The dot in the sky has landed
Anyone who cast their eyes skyward on December 28 as they looked out over 90 Mile Beach might have spotted a tiny dot way out in the distance. That dot was the Kaitaia Aero Club’s new Cessna 162 Skycatcher, making its way from Brisbane to Kerikeri, its port of entry, with pilot Stuart Caling at the controls.
The previous day he had flown the fourhour leg from Brisbane to Lord Howe Island, followed by the 1409.91km flight to Kerikeri, taking seven hours, 20 minutes and 15 seconds. His course took him directly over Kaitaia, passing at 2.46pm, whizzing along at 188.76km/h at 3488 feet.
Some Kaitaia Aero Club members flew another aircraft alongside the Skycatcher as it neared its destination, taking photos, and, after easing it through the entry formalities, delivered it to Kaitaia for a wash and what club vice-president Paul Muller described as a well earned rest.
The Kaitaia Aero Club had a rich history dating back some 90 years, Mr Muller said, having been involved in search and rescue, charter, air ambulance and photography flights, coastal patrols, even military support, and had opened the door to professional careers for countless air crew who were now plying their trade on routes around the world.
“As times have changed, so too have compliance costs, and the rising difficulty of participation,” he added however.
“This means that gaining such things as an aviation medical can be expensive, and beyond the ambition of many who just want to beetle around locally, maybe taking a mate along, just having fun.
“This is now possible with a simplified, automotive-style medical in a Class 2 microlight, and the Cessna 162 Skycatcher makes it possible to carry out both bona fide general aviation flight training while at the same time catering for casual recreational club flying in what is called an LSA (Light Sport Aircraft).
“This aeroplane is simple, state of the art and cost-effective, meaning that the club will now be able to slash the hire rate, making it attractive to a wider membership,” he said.
The plane was “as new”, with dual electronic flight instrument screens, the latest GPS technology, emergency locator transmitter, avionics (radios) and transponder. Best of all, it had a “bullet-proof” Continental O-200D engine.
Everyone was welcome to check out the “famous, iconic Kaitaia Aero Club and its fun-loving members”, and to track Stuart Caling’s “transTasman Buzz”, at https://ausshare.inreach.garmin.com/ StuartCaling, password VH-EPO.
The Kaitaia Aero Club’s new Cessna Skycatcher is attracting plenty of admirers.