30 April 2014

June Start for Oamaru Air Service

A Dunedin company is to start a new air service between Oamaru and Christchurch starting on June 4, just after Queen’s Birthday Weekend. Philip Kean, chief executive officer of Mainland Air Services, which is based at Dunedin International Airport, said a nine-seater Piper Chieftain aircraft would be used on the new service. There will be flights on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week leaving Oamaru at 7.30am, returning by 9am. Afternoon flights from Oamaru would leave at 4.30pm and return at 6pm. There would also be a flight on Sunday afternoons leaving at 4.30pm and returning at 6pm. Each flight would take about 40 minutes. The price will be in the vicinity of $200 one way “Air New Zealand used to do it and we’ve looked at it for a couple of years,” Mr Kean said. “We think it will work. Oamaru is a growing area and we’ve been looking at developing our company. We’ve bought a Piper Chieftain for the service. “Air New Zealand had good loadings; they pulled out about four years ago. We’ve seen the figures out of there and we think we can make it pay.” He said the flights would be trialled and it would be a case of “use it or lose it” for the North Otago public. He said the idea was to have the flights connect with others to Wellington and Auckland. The North Otago business community has been advised of the new service and Mr Kean planned to make a presentation to the North Otago branch of the Chamber of Commerce. Simon Berry, spokesman for the North Otago branch of the Otago Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the news. “It’s very exciting and for businesses it’s great; we’ll support it as much as possible.” Mr Berry said local people were presently disadvantaged by having to travel to Dunedin for flights and it was difficult to make appointments. “It takes a whole day to get to Auckland.” He believed the service could be economically sustainable as long as the scheduling was right. “If it gets the connections (flights), it’s a real plus.” Mainland Air Services owns eight aircraft and runs charters and transfers all over New Zealand as well as a flight training school.The company employs six pilots. Former Oamaru man Sven Thelning will be the pilot on the Oamaru-Christchurch service.
Mainland Air's Piper Chieftain, ZK-KVW at Dunedin on 6 August 2001

Tongan Aircraft Accident

Real Tonga airline's Beech Queen Air, A3-CIA crashed at 'Eua in Tonga this morning after a landing gear failure. Thankfully there were no injuries.
A rather sorry looking Beech Queen Air A3-CIA at 'Eua on 30 April 2014. Source : http://www.nzkanivapacific.co.nz/

A3-CIA has a New Zealand history where it operated in New Zealand for Port Hutt Air as ZK-WKA from February 2002 until 2004 (http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2010/06/ex-port-hutt-air-queen-air-for-chathams.html). It's last flight in New Zealand as ZK-WKA was from Paraparaumu to Palmerston North on the 11th of October 2004.

The new Beech Queen Air ZK-WKA about to depart Nelson on the 3rd of November 2003.

For some years WKA lay rather forlornly at Palmerston North Airport but in 2010 it was brought up to flyable standard and was registered as A3-CIA for Chathams Pacific’s Tongan operation.

The once again flyable Beech Queen Air A3-CIA arriving at Auckland on 15 June 2010 en route to Tonga
Chathams Pacific ceased operations on the 2nd of March 2013 but the Queen Air was leased by the new Tongan airline, Real Tonga. Subsequently A3-CIA was sold to Real Tonga and repainted in their colours.

Beech Queen Air A3-CIA arriving into Fua'amotu on 13 January 2014. 

One wonders what the aircraft's fate will be after today's incident!

29 April 2014

CV12 to Wellington

My ride home, Convair 580 ZK-CIF at Chatham already for departure to Wellington on 28 April 2014
The solar power runway lights as we prepared to take off on runway 05 
Departing the Chathams flying along the north coast - Taupeka Point 

Cape Young - the last glimpse of the Chathams
The nicer cabin of ZK-CIF
Coming up on the lower east coast of the North Island

Lake Onoke with Lake Wairarapa behind
Joining right base runway 34 at Wellington
with one notch of flap...
...a second notch
...full flaps!

ZK-CIF on gate at Wellington - where it remained overnight, the return flight didn't go until this morning!

28 April 2014

Air Chathams posts updates

For those who like to keep things up-to-date over the last few days I have updated the following my posts on Air Chathams (which were written in 2010) to bring them up to date with what has happened over the latest fours years and with the updating of some photos...

Air Chathams' Cessna 337 operations

Air Chathams' Cessna 206 and BN Islander operations
Photo Essay - New Zealand's Remotest Air Service - the flight between Chatham and Pitt

Air Chathams' Beech Queen Air and Beech 99 operations

Air Chathams' Metroliner operations

Air Chathams' Convair operations
Photo Essay - CV41 - A flight from Christchurch to the Chatham Islands on Convair ZK-CIB

Air Chathams' South Pacific operations

27 April 2014

Airfield Memorabilia

Starting with current airport first...

A relic of a previous operator, still going strong
The memorial plaque of the airport which replaced...
Then over to Hapupu airfield...

. - the field being the only memorabilia- only a bird flying at the top of the photo
And before the airfield, Waikato Point...

 ...the flying boat base for the flying boat air service that operated from Wellington to the Chathams from 1946 to 1967

It was suggested to me the shed was the air service transport office
And finally Port Hutt... 

not an airport but it did give the name to the only other home grown Chatham Island airline, Port Hutt Air...  http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2010/06/ex-port-hutt-air-queen-air-for-chathams.html 

26 April 2014

New Zealand's remotest air service

The air service between Chatham and Pitt Islands must surely be the most remote air service in New Zealand. On Easter Sunday I had the opportunity to experience this unique air service...

In the early 1980s Craig and Judy Emeny started flying crayfish between Pitt Island's Waipaua airstrip and an airstrip on Chatham Island using Cessna 180K ZK-EYH. From this they decided to establish  their own Chatham Island based operation by purchasing a Cessna 337F, ZK-TAI, from Air Rarotonga in 1984. The aircraft was initially operated under Gisborne-based East Air’s licence with crayfish and passengers being flown from the Chathams to, initially, Gisborne but also to other mainland destinations. 

Craig Emeny's original Cessna 180 ZK-EYH at the strip at Owenga.

From the beginning the Cessna 337s (http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2010/03/cessna-337s-of-air-chathams.html) and later Cessna 206s (http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2010/05/cessna-206s-of-air-chathams.html) have provided a regular air link across the 22 km Pitt Strait. In terms of size Chatham is the much bigger island being having a land area of some 900 km2 while the Pitt Island only has a land area of 62 km2. The air service has become a life line for the 30-40 inhabitants of Pitt Island, flying in mail and freight and flying out crayfish and fish as well as the regular passenger traffic. With the opening of Flowerpot Bay Lodge tourist traffic is growing and the Cessna 206 can make four flights across Pitt Strait from the island to the Chatham's airport.

Before the flight, Pitt-pilot Andrew Hamilton does a thorough pre-flight...

The Pitt Island workhorse, Cessna U206G Stationair ZK-KAI at Chatham on 20 April 2014. And after the freight was loaded, and Andrew and the three passengers were ready the weather at Pitt wasn't co-operating... so instead of a 1.00pm departure it was a 3.00pm departure

What we were waiting for was the word from Boe Lanauze who has briefs the Air Chathams pilot on the Pitt Island weather as well as being the Pitt co-ordinator for flights. Air Chathams runs a couple of different types of service - on a charter basis for the whole plane or on a per seat basis when there are a number of people wanting to fly or there is freight to be carried. Boe and her late husband Ted have been servicing the Air Chathams' service to Pitt since it began.

Finally lining up Runway 05 at Chatham...

Te Whanga Lagoon under the wing...

Te Whanga Lagoon outlet

Owenga fishing village

Coming up on the south coast of Chatham

From left to right - the top of Pitt Island and then behind, Mangere Island, Little Mangere Island and the Castle

The northern coastline of Pitt Island

Another view of the coastline... Flowerpot, the location of the wharf, is the inlet towards the right 

Heading down Pitt Island's east coast

Lake Tupuangi


The airstrip is on the bottom left of this map, so just south west of North Head, the major point on the east coast of Pitt in the map at the start of the post.

On finals for Waipaua airstrip on Pitt

Looking back down the strip while back-tracking


And KAI enjoying the sunshine before heading back to Pitt with its passenger and some freight

I made the return flight on the 23rd of April...

The facilities at Pitt Island's Waipaua airstrip

People gathering to meet the flight

And at the appointed time ZK-KAI roars up the strip...

...with a full load of  mail, freight and a passenger.

and passengers put on their life jacket - a requirement for all single-engine air-transport operations over the sea.

South East Island (Rangatira) is the third largest island in the Chatham Islands and it is where the Black Robin recovery programme was carried out

Second Water Creek reaches the sea

Andrew Hamilton in his office

Approaching Chatham... the lake to the left is Lake Huro... Te One and Waitangi would be to the left of the photo. Te Whanga Lagoon is to the right of Lake Huro


Wonderful views of Te Whanga Lagoon, Hanson Bay and the coastal lakes 

Before turning on finals for Runway 23 at Chatham... the end of the journey for three of us on the flight with one transhipping from New Zealand's remotest air service for the flight to Wellington