 2019) we have realised the majority of the fixed assets owned by the Company, including IT equipment, office furniture, commercial kitchen equipment, a fuel tanker trailer, and miscellaneous aircraft parts. The receivers are still marketing the remaining fixed assets of the Company for sale.

In addition, the company owns 50% of the shares in J32 Leasing Limited. Discussions are ongoing with the other shareholder (Originair Ltd) regarding this asset.

A couple of people arrived at Paraparaumu today in Mooney ZK-CKF to check out Jetstream 32 ZK-ECI... is something about to happen with Originair???

In regards to Air Wellington the receivers' report notes;

During the period covered by the report (23 November 2018-22 May 2019) the receivership disposed of the 1997 Cessna 208B Grand Caravan (ZK-MYH) and miscellaneous aircraft parts and spares relating to the aircraft following a comprehensive sales and marketing process.

In regards to Kingair Ltd the receivers' report notes; 

Beechcraft King Air B200 ZK-MYM is located in Napier, and was subject to a workers lien along with aircraft parts and spares relating to the above aircraft and its engines. While no sale was agreed during the period covered by this report (23 November 2018-22 May 2019), a conditional sale and purchase agreement for the disposal of the aircraft was entered into subsequent to the reporting period. In order to satisfy the conditions of the sale and purchase agreement the receivers are overseeing maintenance on the aircraft to return it to an airworthy status. This maintenance is being funded through funds transferred from other entities within the group and with the approval of the major creditor. The receivers will seek to complete the sale of the aircraft, after which all property subject to the receivership will have been disposed of.

31 July 2019

Research in Progress

I am currently working on two airline profiles and need some information as detailed...

Air Hamilton ran an air service between Hamilton and New Plymouth with Piper Seneca ZK-EQA. In November 1983 the company was sold to Chris and Gloria Bowden and I am after any information on Air Hamilton after that date, in particular or a lead as to who I can contact who might know...

  • When did the air service end???
  • When did the company cease operating???
  • What aircraft used on the air service to New Plymouth and air taxi service to Tauranga???

I am in the early stages of putting together something on Hercules Airlines who operated 3 Bristol Freighters in the mid 1980s. Nothing much has been written about this airline but there must be pilots around who can give me some info in particular...

  • Did they operate a regular freight service and if so on what routes???
  • Any information on start and finish dates
  • Any information on freight charter work the company operated.

If you can help with any info on these operations please email me at westland831@gmail.com



30 July 2019

13 flights a week

Today Barrier Air introduced a Tuesday lunch time flight from Auckland to Kaitaia and return bringing the schedule to 13 flights a week between the two centres. The first flight was flown in Caravan ZK-SDD.

Barrier Air offers an early morning service from Kaitaia to Auckland Monday to Friday and a return evening flight from Auckland to Kaitaia operated Sunday to Friday. On Friday evening there is a late Kaitaia to Auckland service. The lunch time flights now operate seven days a week with the northbound flight leaving Auckland at 11.00 and the return flight leaving Kaitaia at 12.40pm 

Slim pickings

A disappointing trip to the East Coast... with terminal construction going on at Gisborne and Napier it is almost impossible to see anything

My only photo was of Air Napier's Seneca ZK-MSL at Wairoa on 29 July 2019

Later in the day Taupō was also very quiet.... Piper Tomahawk ZK-WAJ was on a cross country

and Pilatus PC12 ZK=PLZ was operating the Sounds Air service from Wellington

28 July 2019

Two at Taupō

Sitting in the late afternoon Sunday at Taupō on 27 July 2019 was Sounds Air's Pilatus PC12 ZK-PLZ

Also at Taupō was Cessna 206 ZK-PAI...
Previously it flew for Island Air  as ZK-PAI and ZK-SUN
see http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2011/10/motiti-airline-island-air-charter.html
and Sunair as ZK-SUN - http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2011/02/sunair-still-shining-25-years-on.html

27 July 2019

Air Chathams' Snapshot...

I had to leave my function in Auckland on Thursday to do an airport drop off. On the plus side it meant I could have a few minutes to check out the Air Chathams stand... lots of planes not easy to photograph... All photos taken at Auckland on 25 July 2019.

The mainstay of the Chatham Island service, Convair 580 ZK-CIB

Operating flight 3C 591 to the Chatham Islands was Convair 580 ZK-CIE... Passengers were passed from the terminal to the hard stand adjacent the Air Chathams hangar.

ATR 72-500 ZK-MCO waiting its next flight to Whanganui.

The changing of the guards - will the ATR become the Convair replacement???

26 July 2019

Airvans Cleared for Take Off

A six-day ban on all 21 Gippsland GA8 aircraft operations in New Zealand has been lifted today, the Civil Aviation Authority says. The temporary suspension was put in place on last Saturday as a safety precaution following a recent parachuting accident in Sweden where nine people died. The action was also taken by the airworthiness authorities in Europe and Australia. "Based on the limited information available immediately after the accident, the 21 GA8 aircraft operating in New Zealand were grounded, as well as a number operating overseas. There were 63 aircraft grounded in Australia for the same reasons," Director of Civil Aviation Graeme Harris said. The precautionary suspension was triggered after initial information from the Swedish showed the aircraft had broken up in flight. However, the director said he had received further information that there was no evidence to indicate a potential unsafe condition. As a consequence, the GA8 aircraft type would now be safely allowed to return to normal operations. "They can now be assured that the initial concerns expressed following the accident in Sweden have been addressed." "We do not take these steps lightly," he added. "The flying public, operators and pilots of the affected aircraft need to be satisfied that these aircraft are now safe to fly." CAA's Australian counterpart, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, has an airworthiness engineer in Sweden observing the accident investigation. Mr Harris said feedback had been beneficial. "We will continue to monitor the investigation into the GA8 accident and will take appropriate action should any related safety issues become apparent in the future," he said.

Source : https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/nzs-aviation-authority-lifts-ban-aircraft-model-involved-in-swedish-crash-killed-nine

Convair 580 KFH on the market again

Convair 580 ZK-580 is back on Trade Me as follows...

For photos, a you tube clip and the listing see

This aircraft was won at a Trade me auction last month. The successful bidder has opted to put his resources into another fuselage, which we are assisting him with. In short, fuselage #42 is available again.  Convair 340/580 fuselage 1953 available. Ideal as a conversion project to a Tiny Home, Food Truck or Air BnB.

History of Serial Number 42.
As a successor of the DC-3 it was delivered to United Airlines on 31 January 1953 with registration N73123. Later sold to Lake Central Airlines on 10 August 1964 which had it converted by PacAero in California from piston engines to Allison (later Rolls Royce) 501-D13D/H Turbo prop engines in 1967. Lake Central Airlines merged into Allegheny Airlines on 1 August 1968 where it was Flying until 30 June 1978 when it went to Mountain West Airlines. In March 1980 the aircraft was delivered to Nor-Fly A-S in Norway where it flew Charter flight with registration LN-BWG. It flew in Europe for Partnair, the successor of Nor -Fly and in 1988’s summer season also for Ryanair.  It was converted by Kelowna Flightcraft to Freighter on 6 June 1991 after which it flew freight for All Canada Express Ltd. Transferred to Air Freight NZ and registered ZK-KFH on 10 February 1997 flying freight around New Zealand and continued to do so when transferred to Air Chathams 10 years later. The owner is keen to see the fuselage go to someone who will convert it into something special. The owner is currently prepping the aircraft for road transport and this will be complete by the time the auction finishes.

Fuselage length is 24.7 metres and estimated weight minus engines and minus landing gear is 11,400kgs. This auction is for the fuselage. Engines, vital equipment/instruments and landing gear will be removed and are not part of this auction. This is an opportunity to acquire a unique piece of Aviation history and create something outstanding.