29 August 2023

Tauranga Traffic

On the 24th of August I had some 90 minutes of plane spotting at Tauranga before my flight to Auckland

My ride to Auckland on 24 August 2023, Air New Zealand's ATR-72-600 ZK-MVA arriving from Auckland

Sunair's Piper PA23 Aztec arriving from Gisborne 

Island Air's Cessna 172 ZK-WGE arriving from Motiti Island
Cessna 180 ZK-DKP was in the circuit

My first sighting of Kahu NZ' Sikorsky EH-60 Black Hawk ZK-HKU

Also in the Kahu NZ stable, Hughes 369E '500E' ZK-HTU

The Tauranga Aero Club's Cessna 152 ZK-TAE arriving back from a training mission

The Ardmore Flying School's Cessna 172 ZK-UAT did a touch and go

Gone but not forgotten... It was always a pleasure to meet up with Pete. TRG is not quite the same

28 August 2023

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (3)

Dassault Cargo Falcon 20 N8FE is the French jet aircraft that, on April 17, 1973, became the first to carry a Federal Express air package. This was a new milestone in the history of air transport in the United States and created a new category of airline, the exclusive air express carrier. Fed Ex now flies to Auckland every Sunday...

27 August 2023

Profile Updated - Mount Cook skiplane operations on the West Coast

After expanding my history of the NAC service to Fox Glacier I became interested in the history of the Mount Cook Air Services/Airlines skiplane operations on the West Coast.

Accordingly I have added a history to my post on the skiplane air service from Fox and Franz Josef to Hokitika. If anyone has any more info, photos, corrections or stories to share I would love to hear from you at westland831@gmail.com

24 August 2023

Further Fleet Expansion


Air New Zealand has announced as part of the airline's 2023 annual results earlier today that it will be welcoming two new ATR72-600 turboprop aircraft and two new Airbus A321 aircraft into its fleet from late 2024 adding 768,000 seats per year. 

In response to high demand across the airline's regional network, these two additional 68-seat ATR aircraft will boost capacity by more than 5,700 seats per week and fly customers to regional destinations like Tauranga and Nelson. The two new 214-seat Airbus A321neo aircraft will be configured for international flying and will serve Tasman and Pacific Island routes. They'll add more than 9,000 seats per week to the network, ensuring the airline has more capacity across the Tasman than any other airline, giving customers great choice at competitive prices. Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran says the additional aircraft are another step to meet demand for travel, growing the airline's domestic and short haul networks by adding capacity where it's needed most. "Flying continues to be in high demand, both here and around the world and it means prices have been higher than usual. The most effective thing we can do to help customers is to welcome more aircraft into our fleet and put more seats in the sky. While adding more seats is an important part of working to reduce prices, like all New Zealand businesses our costs continue to rise significantly in many areas, and the reality is that airfares are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels.  Our customers have supported us as we've rebuilt Air New Zealand and we know it's important to offer a range of fares that are accessible to all New Zealanders. Investing in new aircraft means more seats available at more times and at reasonable prices. Domestically we're almost back to pre-Covid capacity, flying an average of 425 flights per day to 20 destinations across Aotearoa. These new aircraft mean that our domestic airline will be the larger than it's ever been. We also have two previously announced domestic A321neo aircraft due for delivery in the next 12 months. We're pulling every lever we have to get more seats in the sky, as quickly and as safely possible." The A321neo aircraft are the most fuel efficient narrowbody aircraft available today while the ATR72-600 will be delivered with the most recent variant of the engine which has the potential to provide a 3% fuel burn improvement compared with the previous generation.  Air New Zealand aircraft and crew will be returning to its Auckland-Perth route on 29 October after a period of operation in partnership with Spanish airline, Wamos Air. The airline will continue operating daily services to Perth, with more than 2,000 seats a week available. These additional four aircraft mean the airline has a total of 16 aircraft joining the fleet including eight Boeing 787 Dreamliners, six Airbus A321 and two ATR72-600, all scheduled for delivery between 2024 - 2028. The airline will be soon announcing further details on a leased Boeing 777-300ER, which will add 3,000 more seats per week to its international network. This would bring the total 777-300 fleet to eight.

Source : Air New Zealand media release

21 August 2023

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (2)

Lufthansa's Junkers Ju52 D-ADLH at the Steven F Udvar Hazy Center near Washington's Dulles Airport on 13 July 2023. Designed for Deutsche Luft Hansa in 1932, the Ju 52/3m was a tri-motor version of the single-engine Ju-52. It could carry 17 passengers or 3 tons of freight and had good short-field performance. By the mid-1930s, airlines throughout Europe and Latin America were flying them. This particular example was built by CASA in Spain in 1945


20 August 2023

Profile Updated - NAC @ Fox Glacier


Did you know the shortest lived NAC service was its service to Fox Glacier?

Some additional issues of the Greymouth Evening Star have recently added to Papers Past and I have updated my profile on NAC's air service to Fox Glacier...

19 August 2023

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (1)

Boeing S-307 Stratoliner, N19903 at the Steven F Udvar Hazy Center near Washington's Dulles Airport on 13 July 2023


18 August 2023

Profile Updated - Tauranga Air Services


A recent visit to Opotiki afforded me an hour to do some research in the Opotiki News. This has meant an update of my post on Tauranga Air Services that operated an Opotiki-Whakatane-Auckland air service in the late 1950s. This service was the predecessor of Bay of Plenty Airways.

The link to the updated post is here : http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2023/05/tauranga-air-services-first-air-service.html

16 August 2023

North Shore movements

Continuing with the less than stellar weather Auckland has had this day it was cloudy, damp and dismal which didn't inspire much flying at North Shore on Sunday and Monday... What follows are the scheduled movements and then the sport aviation aircraft recorded

Island Aviation's BN Islander ZK-PIZ arriving from Claris on 13 August 2023

Island Aviation's Cessna 172 ZK-RNX arriving from Claris on 14 August 2023
Barrier Air's Cessna 208 Grand Caravan ZK-SDC arriving from Claris on 14 August 2023

Piper PA18A-150 Cub ZK-BKH on 13 August 2023

Cessna 150H ZK-CXK on 13 August 2023

TL-Ultralight TL-3000 Sirius ZK-SRZ on 13 August 2023

Progressive Aerodyne Searey LSA ZK-SWM on 13 August 2023

15 August 2023

A flying trip to Whakatane

Air Chathams' Fairchild SA227-CC Metro 23 ZK-POF at Whakatane on 4 August 2023... my ride there and back

A surprise to see Air Chathams' Douglas DC-3 ZK-AWP at Whakatane on 4 August 2023... a couple of desperation shots as we taxied in and an against the light photo in the afternoon

Cessna 152 ZK-JFY at Whakatane on 4 August 2023

Aero Designs Pulsar ZK-PXB at Whakatane on 4 August 2023


14 August 2023

Saturday the 5th at Dargaville...

Every Saturday there is a fly-in and lunch for sport aviation aircraft at Dargaville. On the 5th of August 2023 I went to check it out... Despite a promising forecast the weather turned a bit sour resulting in a disappointing of aircraft... The lunch however, was certainly not disappointing. A big shout out to the team at the Dargaville Aero Club!


A couple of photos of Magni Gyro M24 ZK-RGO

The Airplane Factory Sling LSA ZK-SLG

Fly Synthesis Texan Top Class ZK-TKP

Tecnam  P92 Echo Mk II ZK-TNZ