01 June 2023

Yet Another Freight Airline

In the NZ Herald a couple of days ago there was an article outlining the latest news of Merlin Labs  development of pilotless aircraft. This was first mooted some three years ago, see  https://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2020/07/westport-freight-flights.html  and https://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2020/08/more-on-pilotless-plane-service.html. As can be seen from these articles is the connection to New Zealand's newest freight airline, Texel Air.

Now it looks as if Merlin Labs is about to start flying freight (with pilots) as the company continues its research and development. According to the Herald the firm would start flying freight in June with an unmodified aircraft between Northland, Auckland and Palmerston North. “We want to demonstrate to the regulator and the public that we’re a capable and reliable freight company before we start introducing new technology. And for ourselves, it’s to get our pilots familiar with the routes we’re going to fly and the avionics in the aircraft because that doesn’t change. We’ll do that for a good year and then start to add our advanced technology as it’s certified,” he said. The full article  can be found here : https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/world-leading-robot-plane-venture-takes-off-in-kerikeri/KCNCTSD5VRGXDCBAY7HQ6D5QHU/

Merlin Labs currently have four aircraft...

Merlin Labs' Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-MLN at Paraparaumu on 13 August 2022

The surprise was Merlin Lab's Cessna 172 ZK-CTY at Kerikeri on 7 January 2023

Cessna 206 ZK-MLP taken at Paraparaumu by Jordan Elvy on 19 December 2022

Merlin Lab's, latest aircraft, Cessna 208B Super Cargomaster N208FF at Auckland on 30 May 2023. It arrived the previous evening

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