14 December 2020

From Seneca to Something Bigger

The latest installment of the Stuff series on our regional airlines features Golden Bay Air. As in all of them there is not buch new, but every now and then there is an interesting little snippet. This is snippet from this article

Before Covid we had planned to replace our twin-engine aircraft with a larger 10 seat one, to meet increasing demand. We are now waiting to see what happens this summer before we take that step.

Golden Bay Air's Piper Seneca ZK-ZAG awaiting take-off clearance at Wellington on 27 October 2014.

The airline said about its fleet, These fit the smaller airfields we fly into at Karamea and Tākaka. The Seneca is also a fully instrument-equipped aircraft, that allows us to fly reliably between Wellington and Tākaka in all weather. We installed a GNSS instrument approach to Tākaka for this purpose.

So what aircraft would you replace the Seneca with???

My profile on Golden Bay Air and its services is here... http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2011/06/sun-is-shining-on-golden-bay-air.html


  1. so a 10 seater capable of operating into small airfields. Only one I can think of would be a GA-10 Airvan.

    1. Unlikely given they have the twin for IFR flying. Based on what's available in New Zealand at the moment I'd suggest they'll probably end up with something along the lines of a C402 or PA31. Be great to see them get a C208 if the budget would stretch that far but that would be a massive step for such a niche operator I would say.

  2. Replies
    1. They can't afford that! 208 or kodiak is a pipe dream for these operators

  3. Takaka is a bit tight for a commercial load in a C402 or PA31, I mean it’s tight in a PA34 when it’s wet and you can’t circle for the into wind runway due low cloud. It’ll be a C208 or possibly a Kodiak if they’re game enough to be first of type in NZ.

  4. A 402 or PA 31 will never land and takeoff in the distances required with a full load or anywhere near it. The only current aircraft that fits the bill is an Islander - 10 seats, t/o in 400m at gross, land in far less, do all the IFR required. Only possible problem is a bit slower over the WN leg. However, bang for buck, very hard to beat. Almost idiot proof with the most reliable piston engine around, no cowl flaps or turbo's to increase costs, fixed landing gear (so no wheels up!) and a genuine 10 seater. A much maligned beast, but a real worker for the short strips.

  5. Totally agree with the Islander. It fits the bill well for what they do. Although must be said my first thought when I read the article was a Kodiak.....

  6. I was wondering if there was any market within NZ for the PAC P-750 XSTOL, is the PAC of any use in the passenger sector?
    One wonders if PAC could become more of serious force in that passenger aircraft 10-15 seater X/STOL market and even make larger aircraft