31 July 2012

Pitt Island Plane - A welcome return...


A nice little pice from Dianne on Pitt Island in June's issue of the Chatham Islander... it reflects Pitt Islanders' gratitude to Air Chats and the somewhat different lifestyle between Pitt and Wellington... and if you happen to read this Dianne hope Jo was well :-)

Greetings and Kia Ora folk from the Wellington airport, a very different look from my Pitt Island view. Here I am sitting in a very different place looking at the many varied people coming and going and drinking a cappuccino. The idea is to write this article while waiting for a much later flight to Timaru, but the fascination of watching these variations of humanity is very distracting. One hears about fashion, reads about it and sees it on TV. I’m telling you folk I could wear my pyjamas here and no one would look sideways. Going back a few paces firstly was the return of the baby plane to Pitt. Yes, folk, it has returned after a good while so thank you Craig and Air Chats. Without a doubt it is convenient, so much quicker and one doesn’t have to think about sea sickness. If one had to ditch it so to speak, I’d have forgotten where the axe was, how to dispatch/open the life raft and in the confusion totally forgotten was I meant to do something with the life jacket. Thankfully that has not been necessary as I have complete faith in the pilot, the plane or the boat and the skipper in the dozens of times crossing Pitt Strait. Over the years when crossing Pitt Strait mostly during sea sickness, have thought do I say an Our Father, a Hail Mary or just plain bugger and leave it up to those at the helm and they’ve always delivered me safely to my destination, whether by boat or plane. Leaving our Pitt airstrip in gum boots and overalls due to wetness and muddy gateways along the way and arriving in Wellington in shoes and taking that long walk from the plane into the inner terminal on concrete, then carpet is a different feel on the feet than the usual farm land feel. It is definitely gum boot weather at home and we have clocked up a bit of rain in the last week or two so no mud will be a nice change. Our flight to Wellington was pleasant and seemed quite fast arriving before midday NZ time. As I now look out this window in front of me a misty fog is coming down so we were fortunate indeed. The hills in front of me are smothered in houses people living cheek to jowl in such closeness it would be suffocating, but perhaps not for those who do as that is possibly the only life they know. The longer I live and the older I get, I will be forever thankful for where I live and how I live as well, to me it is very earthy, natural and satisfyingly complete, but understandably not everyone’s cup of tea or cappuccino for sure.


30 July 2012

VAH Enters Service



Vincent Aviation's newest aircraft, BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-VAH, entered service yesterday flying services for Air New Zealand Link's Eagle Air flying a Wellington-Wanganui, and a return Wanganui-Auckland service. Today, as well as its normal scheduled morning Wanganui-Auckland service and return evening service, it was used for services from Auckland to Tauranga, Hamilton and Whakatane.


BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-VAH at Wellington on 27 July 2012. Photo : Phil Craig

Cancelled Meeting = Time for Plane Spotting

A sunny afternoon in Auckland meant a chance to do some plane spotting at Auckland International and Ardmore...

Operating some of Eagle Air's services was Vincent Aviation's BAe Jetstream 31 ZK-JSH, taken at Auckland on 27 July 2012. Photo : S Lowe
I am not sure if their new J32 ZK-VAH (ec ZK-ECN) is in service yet. There are photos of it on Rodney's blog...  http://flyinggeek.blogspot.co.nz/2012/07/a-new-jetstream-and-other-airliners.html

Also at Auckland was air2there's Piper Chieftain ZK-MYS with new, smaller titles on the nose. Photo taken at Auckland on 27 July 2012. Photo : S Lowe

On air ambulance duties was Fairchild Metroliner III ZK-NSS taken at Auckland on 27 July 2012. Photo : S Lowe

Over at Ardmore was...

...Auckland Aero Club's Cessna 162, ZK-AAC. Photo taken at Ardmore on 27 July 2012. Photo : S Lowe

Cessna 180 ZK-BGO on the roll... Photo taken at Ardmore on 27 July 2012. Photo : S Lowe

Also out for a fly was North American T-28C Trojan ZK-JGS. Photo taken at Ardmore on 27 July 2012. Photo : S Lowe

29 July 2012

Avcorp Commuter - Experience the Difference



In 1980 Aviation Corporation Ltd bought Nelson based James Air. The airline continued to operate as James Air until it was rebranded as Avcorp Commuter on the 1st of August 1983. Earlier that year the Beechcraft agency was advertised as being held by the Aviation Corporation, and in mid-1983 Aviation Corporation Ltd introduced an air charter service out of Wellington using a a pressurised Beechcraft B60 Duke, ZK-SIH (c/n P-525). The aircraft was also available to be used as a back-up aircraft for James Air/Avcorp Commuter scheduled services.

The Beech Duke, ZK-SIH, which was used primarily for charter, at Nelson on 26 November 1983.



At the time of the rebranding Avcorp Commuter were operating services between Nelson, Blenheim, Wellington and Palmerston North using Cessna 404 Titan ZK-TAT (c/n 404-0080), Aero Commander 500A ZK-DCF (c/n 500-A-1274-97) and leased Cessna 402 ZK-DSG (c/n 402B-0559).

Aero Commander ZK-DCF at the Nelson air show on 15 April 1984. 

The company was interested in developing new routes and so in late August 1983 Nelson-New Plymouth and return air service was launched. It initially operated as an air-taxi service while permission was sought to add it to its scheduled licences. The trice weekly northbound service left Nelson for New Plymouth at 9.10am Monday to Friday, arriving about 10.20am. The return service would leave New Plymouth at 10.40am to arrive in Nelson about 11.50am. The New Plymouth flights proved popular and additional Friday and Sunday services were added from the 5th of December 1983. The company also offered discount fares to stimulate business.



December 1983 also saw the arrival of Air Albatross’ 18-seater Metroliner on Cook Strait services. The new competition was too much for Avcorp Commuter and, after discussions with Air Albatross, the airline came to the conclusion that the two airlines should  complement each other’s’ services rather than competing against each other in a highly competitive market. Avcorp made the decision was made to cut its Nelson and Blenheim services to Wellington from the 5th of March 1984 and at the same time to expand its services from Nelson to include Wanganui and Rotorua.


Nelson Evening Mail, 1 March 1984


The new services saw introduction of a thrice-weekly service between Nelson and Wanganui. The Nelson-Palmerston North service increased from nine to ten flights a week, with three of these continuing on to Rotorua. Avcorp’s manager, Ivor Bissell, told the Nelson Evening Mail that, “As well as regular commuters there is great potential for the development of more inter-district tourist traffic and overseas visitors. Our new service to Rotorua, for example, is pitched toward the tourist market. We are hoping to draw more visitors to the Nelson-West Coast regions.”

The Cessna 404 Titan at Palmerston North whiilst on a scheduled service from Nelson 21 August 1983.

Just a few months later, in September 1984, Avcorp Commuter was put up for sale as the Aviation Corporation Limited rationalised its interests. Dudley Harris from the Aviation Corporation told the Nelson Evening Mail, “Loadings from Nelson to Palmerston North, Wanganui, and New Plymouth were encouraging and charter work was busy. Aviation Corporation has a wide range of engineering activities and represents various overseas firms’ aviation hardware in New Zealand. Avcorp Commuter is based in Nelson and operates to three centres only. “While it is a very promising business, well patronised, we have now questioned whether it really fits into the central company's overall setup. he The main thrust of that company was not an airline operation.”


Leased Cessna 402, ZK-DSG, at Nelson on 26 November 1983. 

Air Albatross quickly announced that it would fly from Nelson to Palmerston North and New Plymouth from the 1st of October, Air Albatross’ Murray Turley noting that “What Avcorp is having to face up to is that nobody has to buy licences any more to fly a particular route. With the much easier air licensing you aren't forced to buy somebody's licence Avcorp is perhaps is having to face the reality that its licence as such has no value… apart from the actual cost of applying to the authority to get one.”


Nelson Evening Mail, 10 October 1984
Avcorp Commuter ceased its airline service on the 24th of October 1984.


28 July 2012

Ansett NZ - Whisper Memories




The next look at Ansett New Zealand's fleet, some 25 years after they got airborne

A comparison of Ansett New Zealand's BAe 146's 200 and 300 series in the original New Zealand stars colour scheme. 200 series ZK-NZA at Dunedin on 16 September 1992 (above) and 300 series 300 ZK-NZK at Dunedin on 12 September 1992. Photos : S Lowe
 

G-BPBT (above) was a series 200 Quick Change variant. It is seen above at Christchurch on 2 Dcember 1989 and then later as ZK-NZC again at Christchurch, on 6 February 1997... Note the large cargo door in the photo below. Photos : S Lowe
 

BAe 146-300 ZK-NZL at Auckland on 16 April 1999 with the Australian stars tail... I don't see why they didn't leave the NZ flag type-stars on the tail. Photo : S Lowe






27 July 2012

More Ansett NZ Memories - Dash 8s


Keeping with it being 25 years since the launch of Ansett NZ here is a glimpse at some of the Dash 8 fleet...

DHC Dash 8 ZK-NEZ with Ansett New Zealand titles but still with the Ansett Newmans logo. Photo taken at Queenstown on 24 October 1987 by S Lowe. I can't see getting access for a photo like this now!

In the oroignal New Zealand star colour scheme are ZK-NEZ (above) at Glentanner on 17 April 1988 and ZK-NEY (below), again at Glentanner, on 19 September 1987. Photos : S Lowe
 

The Australian star scheme - Above ZK-NES at Christchurch on 3 June 1996 and below - showing abit of Waikato colours, ZK-NEZ at Christchurch on 30 May 1996. Photos : S Lowe - GO CHIEFS
 

25 July 2012

Ansett New Zealand - Airborne 25 years ago today


Thanks to Grayson Ottoway who sent in this post...

Ansett New Zealand was the result of Ansett Australia's desire to expand into the New Zealand market, enabled by the relaxation of regulation in the aviation sector by the fourth Labour government. Ansett Australia formed a partnership with two New Zealand companies, Brierley Investments and Newmans, the latter being a tourism company which owned the unprofitable Newmans Air. Newmans Air formed the basis for a new expanded airline, the company being Bilmans Management Ltd, operating as Ansett New Zealand.

It began operations with 3 Boeing 737-100 aircraft between Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and the ex Newmans air Dash-7s were used on tourist routes Between Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch and Queenstown.

The airline was known for its quirky TV advertisements - the businessman who boarded the plane with his wife's keys ("I gave them to the pilot," the hostess reassures him, "and he threw them out the window") or Fluffy, the bedraggled cat that accidently ends up at the airport.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFE5AF1j-Ws

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5viPnzK-S4

Ansett came to the rescue both times with the phrase, "what a big difference a little extra service can make".

Mystery weekends, where passengers turned up to the airport and were flown to an unknown destination within New Zealand, were also a hallmark of the airline.

Ansett introduced the "Golden Wing Lounge" - a precursor to today's Koru Club - was introduced, and full meals and a bar service were included, even on regional flights.

While Air New Zealand would probably have introduced these innovations eventually, Ansett certainly sped up the process.

While Air New Zealand in Wellington operated out of an old hangar, Ansett built a whole new building attached to the old international terminal. That was followed in 1988 by the introduction of the new-wave "Whisper Jets", replacing the noisy older jets.

It took eight years, but in 1995 Ansett NZ celebrated making a profit.

Ansett New Zealand stopped services in 2000.


Operations started in 1987 with 3 Boeing 737-100 aircraft  (actually some of the oldest in the world - see below) between Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

The 737's were purchased from America West Airways in the USA and were...

       Boeing 737-130, ZK-NEA (c/n 19014), delivered on 18-05-1987 as City of Auckland  
(Number 2 off the production line)
Photo taken at Christchurch on 23 June 1987. Photo : S Lowe

ZK-NEA
Ordered new by Deutsche Lufthansa AG
Rolled off the Boeing production line at Renton - April 1967
First flown as N2282C - May 13, 1967
This was the second Boeing 737 to be constructed
Entered onto the German Aircraft Register as D-ABEA - December 1967
Registered to Deutsche Lufthansa AG
Accepted by Lufthansa at Seattle - December 1967
Aircraft was named 'Coburg'
Sold to Far Eastern Air Transport (FEAT) - September 28, 1981
Aircraft stored at Hamburg due to a ban on the importation of used aircraft into Taiwan
Planned sale of aircraft to SAVAR Airlines, Venezuela did not eventuate - November 1982
Aircraft had been ferried Hamburg-Miami and was placed in storage
Sold to Asian Aviation Services - April 1983
Sold to America West Airlines Inc, Phoenix, Arizona - April 6, 1984
Entered onto the U.S. Aircraft Register as N701AW - April 6, 1984
Sold to Ansett Worldwide Aviation Services - December 10, 1986
Lease continued to America West Airlines
Leased to Ansett New Zealand
Arrived Christchurch, New Zealand at conclusion of delivery flight - May 18, 1987
Entered onto the New Zealand Aircraft Register as ZK-NEA - May 28, 1987
Registered to Billmans Management Ltd
Operated the last Ansett New Zealand 737 service - December 28, 1989
Aircraft stored at Christchurch and officially withdrawn from service - February 2, 1990
Departed Christchurch on ferry flight to U.S.A. for storage - March 28, 1991
Cancelled from the New Zealand Aircraft Register - April 3, 1991
Entered onto the U.S. Aircraft Register as N701PJ - September 1993
Registered to Transpacific Enterprises Inc, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Sold to Rovair Enterprises Inc - October 5, 1995
Scrapped at Marana - October 1995
Boeing 737-130, ZK-NEB (c/n 19015), delivered on 21-06-1987 as City of Wellington
(Number 4 off the production line)

Photo taken at Christchurch on 27 December 1987. Photo : S Lowe

ZK-NEB
Ordered new by Deutsche Lufthansa AG
Rolled off the Boeing production line at Renton - June 1967
First flown as N2289C - July 5, 1967
This was the fourth Boeing 737 to be constructed
Entered onto the German Aircraft Register as D-ABEC - December 1967
Registered to Deutsche Lufthansa AG
Accepted by Lufthansa at Seattle - December 28, 1967
Aircraft was named 'Osnabruck'
Sold to Far Eastern Air Transport (FEAT) - October 22, 1981
Aircraft stored at Hamburg due to a ban on the importation of used aircraft into Taiwan
Sold to Asian Aviation Services - April 1983
Aircraft departed Hamburg for Taipei to undergo D Check - April 24, 1983
Sold to America West Airlines Inc, Phoenix, Arizona - April 6, 1984
Entered onto the U.S. Aircraft Register as N702AW - April 6, 1984
Sold to Ansett Worldwide Aviation Services - December 10, 1986
Lease continued to America West Airlines
Returned to A.W.A.S. by America West at end of lease - May 11, 1987
Leased to Ansett New Zealand - June 21, 1987
Arrived Christchurch, New Zealand at conclusion of delivery flight - June 25, 1987
Entered onto the New Zealand Aircraft Register as ZK-NEB - July 13, 1987
Registered to Billmans Management Ltd
Withdrawn from service at Christchurch - December 13, 1989
Returned to A.W.A.S. and stored at Christchurch
Departed Christchurch on ferry flight to U.S.A. for storage at Marana, Arizona
- April 19, 1991
Cancelled from the New Zealand Aircraft Register - April 23, 1991
Entered onto the U.S. Aircraft Register as N702PJ - September 1993
Registered to Transpacific Enterprises Inc, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Sold to Rovair Enterprises Inc - October 5, 1995
Registered to Rovair Enterprises - November 14, 1995
Scrapped at Marana - November 1995
Boeing 737-130 ZK-NEC (c/n 19016), delivered on 27-04-1987 as City of Christchurch (Number 5 off the production line)
Photo taken at Christchurch on 22 October 1988. Photo : S Lowe

ZK-NEC
Ordered new by Deutsche Lufthansa AG
Rolled off the Boeing production line at Renton - 1967
First flown as D-ABED - January 20, 1968
This was the fifth Boeing 737 to be constructed
Entered onto the German Aircraft Register as D-ABED - January 1968
Registered to Deutsche Lufthansa AG
Accepted by Lufthansa at Seattle - January 1968
Aircraft was named 'Flensburg'
Had distinction of operating the world's first 737 commercial service - February 1968
Sold to Far Eastern Air Transport (FEAT) - October 22, 1981
Aircraft stored at Hamburg due to a ban on the importation of used aircraft into Taiwan
Sold to Asian Aviation Services - April 1983
Aircraft departed Hamburg for Taipei to undergo D Check - April 24, 1983
Leased to SAVAR, Caracas, Venezuela
Entered onto the Venezuelan Aircraft Register as YV-406C
Sold to America West Airlines Inc, Phoenix, Arizona - April 6, 1984
Entered onto the U.S. Aircraft Register as N703AW - April 6, 1984
Sold to Ansett Worldwide Aviation Services - October 1986
Lease continued to America West Airlines
Leased to Challenge Air International Inc, Miami, Florida - December 15, 1986
Returned to A.W.A.S. at end of lease - March 20, 1987
Leased to Ansett New Zealand - March 1987
Arrived Christchurch, New Zealand at conclusion of delivery flight - April 27, 1987
Entered onto the New Zealand Aircraft Register as ZK-NEC - May 12, 1987
Registered to Billmans Management Ltd
Aircraft was named 'City of Christchurch'
Operated inaugural Ansett New Zealand 737 service Christchurch-Wellington
- July 25, 1987
Withdrawn from service at Christchurch - December 17, 1989
Returned to A.W.A.S. and stored at Christchurch
Departed Christchurch on ferry flight to U.S.A. for storage at Tucson, Arizona
- May 29, 1991
Cancelled from the New Zealand Aircraft Register - June 20, 1991
Entered onto the U.S. Aircraft Register as N703PJ - September 1993
Registered to Transpacific Enterprises Inc, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Sold to Rovair Enterprises Inc - October 5, 1995
Sold to Spectrum Aerospace Inc, Tempe, Arizona - October 26, 1995
Registered to Spectrum Aerospace - January 18, 1996
Scrapped at Tucson - January 2001
Cancelled from the U.S. Aircraft Register - January 11, 2001

Boeing 737-112 ZK-NED (c/n 19770), delivered on 17-07-1987 as City of Nelson
(Number 203 off the production line)
Photo taken at Christchurch on 27 December 1987. Photo : S Lowe
 
Ansett NZ also flew two Boeing 737-200's for a time...
Boeing 737-2A6 ZK-NEE (c/n 20195), delivered on 01-07-1988
Photo taken at Christchurch on 28 August 1988. Photo : S Lowe
Air New Zealand actually used this when Ansett took it out of service, as a maintenance replacement.
It was all white with a navy colored Koru on tail.
Boeing 737-2U9 ZK-NEF (c/n 22575) delivered on 20-06-1988
Photo taken at Christchurch on 22 October 1988. Photo : S Lowe

23 July 2012

A black day for Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand Wordmark.

Chief Executive Office Rob Fyfe announced today that the tails of all new aircraft entering the fleet will be painted black and the lettering of the Air New Zealand name is being modernised. “Our iconic symbol, the Koru, will remain but it will be set within our national colour rather than the blue and green tones on our tails today. Alongside this change we are introducing a new lettering style for the Air New Zealand name, which will adorn all our new aircraft. This will also be rolled out across all our signage and communications channels by the end of the year,” Mr Fyfe says. Air New Zealand began using black as its corporate colour ahead of the All Blacks’ campaign last year. “Black has resonated well with our customers and staff who identify with it as the colour of New Zealand and a natural choice for our national airline. It inspires pride, is part of our Kiwi identity and a symbol of Kiwi success on the world stage,” Mr Fyfe says. The airline worked in collaboration with world leading Kiwi typeface designer Kris Sowersby and Designworks to develop exclusive new lettering for the Air New Zealand name. Kris’ previous clients include the prestigious Harvard Business Review. Mr Sowersby says he is proud to have had the opportunity to work with such an iconic New Zealand brand name. “The Air New Zealand lettering has remained relatively unchanged for the past 20 years, but the airline has undergone significant cultural and reputational change. The challenge was to develop a new style which retained the history and credibility while injecting a new sense of momentum and modernity.”

Air New Zealand 777, Black Aircraft Tail.

Terrible news... as someone just said to me, "It is barbaric... these marketing people who think it is trendy." Air New Zealand is about to become a colourless airline 

22 July 2012

Alpine Air Services - flying whenever... wherever


Alpine Air Services was a Dunedin based company formed by Charles and Helen Thompson in September 1999. Charter operations began in 2000 using Piper Pa34-200T Seneca II ZK-TBF (c/n 34-8070087) with Charles being the chief pilot and managing director and Helen the Administration and Tour Coordinator.

Piper Seneca ZK-TBF at Dunedin on 6 August 2001. 

Charles and Helen Thompson and Seneca TBF at Dunedin. Photo : Alpine Air


Regular flights between Dunedin and Queenstown began in July 2000. Flight operated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays subject to there being at least two passengers. Flights would also land at Alexandra or Wanaka on demand. By November 2001 the service had reduced to a weekly flight on Wednesdays. Cessna 182R Skylane ZK-NPC (c/n 18268096) was operated over the 2001/2002 summer and Seneca ZK-TBF was replaced by Piper Pa34-200T Seneca II ZK-MIE (c/n 34-8170056) in April 2002.


Timetable accessed from Alpine Air website, 28 February 2001

Timetable accessed from Alpine Air website, 1 November 2001

Alpine Air's Piper Seneca ZK-MIE at Timaru on 18 August 2002. 


In early 2003 the company moved its base to Christchurch and tried offering a new Christchurch-Wanaka-Queenstown service which operated southbound on Saturdays and northbound on Sundays. This service failed to generate much interest and by early February 2005 the last aircraft, Seneca, ZK-MIE, had been sold and the company had ceased operating.


Timetable accessed from Alpine Air website, 12 April 2003