30 March 2013

The Cessna 402 - A New Generation of Third Level Aircraft

The introduction of the Cessna 402 to New Zealand skies ushered in a new generation of third level operation... The 402s were equipped with the latest IFR equipment and were fast and reliable. They saw service with many New Zealand third level airlines... these are just a few examples from Allan Wooller's collection... 

The first operator to use them was the short lived Sky Travel. The 402s weren't cheap for airlines that had lean routes in an environment where the national carrier was protected. Here Cessna 402s ZK-CSX and ZK-CSZ are seen on their first visit to Masterton in early 1968.

Above, Air Central's Cessna 402 ZK-EHS at Napier. Air Central's arose largely due to the collapse of Air North which had used De Havilland Herons andAero Commanders. It tried to keep on good terms with NAC but its central North Island services weren't conducive for making a fortune. Bruce Gavin was written the definitive book on Air Central, Heartland High Flier. It is an excellent read which details the emergence of a typical third level airline in the 1970s. Copies are available from Bruce by emailing fbgavin@actrix.co.nz

Operating at the same time as Air Central was James Air. Unlike Air Central James Air were primarily in competition with NAC on Cook Strait services from Wellington to Blenheim and Nelson. Like most of the third level airlines of the age James Air was to become another statistic of the airline industry of the time. For my profile about James Air see http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/james-air-sun-city-airline.html.

1 comment:

  1. ZK-CSX & ZK-CSZ delivered

    Jan 16th - 27th 1968

    Wichita - Las Vegas - Oxnard - Oakland - Honolulu - Tarawa - Nandi - Auckland - Tauranga.
    No GPS in those days but a lot of DR and trust in an ADF.