15 August 2022

More from PPQ

 Here are the rest of the photos I got at Paraparaumu's Kapiti Coast Airport on 13 August 2022...

My previous photo of Piper PA-18A-150 ZK-BRO was in 1992! 

Sunair bound - Piper PA-23 Aztecs ZK-DIO which has been cancelled from the register and ZK-TCL which has been registered to Sunair

Cessna 172 ZK-DRT which once saw services with Mercury Airlines

Cessna 150 ZK-DTQ which I last saw in 1993

Cessna 206 ZK-DWX has done service with Air Safaris and Air Milford

Guimbal Cabri G2 ZK-IMZ

Cessna 172 ZK-KAZ

A new one for me was Diamond DA40 ZK-MTZ

Another new one for me was Aviat A-1C-180 Husky ZK-USK

14 August 2022

The Northern Wairoa Aero Club's Dargaville Air Taxi

The Northern Wairoa Aero Club was formed in January 1933 following the Dargaville Racing Club allowing the proposed club the use of a portion of the Awakino Point racecourse as an aerodrome. A fly in at the new aerodrome was held on the 25th of January 1933 with five aircraft attending from Auckland; and two from Whangarei. All the machines circled the town before landing. Most of the morning was devoted to joy-riding, and a large number of residents took the opportunity of making their first flight. In the afternoon the pageant was held, when Flight-Lieutenant D. M. Allan and Major Cowper gave a thrilling exhibition of stunt flying. Several competitions kept the spectators interested until late in the afternoon. 

By 1935 there were moves to find a new aerodrome site but nothing was found before the Second World War when the Aero Club went into recess. Following the War a new airstrip was established at Turiwiri and coinciding with this the Northern Wairoa Aero Club was revived in May 1947.

In late 1963 the Northern Wairoa Aero Club applied for a licence to operate a non-scheduled services using their Piper PA22 Tripacer and Morane-Saulnier 880B Rallye between Dargaville and Whangarei, and between Dargaville and Auckland initially using Whenuapai and Mangere when Auckland's international airport moved there. The Club told the Air Services Licensing Authority We envisage operating this service for passengers and/or freight as required, in conjunction with NAC through their agent in Dargaville. We also wish to operate an Air Charter and/or an Air Taxi service as required to any licensed aerodrome in New Zealand, as well as Scenic flights and Joyrides, under Charter and Taxi rights, from the licenced aerodromes used by this club. We envisage charges for Charter and Taxi services based on a rate of £6.10.0, per hour, and freight charges based on this rate for a fully loaded aircraft, but these freight rates will be subject to negotiation The non-scheduled services would be introduced at £2.10.0, per seat Dargaville - Whenuapai , with a minimum load of two passengers, or equivalent freight; and the Dargaville Whangarei service at £1.0.0 per seat, with the same restriction as above. These rates may be altered after we have evaluated the available job density. Joyriding may be operated at a reduced rate on a local basis, but scenic flights of thirty minutes or more would be charged at charter rates. 

The Northern Wairoa's Aero Club's Morane-Saulnier Rallye ZK-CDC at Whenuapai

The Authority heard the application at a sitting in Auckland on the 7th of February 1964 noting that the licence would provide a useful service in lieu of the now suspended NAC Auckland-Whangarei link. The Whangarei service had been suspended while the airport there was upgraded for DC-3s. Despite a similar application by Rent-A-Plane Services whose licence had been brought by Executive Air Travel the licence was granted. 

The service was offered soon after but was not particularly popular.  It operated on an as required basis and did not operate on a timetabled basis. Only 30 passengers were flown between the 1st of April 1964 to the 7th of July 1964 and 14 between November 1964 and February 1965. 

In the years the Aero Club operated the service the numerous aircraft which may have been used on the non-scheduled service including Piper PA22 Tripacer ZK-BSE, Morane-Saulnier Rallyes ZK-CDC and ZK-CGY, Cessna 172F ZK-CHO, Piper PA28 Cherokee 140 ZK-CUH and Piper PA28 Cherokee 180 ZK-DFL. The advertising also suggests Club used their aircraft for air ambulance and charter work.

The Northern Wairoa's Aero Club's Cessna 172 ZK-CHO at Ardmore

In 1975 the Aero Club reported to the Civil Aviation Division that Since the quarter ended 31 December 1973 the Club has not undertaken any revenue flights. The Club does not operate an aircraft, therefore, we have not been filing returns. This information has previously been advised to you.” The Air Services Licensing Authority saw this as the Club abandoning their services and the Northern Wairoa Aero Club's licences were revoked on the 24th day of February 1976.

Northland Times Supplement, 7 June 1967

In April 1981, the Awakino Road aerodrome adjacent to the hospital was replaced by the current airfield at Hoanga. 

The Northern Wairoa Aero Club continues to operate as the Dargaville Aero Club. 

13 August 2022

Caravans at PPQ

Milford Sound Flights' Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-MCL at Paraparaumu on 13 August 2022

Merlin Labs' Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-MLN at Paraparaumu on 13 August 2022


09 August 2022

A Quick Stop at Whangarei

There was no movement at Whangarei on 8 August 2022 as I passed through yesterday

Sunair had a couple of Aztecs covered up at their terminal. Out in front was Cessna 172 ZK-CBZ which they use for training and at times on their regular service to Great Barrier Island and beyond

Heletranz Helicopter's AS350BA Squirrel ZK-HFZ was parked by the fence... Pity the sun wouldn't show


07 August 2022

Two minutes at Auckland International

I had a few minutes to do a quick drive around at Auckland International and timed if right to get Boeing 737-400 ZK-JTQ arriving at Auckland after doing a post-maintenance test flight...

Airwork Flight Operations Limited's Boeing 737-400 ZK-JTQ at Auckland on 7 August 2022

13 years earlier, while with Qantas' Jet Connect, Boeing 737-400 ZK-JTQ at Auckland on 23 June 2009

01 August 2022

Additional Flight


Barrier Air have announced that they added a new daily Great Barrier Island return flight to their schedule.

The airline's Facebook page says, Due to popular demand, we've added two additional flights from Auckland ↔️ Great Barrier Island at a reduced $139 rate. From the 18th of August, you'll be able to head from Auckland to Great Barrier Island on a 7.30am flight, with a 8.30am flight from Great Barrier Island to Auckland. 

Whitianga reopened

Whitianga aerodrome reopened this morning after being closed for some weeks. Barrier Air's Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-SDE operated Barrier Air flight 441 from Auckland and the return flight 442. 

Barrier Air returning to Whitianga this morning as on Flightaware...

Sunair also operated a service into from Tauranga this morning using Cessna 172 ZK-DPN.

Sunair returning to Whitianga this morning as on Flightradar24...

With all the wet weather on the Coromandel Peninsula some drainage work has been done to alleviate the impact on the grass runways. However, with the growth of the Whitianga area and the success, in particular of the Barrier Air service, you think the local council would be thinking of putting in a sealed runway.


31 July 2022

Caravaning in Auckland

New Zealand's newest Cessna 208 Grand Caravan EX N932DT arriving into Auckland today, 31 July 2022. Apparently it will become ZK-ROW 

I think Barrier Air's Cessna 208B Grand Caravan is my favourite in the fleet. It was off to Claris at Barrier 107 on the 31st of July 2022


30 July 2022

I'm losing it...

My first day plane spotting at Auckland International was a few minutes before picking up some people... and two Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9s took off without me being ready.

After all the crap weather I am so out of practice at plane spotting

Malaysia Airlines' Airbus A330-223 9M-MTW arriving at Auckland from Kuala Lumpur on 30 July 2022

 Fiji Airways Airbus A330-343 DQ-FJW arriving at Auckland from Nadi on 30 July 2022

NZ Flying Doctor Service's Beech 200C Super King Air on the taxi at Auckland for departure to Christchurch on 30 July 2022


23 July 2022

Whitianga Woes continue

Posted on Sunair's Facebook page on Friday was the following...

🛩 With Whitianga Runway closed for maintenance we have been flying into Pauanui to service customers in the Coromandel. Daily deals for Sunday are up and include some Pauanui flights. 

The Whitianga runway is NOTAMed as closed until Sunday.

Meanwhile, I am sorry not to be able to try a flight to Pauanui...

21 July 2022

A Capital Voplar Idea

As part of the AirHistory.net  - The Aviation History Image Archive - John Mounce sent out a couple of photos of Swiss-registered Volpar Turboliners.  Volpar Turbo 18 was a conversion of Beech Model 18s fitted with the Volpar MkIV tricycle undercarriage and powered by two 705-hp Garrett TPE331-1-101B turboprop engines.

Volpar Turboliner HB-GFU at Belp, Switzerland in August 1976. Photographer: Daniel Ruhier – Rainer Haufschild Collection via Neil Aird

Volpar Turboliner HB-GGB at Belp, Switerland on 25 January 1976. Photographer: Daniel Ruhier – Rainer Haufschild Collection via Neil Aird

In the 1970's the Wellington Aero Club's commercial wing, Capital Air Services http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2011/05/capital-air-services-aero-club-to.html, put a proposal to NAC to take over over their Wellington-Blenheim service using Volpar Turboliners. While the proposal was unsuccessful Capital Air Services' then general manager, Murray Turley, went on to revolutionise regional air services in New Zealand first with Capital Air Services' Cessna 402s but more importantly with Air Albatross and its Swearingen Metroliner services https://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2018/02/air-albatross-cook-strait-commuter.html.

Looking back to his 1972 proposal, however, on the 31st of May 1972 this article appeared in the Nelson Evening Mail...

The National Airways Corporation has turned down a proposal by Capital Air Services Ltd to take over the Wellington-Blenheim air service. This was confirmed yesterday by the general manager of Capital, Mr Murray Turley. The Wellington-based firm which is the commercial arm of the Wellington Aero Club has been negotiating with the corporation for some time. Late last year Capital undertook to prepare a proposal to make N.A.C.'s Blenheim service a profitable operation. At the same time Capital decided to plan for an increase in flights, while still maintaining service and reliability equal to that of N.A.C. Capital gave the final proposal to N.A.C. on May 3. This scheme provided for an increase in daily return flights from the present three to eight with extra flights at holiday peaks. Capital proposed using Volpar Turboliners, turboprop conversions of the Beech 18 that seat from 16 to 18 with capacity for baggage and freight. No increase in the present fare was contemplated. N.A.C. has now told Capital that its proposal is unacceptable and the corporation intends to continue operating the service itself, with its own aircraft. Last year N.A.C. lost $114,000 on the Wellington-Blenheim service. 

This was followed up in a longer article in Issue 33 of the Aviation Digest...

Using the same equipment to do the same job, a private enterprise airline could probably make a profit of about $20,000 from a service on which NAC lost $120,000 last year. This is one of the curious conclusions to be drawn from NAC's recent and even more curious wooing and last-minute rejection of Capital Air Services Ltd, the Wellington Aero Club's commercial arm. Aviation Digest is not clear when NAC-CAS overtures began but, with the coming of spring last year, there was a positive warmth in the liaison, and NAC was making figures available to CAS to help it prepare a proposal. The dovecot fluttering was prompted by CAS's thought that NAC would give its Wellington-Blenheim services as part of its marriage dowry. CAS conducted a detailed appraisal of six possible off-spring types, and finally plumped for the Volpar Turbo-liner, a stretched, turbo-prop version of the Beech 18 from the home of custom-built aircraft. With seats for up to 18 passengers, the Volpar was to make eight Wellington-Blenheim-Wellington flights a day. Though some prospective passengers could have been disappointed at peak time travel times, the proposed schedule - not to put too fine a point on it - would have given a somewhat better frequency than NAC now provides. CAS General Manager M. C. Turley typed up his initial assessment of the proposed service, its likely profitability and his supporting calculations last New Year's eve. In the 18 months preceding his presentation, NAC's Wellington - Blenheim fare had risen by 7½ per cent plus 12½ per cent plus $1 to $7.90 for the 50-mile overwater flight — a better buy, Aviation Digest hastens to add, than a taxi fare over the same distance when return charges are taken into consideration. Mr Turley's figures were subjected to periodic pruning in the next month or two. Nevertheless - even after their last downward revision CAS's sums showed that it could give a more frequent Wellington - Blenheim service than NAC, bear the standing charges of a backup aircraft and still make a $48,000 profit on the $7.90 fare after meeting costs of more than $467,600 including a payment of $78,000 or so to NAC for services rendered. But by now spring, summer and most of autumn had gone and, like the winter that followed, NAC turned cold. CAS, it forecast, would lose $51,900 a year on the service. In addition, NAC's Mr D. A. Patterson had resigned from the executive of the Wellington Districts Aero Club, Capital Air Services' owner. On May 17 he questioned aspects of Mr Turley's calculations and said that changed circumstances including halving NAC's Blenheim staff would almost completely eliminate the corporation's losses on the route. In fact, he added, if NAC closed its Blenheim office, the resultant savings—assuming the corporation's F-27 could be gainfully employed elsewhere — would be offset by the loss of more than $100,000 in sector revenue. Later, in Wanganui, Mr Patterson told a Press forum that CAS had omitted to include in its operating expenses interest charges on the money it would have borrowed on its Volpars. He then discussed other groups which had sought to take over certain NAC services without first considering all the factors involved. Sky Travel, he said, was an example. It left $40,000 worth of handling costs out of its calculations and "went broke" in six weeks. Meanwhile passenger traffic built by NAC fell from 11 to two a day. Curious, Aviation Digest subsequently inspected CAS's figures. They showed that interest on borrowed capital was included in its costings. Disregarding CAS claim and NAC counter-claim, there seems little doubt that both airlines could do quite nicely out of the Blenheim service if it were conducted by CAS with an F-27 hired from NAC at its charter rate of $225 an hour. NAC's profit from hire charges ($315,000 for 1400 hours should be somewhere between $14,000 and $28,000. Meanwhile, after allowing for half, discounted and pro-rated fares, CAS could expect to gross about $470,000 from a fairly constant 65,000 passengers a year at current charges. Approximate costs would include airport and airways dues $42,300 commissions on sales, $23,550; advertising, $7000; ground costs at Blenheim and Wellington (based on a firm private enterprise quote), $55,250; reservations and ticketing, $12,000; management, $10,000, and hire charges. When net freight revenue (conservatively estimated at $13,500) is added to the result-ant surplus, pre-tax profit totals about $18,850 or about 4 per cent on gross turnover. Mail revenue would further swell the total. Come to think of it, couldn't F-27 hire mean, for NAC, profit without tears? 

17 July 2022


 After a week in isolation today was my freedom day so some plane spotting at North Shore on 17 July 2022

Thorp T-18 ZK-EDF

Vans RV-7 ZK-LDM

Beech A36 Bonanza ZK-NAZ

Maule MXT-7-180A ZK-RLT

Barrier Air's Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-SDD arriving from the Barrier

Aeroprakt A-22LS ZK-SGI

Piper PA-32R-301T urbo Saratoga ZK-VQM

Tecnam P2008 ZK-ZZB

14 July 2022

It's not the weather... it's the runway

While airlines across the motu are experiencing challenges with Covid and weather, Barrier Air is experiencing another challenge on its Whitianga service...  

The reservations system paints a picture... 

With all the sodden weather on the Coromandel the Whitanga grass runway is closed to Barrier Air's Cessna Caravan ops. As CEO Grant Bacon says, "The whole of the Coromandel gets so waterlogged. It's painful as it (the Whitianga) service is going really well" 

Hence the "No flights" on the reservations system... And for those who have booked and find the flight cancelled Barrier Air buses the passengers.

The Coromandel town has certainly embraced its new air service which is set to expand in December. One wonders whether a sealed runway may one day be on the horizon. It would have made a great shovel ready project.

13 July 2022

Introducing Island Aviation


This just through from what formerly traded as Auckland Seaplanes... The Auckland Seaplanes group also includes Waiheke Wings. And it looks like Britten Norman Islanders are going to be operated scheduled services in the Hauraki Gulf again soon... It looks like a watch this space

Dear partners and customers,

We would like to share with you that Auckland Seaplanes will be rebranding as Island Aviation in the coming weeks to better reflect the growing role of wheeled aircraft and our ability to connect the Auckland region with Waiheke, Great Barrier the Coromandel and beyond. Our new website will go live in the coming days, our emails have already changed to the new domain but the Auckland Seaplanes ones will be available for the transition period.

We are in the final process of adding two 10-seater twin-engine aircraft to our fleet that is purpose-made to serve those destinations both in scheduled and charter flights. The twin-engine configuration will also give us the capability to connect various airports in Auckland and Waiheke with destinations all around the North Island.  

All passengers will have direct window seats and the aircraft are equipped with headsets for communication and commentary from the pilots. 

In April this year, we got recertified at Qualmark Gold Level with an award for environmental performance and we also renewed our pest-free-warrant with Auckland Council and DOC. In May we got re-certified our Carbon-Zero status to underline our environmental leadership in the aviation industry in New Zealand as the first carbon-zero airline back in 2017.

We have continued our pest and weed eradication efforts at Waiheke Airport and opened the facility to the community for an Open Day in May, which attracted nearly 1000 visitors.

For the coming summer, we got an array of new products including a Waiheke and Great Barrier Island combo flight to showcase the wide variety of destinations in the Hauraki Gulf.

Unfortunately, Panuku (one of Auckland Councils' entities) has informed us that they won't have space for a seaplane base in downtown Auckland after the America's Cup, so we will have to suspend seaplane operations until we can find a new base. Given the various stakeholders, this is unlikely before next summer. We will offer fly and dine options to Waiheke and the Coromandel with our great partners instead of the seaplane departures and will keep you updated on possible alternatives.
Thanks for your support and we look forward to moving out of Covid over the coming months. 

Please feel free to forward this email to your colleagues and friends who may benefit.

Kind regards, 

Chris and the team at Island Aviation formally known as Auckland Seaplanes.

BN Islander ZK-SFK at Ardmore on 9 June 2022. Auckland Seaplanes brought SFK and PIY from the defunct airline Fly My Sky... I must admit, when I took this I was wondering whether it was all over for SFK and PIY.

11 July 2022

Another Aztec for Sunair

Registered to Sunair on the 30th of June 2022 was Piper PA23-250 Aztec C ZK-TCL. Also, on the same day, Piper PA23-250 Aztec E ZK-DIO was cancelled from the register. Earlier this year there was talk that Sunair had bought two Piper Aztecs ZK-TCL and ZK-DIO and that they were going to be trucked to Tauranga.

In the Stu Hobb's photo below ZK-DIO certainly looks worse for wear but ZK-TCL looks quite reasonable and the fact that it has been registered to Sunair indicates it may well take to the air again.

ZK-TCL was previously registered ZK-DUB. It saw service with Bell Air, before it commenced its service from Whakatane to Auckland but was chartered for use on Air North services (http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2010/02/bell-air-remembered.html), with Air Albatross as its first aircraft (https://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2018/02/air-albatross-cook-strait-commuter.html) and with Welair on its Paraparaumu-Nelson service (https://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2018/03/air-wellington-another-paraparaumu.html).

Piper Pa23 Aztec ZK-TCL taken at Paraparaumu on 24 August 2013

Piper PA23-250 Aztec E ZK-DIO's first airline service was with Air Timaru which flew north to Wellington and south to Invercargill (http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2012/08/air-timaru-friendly-line.html), and was later used by NZ Air Charter, the commercial wing of the Auckland Aero Club, which at the time was still operating its Great Barrier Island service,  (https://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2012/11/nz-air-charters-northen-air-service_25.html), Air Nelson to provide additional capacity on the Nelson-Wellington flights as well as providing back-up for the Motueka Air Services flights from Motueka to Wellington (http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2017/07/air-nelson-part-1-nelson-wellington.html) and finally Welair on its Paraparaumu-Nelson service (https://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2018/03/air-wellington-another-paraparaumu.html).