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25 March 2013
Today we completed our first commercial banner tow over a
wedding at Shelton Downs station on the shores of Lake Ohau. The banner read
"SILVANA AND NEIL", the names of the bride and groom. Our Go Pro camera can
now be remotely controlled to take either film or still photographs.
A still frame from our Go Pro camera's film mode showing Michael and
Anne Jakobsen from Denmark on a flight yesterday.
banner being made up in the hangar. Each letter is seven feet high.
A spectacular sunset on the Ohau Canal this evening
16 March 2013
Last week we did our first banner tow over Twizel in preparation
for a display next week.
Seconds after lift off of our
first banner tow from Pukaki
view of the banner streaming 100 metres behind the aircraft with Twizel
in the background.
11 March 2013
The beautiful weather continues . . . Cool mornings and
balmy evenings have kept us busy flying until sunset on some days. Over
the weekend we did flights as far west as Mt Barth in the Ahuriri wilderness
area and as far north as the Tekapo Canal.
the glaciated Mt Barth on the Hunter Range
Jock Peter and Peter Mason,
two construction workers involved in the Tekapo Canal repair after a flight
The Tekapo Canal showing repairs
underway to prevent it leaking. At top left is the canal prior to a plastic
barrier going in. At right is gravel going onto the plastic to hold it
Flying over Lake Ohau as the
sun sets. Magic!
Ag-Cat back in the hangar after a long day.
4 March 2013
February was another record month for us - the highest
February turnover yet. We continue to receive excellent feedback. Melbourne
visitor Jacob Miceli described his flight yesterday to the Glenmary Glacier
and Lake Ohau with fiancee Jodi Moten as the "best experience of my life".
past the Glenmary Glacier on the Neumann Range
Two classics. The replica C-Type
Jaguar is owned by John Love from the UK who did a Three Lakes flight
26 February 2013
Last Thursday was one of our best this summer with local
flights and a trip to Mt Cook National Park and the glaciers. Less than
48 hours after we flew over the Tasman Lake, the Tasman Glacier had the
largest calving ever recorded.
down the Fox Glacier on Thursday.
The view back to Mt Cook while
flying over the West Coast glaciers.
Christie Eichentopf and Kevin
Coniglio from Oregon USA after their Alpine Adventure. Christie use to
fly light aircraft in the north-west United States.
and Heather Sheridan's new Moto Guzzi Norge motorbike. Even though it
is 1151cc, you would still need 14 of these motorbikes to exceed the displacement
of the Ag-Cat engine!
17 February 2013
The excellent weather continues! Over the last week
we have flown overseas visitors from Spain, Australia, United States and
China. New Zealanders have come from Twizel, Ashburton and Timaru.
that the romance of flight is still alive!
Harry and Elizabeth Mitchell from Timaru. A retired engineer, Harry was
celebrating his 70th birthday.
Looking along the shores of Lake Ohau to the Ohau Skifield.
Virginia Domenech and David Garcia from Spain after a flight this afternoon.
11 February 2013
Excellent weather over the last week has seen a steady
stream of visitors passing through. On Saturday, Alana Dodunski from
Hinds became our youngest passenger to fly to Mount Cook and the glaciers
when she did the trip with her father, Ron. Last week we also flew our
youngest passengers to date - a three and a four year old from China.
Saturday's view of Mt Cook (top left) and Fox Glacier (right).
Yang Hai Tong and Zhou Kai,
who flew with their mother and brother last Monday.
Three Bentleys, valued at three million dollars, pose in front of the
Ag-Cat last Tuesday. The car in the middle raced on the famous Brooklands
Circuit achieving a top speed of over 110 mph.
Plane Spotter Peter McSorley
from the UK after a flight yesterday. The Ag-Cat was the 204th type of
aircraft he has flown on!
1 February 2013
January was a record month for us - our highest turnover
of any month since the company began. We also finished on a high with
a flight past Mt Cook and Mt Tasman to the Fox and Franz Josef neves with
Chris Tutty and Trevor Toon aboard.
Mt Tasman (left) and Mt Cook yesterday morning. For clarity, you can't
beat photography from an open-cockpit aircraft.
Looking down the Fox Glacier to the Tasman Sea
Cate and Eric Laurenson after
a flight they were shouted by their daughter Meg on Tuesday.
26 January 2013
Last week saw some stunning weather with blue skies,
light winds and warm temperatures. We have done flights up the Hopkins
Valley to the Glenmary Glacier and explored a new airstrip on the Ben
Ohau Station. We also saw new brown tourist approach signs go in on the
Mackenzie Basin locals Tiggy and Simon Cameron after a flight around
their farm - the Ben Ohau Station.
The Ag-Cat parked on the stunning Ben Ohau strip yesterday.
Flying up the Hopkins River
in perfect conditions.
Chris and Joe Graham, visitors
19 January 2013
Yesterday we had one of our biggest days this season
with flights to the summit of Mt Cook and down to Benmore Dam.
Flying west of Mt Cook at 12000 feet yesterday with Jean Davias (Reunion
Island) and David Benchetrit.
Lake Tasman has increased significantly in size this year compared to last.
Mt Cook is at left.
Mt Cook on the evening of
14 January 2013 as viewed from Pukaki Airfield.
12 January 2013
All the lakes except Tekapo are now spilling water.
One of the highlights last week was a post-flight engagement by an
Austrian couple - a first for us!
client Martin proposes to Elizabeth last Sunday.
Chris and Singapore visitors Alyson Wong and Francis Lo photograph
themselves in the Ag-Cat's spinner reflection after a Three Lakes flight
Pearson and Meriana Taputu-Pearson, visitors from Taupo, after a flight
Water from the Tekapo and Pukaki
rivers flowing into Lake Benmore near the Ohau C Power Station this afternoon.
5 January 2013
After rain on New Year's Day and the 2nd, we
have been busy over the last three days with perfect weather. Today
we featured on the front page of the Timaru Herald and page three
of The Press with a photo of Lake Pukaki spilling.
We also flew celebrity chef Jo Seagar this afternoon.
The photo that appeared on the front page of the Timaru Herald
and page 3 of The Press showing Pukaki spillway
Celebrity chef Jo Seagar with Italian friend Marina Del Bello
Benmore Dam spilling on the
27 December 2012
We hope everyone had a great Christmas! Over
the last week we have flown overseas visitors from Ireland, Austria,
the Philippines, Australia, Singapore, China and Germany.
Barth Time - Mark and Belinda Stenhouse took our Wild Wilderness flight
to Mt Barth today in perfect conditions.
Sydney doctor Christopher Sulaksono with friend after a flight
An evening flight over Lake Pukaki looking toward Mt Cook
A scene from another era. Ron Duckworth's 1909 Wolseley
Seddeley has seven cylinders less than our Ag-Cat!
19 December 2012
It took the New Zealand Transport Agency
five months to agree on six words and Opus a further eight months
to organise installation but today saw two of four signs erected
on State Highway 8. What a marathon! A big thanks to Derek Kirk and
Rick Ramsay of the Pukaki Airport Board for their support.
16 December 2012
Today the mercury hit 29'C, our warmest
day so far this season. With excellent weather, we have had a busy
week. One of the highlights was flying Matthew and Sabine Parry last
Thursday on the Dambuster option after they got married in the Church
of the Good Shepherd the previous day.
A future Ag-Cat pilot? Five year old William Hannon,
Matthew and Sabine Parry's nephew, checks out the rear cockpit
Flying over Timaru's Caroline Bay on Friday.
back to Mackenzie Pass on return from Timaru. On the flight down,
the ground speed was 135 knots (the Ag-Cat cruises at 80 knots). On
the return, the ground speed dropped to 43 knots coming through the
pass - plenty of time to enjoy the scenery!
11 December 2012
The weather has been stunning this week
with long sunny days and lights winds. Over the last few days we
have done flights to the Glenmary Glacier and Lakes Ohau and Pukaki.
Ohau on Saturday - like a mill pond
Kelly and Jeff Gould with the
"like new" overhauled propeller
5 December 2012
The Cat will be back in the air this
weekend after the propeller was overhauled in Hamilton with Aeromotive
prior to the busy summer season.
growl but no teeth - the prop sitting in its box prior to going
up to Hamilton for overhaul.
20 November 2012
Last week we had a solar eclipse which
dimmed the sky for a couple of hours. Grass growth has really
taken off and the cross vector is looking fantastic.
down the Ohau Canal to Lake Benmore during a flight on Wednesday
An image of the solar eclipse projected onto the
office wall using a monocular. The image was so clear that sunspots
13 November 2012
We had another dusting of snow
on the tops two nights ago but the forecast is for plenty of
sun and light winds this week.
Patrick Coffey (left) celebrated his 80th birthday today by
flying out to Lake Ohau with his son Michael. Pat use to fly gliders
at nearby Simon's Hill in the 1950s.
The view of Lake Ohau Alpine Village this morning.
Looking up Lake Ohau on an evening flight with Joke Jansen and
Piet Mulders from the Netherlands last Tuesday.
5 November 2012
Despite having many snowfalls
last month, October was our best October on record. November
has started with more snow. After snow fell on
the airfield on Saturday, we were back in the air yesterday.
Barry McCallum and Denise Huisman celebrate Denise's 50th birthday
Fresh snow on the Ben Ohau ranges yesterday
Saturday morning - snow falling on the airfield!
29 October 2012
Today was busy day with five
flights, a trip to Benmore and Omarama, and a visit from Pic
on the Big Toaster Tour. To top it off we had the hottest temperature
in the country!
Benmore Dam as seen from the Dambuster Flight option this
Sally and Don Lilburn at Omarama before heading off for lunch
How cool is this! On Pic's Big Toaster Tour, they toast Vogel's
bread with a Dualit toaster and spread Pic's Peanut Butter on
the top. That's Pic on the right of the pic.
Good Aussie nuts, freshly roasted and masterfully squashed
in Sunny Nelson. Just the thing to keep a pilot going!
23 October 2012
Last week saw more snow fall
and Labour weekend was windy and wet but every day brings
something new, whether its visitors, a rainbow or a new chick!
A rainbow over the airfield yesterday
Eilene and Bob Andrews, visitors from the UK, after a flight
out to Lake Middleton on Friday.
A Banded Dotterel chick out for a walk between snow showers
14 October 2012
Spring went out the window
yesterday with heavy snow down to 2000 feet. As the weather
cleared today, we had picture-postcard "winter" scenes - perfect
for flying in a warm leather jacket, a rug over your legs, gloves,
scarf and flying helmet!
The view of the Ben Ohau mountains this morning
Spring snow on the mountains west of the airfield
rain radar picture of the Canterbury Plains at 3.20 pm yesterday
showing heavy rain falling in Timaru (bottom left), all the
way through to Christchurch and Banks Peninsula.
7 October 2012
The last week has seen a
mix of fine sunny days and windy weather with even a flurry
of snow on the airfield! October has started well after our
best September on record. Today we flew Mike Perham who, at age
14, was the youngest person to sail across the Atlantic. In 2009,
age 17, he was the youngest to sail single-handed around the world.
Mike Perham is currently driving around the world prior to
his next goal of flying around the world solo - in a biplane.
spring conditions with a mix of fine days and showers
Cook and Mts Tasman at dawn today
and John Cavaye after a flight on Thursday while holidaying
in New Zealand with their parents from Brisbane.
29 September 2012
The last three days have
seen sunny weather and warmer temperatures - great for grass
growth and even better for flying with flights every day.
and Rachel Robinson from Duvauchelle enjoy a Mackenzie Magic
flight this morning.
up the Hopkins and Dobson valleys on Thursday with the Neumann
Range in the middle distance
Keyla Costa and
Christina Ferguson at Omarama for coffee and lunch at the
Wrinkly Ram after a flight over the Ben Ohau Mountains and
23 September 2012
The Wings Wheels and
Water event at Lake Ruataniwha was a great success yesterday.
Chris displayed the Ag-Cat during the airshow and Pukaki
Airport saw over 50 visiting aircraft. Today we did flights up
to Pukaki and out to Lake Ohau.
air-to-air photo of the Ag-Cat over the Pukaki River taken
after the air show. Photo: John
of the 50 visiting aircraft parked on the cross vector
14 September 2012
The new summer season
is now underway. Chris flew the Ag-Cat south two days
ago, just a day after they were clearing snow off the runway
in Queenstown! The spring snowfall has left the Mackenzie Basin
Ag-Cat back at Pukaki. The snow in the distance is on Mt
Maud, part of the Two Thumb Range near Burkes Pass.
Crossing the Geraldine River
on the one hour flight south from Ashburton to Pukaki
across the Mackenzie Basin toward Mackenzie Pass
1 September 2012
Spring arrived today
with mild weather and we did three flights from Ashburton
including one to Geraldine. Next Saturday we head back to
Pukaki Airport for summer.
Johnson and Michael Bartlett heading out on a flight over
their farms to Geraldine today.
28 August 2012
Today we did a
nice flight out to the Pacific coast and Waterton with
Richard Scott and Anne-Gaelle Villacroux.
out over the Pacific Ocean near Waterton on Saturday
19 August 2012
week we had a lot of rain in Canterbury but the weekend
weather was suitable for flying. As we near spring, we
are starting to get more bookings and enquiries which is great!
Roll on the warm weather!
Fraser and grandson Alex, both from Winchester, about
to head away on a flight this afternoon.
12 August 2012
For those wanting
something to do over the last month of winter, we suggest
a day out at the Ashburton Aviation Museum. In addition
to being able to fly in the Ag-Cat, you can see the museum's
latest acquisition, an Aermacchi trainer, which is now fully
Ashburton Aviation Museum's Aermacchi trainer sitting
in front of an A-4 Skyhawk at the museum yesterday.
31 July 2012
Sunny and warm
conditions on Saturday saw three flights from Ashburton.
The Ag-Cat will remain in Ashburton until September, when
we return to our base at Pukaki.
Aerodrome with Mt Hutt in the distance at left.
Sheridan and Craig Philip about to head away on a
Town and Around flight.
across the Canterbury Plains to Banks Peninsula
and Chris Price after their flight
23 July 2012
and Tara returned from two weeks holiday in the south-west
USA today. Aviation highlights included driving through the
"Boneyard" in Tucson and visiting the Pima, Milestones of Flight,
Planes of Fame, Castle and Titan Missile museums. Chris also
visited Edwards Air Force Base and got to fly an LS4 glider at
El Tiro glider port.
carcass of a Voodoo fighter lying in the Mojave desert
at Edwards Air Force Base. The air temperature was over
(Navy versions of the C-47/DC3) located in a scrap
yard adjacent to the Davis-Monthan "Boneyard" in Tucson,
A Titan II missile sitting
in an underground silo south of Tucson. When operational,
it could carry a 9 megaton warhead - 560 times more powerful
than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Thankfully this one is just
a museum piece!
after landing at El Tiro glider port. The glider
was kindly loaned by USA friend Scott Jones - thanks
A front-on view of a Cold
War B-36 inter-continental strategic bomber - the largest
combat aircraft ever built. One of only four survivors, this
one is located at Castle Air Museum, California.
5 June 2012
the Red Cat was the lead story in The Press "Escape"
supplement newspaper - an excellent article written by
David Killick who flew with us from Pukaki.
article by David Killick in The Press newspaper
Watson, who works for Air New Zealand Engineering,
after a flight on the Saturday of Queen's Birthday weekend.
26 May 2012
day at Ashburton today. The Ashburton Aviation Museum
acquired an ex-RNZAF Aermacchi and an ex-Burmese Air Force
Mk 53 Percival Provost last week. If you are looking for something
to do this winter, come and check out the huge collection of
aircraft the museum now has, including an RNZAF Skyhawk acquired
Ag-Cat after the last flight of the day
Swan and Christine Topham rugged up and raring
20 May 2012
season at Ashburton is now well underway with good
weather and mild temperatures. On Thursday CAA extended the
company's Air Operator Certificate for five years following
a successful re-entry inspection last week.
we had the honour of flying 89-year old Bill Paterson.
Bill worked as a leading aircraftman for the RNZAF maintaining
Tiger Moth biplanes at Ashburton Aerodrome 70 years ago!
and daughter Susanna Conradie and Marelize Febervee,
from South Africa, prior to a flight this afternoon.
over the Ashburton Domain and the central town
area at lunchtime today.
2 May 2012
ends a fantastic season! Despite the global recession
and a 25% downturn in Canterbury tourism, we have ended
the summer season on a high with an increase in revenue
and passengers flown compared to last summer. In April we were
up over 50% on the same month last year! Today, Chris flew
the Ag-Cat up to Ashburton, where it will remain until mid-September.
Mt Cook at 7.20 am this morning. This is the view
from our section at Pukaki Airport. The air temperature
the first snows arriving, its time to head north.
Photo taken yesterday - our last day of the season.
flying the Ag-Cat up the Canterbury Plains to Ashburton for
winter. What a stunning day!
22 April 2012
beautiful autumn weather continues. Recent flights
have included a photo shoot of a local station and heading
out to Mt Barth on the Wild Wilderness option.
southern face of Mt Barth on a flight with Graeme
and Shirley Slatter, residents at Mt Cook village.
down on the historic Benmore Station with the
trees in their autumn colours.
view back up the Ohau canal from the Ohau A power
station with the Ben Ohau mountains in the distance.
Barlow with his grandmother and Twizel resident
Dawn Lavery about to head away on an evening flight.
16 April 2012
morning's are now getting a little cooler but the
fine weather has returned after a day of rain last week.
Glenmary Glacier with fresh snow on the tops during
a flight with Emma Trick and Ian Pendle on Saturday.
Biggles beats watching The Wiggles
new sign on the hangar
8 April 2012
end of March and the first week of April has seen
the best weather of the season with lots of sunshine, little
wind and flights every day. Yesterday Tarn, Tara and
Chris flew to Wanaka for the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow.
What a great day! Today we did seven flights after the fog
cleared just before noon.
from Wanaka after the show. Photo:
and Tarn at Warbirds over Wanaka yesterday
A P-51 Mustang
flies below a smoke ring during the mock airfield
Ag-Cat in the Display Park alongside North
American Harvards and de Havilland Tiger Moths
Ag-Cat parked opposite to a Mk IX Spitfire
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