26 February 2020

Interline Air Mail

In the early days of air services in New Zealand first day covers or special covers were issued to mark the occasion.

One of these was issued when East Coast Airways' Gisborne-Napier service was extended further south to Palmerston North. This meant it was possible to send an airmail letter from Gisborne to Okuru at an 'All up' rate flying on all four airlines.

A special 4-colour cover was issued and all were addressed to Captain F.W. Crawford. All bore the badge of each airline and the covers were signed by each of the pilots;

East Coast Airways 
T W White
Gisborne to Palmerston North

Group Captain Tiny White
Source : https://horowhenua.kete.net.nz/item/32fd63f1-e884-4701-9d0e-2fe2d81e1e9d
Horowhenua Historical Society Inc

Mr T. W. White, East Coast Airways' chief pilot, was one of the many New Zealanders who served in the Royal Air Force during the war He was a prisoner of the Turks for a long while. He is sometimes confused with another T. W. White, who wrote a book describing how he escaped from a Turkish prison camp. The latter, however, was an Australian, and is now Minister for Customs in Australia. The New Zealand Mr White was instructor to the Hawke's Bay Aero Club when it was formed, and for some time afterwards. Then he was appointed chief pilot to New Zealand Airways, Ltd., and with his base at Dunedin he did a good deal of pioneer flying in Central Otago. The company's headquarters were then shifted to Timaru where he lived for some time. He went to Australia to fly a machine which Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith had built—the Codock—over the Tasman, but when it was decided not to make the flight he flew the machine for some months on a service between Sydney and Newcastle. From this job he came back to New Zealand to join the staff of East Coast Airways. During the Second World War he returned to the RNZAF as a Group Captain and later became an Air Commodore. He died in 1979.

Source :  The Press 5 September 1935. 

Union Airways 
G Harvey and G R White, 
Palmerston North to Wellington

George Harvey
George Harvey flew bombers for the RNZAF during World War II . After the war he joined NAC becoming a captain on the Viscounts NAC's chief pilot.

Gordon White, third from the right
Gordon "Doggie" White also service with the RNZAF during World War II . After the war he joined NAC.

Cook Strait Airways 
S L Gilkinson
Wellington to Hokitika

Stuart Gilkison on the left
 Whites Aviation Limited. 1937. De Havilland DH-86 Express Airliner, 15-0727. Walsh Memorial Library, The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).

During the Second World War Stuart Gilkison became a Wing Commander and was officer in charge of the RNZAF in Fiji. He was later a Hastings Borough Councillor. He died in 1970.

Air Travel (NZ)   
J C Mercer and J D Hewett
Hokitika to Okuru

Mail stowed in Air Travel N Z Ltd aeroplane with Captain J D Hewitt and Captain Mercer. Whites Aviation Ltd :Photographs. Ref: WA-09375-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22609389

Before taking up flying James Cuthbert (Bert) Mercer ran garages in Amberley and Waikari in North Canterbury. After the Canterbury (NZ) Aviation Company was formed in 1916 to train pilots for the war in Europe, he moved his family to Sockburn, on the outskirts of Christchurch, and joined as a mechanic. He received flying training and, although he was too old to be sent overseas, was kept at Sockburn as an instructor.

Following the war the company was reduced to displays and joyriding to stay in business and Mercer joined Rodolph Wigley's Timaru-based New Zealand Aero Transport Company. Regular operations were planned and Mercer undertook a number of development flights. On 25 October 1921 he set a one-day distance record, from Invercargill to Auckland, in a de Havilland DH9. When the company joined the general collapse of New Zealand's fledgeling civil aviation industry in 1923–24, Mercer went back into the motor trade in Christchurch. He had his own garage in Hereford Street and was later head of engineering at another garage.

When the Canterbury Aero Club started in 1928 he was its first pilot instructor. Introduced to the West Coast by two of his pupils, he recognised the region's potential for an airline. In November 1934 Mercer resigned from the Canterbury Aero Club to form his own airline, based in Hokitika, Air Travel (New Zealand) which was the first airline in New Zealand to start scheduled services when Mercer flew its Fox Moth south from Hokitika on 18 December 1934.

Services extended from Nelson in the North to Jacksons Bay in the south. He died from his injuries  after a company DH Dragon was caught in turbulence and crashed on the side of Mt Hope near Kawatiri on the 30th of June 1944. 

In the First World War James (Jim) Duff Hewett was a Captain in the Royal Flying Corps (and later RAF) and was decorated for gallantry. He reamined with the RAF after the war and later came home to New Zealand and joined the New Zealand Permanet Air Force reaching the rank of Squadron Leader. For a time he was with the Goodwin Chichester Aviation Company of Wellington and in September 1929 he set up Falcon Airways Ltd, using a DH60G Moth ZK-AAR. He flew mostly from a hilly ridge at Orakei Heights. He joined Air Travel (NZ) in 1936. During the War he returned to the RNZAF in 1940 and was made a Wing Commander.

Source : https://timespanner.blogspot.com and Hoki to Haast by Richard Waugh

20 February 2020

Another 185

Appearing as registered to Air Milford is Cessna 185 ZK-MCV which is on Air Milford's Ops Spec on lease from Delany Aviation. It has been have temporarily added to their fleet while Cessna 185 ZK-ENW is on extended maintenance.  

18 February 2020

A gray evening in Auckland

I was much later than I anticipated getting to Auckland International last night (17 February 2020)... managed to get one of the trans-Tasman freighters

Tasman Cargo Airlines' Boeing 767-300 VH-EZX on the taxi for a departure for Sydney

Air New Zealand's ATR 72-600 ZK-MZD 

Air New Zealand's Airbus 321 ZK-NNB

17 February 2020

Up and Down the Coast #3

Part 3 of Matthew's West Coast travels heading back north up through the Haast Pass to Greymouth...

Southern Alps Air's Gippsland Airvan ZK-WMF at Wanaka on 9 February 2020

Alpine Helicopters' Hughes 500E ZK-HNW at Wanaka on 9 February 2020

Wanaka Helicopters' Robinson R44 ZK-IST at Wanaka on 9 February 2020

Southern Alps Air's Cessna 206 ZK-JMS at Makarora on 9 February 2020
Heliservices NZ's Hughes 500D ZK-HVT at Haast on 9 February 2020

Sky Dive Franz's Pilatus Porter ZK-MCK at Franz Josef on 9 February 2020

Glacier Country Helicopters' McDonnell Douglas 500N ZK-IXX at Franz Josef on 9 February 2020

Glacier Country Helicopters' Aerospatiale Squirrel ZK-HFH at Franz Josef on 9 February 2020

16 February 2020

Up and Down the Coast #2

Part 2 of Matthew's West Coast travels heading south  down the Coast through the Haast Pass to Wanaka...

Heliservices NZ's Aerospatiale Squirrel ZK-HGE at Franz Josef on 8 February 2020

Heliservices NZ's Aerospatiale Squirrel ZK-HBI at Franz Josef on 8 February 2020

Heliservices NZ's Aerospatiale Squirrel ZK-HHM at Franz Josef on 8 February 2020

Mountain Helicopter's Aerospatiale Squirrel ZK-HYO at Fox Glacier on 8 February 2020

 Heliservices NZ's Aerospatiale Squirrel ZK-HIY at Fox Glacier on 8 February 2020

Glacier Helicopter's Aerospatiale Squirrel ZK-HFK at Fox Glacier on 8 February 2020

Wanaka Helicopter's Aerospatiale Squirrel ZK-ICR at Wanaka on 8 February 2020

Vantage Helicopter's Aerospatiale Squirrel ZK-IQG at Wanaka on 8 February 2020
Landpro Cessna 337 ZK-SVY t Wanaka on 8 February 2020

15 February 2020

Up and Down the Coast #1

Thanks to Matthew Beaven who has been on the Coast a few times lately...
He has caught some great photos, particularly of the rotary activity.

Heliservices NZ's Hughes 500D ZK-IDD at Hokitika on 1 October 2019

Helicopters Otago's Kawasaki BK117 ZK-IME at Greymouth  on 1 October 2019

GCH Aviation's Kawasaki BK117 ZK-HJC at Greymouth  on 11 January 2020

Precision Helicopters' Hughes 500E ZK-HDE at Kowhitirangi on  6 February 2020

Ahaura Helicopter's Robinson R44 ZK-HFU at Ahaura on 7 February 2020

14 February 2020

Wellington Return

Originair resumed flights between Nelson and Wellington today when BAe Jetstream 31 ZK-JSH operated flight OG5216 from Nelson to Wellington and the return flight OG5217.

Originair is offering five flights per week between the Nelson and Wellington, a single flight operating on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays and two flights on Wednesdays.

The airline had previously operated Nelson-Wellington services in 2015.  The first such service was operated on Sunday the 13th of September 2015 with BAe Jetstream 31 ZK-JSH operating OG203 into Wellington and the return flight OGN204. Originally twice daily weekday return flights were planned with a single return service on Saturdays and Sundays, however, the revised schedule saw twice daily return flights on Mondays and Fridays with a single return flight on Wednesdays and Sundays. A return Saturday flight began in November 2015. On the 30th of March 2016 Originair ceased flying and the Wellington flights have not been operated again until today. 

12 February 2020

Gisborne 3rd Level

Sunair's Piper Aztec ZK-DGS at Gisborne on 11 February 2020. Sunair offer flights connecting Gisborne to Hamilton and Tauranga

Air Napier's Piper Navajo ZK-NPR at Gisborne on 11 February 2020. Air Napier offer flights connecting Gisborne to Napier

11 February 2020

Auckland's Domestic Airlines and one International

I had a transit through Auckland yesterday and discovered the regional Koru lounge...
A great place for plane spotting 
All the photos were taken at Auckland on 10 February 2020

Fly My Sky BN Islander ZK-EVO was finished for the day

Air Chathams' Saab 340 ZK-KRA was operating flight 3C708 to Whanganui

Air New Zealand ATR72-600 ZK-MVZ arriving with flight NZ5802 from Nelson

The international, Boeing 787-9 ZK-NZH was operating NZ6708 from Taipei

Fairchild Metro 23 ZK-POF was off to Whakatāne with flight 3C 828

Parked up for the day was Barrier Air's Cessna Grand Caravan ZK-SDB...

...while sister ship ZK-SDC was operating GB619 to Kaitaia

Jetstar's Airbus 320 VH-VGJ was operating JQ299 to Queenstown

09 February 2020

Farewell to Air New Zealand's 500 Series ATRs

Today marks the final day of service of Air New Zealand’s Aerospatiale-Alenia ATR 72-212A, or more simply the 500 series ATR72s. The ATRs were, until December last year, operated by Mount Cook Airlines. In total there were eleven 500s in the fleet flying Air New Zealand services.

The 500 series, replaced the 200 servies with the first, ZK-MCA, arriving in October 1999. Six more followed arriving between November 1999 and February 2000. ZK-MCW was added to the fleet in September 2000, ZK-MCX in July 2002, ZK-MCY in February 2003 and ZK-MCC in November 2004. 

The 500 series ATRs are being replaced by the 600 series.

Five have already left the fleet. Four have gone to Novoair in Bangladesh. In August 2017 ZK-MCA left to become S2-AHQ; In January 2018 ZK-MCW left to become S2-AJK; In May 2018 ZK-MCF left to become S2-AJL; In November 2019 ZK-MCX left to become S2-AJM. One still graces New Zealand skies; ZK-MCO left the fleet and went to Air Chathams in February 2019.

In the last week of services only one aircraft was rostered to fly each day. 

The last flights flown for each aircraft still in the fleet were as follows;

ZK-MCB on 22 January as NZ5708, Invercargill-Christchurch 
ZK-MCC on 26 October 2019 as NZ5750 from Dunedin-Christchurch
ZK-MCJ on 4 February as NZ5781, Rotorua-Christchurch
ZK-MCU on 4 February as NZ5367, Wellington-Christchurch
ZK-MCP on 7 February as NZ5623, Hamilton-Christchurch

Today, the 9th of February 2020, the last day of the ATR 72-500s in service, the following final sectors were operated with ZK-MCY being the last ATR 72-500 on duty...

NZ5742 Dunedin - Christchurch
NZ5618 Christchurch - Hamilton
NZ5621 Hamilton - Christchurch
NZ5378 Christchurch - Wellington
NZ5383 Wellington - Christchurch

The ATR 72-500 Fleet

ZK-MCA (c/n 597)

ZK-MCA about to depart Wellington on 26 October 2014

ZK-MCB (c/n 598)

The only ATR 72-500 I didn't fly in - ZK-MCB at Hamilton on 3 June 2019 after being pressed back into service

ZK-MCC (c/n 714)

ZK-MCC about to roll at Nelson on 22 January 2014

ZK-MCF (c/n 600)

ZK-MCO at Auckland on 21 June 2008

ZK-MCJ (c/n 624)

ZK-MCJ at Dunedin on 28 September 2019

ZK-MCO (c/n 628)

ZK-MCO at Christchurch on 31 August 2006

ZK-MCP (c/n 630)

ZK-MCP at Auckland on 29 November 2015

ZK-MCU (c/n 632)

ZK-MCU at Auckland on 7 January 2017

ZK-MCW (c/n 646)

ZK-MCW at Auckland on 28 November 2015

ZK-MCX (c/n 687)

ZK-MCX waiting for a gate at Auckland on 3 August 2013.

ZK-MCY (c/n 703)

ZK-MCY  at Auckland on 13 April 2013