Monday, June 18, 1990

New Zealand from the Air

In June 1990, I headed to New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii for a one-month vacation with former classmates. Early in the trip, I arrived in Rotorua, New Zealand, and was told that a seaplane service was available nearby. I just couldn't resist, and this was one of the first flights that convinced me to pursue a pilot's license the moment I returned home.

Above: The Cessna being fueled before take-off from Lake Rotorua.

Above: My friends and I before the flight.

Above: Flying over Pan Lake, located in the "Echo Crater" (foreground), and "Inferno Crater" (back) in the Waimangu Geyser area, near Lake Rotomahana. There is substantial hydrothermic activity in this area and several major eruptions occured in the early- to mid-19th century.

Above: The hills surround Lake Tarawera.

Above: The Te Whekau lagoon (curiously with the water in the shape of Australia).

Above/below: Lake Okataina.

Above: The town and shores of Lake Okareka.

Above: A major lumber yard near Rotorua.

Above: The apron at Rotorua's lakefront airport.

Above: Back over Rotorua for a smooth water landing.

A WEEK LATER... I was again in the cockpit, but this time in a very different plane!

Above: The Air New Zealand Boeing 747 before my departure from Auckland.

Above: Cleared for takeoff on Runway 23, but the takeoff roll was aborted just before V1. A faulty airspeed indicator on the copilot's side was to blame. It took an hour to replace and then I was back in the air.

Above: It came as a surprise, but after a polite question, the flight attendant allowed me and my two friends to visit the cramped cockpit. I was even allowed to turn the plane using the autopilot knob. It was also the captain's last flight before retirement, so he was more than happy to be a nice host. And no, the copilot is not asleep in the picture nor was he knocked unconscious by the strength of my cologne!

All photos copyrighted 2008 A.C. Frieden.