16 November 2012

Air Napier's East Coast Express

The trains may no longer be running to Wairoa and Gisborne but early most mornings and later in the afternoon Air Napier chugs up and back from Napier primarily on courier work for NZ Post and NZ Couriers. The service does, however, cater for passengers who want to fly in and out of Wairoa or between the two eastern cities. Yesterday I flew with Air Napier on their southbound service from Gisborne to Wairoa... 

Pilot Daryl Williamson fuels Air Napier Piper Navajo ZK-NPR for the afternoon service to Wairoa and Napier. The pilot has a 10 hour wait at Gisborne between flights and they have a room for them to relax in at the airport and a car with which to go into town or to the beach.
The second courier van arrives - both NZ Post and NZ Couriers use the service. The aircraft used depends on the load which is usually larger in the morning. Mainstay of the service is Air Napier's Navajo and Senecas, the Cherokee 6 being used more rarely these days.
All loaded up, ready to go!
"Napier 31, cleared for takeoff Runway 14"
The railway which crosses Gisborne's runway 14/32 - now only used by the Gisborne City Vintage Railway Society
Young Nick's Head
Pilot Daryl Williamson has flown for Air Napier and Golden Bay Air
In the distance the Mahia Peninsula
The erosion effects of deforestation as we approach Wairoa
Frasertown to the right...
Wairoa to the left... the airport is to the far right of the photo. 
"Wairoa Traffic, Napier 31, finals Runway 16"
The only aircraft at Wairoa was Kiwi Air's Pacific Aerospace 750XL topdresser at Wairoa. However, this year Air Napier have picked up the doctor service from Napier and a Seneca is often in Wairoa each day.  
The mail and courier freight from Wairoa ready to picked up as we pull up outside the Wairoa terminal... the stopover in Wairoa is only a matter of four or five minutes

All loaded up and ready to go again...
"Wairoa traffic, Napier 31 rolls 16"
While the flight between Gisborne and Wairoa is over land the flight south from Wairoa to Napier follows the coast
Yesterday we had passing showers but this added to the stunning scenery...


The Whirinaki pulp mill on approach to Napier
"Napier 31, cleared to land runway 16" - Napier's runway 16 through the rain!
Daryl's last job of the day... sorting the load... to the left a Sunair pilot ambles over to take bank bags for their service to Hamilton... NZ Courier's freight for the South Island is trucked to Palmerston North to connect with the Convair service...
...and NZ Post pick up their freight. To the left of the van is Graeme Claridge of the Aerohub site - http://www.aerohub.co.nz/. Thanks for coming out Graeme, it was great to meet you at last!

Thanks again to pilot Daryl and Karen in the office in Air Napier. It was a great trip! For anyone interested in flying on the Air Napier service the timetable is below and the Air Napier website (with great photos taken by Graeme Claridge) can be found at http://airnapier.co.nz/


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