28 March 2014

Today was one of our busiest days of the season with seven flights. Our first flight of the day was low-level to the upper Tasman Glacier and back past Pioneer Hut below Mt Cook. A surprise visitor on Wednesday was the first jet to land at Pukaki, here for the Maadi Cup Rowing Regatta.


Looking up the Hochstetter Icefall below Mt Cook this morning.

The first jet to land at Pukaki Airport, a Cessna Citation III.


The upper Tasman Glacier


Mt Tasman from near Plateau Hut - a perfect day!


Girls from the Pukekohe High School rowing team shouted their coach Ian McKinnon a flight over the Regatta this evening.

20 March 2014

It was nice to hear the sound of another Pratt and Whitney Wasp Junior engine on the airfield last week with the visit of the Auckland-based de Havilland Beaver ZK-CKH owned by the Beaver Preservation Trust.

The classic lines of the de Havilland Beaver which is powered by the same engine as the Ag-Cat.

The Beaver's instrument panel and yoke.


Michael Robertson and Gwyneth McAlpine from Portland, Oregon, after a Three Lakes flight this afternoon.


The Ag-Cat parked up enjoying the warm evening Mackenzie sunshine.

9 March 2014

Another great week has gone by with multiple flights to Mt Cook National Park and lots of people in Twizel for the Meridian South Island Secondary Schools Rowing Championships.

The view of Mt Sefton with Mt Cook beyond on Thursday during a flight with Mark and Alexandra Glenister from the UK.


The Ag-Cat at Omarama during a Dambuster flight with Hamish and Kirstie Hunter.
Photo: Graham Erikson.

Fresh snow on the Ben Ohau mountains on Monday morning.


2 March 2014

February 2014 was our busiest February ever and the Ag-Cat flew more hours than any other month since its arrival in New Zealand in 1997. It was also a great week catching up with old friends - Stu and Roni MacPherson, biplane pilots from California, and Adam Dalziel, a Caravan and Squirrel pilot from Canada.

Flying over the Franz Josef Glacier neve with James Leslie in his Rans Coyote microlight on Wednesday morning.

Christine and Manfred Gosfeiger after a flight around Mt Cook on Tuesday.

Looking down on the Ben Ohau mountains while returning from a Mt Cook flight.

A rare visitor to Pukaki - a Saro P.531-2 Scout AH/1 helicopter owned by Chris Marsden. This is the only prototype still flying.


22 February 2014

We had more stunning weather over the last week with temperatures reaching 33'C. It has been nice to get up flying just to cool down!


Approaching Mt Cook from the north on a flight last Sunday.


Florina and Bernard Gaskin enjoying a flight over the Southern Alps and the West Coast glaciers.


Climbing up the east side of Lake Pukaki.


The reflection in Lake Ohau on Thursday.

14 February 2014

The great weather continues with flights every day! On Wednesday, Chris flew the Ag-Cat down to Timaru for its annual maintenance check at Avtek. Highlight of the week was a flight in perfect conditions around Benmore Dam and a lunch stop in Omarama with Phil Mansfield from Palmerston North.

Flying down Lake Benmore to Benmore Dam on Tuesday with Phil Mansfield.

Looking down on the isthmus separating Lake Middleton from Lake Ohau.

The Ag-Cat stripped backed to its birthday suit in Timaru on Wednesday.

German visitors Weibke Postma and Sonja Schneider after a flight yesterday.


7 February 2014

The week gone has been our busiest since starting the company. With clear skies, temperatures as hot as 32'C and a steady stream of visitors, here's hoping the trend continues for the rest of the month!

No wind and clear skies - perfect for reflections on Lake Ohau.

Ashlea and Alvan Jones after a flight during the South Island Club Championships on Lake Ruataniwha.


30 January 2014

Although we are now well into summer, the week gone saw snow fall as low as 4500 feet but temperatures soared to over 30'C two days later! In other news, we have now sold our Omarama hangar, which was constructed before the decision was made to move to Pukaki in 2011.

Evening light on the hills east of the airfield last night looking a bit like Ayres Rock, Australia.

The  view up the Tasman Glacier from Mt Cook last Friday.

Brian Ballard and his wife Qian Zhao Tang after their flight to Mt Cook National Park.

Summer snow down to 4500 feet on the Two Thumb Range on Monday morning, 27th of January.


21 January 2014

Over the weekend, smoke from the Australian bushfires reached New Zealand and was clearly seen in the Mackenzie Basin. Flights over the last week have been varied now that the weather is a little more settled.

Looking up the Hooker Valley on Tuesday 14 January.


Mt Sefton with cloud blanketing the West Coast.


Lake Ohau Village yesterday afternoon - paradise!


Smoke from the Australian bushfires reached New Zealand over the weekend. This was the view on Sunday morning.


11 January 2014

Today dawned calm and mild. With no wind or clouds on the horizon it felt like summer had finally arrived! Over the last few days we have done several flights to Mt Cook, out to Lake Ohau, down to Lake Benmore to celebrate a 25th wedding anniversary, as well as local flights around the Mackenzie Magic circuit.

Approaching the south peak of Mt Cook yesterday on a flight with Amy White and Sean Neville from San Francisco. The Tasman Glacier can be seen on the right.

The Waleczek brothers (Roman and Martin) after a flight to Mt Cook on Thursday afternoon.

Mt Sefton soaring above the Mueller and Hooker valleys.

6 January 2014

"Changeable" might be a polite way of saying what the weather has been doing for the start of 2014. Despite the rain and strong winds preventing us flying on some days, we have been busy on others. Today we did four flights before noon.

Water from Lake Pukaki mixes with water from Lake Ohau near the Mt Cook Salmon Farm on Saturday.


Clearing skies on New Year's Day after three flights


Dunedin mates Peter Robson and Phil McDouall after a flight this morning.


Spilling again. The Pukaki Spillway is currently in action with Lake Pukaki unable to absorb recent rain.


28 December 2013

Flights to Mt Cook have proved popular this month with our greatest monthly total yet. Although much of New Zealand had rain from Christmas Day onwards, it has been flyable at Pukaki every day.


Rudi and Hugo Schoppmann after an evening flight to Mt Cook (seen between them and the Ag-Cat).


How cool is this! Three-year-old Millie from Twizel waves to us every time we fly over the town. Just prior to Christmas, she gifted us this fantastic model of the Ag-Cat she had made! Thanks Millie!


English visitors Martin and Daniel Peach after a flight yesterday.


18 December 2013

The highlight of last week was Dutch visitor Lambertus (Bert) Strouken proposing to his partner of five years Elisabeth (Elly) van Gompel after a flight to Mt Cook on Saturday. Elly said "Ja!".


Elly van Gompel proudly displays her engagment ring moments after Bert Strouken got down on his knee and proposed.

The view back towards Mt Tasman and Mt Cook half an hour before Bert proposed.


Donna Rittinger and Louis (John) Brown from Florida after a flight today. John, who is a 767 pilot for United Airlines, described the flight as "real flying". It was his first time in a biplane, a taildragger and behind a radial engine!


12 December 2013

A new company record today - three consecutive flights to Mt Cook! All our passengers couldn't stop smiling after we landed as we managed to have clear views of the mountains and the Tasman Glacier before the weather deteriorated later in the day.

The summit ridge of Mt Cook at 7.40 am this morning.

Fabio Ballasina and Juliane Bandemer are all smiles after their Mt Cook flight.

One of our hebes in full bloom at Pukaki Airport.


Looking down the lower Tasman Glacier to Tasman Lake on a flight with Gunther Schmel from Germany. Mt Cook is at right.


5 December 2013

The temperature has topped 29'C over the last three days so it has been perfect open-cockpit weather!

Flying over the Dobson River while on the way to the Glenmary Glacier with Jim and Johanna O'Grady from Darlington, Western Australia.

Looking up the Neumann Range towards Mt Cook on Monday.

Tony McKendrick and his mother Heather who was shouted a flight today by the Meridian Maintenance Team, Twizel. Flying conditions were the best we have had so far this season.

Pukaki began spilling yesterday - a spectacular sight from the air. The roar can be heard from Pukaki Airport 5.5 km away.


29 November 2013

We had three flights today before gale force winds arrived mid afternoon and the toys had been put away in the hangar. Later in the day the winds got so strong that water was being blown out of Lake Pukaki and across the road at Pukaki Spillway!


A Republic of Singapore Air Force Hercules makes an approach to Pukaki Airport on Friday 22 November.


The Singapore Lockheed C-130 up close. Impressive!

Thomas and Susanne Herrndorff from Germany on the first flight of the day to Lake Ohau.


17 November 2013

The winter snows are receeding quickly and the days are warming up. Last week the mercury got to 25'C. Today we had our busiest day so far this season with flights out around the mountains near Broderick Pass, out to Lake Ohau a couple of times and also doing the Mackenzie Magic option.

The view down the Hopkins River early this afternoon while checking out hunting locations for two Canterbury clients.

John Hendry from Rakaia and Jamie Swarbrick from Kaiapoi after a flight today.

Mountains near the Huxley River today.

Anna McKinley and Lisa Gray, nurses from Havelock North.

What we like to see - three campervans queued up for flights!

6 November 2013

With a ridge of high pressure over the South Island, we got our first taste of summer during the last few days with fantastic flying conditions.

Flying over the Glenmary Glacier on Sunday.

Byoung Sun Yoo and Gaeun Hu from South Korea proudly pose in front of the Ag-Cat in their wedding attire.

Israeli tourists Michael Kajiloti and Meyjar Gavra after a flight this evening.

Darren Smith doing his annual flight check and on approach to land with Peter Hendriks.


29 October 2013

After a wet and windy weekend, we were back in the air yesterday and today.

Ray and Sally Lambert enjoy the difference in water colours between the partly-glaciated Lake Ohau water and the fresh water of Lake Middleton this morning.

Turning onto finals for runway 25 yesterday.

One of the best reflections we have seen on Lake Ohau. The white lines are jet contrails.

Two classic designs - one slightly more streamlined than the other! Grumman Ag-Cat and Jaguar E-Type today.


23 October 2013

With the sun out and light winds, we did three flights today to Pukaki, over to Lake Ohau and up to the Glenmary Glacier with visitors from the UK and Australia.

Looking up Lake Ohau this morning.

Approaching Glenmary Glacier from the south this afternoon.



James Sanderson and Gavin Kinnaird from the UK.

The icing on the cake - Mt Glenmary at 8500 feet.

15 October 2013

The weather was a bit wild on Sunday and Monday with strong NW winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms but we were back in the air again today. We are seeing an increasing number of Chinese visitors, which is great.

Qian Sun and Weijia Jia from China.

Pilar Moreno and Jose M. Garcia from Spain who are traveling around the world on a BMW motorbike.


7 October 2013

September saw our best turnover for that month of the year since we began operations, so that is an encouraging start to the season. Over the last week, the weather has been changeable but that hasn't stopped us doing flights over the mountains. On the 28th the Television New Zealand News programme featured one of Chris's photos of a sunrise on their weather segment.

Approaching Backbone Peak on the Ben Ohau Range this morning.

The sunrise photo that featured on the TVNZ evening weather programme on Saturday 28th September.

Louis and Wilson McKay from Karitane about to head away on an adventure to talk about when they get back to school!

Looking up the Dobson River from near Irishman Stream.

26 September 2013

With an anticyclone overhead last week, we had lots of frosty starts but today it got to 22'C with warm westerlies - perfect for an afternoon of flying with flights up into the Dobson and down to Benmore Dam with coffee and cakes in Omarama!

Looking up the Hopkins and Dobson rivers this afternoon.

Zhe Wang and Shuchunn Tan, independent travellers from China, after their mountain flight today.

Heading down a glassy Lake Benmore to Benmore Dam on the second flight of day.

Glider pilot Malcolm Wright and his Mum Paula prior to afternoon tea at Omarama's Wrinkly Ram Cafe.


A 5.1 degree frost on Wednesday 18 September.


16 September 2013

After cold and windy conditions last week, things warmed up today with a busy afternoon and several flights.

Gale force winds last Tuesday and Wednesday prevented any flights. This was Lake Pukaki on Tuesday morning!

Mara Siksna and Arnolds Saulis from Australia after the second flight today.

9 September 2013

The weather remains changeable with lots of fronts marching up the country but on some days the temperature has got up to 17'C - warm for this time of year. Today we published our new You Tube video featuring footage of our Mt Cook flights. To view, please click here.

James and Eva Dreger from Georgia, USA, after a flight yesterday.

Students from Otago during a visit today.

2 September 2013

With a big anticyclone over us, the weather has been stunning with cool starts, no wind and daytime temperatures warm enough to wear only a T-shirt.

Mt Cook from the Pukaki Visitor Centre on Saturday evening.

Looking up Lake Ohau this afternoon on a flight with Ken and Robyn Reese from Christchurch.

Simon Walsh and Raham MacHarper after the first flight of the season.

29 August 2013

On Tuesday, Chris and Tarn relocated the Ag-Cat back to Pukaki for the summer season. Last night we had fresh snow on the mountains which made for picture postcard views this morning.

Fresh snow on the Ben Ohaus.


Crystal-clear skies. Snow covers Burkes and Mackenzie passes in the distance. Three more days to spring!

10 August 2013

Preparations are now undeway to return to Pukaki for spring. Today Chris polished the upper wing of the Ag-Cat at Ashburton to protect the paintwork from the summer sun.

The Ag-Cat's upper wing gets a polish in Ian Bigbie's hangar at Asburton aerodrome. The Ag-Cat's size is evident in this photograph when compared to the Cherokee.

12 July 2013

We're spreading! After Pic of Pic's Peanut Butter fame flew with us last summer, his new labels feature three biplanes!


Biplanes going nationwide.

Pics toaster caravan and the Ag-Cat last summer.

29 June 2013

Today was as good as it gets for winter flying - no wind, clear skies and the mountains plastered with lots of snow.

Flying across the Canterbury Plains today looking toward Mt Somers and Mt Hutt.

30 May 2013

With snow to near sea level, the Ag-Cat has had a quiet month. Chris did a banner tow over Ashburton on 11 May and the website has been updated with a new Store and Gallery pages. Chris also published his first novel!



The novel is currently available as an ebook on Amazon and Lulu. Price is just US$5.99.

5 May 2013

The Ag-Cat is now back in Ashburton for the winter. On the day Chris flew the aircraft up to Ashburton via Timaru for it's annual check, the air temperature at Pukaki prior to dawn was minus -4.7'C!



Chris flying the Ag-Cat across the Mackenzie Basin to Timaru at sunrise on Wednesday morning.

The South Canterbury coastline north of Timaru prior to landing at Timaru Airport.

23 April 2013

The drought is no more. Rain fell in the Mackenzie Basin over the last four days and farmers around the rest of the country are happy after good falls. Today the sun was out and the Cat was back in the air with three flights. Fresh snow on the tops and the autumn leaves make flying at this time of year particularly colourful.


Autumn colours on the Ohau River


Warren and Kelly Dreadon, dairy farmers from the Waikato, about to head away on a flight this morning.

The amount of wildlife around the airfield is amazing. Last Thursday a rare white heron flew past the office window and this stoat poked his head out of a hangar drain yesterday.

14 April 2013

Last week was busy with fine weather. We haven't had significant rain for over a month now and farmers throughout the country are hoping for some big falls this coming week.

Bob, Ben and Yvonne Morgan from West Yorkshire, UK. Ben (centre) got to accompany his parents on two flights last Thursday.

Looking out across Lake Ruataniwha to the dairy farms between Twizel and Omarama on Friday.

Mt Cook at sunrise after a frosty start.

5 April 2013

Yesterday we had our first frost for the year - minus 2.4'C. Today saw snow fall to 4000 feet. That means we have had a snowfall every month this season!

Scarlet Cubed. Alistair Scarlett sits astride his scarlet-coloured 1800cc Suzuki in front of an equally scarlet Ag-Cat! With both machines being black, red and chrome, they almost blend into each other.

Tim Martin and Jemma Gibson after a flight over Easter.

Looking down into the Maitland valley on Easter Saturday during a Wild Wilderness flight with Alistair and Lesley Johnson.

The view of Mt Cook from Braemar Station while catching up with American biplane pilots Stu and Roni MacPherson.


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