10 March 2021

Seeing the country - Island hopping - 3rd level style

Thanks to Lawrence Acket who has been getting some aviation fixes supporting the local island hoppers with a kaleidoscope of adventures with operators around the country

Island Hopping with Fly My Sky:  A trip from AKL to Great Barrier in January with the iconic BN2A Islander ZK-EVO operated flight AAX170

Arriving at Claris from North Shore ( Dairy Flat) Islander ZK-PIZ  before operating the sector back to AKL and my chariot home flight GBX185.  Islanders at the Barrier have been seen on the Island since the 1970’s and a permanent  fixture since the mid 1980’s.  ZK-PIZ has been part of the Barrier scene for over 23 years.

Island Hopping with Originair: Friday 05 Feb BAe J31 ZK-JSH operating Originair OG0538 WLG-NSN at Gate 20 prior to departure

Flt Originair OG0538 nearing Nelson.  Flight time between Wellington and Nelson 27 minutes

Classic head-on profile of the Jetstream

Friday 05 Feb Originair flight OG0538 NSN-WLG over the Marlbourough Sounds operated by ZK-JSK BAe J32 with a sector time 31 minutes

A modern stylish Interior of BAe J32 Jetstream ZK-JSK

Originair BAe J32 ZK-JSK gate 20 during its turnaround before returning to Nelson.  Originair operated two NSN-WLG-NSN on the Friday before Waitangi weekend using both Jetstreams.

Island Hopping with Soundsair: Desperate early morning shot at the Wellington regional departure gate of the arrival from Blenheim, Pilatus PC12/45 ZK-PLT.

A quick hop across “The Strait” on flight S8281.  Not your typical window view of a wing in a pressurised turbine airliner and not seeing a starboard engine?  Unless of course flying Soundsair

Spot the airfield with the dry grass vectors.  Omaka at a distance whilst on long finals for Woodbourne as it stands out surrounded by wineries. Omaka being our destination for the day attending the Healthy Bastard Bush Pilot Champs 2021.

Finals for Woodbourne and again the field perimeter stands out against the vines.  The sealed runway behind the windscreen pillar.   Air time 15 minutes and my quickest time ever across the Cook Strait.

Island Hopping Stewart Island Flights:  Classic vista of the iconic Islander in its element ( island hopping)

A unique runway for an airliner and one subject to tidal times so no two days the same.

Stewart Island Flights Island ZK-FWZ in its element Duck Creek- Mason Bay – Stewart Island Stewart Island Flights trialled 3 blade props for noise reduction with mixed results leading to a decision to return to standard 2 blades.  Note the hub caps on the mains which not often seen on NZ Islanders. All that’s missing in the photo – some locals in the form of native birds checking out the itinerant visitors?

Stewart Island Flights other Islander ZK-FXE now fitted with a Garmin digital dashboard on Flight WK167

Turning finals for Ryan’s Creek- Backtracking on the runway Stewart Island Flights Piper Cherokee 6 carrying the excess luggage as no space on our full flight.  Flight between Invercargill and Stewart Island, Ryan’s Creek 18 minutes. 

A quick picture between the out of the plane and into the shuttle herding of humans during a routine and rapid sector turnaround. 

A slick operation at Ryan’s Creek with the quick turnaround of deplaning and reloading of humans and luggage. No terminals or baggage handlers required here.  

 Islanders poised on the Invercargill tarmac ready for another scheduled service to Oban (Ryan’s Creek) or somewhere more exotic like a beach landing on the western side of Stewart Island. The BN-2 Islanders have long provided yeoman service to Stewart and Great Barrier Islands.  South East Air, doing business as Stewart Island Flights, have a very unique operation with weather conditions, prevailing winds and different mediums used for landing surfaces, few aircraft have the performance, ruggedness, reliability and crosswind capability to meet the demanding requirements. With the only replacement for an Islander is an Islander their wings above the waves will reign for years to come.  Long may they continue! Postscript.  During the Sunday night pub quiz at the South Seas Hotel, the quizmaster announced at the ½ time break that Auckland was going into level 3 lockdown by the morning.  We were quietly hoping our Invercargill to Auckland flight the following day would be disrupted and that we would have to ride it out at our location- no such luck as we returned the following day to a different world.

1 comment:

  1. I love the unscheduled landings in random places on Stewart Island, every time fly over we hope we get one!!!