10 October 2021

Pegasus Aviation - Your Own Private Airliner


The Pegasus School of Aviation was formed by Wally Christopherson in late 1966  and was licensed to operate flight training from Tauranga. Previously Wally had been the chief flying Instructor for the Tauranga Aero Club. 

Bay of Plenty Times, date unknown

A Pegasus School of Aviation Victa Airtourer ZK-CLF at Tauranga

On the 5th of September 1968 the Pegasus School of Aviation was given a licence for air charter services from Tauranga.

In late 1971 Piper PA32 Cherokee 6 ZK-DEF was subsequently added to its fleet and in mid-1972 the Pegasus School of Aviation was authorised to vary the terms of Air Service Licence 635 and operate an air taxi services from Tauranga with one five-passenger Piper PA32 Cherokee 6 and one one-passenger Airtourer 150. .

An undated photo of the Pegasus School of Aviation's Piper PA32 Cherokee 6 ZK-DEF at Blenheim's Omaka Aerodrome

In 1972 Pegasus applied for an air taxi service. Statistics given to the Ministry of Transport give a glimpse of the operations in the years ended 31 March and for 1972, 31 January;

Training Hours -  (1968) 646; (1969) 1766; (1970) 1708; (1971) 1204; (1972) 1368

Charter Hours - (1969) 59; (1970) 130; (1971) 105; (1972) 98

Scenic Flight Hours - (1969) 12; (1970) 46; (1971) 53; (1972) 78  

Piper Aztec ZK-DJG joined Pegasus' fleet in 1979. 

The Tauranga Aero Club, who had always been Pegasus School of Aviation's big competitor, bought out the company in September 1980. The training business and fleet was subsumed into the Aero Club. At this time the Tauranga Aero Club's commercial arm was known as Tauranga Aerial Charter but the Pegasus charter fleet, which included at that time Piper Cherokee 6 ZK-DEF and Piper Aztec ZK-DJG, remained separate, initially being operating as Pegasus Air Charter and later being renamed as Pegasus Aviation.

Piper Aztec ZK-DJG wearing Pegasus Air Charter titles at Tauranga

In 1984 Eagle Air doubled in size adding three Piper Navajo Chieftains and a second Embraer Bandeirante to its fleet. This enabled the company to establish a "hub and spoke" operation with Hamilton and Palmerston North being major hubs and flights timed to connect to similar timed arrivals and departure to other central North Island destinations. This timetable started on the 2nd of April 1984 and it enabled Tauranga passengers to connect at Hamilton to connecting flights to Gisborne, Napier, Wanganui, New Plymouth or Wellington. 

From mid-1984 Eagle Air chartered Pegasus Aviation to operate the Tauranga-Hamilton flights offering a much better timetable for passengers travelling to and from Tauranga. Pegasus Aviation normally used the Piper Aztec, ZK-DJG. for these flights which operated twice daily on weekdays. Pegasus Aviation continued to operate these services until the 25th of October 1985. 

Pegasus Aviation's Piper Aztec ZK-DJG at Auckland on 6 August 1984

Pegasus Aviation's Piper PA32-260 Cherokee 6 ZK-DEF at Greymouth on 20 October 1985

With the loss of the Eagle Air service Pegasus Aviation started to wind down. The Aztec was sold in February 1986 and the Piper Cherokee 6 was sold in November 1988.

Aircraft Operated Included:

AESL Airtourer Super 150
ZK-DBE (c/n A554)

Grumman American AA-5 Traveler
ZK-DIA (c/n AA5-0204)
ZK-DLH (c/n AA5-0750)

Grumman American AA-5B Tiger 
ZK-DLK (c/n AA5B-0401)

Grumman American AA-5A Cheetah
ZK-DLL (c/n AA5A-0409)

Morane Saulnier MS880B Rallye Club
ZK-CCS (c/n 5230)

Piper PA-23-250 Aztec C
ZK-DJG (c/n 27-2638)

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee
ZK-CNK (c/n 28-21097)

Piper PA-32-260E Cherokee Six
ZK-DEF (c/n 32-7200007)

Victa Airtourer 100
ZK-CLF (c/n 121)

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