31 January 2017

Auckland Internationals

Some more from my visit to Auckland on 28 January 2017...

Air Asia X Airbus 330 9M-XBB

Emirates Airbus 380 A6-EDB

China Eastern's Boeing 777-300 B-2003

China Southern's Boeing 777-300 B-2048

China Airlines' Airbus 330 B-18359

United's Boeing 777-200 N784UA

American's Boeing 787-8 N800AN

Qantas' Airbus 330 VH-EBM

30 January 2017

Newer Deliveries and Repaints

It has been quite a while since I have had time at Auckland International... I was pleased to get a couple of the newer delivered aircraft and a coule of repaints...

Boeing 787-9 ZK-NZI at Auckland on 28 January 2017

Repainted Boeing 777-300 ZK-OKM was arriving into Auckland on 28 January 2017.... 

...as was Boeing 777-300 ZK-OKN.

Another recent delivery I didn't have was Airbus 320 ZK-OXL at Auckland on 28 January 2017
Note to Air New Zealand... please paint the rego in white paint!

29 January 2017

On Whakatane Duties

Flying the morning flight from Auckland to Whakatane yesterday (28 January 2017) was Air Chathams' classic Douglas DC-3 ZK-AWP... Looks as if the weekly flight is getting popular... a leisurely flight to Whakatane on a Saturday morning, a stay overnight and return on Sunday afternoon.

For a photo essay on the DC-3 service to Whakatane see

Flying the afternoon service to Whakatane was Metroliner ZK-CID... For those that don't want to over night in Whakatane it is possible to fly down on the DC-3 and back on the Metroliner on the Saturday or vice versa on a Sunday


27 January 2017

A North Island Road Trip 25 years ago #24

Back in the South Island - Float Air's DHC Beaver ZK-CMU and Cessna 206 ZK-DXD at Picton on 4 Febraury 1992. Float Air's Flying Dolphin service ran from Picton to Porirua Harbour 

26 January 2017

A North Island Road Trip 25 years ago #23

And the last Bandeirante on the trip... ZK-FHX at Tauranga on 2 February 1992

25 January 2017

Over the last week...

On 18 January 2017 while awaiting friends off an Air NZ flight Air Wanganui Commuter's Beech Super King Air ZK-MDC was departing Hamilton
And the arriving flight, was operated by Air New Zealand's ATR 72-600 ZK-MVN

Over at Tauranga on 25 January 2017 today was Hele-Hire's MD530 ZK-HQE
Progressive Aerodyne Searey N415SR at Tauranga on 25 January 2017
Tecnam P96 Golf ZK-TEK landing at Tauranga on 25 January 2015

A North Island Road Trip 25 years ago #22

Yet another Bandeirante... Eagle Air's ZK-MAS at Auckland on 30 January 1992... I did like this colour scheme on the Bandit.

24 January 2017

Tourist Flyer's Reunion

Southern Scenic Air Services/Ritchie Air Services/West Coast Airways/Tourist Air Travel/Mt Cook Airline

Former staff (up to about 1975) and families are welcome to gather at Queenstown on the weekend of 7-10 April 2017

¨ 70th anniversary since Southern Scenic (SSAS) was founded – Queenstown’s first airline (1947)
¨ 60th anniversary since SSAS inaugurated first Queenstown to Invercargill scheduled air service (1957 with DH89s)
¨ 60th anniversary since SSAS formed West Coast Airways as the last South Westland airline and 50th anniversary since the close of the airline (1967)
¨ 50th anniversary since SSAS/RAS/WCA/TAT finished up as airline names on aircraft (Mt Cook takeover from January 1968)

Friday 7th April 2017

7.30pm – 10pm: Gather at the Air Milford hangar (3 Tex Smith Lane, Queenstown Airport) for a social event hosted by Air Milford’s Hank Sproull and aviation historian Rev Dr Richard  Waugh. Memorabilia, photographs, and book sales. Dominie ZK-AKY and veteran Cessnas ZK-BDE, ZK-BJY, ZK-BMS and ZK-CHK on display. Story telling time (bring any photos and other memorabilia items).  $20 each to cover food and drinks –payable at entry.

Saturday 8th April 2017

1pm to 4pm: Luncheon and social time at Gibbston Valley Winery (1820 State Highway 6, Gibbston 9371 – 20 minutes’ drive from Queenstown). More time to catch-up with friends from the past. Open microphone time from 2.30pm. Each person will pay for their own lunch and drinks.

Sunday 9th April 2017
9am-10.30am: Palm Sunday service at Frankton Presbyterian Church (cnr Ross & McBride Streets). All welcome. Led by Aviation Chaplain Rev.Dr Richard Waugh. Will include presentation about Queenstown aviation pioneers and tribute to those who died in early operations (inc Geoffrey Houston, Eion Buckham, Alan Nicholas). Followed by refreshments, and memorial fly-past of veteran Dominie and Cessnas (weather permitting).

We have now confirmed the following veteran aircraft to gather with the folks;

-          Dominie ZK-AKY  (sponsored by QAC)
-          Cessna ZK-BDE  (recently restored – and an early SSAS aircraft)
-          Cessna ZK-BJY (ex SSAS/West Coast Airways etc and maybe the first on floats)
-          Cessna ZK-BMS (early Mount Cook skiplane)

The Cessnas are courtesy of the generosity of their owners

Please confirm your attendance by phoning the Air Milford office: (64) 03 4422351 or emailing:        info@airmilford.co.nz

Pass this information on to others; all former staff and families are very welcome.
Further information: 
Hank Sproull (details above) or Richard Waugh (022 5339400 or rjw@ecw.org.nz)

A North Island Road Trip 25 years ago #21

Also flying BN Islanders into Auckland 25 years ago was Air Coromandel which operated a schedule service between Whitianga and Auckland calling into other airfields on the Peninsula as required. ZK-FWH at Auckland on 30 January 1992

Te Anau Service Gets Airborne

A new scheduled return flight from Queenstown to Te Anau could enhance Te Anau's growing tourism. Air Milford, a scenic-flight operator based at Queenstown Airport, landed its first commercial flight in Te Anau on Saturday. Operations manager and pilot Antony Sproull said tourism in Te Anau was booming and had never been stronger, so the scheduled flight would benefit the area. Te Anau is what Queenstown was a few years ago and the airport there made the area accessible for tourists, Sproull said. The Te Anau Airport had been largely unused for several years with scenic flights, helicopter flights and flights to the Chatham Islands being the main services, he said. The new service would utilise the airport. Destination Fiordland tourism manager Philippa Murrell said numbers of visitors to Te Anau had increased during recent years. "New Zealand is a safe place to travel," she said. According to the latest regional tourism estimates from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise (MBIE), the total annual tourism spend in Fiordland increased from $27 million to $213 million in 2016, compared with 2015. "Reasons to visit are key to maintaining growth in a destination, so it is so exciting to have new products in Te Anau and Manapouri providing more variety for visitors and the new flight service provides another option for people to access our beautiful region," she said. The flight carried two paying passengers - Eleanor Pearson and her 8-year-old grandson Kayden Pei. It was Kayden's first time on a plane. The pair woke about 7am to be able make the 25-minute flight that showcased views of Mt Nicholas, Mavora Lakes, Von Valley and Lord of the Rings scenery, Sproull said. If the service was a success, a permanent service would be run through the summer time as fog and weather conditions in winter would be a hinderance, he said. Air Milford had been planning to introduce the service for two years. In February 2016, the company bought its third Cessna turboprop aircraft, making the company more flexible and better able to run the service.

From the photo (see link above) the first service was flown by Air Milford's operations manager and pilot Antony Sproull in either Cessna Grand Caravan ZK-SKA or ZK-SKM. 

For the service to succeed I think it needs to be better advertised... I can find no reference to it on the Air Milford website... The fares are reasonable. I would have thought a good option would be to do an early morning TEU-ZQN and late return... With reasonable fares why drive to ZQN to catch flights to AKL, WLG or Australia and pay the ZQN parking fees. A once a week flight will also be difficult to market!

Source : Te Anau Airport website.

23 January 2017

A North Island Road Trip 25 years ago #20

Back to Great Barrier Airlines' orange scheme again... BN Islander ZK-FVD at Auckland on 30 January 1992.
ZK-FVD continues to fly the Barrier with Barrier Air...
see : http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2015/08/barrier-air-new-name-to-barrier-and.html

22 January 2017

Post Metros Retired

It seems Fairchild Metro 23 ZK-POE flew what was most likely its last flight for NZ Post (Express Couriers) on Thursday the 19th of January as POST91/92 from Auckland to Palmerston North and return.  

Fairchild Metro 23 ZK-POE at Auckland on 7 October 2014

Fairchild Metro 23 ZK-POE at Auckland on 5 February 1995

Fairchild Metro 23 ZK-POF did its last flight two nights earlier on Tuesday on the 17th of January 2017. 

Fairchild Metro 23 ZK-POF at Auckland on 2 October 2014

Fairchild Metro 23 ZK-POF in full Post colours at Auckland on 27 November 1996

The two Metro 23s will be kept operational until the end of January however crew training has ceased and the crews are being re-assigned. Three of the four remaining pilots are about to start their Being 737 trainin g and the fourth is about to move on to something else. 

The aircraft are for sale so their final destiny remains unknown. They will join the two Fokker Friendships  in storage after this month as they all await disposal.

It seems that Fairchild Metroliner III ZK-POB was sold to Air Chathams in December.

In September 1990 it was announced that New Zealand Post Ltd was forming a joint venture with Airwork (1984) Ltd to use two Metroliners to service main trunk route requirements for its express mail service, Fastpost. It was foreseen that the operation will fly two Metroliner III Auckland, Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch five days a week. Palmerston North was announced as the hub of the operation to avoid problems with the airport curfew at Wellington.  The joint venture which was known as Air Post began Metroliner operations on the 15th of January 1991 with Metroliners, ZK-NSS, ZK-POA, and ZK-POB. The two new Fairchild Metro 23s, ZK-POE and ZK-POF were added to the fleet in October 1994.

A North Island Road Trip 25 years ago #19

Now just a memory - Air Freight (NZ)'s first Convair at Auckland on 30 January 1992.
I have updated my post on Air Freight (NZ) at it can be read at

21 January 2017

A North Island Road Trip 25 years ago #18

Another Bandit... Eagle Air's first, Embraer Bandeirante ZK-ERU at Whangarei on 29 January 1992

20 January 2017

A North Island Road Trip 25 years ago #17

Remember when Great Barrier Airlines had an orange color scheme... Piper Aztec ZK-FMU at Auckland on 27 January 1992.

For my full history of Great Barrier Airlines see : http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2015/05/the-barrier-connection-great-barrier.html

FMU also saw service with Air Freight (NZ)  -

19 January 2017

A North Island Road Trip 25 years ago #16

Newly arrived Fairchild Metroliner ZK-POB at Ardmore on 25 January 1992.
It's main use for the next 25 years was with Airwork on NZ Post flights... One wonders what its future will be!

18 January 2017

Calling Air Rotorua pilots...

After posting the photo of Air Rotorua's Seneca ZK-FNB earlier this month I have been doing a little research and have started preparing a post on the operation.

I have received a little more information to help the post...

I am wondering if there are any ex Air Rotorua pilots that can give me a few comments/info on their time with Rotorua... especially those who flew the service in the late 1980s or early 1990s

Things I am particularly looking for are....

  • I can't find the start date of the Rotorua-Gisborne NZ Herald... 
  • If you were flying Seneca ZK-FNB from Rotorua to Gisborne could you give me a range of dates you were flying so I can find an earliest date...
  • When you were flying the service who was operating it and who owned the business/aircraft.
  • Did Leslie Aviation/Lakeside Aviation buy the Seneca and or commercial wing of the Aero Club or did Lakeside just manage it?
  • There was for a time an additional Friday evening ROT-GIS-ROT service... did that last long? 
  • Anything other info or stories
Many thanks

I am happy to email what I have put together already....



A North Island Road Trip 25 years ago #15

Flightline's Cessna 172 ZK-ELF at Ardmore on 14 January 1992... In July 1992 Flightline took over the operation of Waiheke Air Services... see : http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2011/08/wings-of-gulf-waiheke-air-services.html

Capital Air - A Capital Way to Takaka

Capital Air had its origins in a company called Zephair Limited which was founded by Richard Molloy and Lisa Sheppard in November 2005. Flights began between Wellington and Takaka beginning on the 12th of January 2006 under the name of Capital Air. The first flight was flown by Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga, ZK-ZIG (c/n 32R 8013045) by the Wellington Aero Club's Chief Instructor Dan Howe. The first flight arrived in Takaka at 5.20 pm in deteriorating weather conditions whereupon the pilot immediately announced he wasn't returning much to the shock of the waiting three passengers. Passengers were shuttled back and forth to flights from Nelson for the next couple of days while waiting for the weather to clear! Initially over the January holiday period four flights a week were operated and after, flights operated twice a week, on Fridays and Sundays, with additional flights over long weekends. 

A change to the company name was made in September 2006 when Zephair Ltd was renamed Capital Air Bookings Ltd.

The company mainly used the Piper Saratoga but Beech 58 Baron ZK-WLV (c/n TH 698) was also used. The aircraft were based in Wellington and crewed by instructors from the Wellington Aero Club.  In 2006 these flights ran until Queens Birthday weekend and then ceased over the winter months restarting in late September. In following years the flights ran from late September until late April with the frequency of flights increasing, especially during peak summer periods. During the peak season up to six flights were scheduled per week with additional flights operated on demand.

Piper PA32 Saratoga ZK-ZIG at Takaka on 30 November 2007

Also used occasionally on the service was Beech 58 Baron ZK-WLV which was photographed at Hokitika on 7 June 1996

Capital Air, 1 September 2007

As well as the flights to Takaka, Capital Air also operated charter and scenic flights from Wellington.

Piper Saratoga ZK-ZIG with Capital Air titles at the Wellington Aero Club on 16 April 2009. 

In May 2009 Capital’s Air base was moved from Wellington to Takaka and the company was renamed Golden Bay Air Ltd to reflect its increasing commitment to the Bay.