31 August 2021



Barrier Air has added a fourth Cessna 208B Grand Caravan to its fleet. The Caravan is a 2008 model initially registered N208AE. In early 2009 it was sold to Air Alliance in Germany and registered as D-FAAJ. Sold to Oklahoma City-based Southern Wings Aircraft sales in 2018 it made its way to New Zealand where it was registered ZK-MCS with Milford Sound Flights Ltd operating the highly popular scenic flights between Queenstown and Milford Sound.

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ZK-MCS at Queenstown

With the Covid-19 Pandemic demand fell and the aircraft became the platform for the prototype Merlin Labs New Zealand unmanned freighter aircraft. The New Zealand company is a subsidiary of Boston based Merlin Labs, and the project wants to trial a pilotless freight service between Nelson, Westport and Christchurch... See : https://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2020/07/westport-freight-flights.html  and https://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2020/08/more-on-pilotless-plane-service.html. Apparently Merlin Labs have decided they want a Caravan with a Legacy cockpit rather than the G1000 cockpit ZK-MCS has.

With its move to Barrier Air ZK-MCS has been registered ZK-SDE joining their fleet of ZK-SDB, SDC and SDD. It is due to fly to Napier to be prepared for service with Barrier Air.

22 August 2021

Sounds Air @ Wanaka

Thanks to Aaron for this superb photo of Sounds Air's Pilatus PC12 ZK-PLX at Wanaka, their southern terminus, on 10 July 2021. I love the artistic placement of the matching orange cone.

21 August 2021

Q300 Action


Three Air New Zealand Bombardier Q300s taken at Wellington on 16 August 2021... ZK-NET



20 August 2021

Sounds Air Action

Pilatus PC12 ZK-PLS taxis and rolls at Wellington on 16 August 2021 operating flight S8 812 to Taupō

Cessna 208 Caravan ZK-SAN taxis in at Wellington after operating flight S8 268 from Blenheim

19 August 2021

Air New Zealand's Level 4 Schedule


Following the 48-hour grace period to get Kiwi's home, Air New Zealand is adjusting its domestic schedule for Friday 20 August – Tuesday 24 August, in line with Alert Level 4 restrictions across the country. The airline will operate a very limited domestic schedule to enable essential travel only. Customers who are booked to travel on Friday will receive a cancellation email, and their bookings will be held in credit. Customers will have 12 months from the day their credit is processed to book a flight, and another 12 months to travel. During Alert Level 4, travel is restricted to essential services only. Customers who are travelling should check they are eligible to travel under Alert Level 4 on the Government's COVID-19 website, as travel is severely limited. These customers will also need to carry a letter to prove they are travelling for essential purposes. Customers who meet the criteria and still wish to travel should call the Air New Zealand Contact Centre who will rebook them free of charge for travel up to and including Tuesday 31 August. 

The schedule is as follows –

Route                         Services  

Auckland-Christchurch 2x return services  

Auckland-Wellington 1x return service  

Wellington-Christchurch 2x return services  

Wellington-Nelson         1x return service  

Christchurch-Dunedin 1x return service  

From Saturday 21 August – Tuesday 24 August, services into and out of Auckland will continue on a limited schedule. Once guidance from the Government on the Alert Level for the rest of New Zealand has been given, the airline will update its domestic network accordingly.

The schedule for Auckland is as follows -

Route                                 Services

Auckland-Christchurch         2 x return services –Monday & Tuesday

                                                1 x return services – Saturday, Sunday

Auckland-Wellington     1 x return services – Saturday, Sunday, Monday & Tuesday

Customers throughout New Zealand with existing bookings for travel between 17 August and 24 August will be able change their booking with change fees and any fare difference waived through to 31 August. Customers can do this via our online booking tool. Those who have booked through a third party will need to contact their agent. We urge customers who have travel booked over this period to cancel or change their booking via the online booking tool so we can get as many Kiwis back to their place of residence as possible. The Air New Zealand contact centre and social media team are currently experiencing very high demand and the airline is grateful to customers for their patience and kindness while it works through these changes. For the latest information, customers can check the Air New Zealand COVID-19 Hub and travel alerts page.

Source : Air New Zealand Press Release

Air Ambulance Action


Life Flight BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-LFW departs Wellington on 16 August 2021

A windy arrival for Skyline Aviation's Beech Super King Air ZK-PLK at Wellington on 16 August 2021

18 August 2021

Electric Progress


Sounds Air expects to be flying passengers across Cook Strait in electric planes by 2026. The airline announced on Wednesday it was on track to make history as the first airline in Australasia to pioneer electric air travel. And Sounds Air Group director and chairman Rhyan Wardman said the Blenheim to Wellington route was a likely first candidate for the new 19-seater planes. “It’s probably an appropriate one, because we’re a Marlborough company and our main hub is in Wellington. We’ve got fantastic support from Wellington Airport from day one around this ambition, so that’s what we’re anticipating to start with,” he said. The announcement follows a letter of intent signed last year with Heart Aerospace, a Swedish company that was looking for a “launch partner” for its ES-19 aircraft in Australasia. The deal would make Sounds Air the first airline in Australasia to offer customers zero emission air travel. Wardman confirmed the airline expected to add “at least three” of the electric planes to its fleet by 2026. But he thought their entire fleet could be electric by 2030 if battery technology allowed. “The aircraft that are anticipated to be ready by 2026 are going to have a certain range and a certain capability which will be ideal for some of the sectors that we fly. As battery technology improves ... essentially that cell density becomes better, then the range of these aircraft will extend accordingly. It is anticipated that by 2030, our entire fleet will be of this type.” There was a lot to do before 2026 though, including getting the infrastructure and charging stations into airports, Wardman said. The company embarked on a “journey” about two years ago, when they started to reassess their strategy, Wardman said. It dawned on them “quite quickly” that small, regional airlines would be some of the first to transition to zero emission travel. “It was a very simple case where if it’s going to be small regional airlines like us, then why isn’t it us,” Wardman said. He said in making the decision, the airline considered what services customers would want in the future. “The customers of the future will want to travel in a way that is sustainable and responsible. So we’re really excited about this,” he said. Heart Aerospace had run simulations on Sounds Air flights to test capability of routes. “They were monitoring all their systems. It was neat to see that. Essentially they're just building up that knowledge and capability,” Wardman said. “To be a launch customer for Australasia, we couldn’t be prouder. But we also acknowledge that now the work starts, and there’s a lot of work to do. “It’s not just a matter of bringing an electric plane to New Zealand, and starting the service.” New Zealand's aviation industry is starting to take its first steps towards electrification. Wardman said New Zealand's climate change obligations meant reinventing transport operations. “There is a need for Government to look immediately at the logistics of New Zealand’s transition to electric travel. We will be pioneering new ground here in airline regulation and compliance, but I believe New Zealand is well-placed to lead the way and get these new systems in place by 2026. “We also need to invest in up-skilling our workforce in partnership with institutions like the Massey School of Aviation and exploring offshore partnerships. As the test ground for electric travel in the South Pacific there is an opportunity for New Zealand to develop international training programmes in our international education sector. “This all involves working shoulder to shoulder with industry and government, collaborating and sharing knowledge across all aspects of building a zero-emission transport system. We have already been in talks with Wellington Airport about what infrastructure changes will be required to support our electric fleet.” Wellington Airport chief commercial officer Matt Clarke said the airport was committed to partnering with Sounds Air to deliver zero carbon scheduled air services. The Wellington to Blenheim route is an excellent candidate for new technology with a 30-minute sector length matching the capability of carbon zero aircraft,” Clarke said. “Wellington Airport is committed to assisting Sounds Air to make history.” Last month, Wardman said airports that serviced electric aircraft would need to cover the cost of chargers each worth about $500,000, plus installation. Sounds Air’s fleet consisted of six nine-seater Pilatus PC-12 and four 12-seater Cessna Caravans. It carried about 120,000 passengers a year, travelling to the likes of Wānaka, Taupō, Napier, Wellington, Nelson, Blenheim and Christchurch.

Source : https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/green-travel/300384673/couldnt-be-prouder-sounds-air-locks-in-electric-plane-deal

17 August 2021

Lockdown Advisories


We've had to cancel most flights for the next 7 days however there are flights operating tomorrow to allow people to return home. For full details, please visit airchathams.co.nz.  We apologise for the inconvenience caused but look forward to resuming our schedule as soon as possible.

Due to the implementation of Level 4 from 11.59pm midnight tonight 17th August 2021 Lockdown procedures will commence from tomorrow morning. 

Great Barrier Island 

Only residents can travel to Great Barrier island. It must be your primary place of residence. You are unable to travel to your holiday home during level 4. All travel must be approved by Aotea Health. We will operate our schedule as per published tomorrow. We will be operating our freighter and essential personal service throughout the 1 week lockdown. This will include NZ Post and medical samples. 

Additional information:

Please make sure that you have your E ticket for access to Auckland Airport. You must use Door 3 for access.  You must wear a face mask on on all flights. We will be socially distancing our cabins and blocking out the middle row.  


Flights will operate tomorrow 18th and potentially 19th August. Services will suspended until a reduction of lock down levels which hopefully will be next Wednesday. 

North Shore 

All services suspended until next Wednesday.

Following the Prime Minister's announcement today of Level 4 Alert (17 August 2021) flights will continue to operate as scheduled over the next 48 hours. As our staff are busy working through the affected services in order of departure we ask at this time if you would like to contact us please do so via email and include your booking number. People not wishing to travel on affected services can have their fares held in credit (including Special fare's) as per the fare class terms and conditions.  We will wave any admin fee for these passengers. If you are travelling in the next 48 hours we ask that your please remember to bring your face mask with you to the airport. Originair would like to thank all our guests who have flights booked during this Alert Level 4 lock-down for your understanding and support.


The government has issued an Alert Level 4 Lockdown nationwide, from 1159pm tonight. We will be operating our scheduled flights as normal tomorrow, to provide options for customers specifically returning home. If you no longer need to travel, please email info@soundsair.com and we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible. If you have not heard from us, don't panic! Our team is very busy prioritising customers needing immediate attention. Thank you for your patience and understanding . We hope that we can help our valued customers get home safely, to the best of our ability, over the coming days. Please remember, face masks remain mandatory! Stay safe & be kind 🧡

Thank you to all of our customers for their understanding over the last 24 hours as we help people get where they need to be. If you are a resident returning home to the island or need to return from the island within the 48 period you have until the end of today. Feel free to give us a call as we still have some flights available.  If you have travel booked with us over the rest of the lockdown period and are no longer able to travel please send us an email at info@stewartislandflights.co.nz rather than calling. We will be prioritising requests based on the date of travel, so please be patient as our team will get back to you as soon as they can. While Southland is at Level 4 we will continue to operate as an essential air service but only for essential travel. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Face masks remain mandatory on all flights. Stay safe and be kind.

COVID 19 UPDATE: As with all of New Zealand for the next few days, Sunair is in lockdown with all non essential flights on hold until we are back at a minimum of Level 2 (if you need to return home, please let us know). Great Barrier Island is part of the Auckland region so this will be inaccessible for Sunair flights for at least the next week under our normal schedule. As we receive more information we will update here. If you have a flight booked with us that is affected by these changes, we will be in touch. Stay safe all and try to enjoy some extra time at home with your loved ones.

Convair Action

A big thanks to Lawrence Acket for these great pics of some of the last Air Chathams' Convair 580 ZK-CIB's passenger flights

19 July 2021 - General Dynamics Allison Convair 440/580 ZK-CIB on the tarmac Wellington Airport photo taken from our terminal shuttle bus to the aircraft’s South end gate

On route WLG-CHT 3C 521 – The current NZ Aviation News says it all.  Last week of scheduled ops of ZK-CIB on the Chathams run filling in for ATR ZK-MCO whilst on maintenance.

20 July 2021 @ CHT - Convair about to taxi on its last CHT-CHC return service.

20 July @ CHT - Convair on departure – with Horse Power boost assistance from water-methanol injection on takeoff for its last departure to Christchurch.

Air Chathams Te One Chathams Islands headquarters.  Curtis Wright Dehmel CV340 manufactured in Carlstadt New Jersey, USA flight simulator.  Modified by Aircraft Armaments Incorporated, Cockeysville, Maryland USA to a CV580 Flight Simulator with the serial number “1”

The extended interior complete with, on the right hand side, charts of parts of Alaska providing a clue to its previous origins having been purchased from Era Aviation ( along with two passenger CV 580 that became ZK-CIE and CIF)

1950s/60s technology.  The rows of equipment to provide the technology to run a flight simulator.  The system has it’s own Diesel generator to power the simulator operation.

22 July 2021 Flight 3C 519 CHT-AKL with a pax configuration of 31.  Note seat 1C not available as required for emergency equipment.

22 July - Flight 3C 519 at AKL tarmac on arrival on the last CHT-AKL return scheduled service by the Convair.

22 July Flight 3C 591 Taxiing out for the last AKL-CHT scheduled pax flight by Convair 580

22 July 2021 - Departing for the Chathams on the last direct pax service

15 August 2021 - As twilight sets ZK-CIB returns to AKL from the last passenger charter to the Chathams in the Convair ( via Wellington in each direction)

15 August 2021 -  The sun sets on Convair operations in New Zealand with ZK-CIB retiring from a long and illustrious service with the Chathams community for 25 years. It will be missed. 

ATR Action

Yesterday was the first day I have managed to see Air Chathams' ATR 72 ZK-MCO in action... It is seen here departing Wellington on 16 August 2021 operating flight 3C 521


16 August 2021

Golden Bay Air Islander?

Trucking down the motu at present is BN Islander ZK-EVO enroute from Ardmore to Nelson... This seems to confirm the rumours that ZK-EVO is bound for Golden Bay Air. 

And thanks to Terry who sent this pic and email... Hey Steve, just down at the airport on my lunch break and ex Fly My Sky EVO popped in. Parked in front of Repaircraft so assuming it will be getting an overhaul for its new owner

15 August 2021

Photo sleuthing...

Overnight a friend of mine sent me a photo saying, This picture found daylight this week. It’s my Mum and Dad and an unknown woman looking like they were flying out probably to races somewhere. Thought you’d like to see the plane...

So my first response was that it was a Cook Strait Airways de Havilland DH89 Dragon Rapide. "Dad" was Paddy Blanchfield, long time Member of Parliament for the West Coast... 

A quick search on Papers Past found this from the Christchurch Press of 24th December 1938 so the photo was taken on the 23rd of December 1938. 

Presumably the other woman was Mrs Faulkner and the photo was taken by Mr Faulkner... and Mrs Blanchfield, she was nee Faulkner.

As to the where I was fairly convinced it was Greymouth... The photo of the NAC Fox Moth at Greymouth post-War shows the base of the fuel pump

Fox Moth ZK-AGM about to depart Greymouth for Westport. Photo : D Walker

This is my post on the Cook Strait Airways service to Greymouth... 

With the photo resolution I was unable to read the name of the Dragon Rapide under the cockpit or the registration under the right wing.

Nonetheless a lovely little piece of photo sleuthing and I love the way they dressed for the occasion.

News from Guyana

Taken from the Britten-Norman Aircraft Preservation Society Facebook page...

Roraima Airways Trislander Aircraft (8R-GRE) PREVIOUSLY ZK-LGC lost power in the tail engine and crash landed 3 miles from Ogle Airport on Saturday morning. 5 persons were onboard.

ZK-LGC at North Shore on 30 March 2014

Press Release

One of our Trislander aircraft this morning made an emergecy landing on the East Bank in the vicinity of the Haags Bosch landfill on approach to landing at the Eugene Correia International Aiport.

All five aboard the aircraft _three passengers and two crew- are alive and are receiving medical attention at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation. None of the injuries are considered life threatening, according to initial medical evaluations.

All passengers and crew was extracted and transported to Camp Ayangana by the GDF helicopter and taken to GPHC. 

RORAIMA AIRWAYS would like to sincerely thank the GDF for it rapid response and  dispatch of the BELL 412 Helicopter to the accident site.  

We would also like to thank the Guyana police force the GPHC  and the Sherrif Medical ambulance services for their prompt and Efficient emergency response 

The cause of the accident is unknown at this time.