10 November 2015

Air Chathams' Majestic Flyer

As I was growing up as a kids I loved to watch the DC-3 lumber out of Hokitika on its way up to Westport, Nelson and Wellington. While I've had a couple of opportunities to fly in a Dak I never dreamed that I would get the opportunity to fly in a DC-3 on a scheduled airline service. However. in recent weeks Air Chathams have commenced a weekly service from Auckland to Whakatane using their Douglas DC-3 ZK-AWP. The weekly DC-3 flight to Whakatane leaves Auckland at 4.00pm on Saturday and returns at noon on the Sunday with a flight time of one hour. According to Craig Emeny the DC-3 is all about putting Whakatane on the map and building the local tourism. The company is working in partnership with a number of local tourist operators and accommodation providers.

On my flight on Sunday there were a number of people on the DC-3 flight who had flown down to Whakatane the day before. Already the DC-3 service is attracting international interest from aircraft enthusiasts around the world. At present it is the only DC-3 on a scheduled service in the Southern Hemisphere with Canada's Buffalo Airways being the only other airline in the world offering scheduled services in a DC-3.

Here is the beautiful Douglas DC-3 ZK-AWP doing engine run ups at Whakatane before the flight to Auckland on Sunday 8 November 2015

Bags on board...
Air Chathams flight CV805 to Auckland is now boarding

Welcome aboard... the lovely Connie who served local beers and wines as well as a light snack

Whakatane's Noddy Town terminal

The Rangitaiki River looking toward Putauaki - Mt Edgecombe
Coming up on Matata.
Now passing Te Puke with Lake Rotorua in the distance
Crossing Tauranga and Mount Maunganui
On the left the Kaimai Ranges
and out to the right Karewa Island in the foreground with Tuhua - Mayor Island further out
On the flight deck, Alani in the left hand seat, Craig in the right

Coming up to the Katikati Entrance to Tauranga Harbour
Te Aroha - the mountain and the town below

In theory joining left base for 23 at Auckland International...
...but we had to hold north of the centreline 
so nice views of the city,
Waiheke Island
and the Hauraki Gulf
Final approach over South Auckland
Mixing it with the moderns
Craig Emeny, owner of Air Chathams. 
ZK-AWP on the ramp at Auckland

Thanks to Craig and the Air Chats crew. It is absolutely incredible to have such a majestic flyer plying the New Zealand skies on scheduled services.

1 comment:

  1. Now all we need is to revive the Bristol flights to the Chathams on the same basis?...hmm, perhaps not. On one flight I found it took over six hours to fly from the old Hapupu strip to Christchurch!