26 August 2013

Air NZ Boeing 787-9 rolls out!

Yesterday, the first 787-9 Dreamliner rolled out of the factory and was towed to the flight line, where Boeing will prepare the aircraft for its first flight later this summer. After the test flights are completed, the first 787-9 is expected to be delivered to Air New Zealand by mid-2014.

For photos see : http://www.airlinereporter.com/2013/08/photo-boeing-completes-the-first-boeing-787-9-dreamliner/

Auckland to Paraparaumu

I had to pick up someone from the Tonga flight on Friday before we flew south to Paraparaumu so it was an opportunity to so some plane spotting...

China Southern's Airbus 330 B-6528. Taken at Auckland on 23 August 2013
 Fiji Airways' squat Boeing 737-700 DQ-FJF. Taken at Auckland on 23 August 2013
How long will we see them for??? Air New Zealand Boeing 767-300 ZK-NCG and Boeing 737-300 ZK-NGI.  Taken at Auckland on 23 August 2013
Over at the terminal Eagle Air Beech 1900 ZK-EAN and Mount Cook Airline ATR 72-600 taxi to the gate.  Taken at Auckland on 23 August 2013
While Air New Zealand Airbus 320 ZK-OJQ taxis to the holding point for departure.  Taken at Auckland on 23 August 2013
Down at Paraparaumu I only took a couple of Pipers... Air2there's Piper Pa31 Chieftain ZK-MYS and locally based Piper Pa23 Aztec ZK-TCL.  Taken at Paraparaumu on 24 August 2013

25 August 2013

25 years of Mount Cook Airlines Flights to Alexandra

Mount Cook Airlines started scheduled air services from Christchurch to Mount Cook and Cromwell on the 1st of November 1961 with Douglas DC-3 ZK-BKD flying the first service. At this stage Queenstown was not certified for DC-3 operations and passengers were bussed from Cromwell to Queenstown. On the 1st of November 1963 the service to Cromwell was extended to Dunedin on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and from the 3rd of November 1963 to Invercargill three days a week. The first scheduled flight into Queenstown was operated by DC-3 ZK-BKD on the 4th of February 1964. From this point the Queenstown to Dunedin service stopped at Cromwell only on demand.

With the closure of SPANZ on the 28th of February 1966 Mount Cook Airlines added Alexandra as a stop on Queenstown to Dunedin service. The first flight was flown on the 2nd of March 1966. With the addition of Alexandra the service was increased to four times a week with the service operated on Mondays, Wednesdays Fridays and Sundays. Mount Cook Airlines’ new service enabled Alexandra passengers to connect to and from NAC at Dunedin or passengers could fly all the way to or from Christchurch on Mount Cook Airlines via Queenstown and Mount Cook.

Mount Cook Airline Timetable effective 1 April 1966-20 December 1966

Mount Cook Airlines' Douglas DC-3 ZK-BKD at Alexandra

First Day Covers for the first Mount Cook Airlines' flights between Dunedin and Alexandra

In the late 1960s Mount Cook Airlines introduced turbo prop Hawker Siddeley 748s and a de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter to its fleet. The 18-seatTwin Otter, ZK-CJZ (c/n 259), was used for scenic flights between Queenstown and Milford Sound as well as on the scheduled Queenstown to Te Anau and Queenstown-Alexandra-Dunedin routes. It entered service on the 2 December 1969. With the introduction of the Twin Otter the flight frequency for the summer season moved to daily flights with four flights a week offered over the winter months.

The Twin Otter, ZK-CJZ at Alexandra. The starboard engine is shut down for the unloading and loading of passengers and luggage during the quick turn around at Alexandra


First Day Covers for the first flight of Mount Cook Airlines' de Havilland Canada Twin Otter between Dunedin and Alexandra

The Twin Otter, New Zealand’s first commuter turboprop, didn’t prove to be economical and it was cancelled from the New Zealand register on the 24th of September 1973. Replacing the Twin Otter on the Queenstown-Alexandra-Dunedin flights were 9-seat Britten Norman Islanders. With the introduction of the smaller Islanders, which were a lot cheaper to operate, the decision was made to operate an all-year-around daily service with the frequency increased to two flights a day over the peak summer period throughout the 1970s. In the early 1980s the Saturday service was dropped leaving six days a week.

The 1972-1973 summer schedule with two daily Islander flights through Alexandra

BN Islander ZK-DBW, at Dunedin on 10 November 1970. Photo : B Kerr
A couple of photos of Britten Norman Islanders at Alexandra, ZK-DBV (above) and ZK-DBW (below). Photos : I Coates Collection

With Ansett New Zealand’s introduction of BAe 146s to the New Zealand domestic scene aviation in New Zealand changed dramatically. Demand for the Queenstown-Alexandra-Dunedin service fell as people drove to either Dunedin or Queenstown to get cheap fares rather than pay the more expensive fares offered on flights through Alexandra. Another nail in the coffin for the service was the completion of the Clyde Dam. Jules Tapper, who was Mount Cook Group's  General Aviation Manager at Queenstown and Regional Manager said on a Facebook post, Following the completion of the Clyde dam project in the early 1990's and the drop off in traffic on the Queenstown-Alexandra-Dunedin sectors, revenue was so little I canned the service as without support from Air New Zealand it was never going to be a viable proposition. We had up until then been running two flights a day over the sectors. 

The Queenstown-Alexandra-Dunedin service ended on the 1st of July 1991.

Mount Cook Airline timetable - October 1990 

BN Islander ZK-MCB at Dunedin in 1980. Photographer unknown.

The following year Mount Cook Airlines returned to Alexandra with winter evening Hawker Siddeley 748 flights from Christchurch to Alexandra after the installation of runway lights. This enabled a same-day Australia-Queenstown trip for skiers who, upon arrival at Christchurch could fly to Alexandra and then be bussed through the gorge to Queenstown. The 748s had not been total strangers to Alexandra. They often had to let down on the Alexandra NDB and fly visually through the Kawerau Gorge to Queenstown or, if the weather was such that they could not do that, they would divert to Alexandra.

During the 25 years Mount Cook Airlines operated through Alexandra four operators had tried, largely unsuccessfully, to operate scheduled services through the town. Sadly Mount Cook Airlines’ air service was to join their being unsuccessful.

I am wondering if anyone would happen to have any photos of the BN Islanders or HS748s at Alexandra that I could include in this post... Steve - westland831@gmail.com

22 August 2013

Ardmore on Tuesday

Preparing for flight - Oceania Helicopter's MBB BO 105 CBS-5 ZK-HAX at Ardmore on 20 August 2013

Cessna 182 ZK-SGH at Ardmore on 20 August 2013

Cirrus Design SR22 ZK-STU rolling at Ardmore on 20 August 2013

A new one for me... Cessna 182 ZK-XLT at Ardmore on 20 August 2013

20 August 2013

Floating On..........

Floating on from the previous post, Tony Harsant was out and about late this morning, 20 August, and caught up with Beaver ZK-AMA "Aotearoa II" at the Westhaven Marina.  Perhaps a first flight over NZ waters is imminent, or already taken place?

Auckland Seaplanes - Something for the coming summer?!

Auckland Seaplanes' website has developed a little more with nice photos of their Beaver ZK-AMA being unpacked


I for one am looking forward to seeing this operation taking off and already I've got a team of people who want to go for a fly!

19 August 2013

3 Helicopters and an Airliner

I managed to squeeze in a couple of hours at North Shore on Sunday...

Eurocopter EC 130 B4 ZK-IFC was on departure towards the city...

A couple Robinson R44 Ravens... ZK-HOX and ZK-IDL
And the airliner, Great Barrier Airlines' Piper Navajo ZK-NSN taxis in after arrival from Great Barrier Island

18 August 2013

XLF's Departure Explained

On Wednesday of last week (the 14th) I caught Kiwi Air's Reims/Cessna 406 ZK-XLF on a brief visit to Auckland. There was some speculation that it was leaving the country and given that it headed to Lord Howe Island this seemed feasible. However an article on www.stuff.co.nz today reveals its on a search and hopefully rescue mission...
A privately funded New Zealand search plane will this afternoon fly to an area in the Tasman Sea where dozens of people have reported seeing what they believe is a life-raft possibly from the missing American yacht Nina. The 85-year-old Nina left Opua, in the Bay of Islands, on May 29 bound for Newcastle, Australia, with seven people aboard.  It was last heard from on June 4, when conditions in the Tasman were very rough, but searching only began on June 25.  The official search was called off on July 4 with no trace of the Nina or its crew found.  But families in the United States have continued to fund private searches and, for the first time in this part of the world, used a crowd sourcing tool to explore hundreds of satellite pictures. The Tomnod system gets people to identify unusual objects they see in high-resolution satellite photos. Most of the 56,000 photos show nothing more than waves, a grey sea and cloud - but one picture spotted by an undisclosed number of people, has a bright orange object in it. Nina carried a bright orange life-raft. The object is between Norfolk Island and New South Wales. A Facebook page set up by crew families says they have raised enough money to hire a twin-engine Cessna F406 owned by Gisborne based Kiwi Air Ltd.
To see the Facebook page go to : https://www.facebook.com/ninarescue

25 years ago - August 1988

Photos of the month were undoubtedly Canterbury Planes' Grumman Goose ZK-ENY. This short lived operation operated scenic flights over Banks Peninsula and to Akaroa. ZK-ENY was taken at Christchurch on 12 August 1988.

On the 7 August 1988 Jodel D11 ZK-EEH and the Canterbury Aero Club's Piper Pa28 Warrior ZK-EIM were photographed at Timaru.

On 12 August 1988 Hughes 500C ZK-HLN wasn't going here anywhere fast while the following day, 13 August 1988, Hughes 300 ZK-HQY was making a flying visit to Greymouth

Piper Pa28-140 Cherokee ZK-CUY and Hughes 500D ZK-HSD were are at Timaru on 16 August 1988...

...as was Fokker F27-500 Friendship ZK-NFE and Piper Pa32 Saratoga ZK-TIM

The following day, 17 August 1988, Fokker Friendship ZK-NFB (above) was doing the midday flight from Wellington to Timaru while on 19 August 1988 it was ZK-NFH (below)

On 27 August 1988 Beech Sundowner ZK-ECD and Bell Jetranger ZK-HVH were parked at Drake Aviation at Christhurch.

On 28 August 1988 Boeing 737-100 ZK-NEB (above) and Boeing 737-200 ZK-NEE (below) were operating Ansett NZ services from Christchurch

...while back in Timaru Fokker F27-500 Friendship ZK-NFJ was operating the service from Wellington on 30 August 1988