30 April 2020

The latest update

Sounds Air pilot Ash Hurndell is an essential worker, but during lockdown level four he only had to put his uniform on once. That flight had only one passenger, but for that person, the trip to Wellington was essential. Hurndell said when New Zealand first went into lockdown, the crew at Sounds Air were asked who would interested in working, should a flight pop up. "It was just a swarm, everyone wanted to be at work," he said.  ​Hurndell said the Sounds Air crew had a meeting before they went into lockdown. "The one thing that came out of our meeting [was that] we are just so glad to be here, through the good and the bad. From a pilot's point of view, the reason I do this, it's not just because it's a job or a way to pay the bills. Flying is a passion and we're just really looking forward to getting back in the air." The airline employs 65 people, including 26 pilots. It has 10 aircraft that flies to destinations in New Zealand that otherwise did not have an air link, such as Blenheim to Christchurch, Blenheim to Paraparaumu, Wellington to Westport and Wellington to Taupo.  With support from the wage subsidy, the airline has so far not laid off any staff, despite barely breaking even through the Covid-19 pandemic. It made just six flights during level four but during day one of level three, on Tuesday, it already made two flights for essential workers returning home or back to work. The health board had also started moving patients. The airline has been seeking support from the Government since New Zealand went into lockdown. The Government established a $600 million aviation sector relief package to provide financial support, but so far Sounds Air has not received any of that fund. A petition, 'Save Sounds Air', launched by Kaikōura MP Stuart Smith, had collected nearly 25,000 signatures by midday on April 29. During question time when Parliament returned on April 28, Smith questioned when Sounds Air would get the support they were promised. Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Transport Phil Twyford, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the Government was continuing to communicate with Sounds Air about what a support package would look like. "As part of our 600 million dollar aviation support package, the Government's already provided support to airlines to fund air freight on the rural networks, including, Air Chathams, Barrier Air, Fly My Sky, Island Air Charters and Air Napier," Hipkins said.  "While these measures directly support airlines, remote communities and exporters, we've also stepped in to fund things like air traffic control and security screening. Things the aviation industry would normally pay for themselves." Smith questioned if it was fair to provide $900 millios of financial support to Air New Zealand within one week, but to leave regional airlines, like Sounds Air, "teetering on the brink of receivership". Sounds Air managing director Andrew Crawford believed there was "light at the end of the tunnel". Crawford said he had also been pushing for the Government to use their service. "We have small aircraft, they're nine and 12 seats and they are versatile and agile. We're asking where can we be used to fill the gaps, we've got the crew, the assets are all sitting here, why aren't we using them?" Crawford was hopeful the Government would provide some support soon. "If we can get some support from the Government it would be huge. And it's really just to get us over the next six months. If we start getting rid of aircraft and crew, it will be very hard to get going again."

What's in a name???

Noted on Facebook, there will be a change on the airwaves today and tomorrow. Today, the 30th of April 2020 is the last day ‘Link’ and ‘Mount Cook’ callsigns will be used along with their flight designators RLK and NZM. 

From tomorrow, 1 May 2020 all all ATR and Q300 flights will use ‘New Zealand’ as the callsign. 

TEAL Airborne 80 years ago

On this day 80 years ago, the 30th of April 1940 TEAL made its first commercial flight. The flight was made by a TEAL S.30 Empire Class flying-boat – ZK-AMA 'Aotearoa' - between Auckland and Sydney (Captain J. W. Burgess) with 10 passengers. The flight departed at 0600 NZ time and covered the 1,345 miles across the Tasman in 9 hours 30 minutes, returning to NZ May 2nd.

ZK-AMA flew her final Sydney - Auckland S-30 Empire service - October 29, 1947, its 442nd trans-Tasman crossing.

The original holdings in TEAL were New Zealand Government 20%, Union Airways 19%, BOAC 38% and Qantas 23%. The board reported to the Tasman Air Commission, which itself reported to the New Zealand, Australian and British Governments.

ZK-AMA preparing to land at Waitemata Harbour Auckland after the first commercial service from Sydney, May 2, 1940.

29 April 2020

Southern Crayfish Operations

A couple of photos of crayfish operations from the Te Anau Airport website... http://www.teanauairport.co.nz/

Air Chatham's Convair 580 ZK-KFL on 24 April 2020

Air Chatham's Saab 340 ZK-CIY on 28 April 2020

The Toroa Flies

Captured in Christchurch yesterday was Air Chathams' Convair 580 frieghter ZK-KFL

The Convair features a toroa also known as the Chatham Island mollymawk or Chatham Island albatross. They are a rare albatross with a restricted range. It is striking in appearance, with a dark grey head and bright yellow bill. Endemic to the Chatham Islands, the entire population breeds on The Pyramid, an isolated, almost inaccessible rock stack located south of Pitt Island in the South Pacific Ocean. They spend most of their life at sea only returning to land to breed.

28 April 2020

35 Years Ago - The Rangiora Airshow

Twenty five years ago today Rangiora hosted an airshow... 
I have already posted the ag-aircraft earlier in the month.
These are the rest of my photos from 28 April 1985!

Ski-equipped Piper Cub ZK-BFV

Piper Cub ZK-BKX

de Havilland Tiger Moth ZK-BUO

Cessna 180 ZK-BUS

MS Rallye ZK-CBV

Piper Cherokee ZK-CIJ

Piper Pawnee ZK-CNG

Jodel D11 ZK-CVP

Piper Cherokee ZK-DEK

Cessna 172 ZK-DFI

Piper Archer ZK-DUQ

Piper Cherokee ZK-DUW

Jodel D11 ZK-EDR

Jodel D9 ZK-EKC

Zenith CH200 ZK-ESV

Beech Sierra ZK-FGB

Cessna 182 ZK-FIW towing a couple of gliders

Clutton-Tabenor Fred ZK-FRD

Mount Hutt Helicopters ZK-HLE

Whirlwide Helicopters Bell Jetranger ZK-HPO

Wyndon Helicopters' Hughes 300 ZK-HQJ

Air Safaris' Pilatus Porter ZK-PTP

Piper Turbo-Arrow ZK-TFD

27 April 2020

ZK-AWP with Chathams Pacific

Thanks to Harry for more photos of ZK-AWP, this time with Chathams Pacific taken in November 2011 at Salote Pilolevu Airport aon Lifuka Island which is part of the Haʻapai group in Tonga.

My profile on Chathams Pacific can be found here :