The dot in the sky has landed

The Northland Age - - Local News -

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.

PIC­TURE / PAUL MULLER

The Kaitaia Aero Club’s new Cessna Sky­catcher is at­tract­ing plenty of ad­mir­ers.

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