Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 5 July 2012 Contents LOCAL NEWS
Page 10 | 5 July, 2012
The sky is a playground, not the
limit, for two Fiordland Aero Club
novice pilots who have recently
Mike Bloomfield and John Paton
have been training under Peter
Garlick and are his first students
to qualify for flying solo. They are
also the first pilots to reach that
status since the club’s move to
its new site at Te Anau Airport at
The Fiordland Aero Club was
established in 1971, around the
time when Te Anau’s original air
strip was shifted from the site
currently occupied by the Caltex
petrol station and Fiordland
Medical Centre to a place
along the Waiau River where a
clubhouse was built through the
efforts of the club members.
Nearly 40 years later the airstrip
was shifted again to its current
location near Manapouri after
the Southland District Council
purchased the land from Air New
Zealand. The council closed the
Waiau strip and bought the old
clubhouse which provided part of
the funding for the new hangar.
Since the move in 2010 the club
membership has trebled to over
60 members, according to the
club president, Murray Hagen.
Work has just been completed
on Stage 1 of the hangar where
space is divided into aircraft
storage area and Aero Club
premises with an office, an
ablutions room and kitchen/
lounge area. Club members have
put in many hours of voluntary
labour to bring the building to its
current state of near-completion.
“We are lucky to have many skilled
people amongst us who are very
generous with donating their time
to the club. Thanks to their efforts
we now have a building valued at
$200,000. We have connected
power, water and sewerage to the
hangar and painted the whole
interior. All that’s left to do is
putting down new carpet and lino,
but in the meantime we will just
paint the concrete floor until we
have raised enough funds for the
floor coverings,” Mr Hagen said.
As for future plans, the club would
now like to buy another aircraft
to add to the fleet of two they
already own. They have been using
a Pioneer 200 Sparrow training
plane built in Italy and named
ZK-SYD after its previous owner,
a local farmer, Syd Harvey.
“We have been leasing it from
Syd’s son for the purpose of
training new pilots and when he
offered it up for sale the club
decided to buy it,” Mr Hagen said.
“We received some funding from
will have to
afford it,” .
pilot is not
join the Recreational Aircraft
Association New Zealand (RAANZ)
at the cost of $70 for the annual
membership and become a
member of a local aero club to get
access to a training aircraft and
instructors. The Fiordland Aero
Club membership fee is $100 per
year which includes landing fees,
and the aeroplane charge-out rate
is $150 per hour.
Most people need 10-20 hours
of flying with an instructor before
they can fly solo. The health
requirements are also not as
stringent as for commercial pilots.
“If you can drive a car and pass
a general medical test every two
years, you can learn to fly,” Mr
“Flying solo is character building,”
commented John Paton.
“You need good hand/eye
coordination and have to be able
to juggle many balls in your head
at once. When things go wrong,
you can’t just stop on the side of
the road,” he said.
John built his own aircraft
RANS-S7 from a kitset he
purchased in the USA, a bush
plane that can land on short rough
airstrips, so he “can fly to Martin’s
Bay and catch some blue cod or
whitebait” whenever he likes to.
The club offers trial flights with
instruction and sells $80 gift
vouchers for half-hour flights
around Te Anau and Manapouri
where you can have a go at
controlling the plane yourself.
For further information, contact
Murray Hagen on 021-220-7889.
Club finds its wings in new hangar
Fiordland Aero Club members all pitched in with the building and
fit-out of their new hangar at the Te Anau Airport at Manapouri.
PHOTO: Russell Baker
By Alina Suchanski
Fiordland Aero Club president Murray Hagen outside the club’s nearly-completed new hangar at the Te Anau Airport at
PHOTO: Alina Suchanski
The Fiordland Aero Club’s latest members to achieve their solo pilot rating
John Paton (left) and Mike Bloomfield.
The 34th Te Anau District Spring
Flower Show might not be until
October but the flower show
committee is reminding people what
to do with their daffodil bulbs now to
get blooming good results in spring.
The popularity of the Te Anau
Flower Show is growing with more
participants keen to enter each
year. Last year’s show was the
second biggest in the country with
the number of blooms displayed
surpassed only by the National
Flower Show hosted in Christchurch.
Committee member Judy Matthews
said that of the 100 pots with
daffodils distributed among the Te
Anau community last year, 80 were
submitted back as exhibits for the
2011 Spring Flower Show.
More than 300 daffodil bulbs have
been supplied again this year by
Gordon Coombes of Pleasant Valley
Bulbs and distributed to members
of the Te Anau community in pots
donated by Mitre10. Mrs Matthews
recommends that the potted daffodil
bulbs be kept in a cool place in a
shady part of your garden until mid-
July when they need to be moved to a
sunny position and watered regularly.
The flowers should appear about
October in time for the Spring Show.
After the show take the pots back
home and enjoy the blooms for as
long as they last. When the plants die
back lift the bulb, allow to dry, and
store in a cool place until planting
in the garden in autumn, preferably
before the end of May.
are looking for
small glass bottles
and narrow necked
herb/spice jars for
displaying flowers at
the show in October.
The jars can be
dropped off at the
Te Anau School
office. Contact Mrs
Matthews on (03)
Going potty over daffodils
Te Anau School pupils (from left) Brooke Scott, Nate
Olson and Chelsie Ledington with the potted daffodil
bulbs they are tending ahead of this year’s Spring
PHOTO: Alina Suchanski
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