04 November 2015

3rd Level Adventures

Thanks to Aviation Insider for sending a couple of emails and photos of his recent travels...

Indulged in a quick trip back to the South Island yesterday albeit for just on 1 hour on the ground!!!

Booked and flew AKL-HLZ in the B1900D, potentially the last time for me on a Beech 1900 Air New Zealand service, then HLZ-NSN on Kiwi Regional and quickly checked in for NSN-PMR on Originair and back to AKL on an Air New Zealand ATR 72-500, the 600 series still alluding me!


Kiwi Regional's Saab 340 ZK-KRA arriving at Hamilton on 30 October 2015

Sorry for the spoiler alert photo showing the boarding pass as found very novel and most Kiwi appropriate. Would have loved to keep it as a memento? 

On the ground at Nelson... No sign of the Ferguson Tractor!!!


I was very very lucky that all the services were to schedule as I had very tight connections in HLZ and NSN.  Took some planning to map out especially between Kiwi and Origin services being infrequent. Would have had to quickly make a plan "B" if things turns out differently. 

Also flying into Nelson was Sounds Air's Cessna 208 Caravan ZK-SAN


Am pleased to report that these flights were well patronised and a friend of mine flying Kiwi from the Waikato to Nelson next Friday understands his flight only has a few seats available.

The Nelson to Wellington ride... Originair ZK-JSH at Nelson


Next month myself and wife along with a friend and another couple are off to Whakatane on the Air Chathams DC3. Our friends have flown in the DC3 in Tonga and myself and wife flown with Craig Emeny in AWP but will be quite novel to board a taildragger radial engine aircraft at Mangere?  

My first experience with third levels was back in 1982 when still at high school. My mum and I journeyed to an airshow at Gisborne and not keen to hike the distance in a VW Variant decided to fly. Not wanting to support the (dominant) national carrier started planning to be adventurous by flying with other airlines.  After studying timetables etc managed to book and fly on Friday evening AKL-HLZ on Eagle air ZK-ERU.  Then HLZ-GIS via NPE on Air Central and flew ZK-EON.  Having recently read Heartland High Flyer by Bruce Gavin now realise how lucky I was to unknowingly fly one of the MU2G as their timetables didn't have aircraft types for the sectors.  After the airshow etc tried to book flights for Sunday via some other destination (possibly ROT to fly in MCA Twin Otter???) but couldn't line up any 3rd level flights to get home so relented and flew Air NZ on an F27 which as it turned out one of only 3 flights I did with them on this aircraft and didn't note the details or registration etc?   Somehow that instilled me to continue my adventures to fly in different aircraft types (not just with civil or commercial operators ) and have continued to study timetables with various operators to plan there and back flights. 

My first ride in a Bandeirante was in 1982 too! - 22 November 1982... and I flew from Auckland (above) to Hamilton (below) in ZK-ERU

I didn't get to fly in Mitsubishi Mu2 ZK-EON - photo taken at Tauranga on  25 November 1982...
...but I did get to fly Hokitika-Greymouth-Hokitika in Mitsubishi Mu2G N167MA which became Air Central's ZK-EKZ. Photo take at Hokitika in December 1980

My first attempt at this overseas was in Fiji in November 1991.  I had written and faxed Sunflower Air, Air Pacific and Fiji Air to get their domestic timetables and aircraft types well in advance of our travels.  Tried booking with the three airlines to fly in 3 different aircraft and at Nadi was going from airline office to office trying to work through their schedules and make the bookings.  In the end my plan wasn't going to work as what I originally could map out was completely changed so ended up flying from Nadi to SavuSavu and return with Sunflower airlines in their DH Heron.  Again now realise what a great opportunity to have flown in that aircraft.  The other aircraft that I was trying to fly in was a Twin Otter and ATR 42 which have since flown. Have been back to Fiji on a number of occasions and ventured on several flights with the airlines on a number of aircraft.  Quickly learnt that it is rather hopeless trying to plan to fly in a certain aircraft types in Fiji using their timetable and mostly ended up going to the checkin counter and asked about the aircraft on the tarmac and where is is going and are there seats available?  Worked most of the time and only really got caught out once in Suva with full flights trying to get back to Nadi.  As it happened Sunflower laid on an additional flight and came back in a Beech Queenair.

Sunflower Airlines' De Havilland Heron DQ-FDY at Nadi on 16 February 1987
Air Pacific DHC Twin Otter DQ-FDK at Nausori on 12 February 1987
Air Pacific ATR 42 at Suva on 13 February 1987
Anyway that is a little of how I came to have this fascination ( family calls it single minded obsession). 

Thanks for sharing your 3rd level adventures Aviation Insider


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