31 December 2013

Last photos of 2013

Arriving back into Christchurch on the 30th of December 2013 was Garden City Air Exec's Beech Super King Air ZK-FDR
Soon after Air New Zealand's Airbus 320 ZK-OXB was taxiing for takeoff.

Singapore Airlines' Boeing 777-200 9V-SVN lining up for departure off Runway 02 at Christchurch on the 31st of December 2013
Later in the afternoon Emirates' Boeing 777-300 A6-ECX was arriving from Sydney
Air Chathams' Convair 580 ZK-CIF had been down to Timaru and back on a training flight before doing a couple of ILS approaches
And my first photo of Air New Zealand's latest Airbus 320 ZK-OXC. Photo taken at Christchurch on 31 December 2013

Summer Diversion #7

Heavy Lifters



29 December 2013

28 December 2013

New Caravan for Air Milford

Air Milford are set to acquire a near new Cessna Caravan. Antony Sproull, Air Milford's operations manager, along with two other ferry pilots, will fly the Caravan via the Greek Islands, Egypt, across the Red Sea via Saudi Arabia to Southern Oman, the Maldives and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean. From there they will fly to Broome, Western Australia, on to Alice Springs and land in Queenstown in mid-January. Their journey will be live tracked through the Air Milford website (see http://www.airmilford.co.nz/blog/)

Originally the Greek registered Caravan, SX-SKV, was to have arrived in November but due to unforeseen reasons, the purchase was delayed.  

The Caravan has 300 hours on the clock and comes with state-of-the-art cockpit technology - the first of its kind to be operated between Queenstown and Milford Sound. The plane's Garmin G1000 GPS instrument technology meant Air Milford had the potential to operate commercially into Milford on instrument flight rules (IFR), enabling flights to continue in bad weather.

25 years ago - December 1988 - Bits and Pieces

Grob G109 ZK-GNW at West Melton on 26 December 1988
Southern Lakes Helicopter's Aerospatiale Squirrel ZK-HYS at Christchurch on 26 December 1988
A couple of Bell Jetrangers, ZK-HCX (above) and ZK-HYA (below) at Christchurch on 28 December 1988

Beech Skipper ZK-ESC at Ashburton on 29 December 1988

Summer Diversion #4

And now for a little navigation


26 December 2013

25 Years Ago - December 1988 - Airliners at Christchurch

Air Nelson's Metroliner ZK-NSW arriving from Hokitika before heading on to Nelson on 26 December 1988

Wairarapa Airlines Piper Pa31 Chieftain doing the daily Masterton to Christchurch and return service on 26 December 1988
Mount Cook Airline's Hawker Siddeley 748 ZK-MCA at Christchurch on 27 December 1988
Air New Zealand Boeing 737-200 ZK-NAR at Christchurch on 27 December 1988
Air New Zealand Boeing 767-200 ZK-NBE at Christchurch on 28 December 1988
Thai International's McDonnell Douglas DC-10 HS-TCM taxis on to the gate at Christchurch on 29 December 1988... It's a pity their service to the Garden City didn't last

Summer Diversion #2

There wasn't one of these in my stocking this year...

25 December 2013

Summer Diversion #1

Have you ever wondered where your Christmas tree comes from???


Christmas Greetings

Can I take this opportunity to wish all you who visit 3rd Level New Zealand a blessed and joyful Christmas as we set aside our love of planes and focus on the ones we love.  

A special thanks to those who have sent photos and news for the blog and emails with snippets of information and encouragement.

Best wishes for a Happy New Year.

Kind regards,


24 December 2013

Last Wellington-Wanganui flight

Tonight marks the end of Air New Zealand's service between Wellington and Wanganui.

Traditionally Wanganui had alays been linked to Wellington by NAC and Air New Zealand Friendships. When Air New Zealand withdrew the Friendships Air Air Nelson Metroliners continued to connect the capital and the River City. When the Metroliners were being phased out in favour of Beech 1900s the service was withdrawn, the last flight being operated in mid-2002. 

Nearly five years later, after a lot of community pressure, an Air New Zealand Wellington-Wanganui connection was reintroduced on the 12th of February 2007. The reintroduced service was operated by Air NZ Link carrier Eagle Air using Beech 1900s. A weekday return was operated to the capital city, departing Wanganui in the early morning and returning Sunday to Friday evenings. An additional Friday night service was also flown from Wanganui to Wellington. When announcing the service Doug Roberts, general manager of Eagle Air, said, “Putting the Wanganui-Wellington service back will work, not only in terms of Wellington-bound traffic but also connections to the South Island and international flights. The old service was always a problem because of its timing. But this new service will be perfect. It gets people there early and gives them plenty of time to get their business done before catching the evening flight home.” 

Despite these optimistic words the service struggled and more recently the service, on three days a week, the service has seen its southbound journey begin at Taupo picking up passengers at Wanganui on the way south with the reverse being flown in the evening. Tonight's final flight, which is full between Wellington and Wanganui, will follow this pattern with the Beech arriving at Wanganui as NZ 2782 at 7:35pm before continuing on to Taupo at 7.50pm.

While Air New Zealand has not been able to make a go of the service Sounds Air is going to give it a go! From the 21st of January 2014 Sounds Air will operate their Cessna Caravan on the route to a similar timetable. The big difference that Sounds Air offers is more reasonable fares and a real desire to build up its markets. It will be interesting to see how their service develops.

25 years ago - December 1988 in Ashburton

On my way to Christchurch for Christmas I caught the following aircraft at Ashburton on Christmas Eve...

Cessna 172D ZK-CCJ 
There were a couple of biplanes... Currie Wot ZK-CYB...
....and Pitts S-1S Special ZK-FRJ

23 December 2013

A lovely day in Kaikoura

I'm not sure how the whale-spotting was in Kaikoura today, but the plane-spotting today, the 23rd of December 2013 was great...

As I arrived at Zenith Zodiac CH 601-XL ZK-CMI  was taxiing out before heading north
The Kaikoura Aero Club's Cessna A150M Aerobat ZK-DRJ
Air Kaikoura's Piper Pa28-180 Cherokee - the first time I had seen it in this colour scheme.
Cessna 180 ZK-BXV was basking in the sun
A surprise visitor was Sounds Air's Cessna 208 Caravan ZK-SAN...  Sounds Air stopped flying scheduled services to Kaikoura in 2009 
Wings over Whales Gippsland Airvan ZK-KBZ arrived while I was there while their Cessna 172 ZK-EKE was being readied for the next flight

And as I left Auster ZK-BMD arrived
In town Kaikoura Helicopters' Robinson R44 Raven ZK-HLA was waiting for customers

From A3- to ZK- - AWP returns

Wayne Grant caught these wonderful photos of Air Chathams' DC-3 ZK-AWP returning home to New Zealand from Tonga yesterday.

All photos taken at Auckland on 22 December 2013

The DC-3 has been operating in Tonga for a number of years on the Tongan register as A3-AWP with Peau Vava'u and Chathams Pacific (see http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2013/04/air-chathams-south-pacific-operations.html)

One wonders what future the DC-3 will have in New Zealand? Certainly the new Air Chathams script suggests that Air Chathams have got plans for this classic queen of the skies!

North Pole flights... while maybe not quite North Pole....

... and no sign of a sleigh and reindeer


22 December 2013

25 Years Ago - December 1988 at Hokitika

Locally owned Piper Pa18 Cub ZK-CMQ at Hokitika on 17 December 1988

Hughes 300 ZK-HOA was out at the sphagnum moss factory on Kaniere Road on 17 December 1988 

My first photo of an Air Nelson Metroliner at Hokitika, ZK-NSW about to depart for Christchurch on 18 December 1988

20 December 2013

Driving Back to Christchurch

On the roll, Piper Pa28 Archer ZK-KLA at Taieri on 19 December 2013
A much better photo of Heliventures' McDonnell Douglas 500N ZK-HEN at Oamaru on 19 December 2013
Cessna 180 ZK-BYJ on the taxi at Timaru on 19 December 2013
Eagle Air's Beech 1900D ZK-EAO on the take off roll for Wellington at Timaru on 19 December 2013
Hughes 500E ZK-HLS at Timaru on 19 December 2013 - Who are MD Helicopters???
Southern Soaring Omarama's Piper Pawnee ZK-PPA at Timaru on 19 December 2013

19 December 2013

More from Dunedin

Cessna 172 was visiting Taieri on 18 December 2013
HeliSouth's Bell Jetrangers ZK-HMS and ZK-ISM had both been out working. Photos taken at Taieri on 18 December 2013

Down at Dunedin International HNZ had turned Bell 412EP into a better position. Photo taken at Dunedin on 18 December 2013
Mainland Air's Piper Seneca ZK-LSP returned home from a charter. Photo taken at Dunedin on 18 December 2013
Air New Zealand's Boeing 737 ZK-NGG was caught arriving while Jetstar's Airbus 320 VH-VQB was caught preparing to take off... Photos taken at Dunedin on 18 December 2013