21 July 2013

Scott Air

This is a re-post of my earlier post on Scott Air. Many thanks to Eve Scott for making a number of corrections to this.

Scott Air Limited was founded in November 2000 by Chris and Eve Scott.  The company began operations from Whakatane offering flight training with one aircraft and one pilot, using a Cessna 150 for basic training. 

Approval followed for the company to commence air transport operations in the form of scenic and charter work. Main stay of the company’s scenic flying were flights over nearby White Island, but additional scenic flights were offered including the “Volcanic Double” which included both White Island and Mount Tarawera, and the “Volcanic Overload” which followed New Zealand’s Line Of Fire, starting at White Island and heading south over Mount Tarawera, Lake Taupo and the three volcanoes of Tongariro National Park, Mounts Ruapehu, Ngaruahoe and Mt Tongariro. 

In mid-2001 the company took over Air Rotorua’s Rotorua-Gisborne service using Piper Pa34-200T Seneca ZK-FNB (c/n 34-7970236). The service was primarily for the airfreighting of the NZ Herald newspaper to Gisborne. Pilots would have to drive from Whakatane to Rotorua in the early hours of the morning, load the Seneca in the dark and, at times, in the rain and fly to Gisborne at a time when the rest of the country was sound asleep. The Seneca left Rotorua at or about 4.00 a.m. with the return service leaving Gisborne at 7.00 a.m. While the early departure was not particularly desirable for the young pilots, the job offered the prospect of increasing their multi-engine hours.

Carrying both Scott Air and Air Rotorua titles, Piper Pa34 Seneca ZK-FNB at Rotorua in 2004. Photo : G Reid

The Saturday edition of the Herald was much larger and the Seneca could not handle the whole load. The remaining papers were driven to Whakatane then flown over in the Cessna 172, if the weather was good. An opportunity arose to hire a larger 8-seat Piper Pa31-310 Navajo, ZK-JKW (c/n 31-819), from Universal Beef Packers. The Navajo was registered to Scott Air on the 2ast of August 2001 and was used on the Saturday service. The company hoped that it would also encourage an increase in charter work but this did not come to pass and the aircraft was cancelled from the register and exported on the 6th of December 2001.

Piper Navajo ZK-JKW was used by Scott Air for about four months in 2001. It is seen here at Ardmore before going to Scott Air. Photo taken on 10 February 2001 by Photo : S Lowe

With the newspaper service being the only regular work for the Seneca Scott Air never had a published timetable. For a time the company also advertised on its website an extension of the Gisborne service to Napier. This was operated on a charter basis meaning any passengers had to pay for the whole flight but there was no demand for the extended a service on this basis. 

By mid-2004 the company had a fleet of four aircraft, six pilots and a second base had been established at Rotorua. 

Another source of revenue for Scott Air was having a contract with the New Zealand Police to conduct cannabis-spotting flights. The Police had operated such flights for 20 years, mainly followed up leads provided by members of the public. Police would assess information with reconnaissance flights by fixed-wing aircraft and any further action, such as spraying or removing plants, would usually involve helicopters. 

On the 29th of January 2005 Christ Scott was flying the company’s Cessna 172 ZK-LLB in the Gibbston Valley near Queenstown when the aircraft crashed resulting in the death of the pilot and a Queenstown policeman, Detective Travis Hughes.
Following the Chris’ death his wife Eve decided to close Scott Air. After the closure Dave Irvine, one of Scott Air’s pilots, founded Air Discovery which started operations shortly after in March 2005.

Fleet Included:

Cessna 172s
ZK-EJY (c/n 17269393) 
ZK-JFK (c/n 17262118) 
ZK-LLB (c/n 17272157) 
ZK-VCT (c/n 17276430)

Cessna 182
ZK-CME (c/n 18266961)
Piper Pa34-200T Seneca  
ZK-FNB (c/n 34-7970236)
Piper Pa31-310 Navajo
ZK-JKW (c/n 31-819)    

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