26 November 2020

Auckland afternoon

I had an hour and a half before my flight at Auckland today...

Singapore Airlines' Airbus 350 9V-SMF off to Singapore 

Fly My Sky's BN Islander ZK-EVO arriving back from the Barrier 

Airwork's Boeing 737-400 ZK-FXL

Air New Zealand ATR 72-600 ZK-MVD

Air New Zealand ATR 72-600 ZK-MVQ

Bombardier Q300 ZK-NER after push back

Air New Zealand Airbus 321 ZK-NNG was on a domestic

Air New Zealand Airbus 320 ZK-OJB

Fly My Sky's BN Islander ZK-PIY

Barrier Air's Cessna Grand Caravan ZK-SDB

Barrier Air's Cessna Grand Caravan ZK-SDD off to the Barrier... It was a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts day for Barrier Air passengers late today 

Fly My Sky's BN Islander ZK-SFK

 

24 November 2020

A Couple of Beech King Airs

Hamilton has a lot of air ambulance activity... On the 19th of November there were two present while I waited for Originair to arrive...

Air Gisborne's Beech King Air ZK-SKL heading off home

The Taranaki Air Ambulance Trust's Beech King Air ZK-ZZA was up from New Plymouth

 

23 November 2020

Last Monday

Last Monday, 16 November 2020 I had an hour or so at Tauranga...


Not fishing spotting... Cessna 172 ZK-DFH

A new one for me, Tecnam P2002 Sierra ZK-EVE

Another one, Bell 505 Jet Ranger X ZK-HTI... very nice!


Not parked well for a decent photo, Tecnam Astore UL ZK-RGH

 AutoGyro MTOsport ZK-RJW.

Tecnam P-2002 Sierra ZK-SCD

A couple of Aussie aerial photography platforms... Cessna 404 Titan VH-WGS... 
... which incidentally just flew over my home as I was preparing this post

Cessna 210 Centurion VH-ZIO

22 November 2020

Masterton Upgrade

 It seems Paraparaumu's airport isn't the only one is discussion... I missed this piece from the Wairarapa Times-Age in late September... 


From the outset, there have been unanswered questions surrounding the proposal to spend $17 million upgrading Hood Aerodrome.  It wasn’t clear who was driving the Hood Aerodrome upgrade initiative and we weren’t told, at least initially, how much money Masterton ratepayers were expected to contribute. As time has passed, some answers have been provided. It took several days before Masterton District Council chief executive Kath Ross told the Times-Age the council would contribute $7m on top of the $10m coming from the government. Information subsequently provided to me by Ross’ office suggests the council’s actual commitment will be $4.2m, with an additional $2.75m to be sought in the form of “grants, fees, charges and co-investment” – whatever that may mean. Not only does it all seem a bit woolly, but ratepayers are entitled to wonder why these figures weren’t disclosed at the start. After all, the people of Masterton will effectively be paying twice for the upgrade, both as taxpayers and ratepayers. And the key question which remains unanswered is: why? Unfortunately, the council remains evasive. Concerned that no convincing case had yet been made publicly for the Hood upgrade, I made an Official Information request to the council for documentation relating to the project. My request sought all relevant information, including any business case prepared in support of the upgrade. What I initially got was a letter providing some additional superficial detail about what the council proposes to do, but conspicuously omitting any cost-benefit analysis or substantiation of the project’s promised economic benefits. Not satisfied with this response, I sought further information. I asked specifically for minutes of council discussions relating to the upgrade and for budget forecasts covering projected returns and/or deficits. Under the disclosure provisions of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act, this information should have automatically been provided in response to my first request, but wasn’t. I fared slightly better, but only slightly, on my second attempt. This produced the disclosure that there were no minutes relating to the decision to seek Provincial Growth Fund money for the upgrade, for the strange reason that councillors never formally adopted the proposal. I was told the draft application to the PGF was “shared” with councillors in workshop sessions [how thoughtful of council officials to keep elected members in the loop]. But not being regarded as official meetings, workshops happen out of the public view. So, we have no idea what [if any] debate took place around the council table, or how rigorously [if at all] the proposal was assessed. This seems an odd way to conduct council business, given that Masterton ratepayers will be required to contribute at least $4.2m. That’s a lot of footpaths. There was further discussion during a “Zoom briefing” of councillors under the Level 4 lockdown in April, but again no record was provided of what was said. It’s almost as if the lockdown was used as an excuse for the lack of transparency and due process. The material provided to me by MDC further revealed that councillors considered an item relating to the Hood development in a public-excluded session last year. All detail of that discussion was withheld on the ground that it might prejudice the council’s commercial operations. Similarly, in its previous release of material to me, the council provided a briefing document supplied to local MPs and councillors, but blacked out all relevant figures relating to council investment in the project on the basis of “commercial sensitivity”. That document “conservatively” estimated economic benefits of $248-307 million from the Hood upgrade but didn’t explain how those figures were arrived at. For all we know, they could have been plucked out of the air. As part of the second release of information, I was also provided with a poorly written “executive summary”, of anonymous authorship, outlining the supposed costs and benefits of the upgrade. As with previously disclosed information about the project, this document was heavy on optimistic assumptions and positive-sounding buzzwords, but light on substantive data. The executive summary concedes that the benefits of the upgrade are “uncertain” and positive outcomes are “not guaranteed”, in which case one might ask why the council is committing millions of ratepayer dollars to the project. Commercial risk is the realm of the private sector, where people gamble with their own money. Most conspicuously, the documents fail to reveal who will use the improved aerodrome/airport and where the projected financial returns, assuming there are any, will come from. The projections rely heavily on the hope that scheduled air services will resume – but there’s no indication that any airline is eagerly waiting for Hood to be improved, and nothing to suggest that upgrading the aerodrome will magically make it profitable. Not one of the cheerleaders for the project has identified a single new user. All we’re left with, after going through the documents released by the council, are several mysterious references in the executive summary to “facilitated projects” at Hood, all detail of which was blacked out – again, on the grounds of commercial confidentiality. We can conclude from this that the council is probably involved in negotiations with an undisclosed party or parties regarding some form of commercial activity at Hood, not necessarily related to passenger services, and has been persuaded that it’s the best if the public is kept out of it. Those with suspicious minds might wonder whether the council has been sweet-talked into bankrolling an ambitious, aviation-related project in which ratepayers could end up carrying the commercial risk – in which case we’re entitled to know what our officials are signing us up for. Otherwise the rationale for the upgrade remains unclear. A cynical explanation is that taxpayers and Masterton ratepayers are bankrolling a Labour Party strategy to win the Wairarapa seat back from National. Mayor Lyn Patterson’s column in the Times-Age did nothing to clarify things. Presented with another opportunity to mount a convincing case for the Hood upgrade, Patterson resorted to more airy, feel-good platitudes about putting Masterton on the map. We’ve still seen nothing to indicate the upgraded aerodrome will generate an economic return and thus justify the investment of ratepayers’ money that might be better spent on other services or facilities. And perhaps even more disturbing is the impression that councillors have been passive spectators in whatever is proposed. 

Best-case scenario:

The council is secretly talking to a prospective Hood user who promises an economic bonanza but wants the ratepayers to pick up the tab.

Worst-case scenario:

Both the council and the government are taking a massive punt with our money and we can only cross our fingers and hope for the best.

Either way, the facts should be put before us. The government’s decision to contribute $10 million for work at Hood Aerodrome is something to be welcomed. It is unfortunate that elected members have not had the opportunity to discuss the council’s contribution in a public meeting. This is partly due to the process for applications for funding of shovel-ready projects being far shorter than normal funding opportunities. We decided we needed to make an application when the opportunity arose – in the knowledge that success was far from guaranteed. We have been delving into the detail more and undertaking further investigation to give us additional confidence in the project. To be clear, we’ve previously signalled work was required at Hood in our annual and long-term plans. We had been planning to do this over a longer period of time, this investment enables us to carry it out sooner. The council is not “bankrolling” a private endeavour that will lead to ratepayers carrying an ongoing commercial risk. This is an investment in infrastructure that will remain in council hands, which we have confidence will continue to bring benefits to the community. As was stated at the time the funding was announced, the work at Hood is not focused on a passenger service returning to the aerodrome but widening and extending the runway will remove one impediment to that happening. These projects are complex and a lot of work has been done by council staff to enable Masterton to benefit from government funding – we should be welcoming the investment, with an eye on the exciting opportunities this offers us in the future. 

Source : Karl Du Fresne, https://times-age.co.nz/popping-the-hood/, 28 September 2020

20 November 2020

It's all a matter of timing


One wonders how long Originair's Palmerston North-Hamilton service will last...  

The airline commenced weekday flights between the two cities on the 19th of October 2020 with flights between the two cities operating around midday... 

http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2020/10/hamilton-for-lunch.html.

Loadings don't appear to have been great. From January the airline's reservations system shows flights operating on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Meanwhile the business timed flights Air New Zealand operated are crying for a replacement. These flights always had 30+ passengers flying between the two centres. Originair has lost four sectors from me... on one occasion I drove back and forth and in the one next month I'm just not going to what I normally would have done easily on business timed flights.

Originair's BAe Jetstream 32 arriving in Hamilton on 19 November 2020 with 6 pax


19 November 2020

Another Pacific Aerospace 750XL

 

Not the prettiest colour scheme around... Pacific Aerospace 750XL ZK-EPK at Hamilton on 16 November 2020

18 November 2020

A couple of other mainland routes



On Stuff the other day there was an interesting piece on Air Chathams... 

https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/news/123405384/come-fly-with-me-a-look-at-new-zealands-smaller-airlines-air-chathams

But this section here was what interested me...

What are your future plans?

We’ll continue to operate our mainland and Chatham Islands routes, using the aircraft type that suits. We’re also looking at adding a couple of other mainland routes to connect more of regional New Zealand with Auckland.

So which two ports do you think??? I'd guess Masterton as one, but the other??? That's really got me scratching my head.


Northern South Island Airvans

Thanks to Matthew Beaven who caught up with a four of the six Airvans from the northern part of the South Island...

Golden Bay Air's Gippsland Airvan ZK-ZUG at Nelson on 12 November 2020

Air Kaikoura's  Gippsland Airvan ZK-ORC was in Nelson on 12 November on maintenance


Back down at Kaikoura on 15 November 2020 was Air Kaikoura's Gippsland Airvan ZK-EHS 

Wings over Whales' Gippsland Airvan ZK-FSR at Kaikoura on 15 November 2020

Not an Airvan, Sounds Air's Pilatus PC12 ZK-PLB at Blenheim on 15 November 2020 

 

17 November 2020

More from Whakatāne

More from at Whakatāne on 15 November 2020 

Piper Tomahawk ZK-COP on the taxi for departure 

SG Aviation Storm 300 ZK-COW arrives at Whakatāne 

Quad City Challenger ZK-CWX had been flying locally.

Robinson R44 Raven ZK-IGK had overnighted

East Bay Aviation's Cessna 206 ZK-JCS had been on a scenic

Cessna 172 ZK-JKA had also overnighted

Cirrus Design SR22 ZK-LDY went out for some circuits

SG Aviation Storm 300 ZK-OCW had been out for a local

The Colours of POF

Air Chathams' first Fairchild SA227-CC Metro 23, ZK-POF has been repainted back into Air Chathams' full colour scheme as shown immediately below. What follows is a look at POF through the years...

And just reposting about the Metro 23 from Wikipedia...  improvements beyond the Metro III provided better systems, more power and a further increase in takeoff weight. This design effort resulted in the SA227 CC (for Commuter Category) and SA227-DC models, initially called the Metro IV then renamed Metro 23, so named as they were designed for certification under FAR Part 23 (Amendment 34) standards. The SA227-CC was an interim model with TPE331-11U engines and only five were built.


Metro 23 ZK-POF in full Air Chathams' colour scheme

The Metro 23s ZK-POE and ZK-POF were originally imported for AIrwork's contract with NZ Post. Fairchild Metro 23 ZK-POF in full NZ Post colours at Auckland on 27 November 1996

From the 31st of May 199 Origin Pacific entering a strategic alliance with Airwork NZ Ltd. This enabled Origin to utilise Airwork’s Fairchild Metroliner 23 aircraft, ZK-POE and POF during the day time. Fairchild Metroliner 23 ZK-POF taxis in at New Plymouth in full Origin Pacific colours on 18 October 1999

Stipped of Origin Pacific titles and logo but still in their colours but back with Airwork doing NZ Post flights, ZK-POF at Christchurch on 24 February 2005

Still with Airwork doing NZ Post flights but now all white, Fairchild Metro 23 ZK-POF at Auckland on 2 October 2014

Airwork's Fairchild Metro 23s were withdrawn from service on the 19th of January 2017 and eventually picked up by Air Chathams. Only ZK-POF has flown since then and it is seen here at Whakatane on 1 September 2018.

Still in the white scheme but carrying Air Chathams' titles, Metro 23 ZK-POF at Whakatāne on 7 September 2019.