07 April 2020

Covid-Free Pacific Destination

Thanks to Lawrence and Laura Acket for sending in this piece on their trip to the Chatham Islands in January.  

They write, For anyone wanting to experience a unique adventure both in airline service and a remote part of our country then a trip to the Chatham Islands is highly recommended.  With plenty of outdoor activities, special flora and fauna along with wildlife and nature, these islands offer something special.  No cellular coverage and limited internet also has its appeal. Great food and accommodation options abound.  Look forward to when we can do it all again. 

Images: Lawrence Acket

.  Our chariot, Air Chathams iconic Convair 380 ZK-CIB arriving at its allocated gate in Christchurch. Shortly will be departing CHC-CHT Flight 3C541.

On climb out passing Lyttelton and Diamond Harbours

Last site of the mainland or as they say in the Chathams, “New Zealand”.

Air Chathams famous TimTam in flight service.  Safety Card of ZK-CIB for 39 pax configuration.

Seating assignment is unallocated and passengers graciously take up seating where they can.  Note extended space between rows 6 and 7 as the last four rows part of movable configuration. 

.Arriving the Chathams mainland with a view of Long Beach.  The township of Waitangi just to the right of the wingtip.

Side view of William Tuuta Memorial Aerodrome where arrival is imminent.

Just passing the thresh hold of the runway 23 of Inia William Tuuta Memorial Aerodrome .

The passenger cabin of ZK-CIB.  Often commentated on being very spacious compared to modern counterparts.

Arrival and unloading procedures at Chatham Islands airport.

The two stalwarts of the Chatham Islands with Cessna U206G ZK-KAI inbound from another Pitt Island run.

Downtown Waitangi. Believed to be a prop off the RNZAF Sunderland that was w/o in Te Whanga Lagoon.

.  Our chariot awaits for a day trip to Pitt Island. ZK-KAI had only recently returned to service much to the relief of the Pitt Islanders who have only sporadic shipping services to rely on for the out of air duration.

Lining up for finals on the Pitt Islands strip.

Arrival at Pitt Island with all amenities, transportation, Wind indication and relief house (toilet).

Local pilot Shannon returns to Pitt Island with Air Chathams Cessna U206G for afternoon run between islands.

The uphill takeoff gradient for the Cessna no problem especially with a moderate headwind.  

The Cessna lifts off well before halfway up the grass strip. 

In the centre of image can just be made out the Pitt Island Grass Strip

Departing Pitt Island.  Left is Motutapu Point with Tarawhenua Point in the foreground.  In between and centre of image is the settlement of Flower Pot.

Arriving Inia William Tuuta Memorial Aerodrome (no one else in the circuit)

ZK-CIB at home in front of the Chatham Islands terminal.

Our last night in Waitangi and our night vista from Chathams Hotel accommodation.

Check in and waiting in the terminal a causal affair compared to other airports outside NZ.  Seems everyone still using mobile devices. Wi-Fi available at airport but no cellular coverage anywhere on the islands.

. Goodbye to Chathams as we climb out and pass the airport base bound for Wellington on flight 3C512

Observers may detect subtle differences between this safety card and the one on the outbound service from Christchurch.

Airy and spacious Convair cabin with again, unassigned seating.

Inbound for Wellington shortly to turn on finals with Rongotai top left of the vista.

The final clue for the differences in configuration from outbound flight.  Convair ZK-CIB (combi) is configured for 23 pax on this service with the last four rows, 7-10, removed and cabin bulkhead moved for additional cargo space.

Saying goodbye to our island to mainland chariot via Wellington airport tarmac transport bus to terminal.

1 comment:

  1. I have been considering a trip to the Chathams for a number of years now. The only reason I've yet to do it is that I was heading overseas in other directions so often, time was the prohibitive issue. Now with Covid-19 lockdown, I can't move far at all. Having stated that, when things begin to get back to a limited degree of normalcy, I'm definitely still planning to get to the Chathams for that bucket list experience. This article and pics have just whetted the old appetite. Thanks (and cheers) to Lawrence Ackett - you inspired my aviation interests a couple of decades ago and have now done so yet again!