LEARNING TO FLY
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FOR OVERSEAS PILOTS
Adrian Williams and I were members of the
Peterborough Aero Club in the UK during the early 1970's, long before I
became an instructor. We had taken part in many fly outs to the
continent from Peterborough and when I started instructing from Kaitaia
in New Zealand he was keen to come for an adventure. The
intention was that I would help him validate his licence then he would
take the aircraft away for a few days.
The Piper Warrior 2 operated by the Kaitaia Aero Club at the time of Adrian's visit.
Having spent a day studying the New Zealand differences - Mandatory
Broadcasting Zones, low flying etc. we faxed his validating
documentation to the CAA.
They responded very quickly and by 10:00 the following morning he had the validation document and was ready to go.
During the evening he invited Dan Goldsberry and myself to join him - we did not need asking twice!
The first stop was Great Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf, East of
Auckland. This is fairly remote and at the time did not have cell
phone coverage and the power was switched off during the
evenings. At one time it had a Pidgeon postal service.
We lunched at the cafe near the aerodrome then pressed on to Rotorua
Rotorua is in the Thermal region of the North Island and included in
the thermal attractions is the Lady Knox Geyser which is activated
every morning by pouring soap powder into it
Maori themed evenings are very popular
We then set off to Nelson on the North of the South Island. On the way we had a look at the White Island Volcano.
Amongst other attractions Nelson has a street comprising quaint period properties.
From Nelson the intention was to fly to Milford Sound, then to
Queenstown. However as we got to Haast we had a couple of
problems. We had filed a flight plan and were required to radio
in every half an hour or search and rescue action would be
started. We tried but could not make contact. We climbed to
8000' to improve radio range but could neither make contact with
Christchurch nor another aircraft to get a relay. We tried the
mobile but there was no cell coverage. We landed at Haast and ran
to the Pub where there was a payphone to telephone Christchurch.
Perhaps this event was guidance from the almighty because by the time
we had drunk our coffee and eaten our cakes the weathere closed in and
we had to abandon flying for that day - and as it turns out the
next. There was a motel on the aerodrome and luckily for us they
had a vacancy for 2 nights.
Adrian (left) and Dan (right) at Haast aerodrome.
As there was cloud & rain in the morning we thought we would take a
bus to Wanaka to see the aircraft museum but fouund that we would be
unable to get a bus back the same day. The motel manageress
kindly offered us the use of her car for the day so off we went.
The long and winding road through Haast pass was often in cloud and
drizzle so our no fly decision was reinforced. We had a pleasant
day in Wanaka.
Wanaka trees in Autumn
Adrian was on a tight schedule so the next morning we had to start for
home. We followed the west coast landing at Westport then to
Farewell spit crossing the Cook Straight to Hawera to refuel.
There were some spectacular sights on the way.
Hawera Aero Club - South coast of the North Island
90 Mile Beach, Kaitaia
Home in time for a sundowner!
Unfortunately I have lost contact with Adrian but Dan has written the following about the trip:
"If you are a
pilot or know one who loves to fly, one of the best ways to see the
natural beauty of New Zealand is to hopscotch from grass strip to small
airfield from the top of the North Island to almost the bottom of the
I had the
pleasure of doing this with a pilot from England who wanted to fly New
Zealand on his holiday and his former flight instructor, John. We
stopped at little airfields on the edge of some of the best places to
visit and got a ride into town for a meal and accommodation and then
off to the next destination in the morning. Some days we stopped
at more than one place either for fuel or because what we wanted to see
was best seen from the air (eye level with glaciers on the West coast
of the South Island). Even though we could have stayed longer at some
of the places there was so much to see that we kept moving.
The hundreds of photos I took will provide memories forever."
to talk? John Nicholls firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone Land line: +64 (0) 9 406 1974 mobile +64 (0) 27-359 4869 Skype:Flyitnz