To catch up on the latest developments with Aviation Adventures Limited and our Red Cat Biplane Flights operation, this is the place to come!

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31 March 2012

Over the past week we enjoyed plenty of sunshine and light winds - perfect for the 7000 extra visitors in town for the Maadi Cup rowing regatta. We ran a special flight over Lake Ruataniwha to cater for those interested in the rowing. On Thursday the Ag-Cat was in Timaru for its annual check and we flew eight passengers from 6.00pm onwards after returning to Pukaki - a busy day!

The Ag-Cat at sunrise on Thursday morning prior to heading off to Timaru for its annual check.

8 x 8 = 64! Eight boats with eight high school students per boat thrash it out during a finals race on Lake Ruataniwha today.

John Wilson, support crew for one of the Christchurch rowing teams, enjoys the view on the flight to Timaru.

Early morning light on hills near Fairlie.

24 March 2012

Last week has seen some flights to new locations. Clear days have also seen an increase in overseas tourists flying. To see our new You Tube video, please click on the link above.

Looking across to the Main Divide from the Neumann Range on Wednesday with RAAF P3 Orion pilot David Connor up front

Martin Lingenfelder from Germany after an evening flight

An unnamed island on the eastern side of Lake Pukaki - photo taken on a flight with Richard and Janine Leslie from the UK

Ohau A power station - screenshot from GoPro video shot on Tuesday with Chris Brueckner aboard

17 March 2012

Nothing but the best weather today with calm conditions and a temperature of 25'C. Yesterday and today we did five "Three Lakes" flights - fast becoming our most popular flight option. 80-year old Gordon Hayman described his experience as "just what the doctor ordered" - good advice!

Tom and Lesley Autridge from Geraldine after their "Three Lakes" flight this morning

Lake Ohau - as calm as a mill pond.

Gordon Hayman with son-in-law Douglas Whitelock from Timaru about to head off into the wild blue yonder

8 March 2012

Autumn has arrived and with it some settled weather. With smooth flying conditions today, we flew eight passengers out to Lake Ohau or on the Mackenzie Magic option. Our last flight today got airborne after sunset and we landed with a full moon coming up over the eastern horizon - what a sight!

Swiss clients Philipp Erisman and Sibylle Schenkel reflected in the Ag-Cat's propeller spinner after a flight today.

Flying along the Lake Ohau shoreline this evening with Sydney visitors Gordon Bartlett and Steve Withnall.

"Short finals" for runway 15 at Pukaki

Flying over moraine from the old Ohau Glacier.

The Ag-Cat parked outside the hangar at day's end with the moon rising in the eastern sky after a flight with German visitors Sybille and Stefan Riess.

26 February 2012

This week saw the arrival of much needed rain - great for the grass on the cross vector. At 7.00 pm this evening Paul and Diana Fulbrook got to fly over Mount Cook and Mount Tasman in perfect weather.

Summit ridge of Aoraki Mt Cook at 7.00 pm this evening

Retired UK policeman Paul Fulbrook and his wife Diana after their flight over Mt Cook this evening.

The west side or Aoraki Mt Cook - stunning!

Shigenori Morishima, who is touring New Zealand on a motorbike he brought from Japan, tries out the Ag-Cat cockpit for size after a flight.

Ken and Mike Nesbit after their flight last weekend.

17 February 2012

Flights to Aoraki Mt Cook are proving popular. With excellent flying conditions yesterday, we were able to fly to the east side of the Divide and Mount Sefton. Clients for the flight were David Stein and Caroline Ajootian from Oregon, USA.

Looking up the Hooker Valley to Aoraki Mt Cook. In the distance is the Murchison Valley.

The summit of Mount Sefton.

The east side of Mount Tasman.

The Red Cat awaits the next flight.

10 February 2012

We have had some great flights in recent days, including to Aoraki Mt Cook, Mt Tasman and the Tasman Glacier, as well as out to Lake Ohau.

Approaching Mt Cook at 5.30 pm this evening with Rachel Gentles and Brendan Gill aboard.

The view past Mt Tasman to the Tasman Glacier - cool!

The shadow of the biplane on a patch of cloud we flew to one side of. The rainbow effect around the aircraft is from the sun reflecting off water droplets and is sometimes called an Aerial Glory or Brocken Spectre. Photo: Rachel Gentles.

Australian adventurers Brendan Gill and Rachel Gentles after their Mt Cook flight.

A spectacular sunrise yesterday.

A screen shot of a movie client Powel Bis did yesterday of a Mackenzie Magic flight. The camera was a GoPro Hero.

5 February 2012

Over the last week we have had a lot of easterly winds. This has meant the Canterbury Plains has often had cloudy weather with drizzle but the Mackenzie has remained dry and sunny, particularly in the afternoons - perfect for biplane flying!

Grant and Vivienne Jarrold celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary with a biplane flight yesterday.

Flying over the pine forrest on the edge of Lake Pukaki

Robert and Elizabeth Houter, visitors from The Netherlands, about to head away on a Mackenzie Magic flight today.

27 January 2012

Summer snow! After strong north-westerlies yesterday, snow fell down to around 4500 feet on the surrounding mountains last night. In the past week we have been flying an increasing number of visitors from China, Korea and Malaysia, who are visiting New Zealand over the Chinese New Year period.

Snow blankets the St Bathan range this morning

Flying over Lake Ohau with Ralph and Andrea Adam from Germany. It was Andrea's birthday.

Frank Strenber and Peter Gilbert from Australia give Chris the thumbs after a flight on Wednesday.

18 January 2012

The mercury got to over 30'C today as the lovely summer weather continues. Yesterday however we went sub-zero with our first flight to Aoraki Mt Cook from Pukaki Airport. Trips to Lake Ohau Alpine Village are also proving popular. Best of all has been the fantastic feedback we have received from clients. Ellie Travaglia (Oamaru) felt after a flight today that she has "just started living"!

Approaching Aoraki Mount Cook from the south yesterday

Summit ridge of Aoraki Mount Cook

"The Rock" from the north

Australians John Challen and Penelope Morris after their flight to Aoraki Mount Cook. Penelope described the flight as "The best of the best 10 things to do in the world!"

A piece of paradise - a small bay on the shores of Lake Ohau

Andrew Ross and Hazel Challice about to head away on a flight to the Lake Ohau Alpine Village this morning.

12 January 2012

Compared to many other places in New Zealand, we have had excellent weather in Twizel over the last week. Interest remains strong from people holidaying locally but we are seeing an increasing number of overseas visitors now. Yesterday ZK-CAT was reunited with her original New Zealand owner, Brian Stewart, who called in to see how things were going.

Brian Stewart, the original New Zealand owner of ZK-CAT. After importing the aircraft from the USA, Brian converted it for scenic flying. Thanks to Brian's efforts, thousands of people have now shared a biplane flight in New Zealand!

Clouds reflected in the calm waters of Lake Ohau this morning

David Pullen from Twizel with his grandson Mack from Nelson after a flight on Saturday.

Aoraki Mount Cook and Mount Tasman photographed on a flight to Timaru with Duncan and Lachlan Woolley.

Diane Weinstein and Bettina Klein-Nau from New York, USA, after a flight this morning.

5 January 2012

The past week has been very busy with many people staying in Twizel taking flights.  The Mackenzie Magic option has been popular but we have also done flights to Lake Ohau, Glenmary Glacier and as far away as Aviemore Dam and the Clay Cliffs. Yesterday we had our hottest day so far this season with temperatures hitting 32'C.

The Birthday Boys. John Smeehuyzen and Max Kulbicki not only shared a flight together - they also celebrated their birthdays yesterday.

Flying over the dairy farm south of Lake Ruataniwha with farm workers Stu and Marie Johns aboard

Lesley and Dylan Roberts from Cashmere, Christchurch

28 December 2011

Today was our busiest day yet this season with nine flights. Yesterday we did six. On both days temperatures were around 27'C with a light north-west wind. Perfect biplane weather!

The Ag-Cat outside the Pukaki hangar at day's end

Aoraki Mount Cook from Pukaki Airport this evening

Flying over the Omarama Rodeo today while on a Dambuster flight with Grant Bentley and Elizabeth Bloomfield

Murray and Brett Williamson. After a flight over Twizel yesterday, Murray reckons he has the best lawns in town!

Flying over the Glenmary Glacier on a flight with ex-RNZAF pilot Kevin Simpson and his wife Annette on Christmas Eve.

21 December 2011

The great summer weather continues with a big anticyclone over New Zealand. The Red Cat has now gone international as it appears in a television advertisement for Canon in several Asian countries. It also appears in a full page newspaper advert in Singapore.

Half of the full-page Canon ad in The Straits Times, Singapore

Dr Lim and family from Singapore who saw the newspaper ad and decided to do the Three Lakes flight option.

Flying east of Mt Barth on the Wild Wilderness option

Swiss couple Silvia and Werner Berger after their Wild Wilderness flight experience to Mt Barth

Debbie and Perry Kohne, all the way from Yakutat, Alaska

14 December 2001

With temperatures hitting 27'C yesterday it was nice to fly up Lake Ohau so Albert Aanensen could take photographs of homesteads for a book Eileen McMillan is writing.

Albert Aanensen taking photographs of Ohau Lodge in perfect conditions

The view back down Lake Ohau from the north

Lake Ohau with cumulus clouds over the Ben Ohaus

Looking up the Dobson Valley - paradise!

A nice shot of the Ag-Cat landing close to sunset as Darren Smith completes his annual check flight with Peter Hendriks.

7 December 2001

Lest we forget - today marks the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. As Japanese aircraft approached, they flew past a Stearman biplane on a civil training flight. I noted with interest that someone has recreated the scene using an Ag-Cat - not built until 1957. Fortunately today we fly in friendlier skies!

"OK Bob, I think that's enough training for today . . . "

Peter Speemann and Ulrike Schweikert from Germany outside the Kahu Cafe in Omarama on Saturday after we dropped in for coffee and muffins while doing the Dambuster flight option

The view of Benmore Dam on Saturday

1 December 2011

Summer has arrived! The last few days have been hot with the  mercury hitting 26'C so it has been nice to be up flying to cool down (one of the advantages of open-cockpit flying in summer!). Yesterday we flew William Kircher, an actor in The Hobbit who plays one of the dwarves.

The character Bifur (right) is played by William Kircher. At left is James Nesbitt, who plays Bofur. Photo: James Fisher - New Line Productions, Inc

William Kircher after a flight yesterday - taller and more friendly looking than his on-screen character!

Flying along the Neumann Range this afternoon at 9000 feet with Alex and Susan Stevens aboard. Alex use to fly Boeing 747's for Air New Zealand.

24 November 2011

We had a busy day today with five flights and ten passengers. Visitors were from Uruguay, United Kingdom, Malaysia and The Netherlands.

The view from Pukaki this evening with lenticular clouds that have formed in the lee of the Ben Ohau mountains

Maria Polti, Leticia Umpierre and Luis Grasso, all from Uruguay and working on dairy farms near Leeston, are joined by Ian Wilson from the UK for a flight this afternoon.

Dandelions flowering after recent rain - just the spot to have a nice picnic with those cucumber sandwiches!

21 November 2011

With friends and family staying over the last few days, it has been great to get out and explore the Mackenzie Basin when not flying! Today it rained, so we did a trip up to Mount Cook. By mid-afternoon the rain had turned to snow but it cleared quickly, allowing us to walk to Tasman Lake to see the icebergs and fresh snow on the mountains!

Tara holding a piece of ice from Tasman Lake

Mt Cook Aoraki soaring above the Tasman Valley

Mt Cook Aoraki as seen from the Hooker Valley this evening

Icebergs on Tasman Lake

Colin and Dorothy Duffy, well-known identities from Kurow, were on one of the three flights completed on Saturday.

16 November 2011

Tourist numbers have picked up in the last week. International visitors have come from China, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, USA, and Japan.

Ma Tao and An Zai Jun, visitors from Beijing, China, prior to heading off on a flight this morning.

Tim and Ellen Clementson from the UK. After their flight yesterday, Ellen said she couldn't get the smile off her face!

The stunning colour of Lake Ruataniwha contrasts with green pastures, blue sky and the red wings of the Cat on Sunday.

10 November 2011

The weather was perfect today for flights - both high and low! Antje and Gunnar Classen from Germany took the high option to the Glenmary Glacier and Atsushi Minagawa and Sarah Taylor went on the Mackenzie Magic option.

The view up the Dobson River on the return flight from the Glenmary Glacier.

Looking down towards Lake Ohau from the Neumann Range

Gunnar and Antje Classen after their flight to the Glenmary Glacier this morning - part of their dream trip to New Zealand

7 November 2011

Big contrasts in the weather over the last week. Sleet on Friday with snow to low levels and then 25'C today! Winter, spring, summer? Who knows . . .

The view on Saturday morning showing snow down to low levels on the Ben Ohau mountains.

Flying over the pine forest near Lake Pukaki yesterday with Steve Rhodes and Aliecha Scott aboard.

Spectacular lenticular cloud formations over the Mackenzie Basin this evening.

31 October 2011

The days are now starting to warm up and it has been great to explore the local area and even catch the odd trout or two when not flying! Both September and October figures are significantly up on last year so here's hoping that trend continues for the summer!

Dawn light on the Ben Ohau mountains prior to catching a trout

Rob and Malcolm Dixon from Dunedin after a flight today in the warmer weather

23 October 2011

The blue skies returned yesterday after some recent rain and even snow! Things have been busy with three flights yesterday and another five today. We even had a visit from "The Stig"! What a great day - topped off by the All Blacks winning the Rugby World Cup!

A visit from "The Stig" (Craig McKay) prior to flying with his partner Courtney Milne.

Aoraki Mt Cook mirrored in Lake Pukaki today

Yoann Cipri and Elise Galvin from France celebrating five years of being together by taking a biplane flight!

Lake Ohau - photographed on the Three Lakes option.

13 October 2011

Cracker day for flying today. The gallery section of the website has been changed to allow everyone to see higher resolution images of the places we fly - check it out! The new brochure has arrived. More seed and fertiliser went onto the cross vector on Monday - it's looking great!

Approaching the Lake Pukaki Spillway on the Mackenzie Magic flight option. Photo: Tom Geens

Tom Geens from Belgium after a flight this morning.

Dwayne van der Merwe and Stuart Levings from South Africa after a flight this afternoon.

The new cross vector at Pukaki Airport complete with tyres, marker boards and two new wind socks.

5 October 2011

After a day of rain yesterday (just the thing needed for the new grass on the cross vector), it was good to get back in the air again today after the weather cleared around noon. Frederique Bergniard and Melvin Gerard, visitors from France, enjoyed the Mackenzie Magic option.

Dawn light at Pukaki Airport - another magic day in the Mackenzie

Flying over Lake Ruataniwha this afternoon and the High Country Salmon Farm. Below the dam is the Iron Bridge - a little-known attraction that is well worth a visit.

29 September 2011

Adventurers Lesley Mann and Mike Rowe became our first passengers to fly over the Glenmary Glacier today. The weather was excellent! For those who are in Christchurch, we recommend seeing the "Earth From Above" photographic exhibition. Of the 80 or so images, only one was taken in New Zealand and featured the Ohau A Power Station (see below) - the exact point we fly over on the Mackenzie Magic flight option!

Approaching the Glenmary Glacier on the Neumann Range

Lesley Mann and Mike Rowe, our first passengers on the Glenmary Glacier flight option.

Ohau A Power Station. Photo: Yann Arthus-Bertrand

21 September 2011

Two days of perfect weather - calm, clear and mild. Its great to see all the rugby supporters on the highway! Other good news today is we are No. 1! Our new home at Pukaki will have the address of No.1 Harry Wigley Drive. Sounds better than Lot 32.

Dawn at Pukaki Airport - what a view!

Morgan and Jarod Webb, on holiday from Australia, after a flight this morning.

Francisco and Federico from Argentina, in New Zealand to support the Pumas rugby team, after a flight yesterday.

Flying over the Neumann Range at the weekend with Mt Brewster visible in the distance

The Ag-Cat with Mt Cook behind at days end.

12 September 2011

The new season got underway today with Angela Clay being our first passenger. Development of the Pukaki site is now progressing well with the Portacabin in position, power and phone cables laid, a carpark constructed and new signs to be erected soon. A big "thanks" to the Pukaki Airport Board directors for their help in getting to this point!

Angela Clay after the first flight of the season

The Ag-Cat, DC3 trailer and Portacabin on the new site

Early morning looking up runway 33 at Pukaki Airport.

The view of Mt Cook and Mt Tasman from Pukaki Airport

5 September 2011

The Ashburton Aviation Museum's fly-in was a great success with some 30 or so visiting aircraft and double that number of pilots. The Ag-Cat was kept busy over both days and flights were also available on Saturday in the Southern DC3 Trust's aircraft. Once again, the weather was perfect!

Ross and Isaac Williams, aviators from Waimate, about to head off on a flight on Friday 26 August.

The Ag-Cat rests between flights behind the DC3 on Saturday.

25 August 2011

Yesterday we had a productive day getting the Portacabin ready for moving from Omarama. The mountains looked superb and it was nice to enjoy some time on our new section at Pukaki Airport!

Tarn enjoys the view of Mount Cook from our new section at Pukaki Airport.

Looking across Lake Tekapo yesterday evening.

13 August 2011

A good day today with six passengers and three flights. Forecast for tomorrow is snow!

Flying down the Pacific coast last weekend

Patterns on the beach created by cliff shadows and surf

The Aviation Adventures' section at Pukaki. The western boundary runs from the peg visible in the right foreground to the fence in the distance above it. The Portacabin will be placed close to where this photo was taken last month.

9 August 2011

The Ag-Cat at Pukaki Airport in 2006. Its new home is just to the left of this picture. And what a view of Mount Cook!

Big news this week! The Ag-Cat has a new summer home! Aviation Adventures has purchased the northern section (Lot 32) at Pukaki Airport and will be setting up its main operating base there. The aircraft will be housed in a new hangar constructed at Pukaki over winter. A new grass vector has also been established. The flight options from Pukaki are spectacular! Check out what is now available by clicking on the "Scenic Flights" button at the left top of this page.

The purchase of Lot 32 secures a permanent home for Red Cat Biplane Flights in a prime location.

1 August 2011

The days are now getting longer and spring is not far away. Yesterday the weather was perfect and the Cat got to go on a farm tour as well as out to Lake Hood.

The Ag-Cat is an excellent way for farmers and farm workers to see the land they work on from the air.

James and Suzannah Bawden prior to heading off on a farm tour. James, who is from Whangarei, has recently started a new job working on a dairy farm.

Kevin and Trish Campbell from Christchurch after a flight over Ashburton and Lake Hood yesterday.

17 July 2011

The snow has finally arrived and, with it, the tourists. Surprisingly, Canterbury has had excellent weather with lots of fine days and mild temperatures over the last two weeks.

Bruce and Paul Hopwood about to head away on a flight yesterday. Bruce's brother, Joe Hopwood, was a long serving member of the Ashburton Aviation Museum.

Peter Curtis and Boyd Baker, who are working in Canterbury as part of the earthquake recovery, after a flight today.

3 July 2011

With the good weather holding, flights have continued over the weekends. The skifields are still hanging out for more snow however. For those interested in buying vouchers, please note that prices will increase approximately 20% in September so if you wish to beat the price rise, we recommend booking soon.

The Ag-Cat after a flight today. Behind is a new hangar that has been built to the north of the Ashburton Aviation Museum's Super Hangar.

If you are wanting a great day out, a suggested tour would be to visit the RNZAF Museum at Wigram to see the new Skyhawk (shown above) in the morning and then driving to Ashburton in the afternoon for a flight on the Cat followed by a tour of the Ashburton Aviation Museum.

4 June 2011

Molly, Aviation Adventure's first dog to fly in the Ag-Cat, enjoyed a flight over Ashburton yesterday. For the first part of the flight she popped her head up to enjoy the view and then, satisfied all was in order, decided to have a nap. What a life!

Molly with friends she took along for the ride - Phil Causer and Leigh Pettigrew.

22 May 2011

The fantastic autumn weather continues! Over the weekend the Cat did four flights as people took advantage of the mild weather and still conditions.

Geoff Whittet and Robyn Blackie after their flight on Sunday. Geoff flies a microlight in Milford, Australia. Robyn, who has MS and lives in Timaru, was particularly pleased to do the flight as she thought her decreased mobility might stop her. She plans to write a story about her experience.

15 May 2011

Autumn has provided some excellent weather for flying from Ashburton - smooth air and mild conditions. Its a pleasure to be back with the team at the Ashburton Aviation Museum. If you haven't visited the museum recently, you will be surprised at the new developments and additions to the collection. A visit is a must!

Dennis Thorpe (left) and Murray Sword enjoy the Pacific Circuit option along the Canterbury Coast on Sunday.

Flying over the seaside township of Hakatere.

Heading up the Ashburton River from the Pacific Ocean. Several jet boats were out on the river.

Warren Mewes and Graham Croucher after a Town and Around flight over Ashburton on Sunday.

29 April 2011

The 2010/2011 summer season has now finished and the Ag-Cat has flown north for winter. Darren has headed off to Canada where he is looking at getting a Canadian Commercial Pilot's Licence and an ag-rating. Rod is now back in Australia. For those wanting flights, the Ag-Cat will be operating from the Ashburton Aviation Museum on Saturdays and Wednesdays over winter, or other days by prior booking.

Flying across the Mt Bath Glacier looking towards Mt Brewster during a flight on 12 April with Peter Wyche and Jill Wilson-Wyche from South Africa.

Evening light on Mt Benmore.

Helen Hayman and Helen Griffin. Chris last saw Helen Griffin in 1978 while at Freyberg High School!

Brrrrrr. Time to head north for winter! This is fresh snow on the Grampian mountains as seen on the end-of-season flight from Omarama to Timaru.

10 April 2011

Autumn has arrived in the Mackenzie Basin with the leaves on trees turning yellow. The Ag-Cat recently went up to Timaru for its annual check. Flights will continue from Omarama until just after Easter, when the operation moves to Ashburton for winter.

Heading back to Omarama after annual maintenance in Timaru

Perfect weather for biplane flying - the view north towards the Fairlie Basin

Crossing the North Arm of Lake Benmore

Waiting for the fog to clear

Nieces, nephew and brother from Australia after a flight. Left to right; Amber, Sarah, Yonah, Levi and Jeremy.
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