Saturday, August 14, 2010


This was the first of my trips that Air NZ helped me with.  The flight to Blenheim rather than straight to CHC was to pick up the B1900 flight that will be continuing to HKK.  Less chance of a misconnect if you are on the same plane for most of the sectors!
I arrived in Blenheim to a lovely day and the B1900 to take me to HKK (Hokitika) arrived.

When boarding commenced I was handed a pair of headphones and assigned seat 1F.  Upon boarding the pilots said hi and showed me how to plug in the headphones and I could listen to them and the air traffic control - very cool.  we took off on time and I listened to the pilots going through the checklists and conversations with air traffic control.
We cruised at around 9000feet and had fantastic views of the southern alps.
Southern Alps
The views on the way over were great and I had a good chat with the pilots on AirNZ flying and their enthuasiasm for the B1900D which had no autopilot and gives them a chance to "fly properly!"

We arrived in Hokitika and had a few minutes turnaround before heading back to CHC.
The airport is pretty tiny with a little cafe and waiting area.  The Aero club is next door to the airport terminal and had a few little cessna's parked up.

Again we had great views on the way back to CHC and pilots were saying that the B1900 was totally overpowered for its use and one of the best planes to fly, especially within the amazing scenery of NZ and the south island in general.  Most pilots start out on these and progress to the jets, but they say that most enjoy their time on the B1900's the most as you are actually flying the plane rather than flicking it onto autopilot for 95% of the time.

I thanked the pilots and made my way to the Koru club at CHC for a quick drink before my next flight.  My M-pass worked on entry, and the guy at the desk printed out my boarding pass...with a seat number of 18A which for an ATR was a little curious as I thought that row 17 was the last?!
It became clear that I had been allocated the jumpseat!  Very cool.
I boarded and was shown to the cockpit past a bunch of pilots and flight crew repositioning seat in the cabin.

I was given the safety briefing by the pilots and had a chat to them about my quest and how to strap myself in.  I had a great view sitting behind them in the middle, basically attached to the back of the cockpit door!

I took plenty of the pictures of our landing into welly, and a short video that I shall post in a seperate blog post up next..

All in all a fantastic day of flying and I ticked off Hokitika in style!

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