01 February 2023

Golden Bay Air Update


Golden Bay Air welcomes two new pilots and a new plane to the fleet. Local pilots Tyler Palmer (22) and Ryley Fleming (24) say their newly commissioned twin prop ten-seater "all weather" Britten-Norman Islander is a beauty. Golden Bay Air was set up nearly 20 years ago in 2005 by local owner-operator Richard Molloy and partner Lisa Sheppard, to serve tourists and Wellington and Nelson commuters. Richard says that he is "thrilled with the new plane...it's been a long path to this point. The new plane has been totally overhauled from tip to tail, including new avionics and instrumentation. "The increased available payload allows the equivalent of two-four more seats' capacity. Ryley says that because the Heaphy Track is largely out of action (planned to reopen in October this year) "the airline focus is the Wellington run, lots of scenic flights for tourists, and the run to Nelson". The pilots still make the occasional Karamea trip to service the Heaphy, as some trampers elect to charter a helicopter to navigate the river between the Lewis and Heaphy huts. Ryley and Tyler both come with a wealth of experience. Tyler learnt to fly whilst at high school after winning flying time with local instructor Shane Fleming (Ryley's father) and then "caught the bug". He gained his private license and then commercial pilot license at Nelson Aviation College. He is licensed to fly the Piper Archer and will soon be rated on the Airvan. Ryley has been flying since his early teens, as his father is an instructor with the GB Flying Club. He gained his private pilot license and flew his first solo, aged 16, in a Zenair 601 XL. He then worked and flew in Motueka and Gisborne before going on to gain his commercial and flight instructor licenses - the process taking 18 months. Ryley is licensed to fly all three craft. Both pilots agree the perks of the job are travelling to new places, the people, and the views". Ryley says, The most challenging aspect is the weather - as you need to navigate bad weather, turbulence and cloud. You learn on the Welly route where to go to not get turbulence and stay out of the rough stuff" Both pilots are "happy where they are at the moment" but acknowledge that ultimately, like many careers, "you need to start at the bottom and work your way to the top". At some point Tyler dreams of flying for Air New Zealand or the rural flying doctors, and Ryley would like to fly air ambulance. But it all starts locally with "real flying". Ryley believes that now is"a great time to learn to fly" in either a private or commercial capacity. "During Covid, lots of Air New Zealand pilots took early retirement - and they are struggling to rebuild the workforce. It's exciting, fun and rewarding at the same time.”

For the photo see : https://issuu.com/charlotterichards3/docs/2023_january27gbweekly

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