30 November 2020

Originair Schedule from February next year

It seems from the Originair reservations system they have revised their schedule and it will be as follows from the 14th of February 2021...

The significant features are the Wellington flights being reduced to twice a week and the introduction of a direct Nelson-Hamilton service on Sunday evenings and return on Friday evenings. Unfortunately the Hamilton-Palmerston North schedule remains totally unsuitable for same day return business traffic.


Bringing Home the Cup

Thanks to Terry who sent these pictures of Air Chathams' Saab 340 ZK-KRA at Nelson yesterday, 29 November 2020, bringing the Tasman Mako home with the Mitre10 Cup!

29 November 2020

Malcolm Campbell RIP


Sad news in the obituaries of Saturday's Waikato Times, Malcolm Campbell, founder of Eagle Airways, passed away on 27 November 2020 in Hamilton. My deepest sympathy to Malcolm's widow Joan and his family. 

Malcolm Campbell and Anna Pohlen, the company’s first customer, in Victa Airtourer
ZK-CXU. Source : Celebrating Eagle Airways’ First 35 Years

It was a real privilege to meet Malcolm and Joan Campbell who were guests of honour on the final Eagle Air flights between Hamilton and Palmerston North on 26 August 2016. Malcolm founded the Eagle Flying Academy in 1969. Eagle Airways started air services between Hamilton and Palmerston North on the 3rd of October 1975. Malcolm says his most significant move was introducing the Embraer Bandeirante to the airline's operation. In my opinion this was the most significant event in the history of regional air services in New Zealand and led to most regional airports in New Zealand having multiple flights each day making the aeroplane the most important mover of people around the country over trains and buses.

A new generation aviation enthusiast... this young man and his mum flew up from Christchurch to fly on the final Eagle flight

The Eagle Air story can be found here...

Backyard Bandit

Thanks to Henry who sent in these photos of Embraer Bandeirante ZK-JCM taken in Totara Park, Manukau while on an afternoon stroll exploring new areas in his neighbourhood.

Here is ZK-JCM's history 

ZK-JCM       Embraer EMB-110P1 Bandeirante                                     c/n 110305

PT-SCM       00/00/1980      Embraer, Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil

                     00/00/1980      Registration cancelled

N201AE       30/12/1980      Turboquip Partners, Chicago, Illinois

                     30/12/1980      Simmons Airlines Inc, Chicago, Illinois...leased

                     07/10/1988      Registration cancelled

ZK-JCM       12/10/1988      Eagle Aviation Ltd, Hamilton

                     08/12/1989      Eagle Airways Ltd, Hamilton

                     04/04/2003      Registration cancelled as withdrawn from use

                                             Airframe to ANZ Training School

And here it is in service with Eagle Airways...

ZK-JCM at 11 April 1989 still wearing its Simmons Airlines colour scheme.

In Eagle Air's third colour scheme, Embraer Bandeirante ZK-JCM at Hamilton on 2 July 1990

In full Air New Zealand Link colour scheme, Bandeirante ZK-JCM at Napier on 20 January 1992. The Bandeirantes were operating between Napier and Gisborne

27 November 2020

Great news for Kaitaia!


This just put up on the Barrier Air website...

Hey Kaitaia! Barrier Air is excited to announce we will be bringing back our additional 0650 departure from Kaitaia and our 1815 Auckland - Kaitaia services from the 21st DECEMBER (except Tuesdays and Saturdays)
We are excited to bring our KAITAIA schedule back to near pre Covid 19 Levels with 22 Sectors per week!!! If a flight is full, let us know and we can assess putting on a second aircraft for your group!

Given all the interest in a new route for Air Chathams, if you were Barrier Air what new route(s) would you suggest and why?

26 November 2020

Auckland afternoon

I had an hour and a half before my flight at Auckland today...

Singapore Airlines' Airbus 350 9V-SMF off to Singapore 

Fly My Sky's BN Islander ZK-EVO arriving back from the Barrier 

Airwork's Boeing 737-400 ZK-FXL

Air New Zealand ATR 72-600 ZK-MVD

Air New Zealand ATR 72-600 ZK-MVQ

Bombardier Q300 ZK-NER after push back

Air New Zealand Airbus 321 ZK-NNG was on a domestic

Air New Zealand Airbus 320 ZK-OJB

Fly My Sky's BN Islander ZK-PIY

Barrier Air's Cessna Grand Caravan ZK-SDB

Barrier Air's Cessna Grand Caravan ZK-SDD off to the Barrier... It was a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts day for Barrier Air passengers late today 

Fly My Sky's BN Islander ZK-SFK


24 November 2020

A Couple of Beech King Airs

Hamilton has a lot of air ambulance activity... On the 19th of November there were two present while I waited for Originair to arrive...

Air Gisborne's Beech King Air ZK-SKL heading off home

The Taranaki Air Ambulance Trust's Beech King Air ZK-ZZA was up from New Plymouth


23 November 2020

Last Monday

Last Monday, 16 November 2020 I had an hour or so at Tauranga...

Not fishing spotting... Cessna 172 ZK-DFH

A new one for me, Tecnam P2002 Sierra ZK-EVE

Another one, Bell 505 Jet Ranger X ZK-HTI... very nice!

Not parked well for a decent photo, Tecnam Astore UL ZK-RGH

 AutoGyro MTOsport ZK-RJW.

Tecnam P-2002 Sierra ZK-SCD

A couple of Aussie aerial photography platforms... Cessna 404 Titan VH-WGS... 
... which incidentally just flew over my home as I was preparing this post

Cessna 210 Centurion VH-ZIO

22 November 2020

Masterton Upgrade

 It seems Paraparaumu's airport isn't the only one is discussion... I missed this piece from the Wairarapa Times-Age in late September... 

From the outset, there have been unanswered questions surrounding the proposal to spend $17 million upgrading Hood Aerodrome.  It wasn’t clear who was driving the Hood Aerodrome upgrade initiative and we weren’t told, at least initially, how much money Masterton ratepayers were expected to contribute. As time has passed, some answers have been provided. It took several days before Masterton District Council chief executive Kath Ross told the Times-Age the council would contribute $7m on top of the $10m coming from the government. Information subsequently provided to me by Ross’ office suggests the council’s actual commitment will be $4.2m, with an additional $2.75m to be sought in the form of “grants, fees, charges and co-investment” – whatever that may mean. Not only does it all seem a bit woolly, but ratepayers are entitled to wonder why these figures weren’t disclosed at the start. After all, the people of Masterton will effectively be paying twice for the upgrade, both as taxpayers and ratepayers. And the key question which remains unanswered is: why? Unfortunately, the council remains evasive. Concerned that no convincing case had yet been made publicly for the Hood upgrade, I made an Official Information request to the council for documentation relating to the project. My request sought all relevant information, including any business case prepared in support of the upgrade. What I initially got was a letter providing some additional superficial detail about what the council proposes to do, but conspicuously omitting any cost-benefit analysis or substantiation of the project’s promised economic benefits. Not satisfied with this response, I sought further information. I asked specifically for minutes of council discussions relating to the upgrade and for budget forecasts covering projected returns and/or deficits. Under the disclosure provisions of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act, this information should have automatically been provided in response to my first request, but wasn’t. I fared slightly better, but only slightly, on my second attempt. This produced the disclosure that there were no minutes relating to the decision to seek Provincial Growth Fund money for the upgrade, for the strange reason that councillors never formally adopted the proposal. I was told the draft application to the PGF was “shared” with councillors in workshop sessions [how thoughtful of council officials to keep elected members in the loop]. But not being regarded as official meetings, workshops happen out of the public view. So, we have no idea what [if any] debate took place around the council table, or how rigorously [if at all] the proposal was assessed. This seems an odd way to conduct council business, given that Masterton ratepayers will be required to contribute at least $4.2m. That’s a lot of footpaths. There was further discussion during a “Zoom briefing” of councillors under the Level 4 lockdown in April, but again no record was provided of what was said. It’s almost as if the lockdown was used as an excuse for the lack of transparency and due process. The material provided to me by MDC further revealed that councillors considered an item relating to the Hood development in a public-excluded session last year. All detail of that discussion was withheld on the ground that it might prejudice the council’s commercial operations. Similarly, in its previous release of material to me, the council provided a briefing document supplied to local MPs and councillors, but blacked out all relevant figures relating to council investment in the project on the basis of “commercial sensitivity”. That document “conservatively” estimated economic benefits of $248-307 million from the Hood upgrade but didn’t explain how those figures were arrived at. For all we know, they could have been plucked out of the air. As part of the second release of information, I was also provided with a poorly written “executive summary”, of anonymous authorship, outlining the supposed costs and benefits of the upgrade. As with previously disclosed information about the project, this document was heavy on optimistic assumptions and positive-sounding buzzwords, but light on substantive data. The executive summary concedes that the benefits of the upgrade are “uncertain” and positive outcomes are “not guaranteed”, in which case one might ask why the council is committing millions of ratepayer dollars to the project. Commercial risk is the realm of the private sector, where people gamble with their own money. Most conspicuously, the documents fail to reveal who will use the improved aerodrome/airport and where the projected financial returns, assuming there are any, will come from. The projections rely heavily on the hope that scheduled air services will resume – but there’s no indication that any airline is eagerly waiting for Hood to be improved, and nothing to suggest that upgrading the aerodrome will magically make it profitable. Not one of the cheerleaders for the project has identified a single new user. All we’re left with, after going through the documents released by the council, are several mysterious references in the executive summary to “facilitated projects” at Hood, all detail of which was blacked out – again, on the grounds of commercial confidentiality. We can conclude from this that the council is probably involved in negotiations with an undisclosed party or parties regarding some form of commercial activity at Hood, not necessarily related to passenger services, and has been persuaded that it’s the best if the public is kept out of it. Those with suspicious minds might wonder whether the council has been sweet-talked into bankrolling an ambitious, aviation-related project in which ratepayers could end up carrying the commercial risk – in which case we’re entitled to know what our officials are signing us up for. Otherwise the rationale for the upgrade remains unclear. A cynical explanation is that taxpayers and Masterton ratepayers are bankrolling a Labour Party strategy to win the Wairarapa seat back from National. Mayor Lyn Patterson’s column in the Times-Age did nothing to clarify things. Presented with another opportunity to mount a convincing case for the Hood upgrade, Patterson resorted to more airy, feel-good platitudes about putting Masterton on the map. We’ve still seen nothing to indicate the upgraded aerodrome will generate an economic return and thus justify the investment of ratepayers’ money that might be better spent on other services or facilities. And perhaps even more disturbing is the impression that councillors have been passive spectators in whatever is proposed. 

Best-case scenario:

The council is secretly talking to a prospective Hood user who promises an economic bonanza but wants the ratepayers to pick up the tab.

Worst-case scenario:

Both the council and the government are taking a massive punt with our money and we can only cross our fingers and hope for the best.

Either way, the facts should be put before us. The government’s decision to contribute $10 million for work at Hood Aerodrome is something to be welcomed. It is unfortunate that elected members have not had the opportunity to discuss the council’s contribution in a public meeting. This is partly due to the process for applications for funding of shovel-ready projects being far shorter than normal funding opportunities. We decided we needed to make an application when the opportunity arose – in the knowledge that success was far from guaranteed. We have been delving into the detail more and undertaking further investigation to give us additional confidence in the project. To be clear, we’ve previously signalled work was required at Hood in our annual and long-term plans. We had been planning to do this over a longer period of time, this investment enables us to carry it out sooner. The council is not “bankrolling” a private endeavour that will lead to ratepayers carrying an ongoing commercial risk. This is an investment in infrastructure that will remain in council hands, which we have confidence will continue to bring benefits to the community. As was stated at the time the funding was announced, the work at Hood is not focused on a passenger service returning to the aerodrome but widening and extending the runway will remove one impediment to that happening. These projects are complex and a lot of work has been done by council staff to enable Masterton to benefit from government funding – we should be welcoming the investment, with an eye on the exciting opportunities this offers us in the future. 

Source : Karl Du Fresne, https://times-age.co.nz/popping-the-hood/, 28 September 2020

20 November 2020

It's all a matter of timing

One wonders how long Originair's Palmerston North-Hamilton service will last...  

The airline commenced weekday flights between the two cities on the 19th of October 2020 with flights between the two cities operating around midday... 


Loadings don't appear to have been great. From January the airline's reservations system shows flights operating on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Meanwhile the business timed flights Air New Zealand operated are crying for a replacement. These flights always had 30+ passengers flying between the two centres. Originair has lost four sectors from me... on one occasion I drove back and forth and in the one next month I'm just not going to what I normally would have done easily on business timed flights.

Originair's BAe Jetstream 32 arriving in Hamilton on 19 November 2020 with 6 pax

19 November 2020

Another Pacific Aerospace 750XL


Not the prettiest colour scheme around... Pacific Aerospace 750XL ZK-EPK at Hamilton on 16 November 2020

18 November 2020

A couple of other mainland routes

On Stuff the other day there was an interesting piece on Air Chathams... 


But this section here was what interested me...

What are your future plans?

We’ll continue to operate our mainland and Chatham Islands routes, using the aircraft type that suits. We’re also looking at adding a couple of other mainland routes to connect more of regional New Zealand with Auckland.

So which two ports do you think??? I'd guess Masterton as one, but the other??? That's really got me scratching my head.

Northern South Island Airvans

Thanks to Matthew Beaven who caught up with a four of the six Airvans from the northern part of the South Island...

Golden Bay Air's Gippsland Airvan ZK-ZUG at Nelson on 12 November 2020

Air Kaikoura's  Gippsland Airvan ZK-ORC was in Nelson on 12 November on maintenance

Back down at Kaikoura on 15 November 2020 was Air Kaikoura's Gippsland Airvan ZK-EHS 

Wings over Whales' Gippsland Airvan ZK-FSR at Kaikoura on 15 November 2020

Not an Airvan, Sounds Air's Pilatus PC12 ZK-PLB at Blenheim on 15 November 2020