31 December 2022

Great Barrier Island Movements

While I was at Claris Airport on 29 Dcember 2022 I caught a few movements... Barrier Air's Cessna Grand Caravans ZK-SDB and ZK-SDD arrived

Hughes 500D ZK-HMT was parked up at Claris Airport on 29 December 2022

Cessna 182 Skylane ZK-RIK arrived at Claris Airport on 29 Dcember 2022


Waiheke Helicopters

Advanced Flight's Bell 429 at Waiheke Island on 29 December 2022

Eurocopter EC 130 ZK-INX at Waiheke Island on 29 December 2022


Back to Waiheke Island

My return flight from Claris, Great Barrier Island, to Waiheke Island on 29 December 2022 in Island Avition's Britten Norman Islander ZK-PIZ

BN Islander ZK-PIZ at Claris Airport, Great Barrier Island on 29 December 2022

The combined Island Aviation/Sunair check in facilities at Claris

Lining up an rolling Runway 10 at Great Barrier

Great views of Great Barrier Island's beautiful coastline on departure

PIZ is fitted with blister windows at the back of the cabin... a wee bit of distortion looking straight down at Channel Island

The northern tip of the Coromandel Peninsula and Port Jackson

The western coastline of the Coromandel Peninsula

And the beautiful coastline of Waiheke Island

Downwind for Runway 35 at Waiheke Island


(5) Cliff Lewis' Air Travel Memoirs

Part 5 of a twelve part memoir written by Cliff Lewis, an Air Travel (NZ) pilot... 

This memoir relates to my my larger post on Air Travel (NZ) Ltd which can be found here -


Chapter 5 - - Newspapers and Mail Deliveries

Bert Mercer's exploits as chief instructor to the Canterbury Aero Club had always received the attention of Christchurch newspaper offices and they regularly featured any flight that the great pilot accomplished. Bert never forgot this, so, in return, he offered them a service. He would deliver the newspapers right down the West Coast to Jacksons Bay at no charge! - just supply him with sufficient copies of the daily. They willingly meet his request and at 1am as the West Coast railcar left Christchurch it always carried the required number of copies addressed to “Air Travel (NZ) Limited, Hokitika.”

The railcar reached Hokitika at 7am. Bert was there to meet it with his own car, then over to the aerodrome where Owen Templeton had his aircraft ticking over. A quick scribbling of names upon each copy and a few spare copies for fishermen on the rivers and guides climbing the mountains with their parties and Bert took them into the aircraft cockpit with him, except for bundles addressed to such places as Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier, Bruce Bay and Jacksons Bay. 

The Christchurch Press was actually delivered to the late Mr Peter Graham, one of New Zealand's most famous guides on the Southern Alps, and his party at the summit of Mount Tasman at 8 o'clock one morning. Bert would drop his aircraft down to approximately 50 feet, out would go the paper and land smack alongside fishermen, guides on the mountains and isolated homesteads. Jim Hewitt was just as adept as Bert and they both taught me how to be as accurate.

If Air Travel could deliver newspapers, why could they not deliver mail? Bert consulted with the Postmaster General for a contract price annually to deliver mail to South Westland without any extra airmail surcharge, just to offer the Post Office a service into this remote region. It was granted and the residents of South Westland quickly took advantage of this service. Their mail orders flowed into the various suppliers and the residents requested their orders to be forwarded by parcel post. 

Upon one occasion we received an extra large mail bag which was difficult to fit into the little Fox Moth. So the Post Office was requested to come over and break the seal and remove the large article so we could get it into the aircraft. It was a lounge chair!!! It got delivered just the same. On another occasion, upon putting a mail bag into the aircraft, the plywood flooring broke. Again the Post Office to the rescue. This time only a large packet of horseshoes. They were delivered to their recipient.

The old and the new... de Havilland DH83 Fox Moth ZK-AEK flies over mailman Charlie Smith. Before the advent of the aeroplane it took two days for the mail to go south from Fox Glacier to the Haast.

30 December 2022

Island Aviation Fleet @ Waiheke

Island Aviation's Britten Norman Islander ZK-PIZ at Waiheke on 29 December 2022

Island Aviation's Britten Norman Islander ZK-SFK at Waiheke on 29 December 2022

The two Islanders

Cessna 172 ZK-RNX - Will it get Island Aviation titles?

On non-flying duties, the Toyota

Checking out Island Aviation

Yesterday I tried out Island Aviation, New Zealand's newest airline on a flight from Waiheke Island to Great Barrier Island. Pilot for the day was Jacob Taylor and the aircraft was Britten Norman Islander ZK-PIZ... The weather was a bit dull going over but was superb for the flight back.

The Island Aviation fleet at Waiheke Island on 29 December 2022, Britten Norman Islander ZK-SFK parked up, Cessna 172 ZK-RNX landing after a scenic and Britten Norman Islander ZK-PIZ boarding for Great Barrier Island 

Backtracking for Runway 17

Waiheke Traffic, Papa India Zulu rolling 17

Onetangi Bay

Jacob Taylor... our pilot for the day

Approaching Great Barrier Island - the Broken Islands

Tryphena Harbour

Whangaparapara Harbour

Approaching Claris

Blind Bay

Claris Airport

Kaitoke Beach

Kaitoke Creek

Turning onto finals for Runway 10 at Claris