Friday, 22 August 2014

My brother Marty, in the mid ‘70s, purchased an aircraft to enable him (he hoped) to more cheaply accumulate flying hours towards his commercial pilots licence. He eventually went on to gain his CPL and flew for a number of years for Mount Cook Airlines at Mt Cook, landing tourists on the glaciers in ski-equipped Pilatus Porters, and also for a Swiss company, ZIMEX, in Algeria and northern China. A splendid description of one of his adventures can be found here.

Dad was tickled pink that Marty soloed 50 years to the day after he did.

The aircraft Marty bought was an Auster J/1 Autocrat ZK-AUX, which, sadly, is now in bits in someone’s shed.

ZK-AUX had an interesting past, having landed on two aircraft carriers - HMS Illustrious in 1946, and then aboard HMCS Magnificent in 1948, which is really something for a civilian plane.  More on the aircraft here and here.

ZK-AUX was the aircraft in which three of our children sampled the delights of heavier than air transport. Although I can’t remember, I suspect that my first flight was also in an Auster  – probably ZK-APO.

I was fortunate to have been aboard for the kids’ first flight and was able to get a few photos.

Here is the pilot. Youngest brother, Marty.

Here is the view over the bow. The Boulder Bank and Port Nelson.

And here are the first-timers trying not to show any nervousness. L-R:  Susan 5½, Nathan 3½ and Paulette 7 years old. Ca. Oct 1977


  1. Great reading Marty's account of the ferry flight Dave. I used to fly with Marty quite abit in AUX when I was a kid. Incidently you mentioned APO which reminds me Martin Meehan let me take it for a fly up the valleys behind Twizel about 15 years ago. I think he thought I wasn't going to bring it back!!
    Marty gave me an Auster rating not long after I started at Cook in one of the original skiplanes BLZ. Thanks for the memories !

  2. Good one, Brent! You feathered ones have always made me envious.

    Check out my blog of 12 Aug for more on APO.