11 June 2017

Some People Get it Easy - Flight Corporation

Nelson-based Flight Corporation Ltd was founded by a group of Nelson pilots in 1991 with Alan Pumphrey and Cameron Rodgers being the principal shareholders.

Over the years Flight Corporation has expanded its operations to include scheduled services between Nelson and Wellington. 

In mid-1993 Flightcorp, as it was more commonly known, commenced scheduled services between Nelson and Wellington. Mainstay of the Wellington service was the contract to fly the Dominion newspaper from Wellington to Nelson. The company initially used their Piper Seneca aircraft to operate this service but later in 1993 a Piper PA31-310 Navajo was added to the fleet. The Navajo was registered ZK-DOM to reflect its contract to carry the Dominion Post.

Flight Corporation's Piper PA31 Navajo ZK-DOM at Nelson on 6 January 1994

In 1995 the schedule for the Dominion flights saw the Piper Navajo departing Wellington for Blenheim at 6.00am Monday to Saturday as Flightcorp 03. From there it flew as Flightcorp 04 to arrive in Nelson by 7.10am. In the afternoon from Sunday to Friday the Navajo departed Nelson for Wellington as Flightcorp 05 at 4.00pm arriving in Wellington at 4.35pm.

Flightcorp also operated the Touchdown Air Ambulance for the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter Trust. Again ZK-DOM was used for these flights and the aircraft was branded accordingly. Alongside the Navajo a number of Piper PA34 Senecas were used for air ambulance and air charter work.

Wearing air ambulance titles, Piper Navajo ZK-DOM at Nelson on 4 April 1994
ZK-DOM in it's final scheme with Flight Corporation taken at Nelson on 6 February 1996...
It was sold to Air Napier in February 2000
One of Flight Corporation's Piper Seneca's at Nelson on 5 January 1998

From the mid-1990s additional Wellington flights were offered, especially on Friday and Sunday evenings. To facilitate these two 10-seat Piper PA31 Chieftains were added to the fleet. The additional flights, which in 1997 peaked at 17 flights per week, were not sustainable and by winter 1998 they had reduced to 9 flights a week.

Flight Corporation's two Piper Chieftains... ZK-KVW at Nelson on 5 December 1996...
...and ZK-NCA at Nelson on 25 November 1997

Flight Corporation's timetable as at May 1998... They had a website booking system very early!  

In 1999 CityJet and Origin Pacific Airways entered the Cook Strait market and this led to the demise of Flightcorp's scheduled services. Later that year 1999 Flight Corporation was sold to Simon Palmer and from then on the company focused more on the air ambulance, charter and scenic work. The company later went on to offer flight training.

Flight Corporation's timetable, effective 1 May 1999

Cheap fares as Flight Corporation faced competition from Origin Pacific and CityJet in 1999 

Disaster struck the company on the 30th of November 2004 when Piper Seneca ZK-JAN, while on a charter flight, crashed on the northern edge of the crater lake of  Mount Egmont/Taranaki while enroute from New Plymouth to Nelson. Sadly the pilot and his passenger were both killed. At that time Flight Corporation's fleet also included a Cessna 207 and a Cessna 172, both used for charter and scenic flights and a Piper Tomahawk used for flight training.

In January 2005 Flight Corporation was sold to Tony McCombe who at that time was the Chief Pilot. At this stage the company was operating aircraft on tourism flights into the Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National Parks and the wider Nelson/Marlborough area as well as continuing to operate the local Air Ambulance service for the Nelson/Marlborough District Health Board.

On the 31st of October 2006 the company took delivery of Cessna 402C ZK-VAD with the intention to use it on regular passenger and freight services between Nelson and Wellington. This never eventuated and it was instead used for charter before later being on sold. 

In January 2009 Paul Proctor bought the scenic division of Flight Corporation. Meanwhile Flight Corporation owner Tony McCombe, concentrated on the building up of the charter and air ambulance services. The scenic operation was rebranded as Flight Corp Scenic and on the 11th of April 2009 this was sold to Sounds Air Travel & Tourism Limited. Flight Corporation Ltd was dissolved as a company in December 2011.

Aircraft used included

Cessna 172

Cessna 207 Skywagon 

Cessna U206G Stationair

Cessna 402C                                 

Piper PA-18A-150 Super Cub 
Piper PA23-250 Aztec                   

Piper PA34-200T Seneca II             

Piper PA31-310 Navajo                 

Piper PA31-350 Chieftain              

Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk 

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