30 April 2013

From DCL to TWN and TWI

Following on from the Air Gisborne post (http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2013/04/air-gisborne-40-years-old.html) Grayson Ottoway sent me in this piece in particular about Piper Pa34 Seneca ZK-DCL...

Bit late reading your piece but what memories!
I was a kid who lived a block from Gisborne Airport and spent a lot of time there. Andrew Reid and I were primary school mates.

CGF was wrecked in an incident in 1978 when the rear prop and it went through the tail and it was written off. I think it was on an air ambulance flight. The wreck sat by a creek by Bob Torr’s helicopter pad for many years.

I remember when DCL arrived. It ended up many years later in Tauranga privately owned, before being brought by Phill Hooker at Bay Flight. It had the turbos taken off it, but a LOT of pilots who flew with BFI over the years did time in her. Phill sold BFI a couple of years ago, but is back running things under Helipro’s ownership.

ZK-DCL in its purple Mount Aviation scheme taken at Tauranga on 19 January 2000

Re-registered as ZK-TWN with Bay Flight and photographed at Tauranga on  31 August 2010

Its third incarnation - Re-registered as ZK-TWI and photographed at Tauranga on 28 January 2012.  Grayson writes, A Tecnam Twin took the rego, and part of the letter was peeled off!) and only left Tauranga last year. It’s still with Helipro I believe. 

The new ZK-TWN - Tecnam P2006T at Tauranga on 21 November 2011

For May 1999 to November 1999 ZK-DCL was registered to Sunair... does anyone know if this was used on their air service during that time??? Please email me at westland831@gmail.com    Thanks, Steve

29 April 2013

Golden Coast Airlines Commander on their West Coast Service

In 1967 Golden Coast Airlines introduced its Aero Commander 500A ZK-CTM (c/n 1274) to its West Coast service which ooperated from from Nelson to Karamea, Westport and Greymouth. The Aero Commander was the mainstay of the service until it ceased operating in 1970. These D A Walker photos and B Whebell photo show CTM working the Coast run

At Karamea

At Wesport

At Greymouth and airborne from Greymouth
For more on Golden Coast Airlines see :

28 April 2013

Rural East Coast Flyer - Marshall's Air Transport

Noel Marshall did his flying training with the Royal Australian Air Force before working for the Wellington Aero Club for three years and then as a topdresser pilot for Fieldair in Gisborne for seven years. His time on the East Coast convinced him of the need an air service in the district, which being fringed by hill and mountain barriers, was geographically isolated and had comparatively poor roads. On the 15th of February 1957 the Air Licensing Authority sat at Gisborne to hear his application for a licence to operate non-scheduled air passenger and freight services from Gisborne to anywhere in New Zealand using a Cessna 180. He told the authority he proposed to use the Gisborne aerodrome and various topdressing strips which had been approved by the Civil Aviation Department, including the first at Ruatoria.
The licence was subsequently granted and Noel formed Marshall’s Air Transport Ltd. Operations began on the 5th of June 1957 when Noel flew three passengers from Gisborne to Palmerston North in Cessna 180 ZK-BFD (c/n 30867). The Gisborne Herald reported that “the service will be on call for travellers from some of the remotest portions of the Coast as well as for those whose journeys from Gisborne do not fit readily into the schedules of previously established air transport.” In view of the fact that it was a passenger operation, authorisation to use the topdressing strips had to be obtained by the Civil Aviation Authority. The company expected to use 11 strips along the East Coast and the eastern end of the Bay of Plenty and expected that there would be particular demand for flights to and from Ruatoria and Opotiki. The Gisborne Herald reported that “Co-operation with land-owners in the preparation of operating strips has been a feature of Mr Marshall's organising efforts to date. He has found keen interest developing in the possibilities of his service as it affects people living in remote areas, and also in the alternative use of his aircraft for speedy freight deliveries.”

Marshall's Air Transport's Cessna 180 ZK-BFD. Photo : D White Collection

Another feature of Marshall’s Air Transport’s service was its servicing of the lighthouses at East Cape and on Portland Island at the end of the Mahia Peninsula. The Gisborne Photo News carried an account of one of Marshall’s Air Transport’s first flights lighthouse flights…

When an assistant lighthouse-keeper was needed urgently at Portland Island last month, the aeroplane once again demonstrated its speed and usefulness on the East Coast. In less than three hours a Cessna aircraft owned by Marshall's Air Transport Ltd., piloted by the proprietor, Mr Noel Marshall, travelled from Gisborne to the isolated East Cape, picked up Mr Chiles, the assistant keeper there, flew him to Portland, off the coast of Mahia Peninsula, and returned to Gisborne… The aircraft left Gisborne at 7.30 a.m., arrived at East Cape at 8.10 a.m., at Portland Island at 9.30 a.m., and after some time spent on the island, was back in Gisborne shortly after 10 a.m. East Cape, by road to Te Araroa and then by track and beach to the lighthouse, is at least eight hours from Gisborne by road, while Portland Island, accessible only by launch in good weather, is a full day's travel from here. Portland is a lonely island off the southern tip of Mahia Peninsula. In earlier days it was a haven for the whalers who frequented the East Coast. For navigators by sea it is an important landmark, marking the entrance to Hawkes Bay. The only inhabitants are the two lighthouse keepers and their families, who live in the small cluster of buildings. 

Marshall Air Transport's Cessna 180 ZK-BFD at East Cape

Noel Marshall at Portland Island with his Cessna 180 ZK-BFD and the assistant-keeper at East Cape, Mr Chiles (centre - who was taken to Portland) and the head keeper at Portland, Mr Sheppard (right). Source : Gisborne Photo News, 22 August 1957

By late 1957 Marshall’s Air Transport was operating three to four flights a week from Gisborne to Opotiki each week. On the 15th of December 1958 the company introduced a regular Monday to Saturday passenger and freight air service from Gisborne to Opotiki and Whakatane and return. Noel Marshall told the Bay of Plenty Beacon that the demand from the Opotiki flights had become such that a daily service was required… and there had been a lot of inquiries from Whakatane for a service to and from Gisborne… Operating from Darton Field in Gisborne, the 'plane will land on the Poroporo airstrip, now used by Bay of Plenty Airways which operates a Bay of Plenty to Auckland service. That was until the aerodrome was open, said Mr Marshall. He had been informed by the Air Department that that would be in April or May of next year. 

Marshall's Air Transport's timetable for the Gisborne-Opotiki-Whakatane service effective 15 December 1958

Sadly the company’s services were not economic and by July 1959 Marshall’s Air Transport Ltd was in liquidation. The assets of the company were purchased by Poverty Bay Airways Ltd, a new company established by Gerard Oman, another Fieldair employee. Poverty Bay Air began operations in August 1959 and the Cessna 180 continued to serve for this company and then later with Nelson-based Golden Coast Airways.

26 April 2013

Cessna 3xxs

Four more from Allan Wooller's most interesting collection... These are from the Cessna 300 series...
Cessna 310G ZK-CFG at Masterton in November 1967 while being operated by Fletchers. CFG was also used by the Wellington Aero Club on its Cook Strait and charter services... http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2011/04/capital-air-services-wellington-aero.html

Another Cessna 310, this time an L model, ZK-DLP, at Wanganui in February 1974 wearing the markings of Commuter Air Charter, the predecessor to today's Air Wanganui

Rex Air Charter's Cessna 337G Skymaster, ZK-DRO, at Paraparaumu in September 1974. This aircraft was a regular on the company's service to Westport and Greymouth - http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/rex-air-charter-west-coast-service.html

Cessna 340 ZK-DSD at Masterton in December 1975. The 340 was used among others by Akarana Air - http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2010/07/who-was-akarana-air.html

25 April 2013

Cookson Airspread's Airline Revisited

Allan Wooller sent me some classic photos of some of Cookson Airspread's aircraft that were used on the company's Napier-Wairoa-Gisborne air service...

Cookson's first airliner - Cessna 180 ZK-BVQ at Wairoa.

The Cessna 180 was later replaced with a larger Cessna 185 ZK-CAK seen here at Fielding in August 1979.

A later addition to the fleet was Cessna 172A ZK-BWL taken at Fielding in June 1974. 

Running alongside their Piper Aztec was Piper Cherokee 6 ZK-DOP, added to the fleet in 1979.
A history of Cookson's airline division can be found at...


24 April 2013

CIC Tonga Bound

Tonga bound this morning is Chathams Pacific's Metroliner ZK-CIC after positioning into Auckland yesterday.
I wonder if Real Tonga's Y-12 has fallen over???
Maybe the Tongan authorities have seen sense and have begged Air Chats to return???

21 April 2013

Air Gisborne - 40 years old


In October 1972 the Gisborne Aero Club and its commercial operation, Eastern Airlines collapsed leaving Gisborne without an air charter service - see http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2012/02/gisborne-aero-clubs-airline-eastern.html. The February 1973 issue of NZ Wings reported that after the collapse of the aero club there was a move from an organisation which named itself the Gisborne Pilots Association. This association had nothing to do with the executive of the old aero club and went to some pains to point this out. Initial thought from the group leaned towards the possibility of buying one or even two of the Gisborne Aero Club aircraft to re-establish a pilot training service. But, lack of suitable funds forced an early re-think and negotiations were begun with a number of flying organisations and flying schools with the view to a co-operative effort. In the end suitable agreement was made with Mr Bob Maisey of Taupo. Now, his three aircraft, a push-pull Cessna 336 Skymaster, a Cherokee 160, and a Bolkow trainer have been transferred to Gisborne from Christchurch where they had been leased.

He was not the only one interested in offering a charter service from Gisborne. Gisborne Charter Service wanted to establish its own operation with a Piper Cherokee 6. As an interim measure the Air Services Licensing Authority granted temporary licences to Bob Maisey who traded as Air Gisborne and Gisborne Charter Service prior to a public hearing to determine which company would be given a permanent licence.

In April 1973, NZ Wings carried the news that Air Gisborne had been awarded the licence to replace the Gisborne Aero Club's air charter and air taxi services from Gisborne with an authorised fleet of one Piper Pa28 Cherokee 160 and one Cessna 336 Skymaster. The Licensing Authority said that because Air Gisborne proposed to use two aircraft and to operate a flying school as well its proposals were attractive from a service point of view. Cessna Cessna 336 Skymaster (c/n 336-0168) was licenced to the Gisborne Flying School on the 14th of April 1973  and to Air Gisborne on the 25th of January 1974. On the 24th of April 1978 the Cessna 336 was damaged at Gisborne Airport when its take-off was aborted after the rear engine failed. The pilot and three passengers on board were uninjured. The damage to the aircraft was enough that it was not repaired.

Air Gisborne's first twin, Cessna 336 ZK-CGF taken at Taupo in July 1977 by Allan Wooller

In its forty years in business Air Gisborne never operated a scheduled service, but it was involved with Air Central in offering an air taxi service on a timetable basis between Gisborne and Hamilton. In September 1976 Air Gisborne was given the right to add a Cessna 402 to its licence. While Air Gisborne held the licence the aircraft was operated by Air Central and these services began in October 1976. The Air Central and Air Gisborne timetable offered two return services on the route Napier-Gisborne-Hamilton on week days and one return service on Saturday and Sundays. This service put Air Gisborne and Air Central in competition with Air North who was the licenced scheduled operator on the route, though their service operated via Rotorua. As a result of the air taxi service, from October 1976 Air North's loadings experienced a sharp downturn and so in April 1977 Air North successfully applied to operate a scheduled service between Hamilton and Gisborne.

Air Central and Air Gisborne's air taxi timetable, effective 18 April 1977

The Air Central/Air Gisborne air taxi service continued to be the more popular service and in August 1977 Air North announced its decision that it wished to withdraw the Hamilton-Gisborne route. In the event agreement was reached that the Air Central/Air Gisborne air taxi service would be withdrawn while Air North removed all its services south of Gisborne. So ended Air Gisborne's only "airline service."

Since that time Air Gisborne has remained focused on air charter and flight  training while also offering scenic flights, aerial photography flights, survey flights and air ambulance work. The mainstay of Air Gisborne's twin engine fleet has been Piper Pa34 Senecas and they continue to constitute an important part of the Air Gisborne fleet.

Mixing it with the big boys... After being purchased from the Ministry of Transport in May 1981 Piper Pa34-200 Seneca ZK-DCL on the ramp at Auckland. Photographer unknown. 

Repainted, Piper Seneca ZK-DCL at Rotorua on 5 November 1986.

Piper Pa34T-200 Seneca ZK-TLC at Gisborne on 28 Spetember 1998
Long time fleet member - Cessna 172M ZK-DXF at Gisborne on 18 May 1988

On the 1st of April 2006 Andrew and Bronwyn Reid bought Air Gisborne from long term owners John and Margaret Reid, Andrew's parents. 

On the 23rd of August 2012 Air Gisborne added Piper Pa31-235 Navajo Panther ZK-SRC to its fleet, primarily for air ambulance work. However, on the 7th of April 2013 the NZ Herald reported that the flying medical service, which was expected to save $200,000, was under review after nose-diving into debt and being some $700,000 over budget and having provided 40% fewer flights than expected. Gisborne-based health authorities had launched the aerial operation with fanfare but official word on the service has been muted since. The Gisborne Herald reported that "the service failed to reduce costs because of an increase in demand for pressurised flights — almost half of patients now required them compared to just 10 percent when the service went for tender last year."

Air Gisborne worked throough these difficulties and in May 2015 Air Gisborne added turboprop Beech C90A King Air King Air to its fleet and then in February 2015 the two Piper Senecas, ZK-DCP and ZK-SFC, were sold. This left the Piper Navajo Panther and Beech King Air to do the air ambulance and charter work. 

Arriving home, Piper Seneca ZK-DCP taxis to the hangars on 25 November 2011
A lot of Air Gisborne's work is flying down to Napier for various customers. Piper Seneca ZK-SFC was sitting out the day at Napier on 23 November 2011

Today Air Gisborne continues to offer Gisborne and the surrounding area a solid and dependable air service as it has done for the last forty three years.

 The current Air Gisborne fleet includes

Beech C90A King Air ZK-SKL
Beech King Air ZK-SKL arrives at Gisborne on 10 August 2015 on an air ambulance mission

Cessna 172M ZK-DXF
Lining up for take off, ZK-DXF at Gisborne on 25 November 2011

ZK-JER  Grumman American AA-5A Cheetah
Enjoying the East Coast sun, ZK-JER at Gisborne on 25 November 2011

ZK-MRR Grumman American AA-5A
The other trainer, ZK-MRR at Gisborne 1 December 2009

ZK-SRC Piper Pa31-235 Navajo Panther
Doing some engine run ups before going out on an air ambulance flight, the new Piper Navajo Panther at Gisborne on 15 November 2012

18 April 2013

ZK-LYP and A3-CIA staying in Tonga

Real Tonga is pleased to introduce additional capacity to its current operation. With the signing of a new lease agreement, Real Tonga will be providing additional services for the domestic air market effective from 22nd April 2013. Tevita Palu, Real Tonga’s Chief Executive says that he is delighted to have secured the lease of a Queenair &a BN-2 Islander aircraft as it now provides the airline with the opportunity to commence services to the two Niuas. Furthermore, the addition of these two aircraft provide much needed back up and schedule integrity. The additional aircraft also allows Real Tonga to better match capacity to demand on specific routes, so ‘Eua will now be serviced by the Islander, freeing up more capacity on the larger Y12 to focus on services between Tongatapu and Vava’u as well as Ha’apai. Services to the Niua’s begin with a flight from Tongatapu to Niua Toputapu on Wednesday 24th April, with Niuafo’ou to commence a week later on the first of May. Schedule information and tickets are available on line at the Real Tonga website.

Source : Real Tonga Airlines Press Release, April 17th 2013.

25 Years Ago - April 1988 - Bits and Pieces

Clutton Fred Series 2 ZK-ELJ at Taieri on 1 April 1988

Cavalier SA.102.5 ZK-DJJ at Wanaka on 2 April 1988. I never realised they were a derivative of the GY20 Minicab... There is a nice piece about ZK-DJJ at
I am a bit a Maule-lover... Maule M5-235C Lunar Rocket ZK-EOT was taken at Wanaka on 2 April 1988
The Footrot Flats Flyer - Jodel D11 at Wanaka on 2 April 1988
A couple of high performance machines - Above Beech 35-C33A Debonair ZK-MEC and belowPA-46-310P Malibu N2482Y which eventually became ZK-MBU. Both taken at Wanaka on 2 April 1988.  

The original  ZK-VNM - De Havilland DH112 Venom Mk 1 at Wanaka on 2 April 1988. ZK-VNM/3 was at the Wings over Wairarapa show at Masterton this year - http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2013/02/jets-at-masterton.html
Not what it seems - Cessna 182Q Skylane II ZK-DCJ masquerading as ZK-DFQ for a movie. Photo taken at Christchurch on 4 April 1988

Back in home country - Piper Pa32-300 Cherokee 6 ZK-ECV was first operated in New Zealand by Westland Flying Services - see http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2010/04/hokitikas-westland-flying-services.html. It was back at Hokitika on 12 April 1988. It is now registered ZK-OMT - see http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2013/03/pipers-at-masterton-wings-over-wairarapa.html
The RNZAF's last Bristol Freighter - It's life was primarily lived with Safe Air  as ZK-CLT. It was  photographed at Wigram on 26 April 1978 after being given to the RNZAF Museum.

17 April 2013

Jetstar maybe region-bound yet cancelling at the same time.

A couple of pieces in the news at present...

Jetstar has cancelled hundreds of domestic flights because of sagging demand on main trunk routes over May and June. A Jetstar spokesman said schedule "optimisation" was done from time to time. "It's a low season over that period so we're probably doing more than normal. It's business as usual, it doesn't signify anything." The airline has been flying domestic routes here since 2009 and late last year significantly boosted capacity seats with the addition of a ninth aircraft. The spokesman said the cancellations were concentrated on the Auckland-Wellington route where it has most services and most passengers could be rebooked on alternate flights "within hours." "Optimisation means you take a look at market demand and how many flights you've got and you change your schedule accordingly - all airlines do it."

For the full article see :

And indeed, all airlines DO do it... I wanted to fly into Hokitika next month to be there by 5.30pm. Looking on line I found the mid-afternoon Air New Zealand Link wasn't operating...  A bit more searching and I found a lot of these canned. Where once Hokitika had up to five flights a day now it is now often reduced to three! My recent trip home on the flight out of Hokitika both the inbound and outbound flights were full... One wonders how many wanted to fly but couldn't? Once Eagle seemed keen to promote flights - with the at best marginal-economics of the Beech it is better to have fewer flights but full flights.
Speaking of the regions...
Jetstar says it is looking at expanding its domestic network to regional centres, prompting Air New Zealand to say it will staunchly defend a stronghold of the airline. Jetstar says airports have approached it about extending its network beyond the four main trunk centres and Queenstown that it currently serves... Provincial centres would need to meet tighter security restrictions to handle jets, although Jetstar's parent company, Qantas, used turbo props on its regional routes in Australia, so the group had "experience" of using the planes. "There's an area of untapped potential. We need to look at a savvy way that we could tap into that regional market, bust those monopolies and put our low-fares proposition into play."
For the full article see :
So will we see Origin rise from the ashes?
And will Hokitika see a Jetstar tail in the future?
These and many other questions will be answered in the months ahead!