28 May 2018

Opotiki Once had an Air Service

There wasn't a lot to be seen aviation wise on my trip to and from Gisborne this weekend with the excepetion of Opotiki.

Opotiki once had an airline service with Union Airways inaugurating an Auckland-Tauranga-Opotiki-Gisborne service . The first flight was operated with de Havilland DH86 Express ZK-AEH "Korimako" under the command of Commander G.R. White with Second Officer K.A. Brownjohn on the 20th of March 1939. The return flight was made on the following day.

ZK-AEH at Opotiki
The Second World War brought an end to the air service which was withdrawn on the 16th of October 1939. The Bay of Plenty Beacon on 18 October 1939 reported...

A little in advance of expectations the air link between Gisborne and Auckland, via Opotiki and Tauranga, was broken on Thursday, when Union Airways' four-enginer air-liner made its last trip. Previously it had been announced that the last trip would be made on Saturday, but the original plan was altered. After taking off from the Opotiki aerodrome on Thursday morning, the big plane flew over the Otara district and then turned towards the aerodrome again, flying at a fair height. As the machine flew over the aerodrome it suddenly dived low down and then rose steeply again, as a farewell salute. The machine then flew over the town at a low altitude. The service has now been suspended indefinitely owing to the government taking over the company's De Havilland planes for instructional purposes.

In all my years taking aeroplane photos I have only ever got two at Opotiki until yesterday, 27 May 2018... Unfortunately there wasn't a DH Express there!

Outside was Micro Aviation B22 Bantam ZK-DJT, the rego is seen on the nose below...

Micro Aviation B22 Bantam ZK-FTF was parked in the back of the hangar
Tecnam P2002 Sierra RG returned from a local.
Hughes Lightwing GR-912S ZK-NBG was rolled out to repack the hangar.
Zenair CH701 STOL ZK-SCC did a quick circuit

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