29 May 2011

Ticket to Adventure and Tranquility - A Photo Essay on Stewart Island Flights

Bruce Gavin has written this photo essay on Stewart Island Flights after his recent travel on New Zealand's southern most airline.

South East Air Ltd was formed in 1993 when Raymond Hector began an air service based at Invercargill flying Cessna 185E ZK-JEM into the remote beaches and airstrips of Foveaux Strait islands such as Codfish Island and Stewart Island. Flights often had to be timed according to favourable tide conditions. In May 2000 South East Air Ltd took over Southern Air (1997) Ltd the previous operator on the Invercargill/Stewart Island route. This included rights to be the sole commercial operator to Ryans Creek Airstrip, Stewart Island, two Britten Norman BN2A-26 aircraft (ZK-FWZ and ZK-FXE), airport terminal space at Invercargill Airport, the airline depot (and Kiwi Post agency) at Oban, Stewart Island, and associated passenger shuttle vans and equipment. The thrice-daily return flights from Invercargill to Ryans Creek form the basis from which this very flexible and adaptable small airline fulfils the needs of all types of traveller to this beautiful area of New Zealand.


South East Air Ltd/Stewart Island Flights Chief Executive Officer Raymond Hector and Cessna 185E ZK-JEM in the hangar at Invercargill Airport on 13 April 2011. Raymond and ZK-JEM left shortly after the photo was taken for Codfish Island. (Photo: F.B.Gavin)
A through the wire view of ZK-JEM. (Photo: F.B.Gavin)
Approaching Rakiura/Stewart Island aboard Britten Norman BN2A-26 Islander ZK-FWZ. A smooth flight of about 12 minutes just reaching 1000ft above sea level. (Photo: F.B.Gavin)
The landing approach at Ryans Creek, Stewart Island as viewed from the front right hand seat of ZK-FWZ. In the centre foreground is the roadway from Oban. Parked in the aircraft turning area at the near end of the actual airstrip are Islander ZK-FXE (left) and Piper PA-32-260 ZK-DIV (right). (Photo: F.B.Gavin)
ZK-FXE at Ryans Creek. The aircraft had flown over part of a tour group earlier on 13 April. It was then tethered until its next flight (to take the group back) to Invercargill the following evening. (Photo: F.B.Gavin)
Piper PA-32-260 ZK-DIV about to depart Ryans Creek to assist Cessna 185E ZK-JEM to carry passengers off Codfish Island while the tide was out. (Photo: F.B.Gavin)

Departure from Stewart Island on 15 April, 2011. The photo shows the Stewart Island Flights’ Depot at Oban. This is the check-in point for all travellers on the airline’s services from Stewart Island as well as serving as the Island’s Post Shop. Passengers, baggage and freight are then transported by van up to Ryans Creek airstrip.  (Photo: F.B.Gavin)
The quick and efficient transfer of passengers from/to Islander ZK-FWZ at Ryans Creek. Another full load with the overload of three passengers having flown out a few minutes earlier on Piper PA-32 ZK-DIV (Photo: F.B.Gavin)
Airborne over Oban and Halfmoon Bay on a very murky morning. It was very soon into the cloud for another very smooth flight with only a very occasional glimpse of the white caps on Foveaux Strait. Very pleased we weren’t on the ferry somewhere down below. (Photo: F.B.Gavin)

The snug cabin of ZK-FWZ from the rear row of seats. (Photo: F.B.Gavin)

South East Air’s fifth aircraft is Piper PA-32-300 ZK-RTS. It is here seen outside the maintenance hangar at Invercargill Airport on 13 April 2011. (Photo: F.B.Gavin)
A profile of Stewart Island Flights can be found at http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2010/05/nzs-southern-most-airline-part-4.html

1 comment:

  1. The Britten Norman Islander seen hanging on the wall in the background on top photo, is ZK-FFL