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
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
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
Approaching Mt Cook from the north on a flight
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
Flying down Lake Benmore to Benmore Dam on Tuesday
with Phil Mansfield.
Looking down on the isthmus separating Lake Middleton from Lake
The Ag-Cat stripped backed to its birthday suit in Timaru on Wednesday.
German visitors Weibke Postma and Sonja Schneider after a flight
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
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
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
Looking up the Hooker Valley on Tuesday
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
What we like to see - three campervans queued up
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
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
Lake Ohau this morning.
Approaching Glenmary Glacier from the south
James Sanderson and Gavin
Kinnaird from the UK.
The icing on the cake - Mt Glenmary at
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
Backbone Peak on the Ben Ohau Range this morning.
sunrise photo that featured on the TVNZ evening weather programme
on Saturday 28th September.
and Wilson McKay from Karitane about to head away on an adventure
to talk about when they get back to school!
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!
up the Hopkins and Dobson rivers this afternoon.
Wang and Shuchunn Tan, independent travellers from China, after their
mountain flight today.
down a glassy Lake Benmore to Benmore Dam on the second
flight of day.
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
16 September 2013
After cold and windy conditions
last week, things warmed up today with a busy afternoon
and several flights.
force winds last Tuesday and Wednesday prevented any flights.
This was Lake Pukaki on Tuesday morning!
Siksna and Arnolds Saulis from Australia after the second
9 September 2013
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.
and Eva Dreger from Georgia, USA, after a flight
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.
Cook from the Pukaki Visitor Centre on Saturday
up Lake Ohau this afternoon on a flight with Ken
and Robyn Reese from Christchurch.
Walsh and Raham MacHarper after the first flight
of the season.
29 August 2013
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.
snow on the Ben Ohaus.
skies. Snow covers Burkes and Mackenzie passes
in the distance. Three more days to spring!
10 August 2013
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.
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
spreading! After Pic of Pic's Peanut Butter fame flew
with us last summer, his new labels feature three biplanes!
toaster caravan and the Ag-Cat last summer.
29 June 2013
was as good as it gets for winter flying - no wind,
clear skies and the mountains plastered with lots of snow.
across the Canterbury Plains today looking toward
Mt Somers and Mt Hutt.
30 May 2013
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
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!
flying the Ag-Cat across the Mackenzie Basin
to Timaru at sunrise on Wednesday morning.
South Canterbury coastline north of Timaru prior
to landing at Timaru Airport.
23 April 2013
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.
colours on the Ohau River
and Kelly Dreadon, dairy farmers from the Waikato,
about to head away on a flight this morning.
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
14 April 2013
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
Ben and Yvonne Morgan from West Yorkshire, UK.
Ben (centre) got to accompany his parents on two flights
out across Lake Ruataniwha to the dairy farms
between Twizel and Omarama on Friday.
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!
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.
Martin and Jemma Gibson after a flight over
into the Maitland valley on Easter Saturday during
a Wild Wilderness flight with Alistair and Lesley
The view of
Mt Cook from Braemar Station while catching up with
American biplane pilots Stu and Roni MacPherson.
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