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Mount Cook Ski Planes With Landing On Glacier  
User currently onlineN178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1679 posts, RR: 65
Posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 12243 times:
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Hi and a warm welcome to my Trip Report 2010. I have chosen a few of the more interesting flights I’ve done this year to write up the trip reports and each report will be presented by both picture and video to illustrate the trip with the objective bringing reader closer to what I actually encountered. There are a total of 3 Trip Reports as follows:

1. Fiji Island Hopping on Air Pacific B747-400 and BNI Islander
2. Flying DC-3 and L1049 “Connie” Super Constellation
3. Mount Cook Ski Planes with landing on Glacier


http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC.jpg

To Start:

Where is Aoraki/Mount Cook?

It is in South Island of New Zealand, it is the highest mountain in Australia/NZ. Accessible by a flight to Christchurch or Queenstown and 3 hours drive. Mount Cook itself have an airport served by Mount Cook Ski Planes and helicopters. However, no other schedule commercial flights operates there currently.


About Mount Cook Ski Planes

Mount Cook Ski Planes is the only company licensed to land in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park on the Tasman Glacier. The Tasman Glacier is the longest glacier in New Zealand and the closest scenic glacier landing site to Aoraki/Mount Cook.

All landing flights allow you to experience the thrill of a Ski Plane glacier landing with 10 minutes on the snow to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Southern Alps. After landing on the snow the engine is shut down so you can enjoy the natural quiet of the mountains.



15 Aug 2010

The morning of the day was very foggy until 11am. I was in the hope of getting the sightseeing flight take off but this was later pushed back to 1:30pm. The fog finally lifted around noon and the Ski Planes (Cessna 185 and Pilatus Porter PC6) were busy taking dayskier up to the glacier. After the fog lifted, the day was gorgeous with deep blue sky. The 1:30pm departure have a total of 5 pax including myself and my girlfriend.

After requesting the “jumpseat” with pilot, my girlfriend was able to sit next to the pilot and me behind in the 2nd row. I was particularly relieved to learn that the company will use Pilatus PC6 to operate the sightseeing flight instead of a Cessna. Both planes have Ski fitted to the wheels, just like how we ski !
The flight is approximately 15 minutes each way with 10 minute break at the glacier, it operate up to 8000 feet above sea level.

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC1.jpg

Mount Cook Airport @ 11am. Still some low cloud before completely lift up by noon.

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC2.jpg

At 1:30pm all passengers boarded, my girlfriend sitting next to the pilot

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC3.jpg

Flight begins in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park.

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC4.jpg

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC5.jpg

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC6.jpg

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC7.jpg


As you can see the photos, the proximity of the mountains and valley is very close to the wings of our Pilatus PC6. It is extremely scenic the whole way up to the glacier and return. Obviously, having a sunny day definity would have enhanced the viewing pleasure.

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC8.jpg

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC9.jpg

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC10.jpg

Pilatus PC6 Turbo itself is a very steady, fast climbing but slow cruising plane (around 100kts speed). A type introduced 50 years ago, the one I’ve flown ZK-MCN was built in 1978.

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC11.jpg

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC12.jpg

Fly the full length of the Tasman Glacier, passing Aoraki/Mount Cook before landing on the Tasman Glacier,
the longest glacier in New Zealand.

The Glacier Landing

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC13.jpg

You can see a company Pilatus on the Glacier below us.

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC14.jpg



http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC15.jpg

The landing feels sturdy, not soft, just like landing on a runway. It turned on the “snow appeared” ground is actually ice. I should of knew this earlier, it is on a glacier as the brochure said! I enjoyed the glacier landing with panaroma view from the window. The Glacier is sloped , we land from the top and gently ski downward to a stop and park next to another company ski plane.


A landing video of the Ski Plane (Recommend to view)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SpP3h8siBY&feature=channel


While we are on the ground, the ice is very slippery so my advice is to wear Anti-Ice skiboot so you have the mobility to walk far and snap a shot of the plane from far. It is very quiet there with a feeling of miles away and very tranquil ! Everyone seizing the opportunity by taking pictures on the ground.

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC16.jpg

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC17.jpg

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC18.jpg

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC19.jpg


While we are on the ground, another Ski plane taxi past us and took off rolling down the slopey airstrip on Glacier.


http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC20.jpg

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC21.jpg

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC22.jpg

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC23.jpg

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC24.jpg


The next is our turn, you really can’t feel the lift off since the plane is going against downhill slope by accelerating and try to stay afloat.



Please see the inflight video on the effortless takeoff scenes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiw2ienOTes&feature=channel




Once airborne the flight home features the spectacular Hochstetter Icefall.


http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC25.jpg

After passing Hochstetter Icefall, we’re leaving the mountains and returning back to Mount Cook Basin and the airport.

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC26.jpg

On final approach to Mount Cook Airport

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC27.jpg

Our Ski Plane resting in front of the terminal awaits another mission to the Glacer.

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/NZMC/NZMC28.jpg


To conclude the sightseeing flight, it is an awesome and enjoyable experience and remain one of the few affordable experience of landing on a glacier in the world. The South Island of NZ offers so much nature with excellent access. This is not your everyday flight for sure. Who knows where else a plane can land after landing on runway tarmac, landing on water and now landing on glacier.......


Sam Chui


Stay tuned for the trip report on Connie Constelltion and Fiji Island Hopping.  

[Edited 2010-09-09 03:24:33]

18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6414 posts, RR: 38
Reply 1, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 12181 times:

Hi Sam,

Great to see another report from you here and WOW, I'm simply amazed at the awesome experience! Thanks a lot for sharing it with us all! The Southern Alps are just amazing and you've captured it well. Flying gives a very different perspective of the mountains, especially when you go so close to them!

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
To conclude the sightseeing flight, it is an awesome and enjoyable experience and remain one of the few affordable experience of landing on a glacier in the world. The South Island of NZ offers so much nature with excellent access. This is not your everyday flight for sure. Who knows where else a plane can land after landing on runway tarmac, landing on water and now landing on glacier.......

Most certainly.. Something I hope to do some day.

Thanks again, looking forward to reading the other 2!


Regards,
Nicholas



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently onlineN178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1679 posts, RR: 65
Reply 2, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 12130 times:
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Greeting Nicholas

Proudly to say the most 3 interesting flights (This TR and 2 reports to come) are all from AUS-NZ-FIJI, Oceania region!

I also read your CV580 and AR A340-200 TR with great passion and interest. The interior of AR has been the same since I flown on it in 2002, and my flight from EZE were delayed 10 hours !

10 years ago, I was at your age. You can jump on a CI MD11, CA B747-400, UA B747-400, TG B747-300/400, AR B747-200 to fly AKL to SYD/MEL I remember I took few planes for granted and sadly the invent of PaciicBlue or Jetstar LCC have prohibited legacy cariers on the Trans-tasman run last few years. Otherwise coming to AKL would be whole lot more fun than the current choices!

Cheers

Sam


User currently offlineairpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 946 posts, RR: 26
Reply 3, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 11663 times:

Hi Sam

Nice to see you back posting trip reports again.   And what an incredible and gorgeous one too! Thank you for sharing the pictures and vidoes with us. Landing on a glacier is just so awesome. Also looks like a great place to ski too. How much would a trip like this cost btw?

Look forward to your next 2 reports - both of which look equally unique!

Cheers
airpearl


User currently offlineCrimsonNL From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 1858 posts, RR: 42
Reply 4, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 11579 times:
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Hello Sam,

Freaking amazing report, one of a kind! The pictures are amazing, and I'm sure the flight was too! I can't wait for your Constellation report.

Thanks for sharing, and best regards,

Martijn



Nothing's worse then flying the same registration twice, except flying it 4 times..
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6549 posts, RR: 55
Reply 5, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 11420 times:

Hi Sam!

Amazing report with fantastic picturs!! Very unique flight and I think it's the first one on these forums featuring a landing with skiis and landing on a glacier.

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6414 posts, RR: 38
Reply 6, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 11327 times:

Hi Sam,

Quoting N178UA (Reply 2):
Proudly to say the most 3 interesting flights (This TR and 2 reports to come) are all from AUS-NZ-FIJI, Oceania region!

I'd be interested to know what other flights you took! They're very interesting and I'm definitely looking forward to that Constellation report. The videos look pretty cool! Does it do any charter flights - I notice it flew to CBR for their open day but I've never heard or seen of it flying around anywhere else.

Quoting N178UA (Reply 2):
I also read your CV580 and AR A340-200 TR with great passion and interest. The interior of AR has been the same since I flown on it in 2002, and my flight from EZE were delayed 10 hours !

Ouch, yeah I consider myself lucky that my flight was basically on time! I'm sure you'd enjoy a flight on the CV580!

Quoting N178UA (Reply 2):
I remember I took few planes for granted and sadly the invent of PaciicBlue or Jetstar LCC have prohibited legacy cariers on the Trans-tasman run last few years. Otherwise coming to AKL would be whole lot more fun than the current choices!

That's true but in saying that, there's much more of a variety than what other people have on similar length legs - a big selection from an A320 to an A380.

Quoting airpearl (Reply 3):
How much would a trip like this cost btw?

Take a look here: http://www.skiplanes.co.nz/


Cheers,
Nicholas



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineairpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 946 posts, RR: 26
Reply 7, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 11216 times:

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 6):
Quoting airpearl (Reply 3):
How much would a trip like this cost btw?

Take a look here: http://www.skiplanes.co.nz/


Thanks Nicholas for the link.   Prices are not cheap but very reasonable for the unique experience they're selling. Amazing it's all done in 40 minutes. Time to save up for another N.Z. trip... hehe


User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1188 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 11126 times:

Is there a certain time of year when it's the best time to visit the area? If I am correct it's winter there now?

User currently onlineN178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1679 posts, RR: 65
Reply 9, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 11095 times:
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Quoting airpearl (Reply 3):
How much would a trip like this cost btw?

Hi Air Pearl. Thanks for your comment. The cost was NZD$375 for glacier landing. It is quite steep. But apart from that, NZ offer excellent food, scenery, very friendly people. Everytime I go there, never disappoints. There are many sightseeing flights/helicopters operate in Queenstown, South Island, Mount Cook Region and Rotorua /Lake Taupo. You can try both Ski plane and float plane in NZ  

There are many options to fly to NZ as Nicholas mentioned, ranging from A320 to A380 via Australia .

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 4):
I can't wait for your Constellation report.

Hi CrimsonNL! I am hoping to finish writing up the Connie Report tonight !

Make sure you visit the Video Link. For some reason, when I copied and pasted the Youtube HTML code, it doesn't work on A.net ....I have to show the link explicitly....

Quoting The777Man (Reply 5):
Very unique flight and I think it's the first one on these forums featuring a landing with skiis and landing on a glacier.

Hi Lars, I believe there are a few people from A.net who have done this, and posted their picture (not TR) in the DB.

I think you must be out of B777 to fly, as you have flown on all operators now ?

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 6):
I'd be interested to know what other flights you took! They're very interesting and I'm definitely looking forward to that Constellation report. The videos look pretty cool! Does it do any charter flights - I notice it flew to CBR for their open day but I've never heard or seen of it flying around anywhere else.

Nicholas, I haven't done much this year apart the usual United or Cathay Pacific flights, which we have a fair numbers of TR already published. I used to only like flying on Jets, exclusively on large jets (B747, B777) . I still prefer this on intercontinental travel. However, I have developed some interest in sightseeing flights (skiplane, floatplane etc) Even myself was surprised, I used to hate anything props !!

For the Connie, It is VERY difficult to get a ride without HARS membership and sponsor, I consider myself extremely lucky, an airport management friend of mine made it happen for me to fly the unthinkable! I owe him all the credit. (you know who you are  


Sam


User currently onlineN178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1679 posts, RR: 65
Reply 10, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 11094 times:
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Quoting lychemsa (Reply 8):
Is there a certain time of year when it's the best time to visit the area? If I am correct it's winter there now?

Hi there,

Weather seems quite good and lot of clear days in the middle of the South Island. Even Christchurch and Queenstown was overcast , Mount Cook Region remain very sunny and clear. You can do it year round on this.

Sam


User currently offlineZKSUJ From New Zealand, joined May 2004, 7092 posts, RR: 12
Reply 11, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 11007 times:

Nice report there, I'm suprised there was no snow at Mount cook Aerodrome itself, I know it does happen and that would have been very panoramic.

NZ used to fly ATR72s into Mount Cook, that would have been great.

Your pics are great and hope you had a great time in our beautiful country


User currently offlineNZ747 From New Zealand, joined Dec 2004, 967 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 10676 times:

Looks like a remarkable trip, very nice pics too. I know a few pilots who used to fly the Mount Cook ski planes before moving on to the HS748 then ATR back in the day and they absolutely loved every minute of it. Its scenes like the ones in your pics that make me miss living in NZ.

Very much looking forward to your Fiji report.

Cheers  


User currently offlinekiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8549 posts, RR: 13
Reply 13, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 10670 times:
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Very different from the usual type of TR , thoroughly enjoyable to read , and illustrated with fantastic photos , will have to try it for myself someday ( when I have more money   )

Quoting NZ747 (Reply 12):
Its scenes like the ones in your pics that make me miss living in NZ.

Trust me , if you were in AKL today you would be longing ( as I am ) to be somewhere else - the weather is truly horrendous , hope that helps alleviate your homesickness 



Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
User currently offline777ord From United States of America, joined May 2010, 494 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 10570 times:

awesome trip report! Definitely rare and unique. You just made me add another thing "to-do" in NZ this winter/summer!

User currently offlineconcordechild From Italy, joined Aug 2009, 44 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 10378 times:

absolutely superb pictures....

User currently offlineBZNPilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2006, 262 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 10302 times:

Hi Sam,

What an absolutely great report! Certainly something very unique for this forum. The little Pilatus looks like a great mountain aircraft and your photos are just stunning. I am just a much a "mountain freak" as I am an "airplane freak" and your trip report combined my two loves into one!!

Thanks for sharing.

BZNPilot


User currently onlineronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 17, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 10073 times:

Hey Sam!

Great to see you here on the forums my friend  

This seemed like an excellent experience, and quite a scenic one too. The pictures are absolutely stunning!!!! Definitely the best quality on this website, and i think we all agree on this  


Looking forward to the Air Pacific TR!

Cheers,
Roni



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6747 posts, RR: 77
Reply 18, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 9418 times:

Hi Sam,

now I finally found the third report of your series. What a great sightseeing flight, the scenery is awesome!


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
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