CHRISTCHURCH - NELSON
WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 26, 2008
AIRLINE: AIR NELSON (AIR NZ REGIONAL)
DEPARTURE GATE: 5L
ARRIVAL GATE: REMOTE STAND / ON APRON
DEPARTURE RUNWAY: 20
ARRIVAL RUNWAY: 02 R
AIRCRAFT: BOMBARDIER Q300
I have never done a trip report on a small, regional flight before, and the trip I took yesterday from Christchurch to Nelson was interesting enough (to me) to warrant me writing about it.
I had to get to CHC to NSN and the easiest and most convenient way to do this way to fly of course. (Especially if work pays!)
I arrived at CHC airport quite early as I had finished my appointments before I thought I would, so had about 2 hours to kill. As small-ish airports go, its ok. Nothing too spectacular, but it seems to work well enough.
I really hope some passengers from overseas don't take the following sign the wrong way!
The new system Air NZ has for automated check-in is quick and easy. I forgot to take a photo unfortunately as it was quite crowded there at the time. But after cheking in using the automated machine, it even spits-out your bag tag which you attach yourself. You then put the bag on the conveyor and off it goes - so easy! Strange that there was no I.D. check however. But still beats checking-in at an automated machine and then standing in line 20 minutes for them to tag your bag and put it on the belt - this system NZ has is great in my opinion.
Then it was time to head off for a coffee. Finally... a decent coffee at an airport that is reasonably priced! $3.50 NZD for a cappucino. NIce one! (And I like how everywhere you go in NZ when you order a coffee they ask "chocolate or cinnamon on the top!" Cute!
The cafe had a really good view of runway 02 / 20 and regional props came and parked very close to the window. I never really thought of CHC as an "exciting" airport, but in the hour I sat there, there were a lot of movements, and a lot of variety as you can see from the following pics. (The first one of the small truck I took as it reminded me of one of the coolest flights I have ever done - CHC to ZQN on a HS748 with Mount Cook Airlines... it was when i was a kid, and the first time I had been on a propeller aircraft and the scenery was amazing through those big windows!) As with my other reports, I don't feel a need to caption any shots of aircraft that are easily identified. "Qantas 767 arriving from SYD" is really not necessary in my opionion. I'm sure the intelligent readers of this forum will be able to work out what is going on in the pics! (Apolgies for the glass reflection in some shots).
The lime-green NZ 737 looks cool I think!
EK came in about an hour late from SYD.
The hour went by pretty quickly and then it was time to head off to the gate lounge - strangely numbered 5L. (Is it a gate lounge, or a runway?!) It would also have to be one of the world's smallest gate lounges!
There was also a flight leaving for Palmerston North and Queenstown around the same time as mine, so the area got pretty crowded pretty quickly!
These other 2 flights boarded quickly however, then it was time for us to head out to our Bombadier Q300, ZK-NET. Appropriate rego since I booked online!
Now... sorry if this sounds completely stupid, but there's a lot of people on this website who know so much more about aviation than me. And that's one of the reasons why I come here is to learn - so please don't flame me! I have to admit my knowledge of props isn't anywhere near as good as my knowledge of jets. So can someone please enlighten me as to what is the difference (or main differences) between a Bombardier Q300 and a Dash 80? They look very similar to me. I can tell the difference between the Q300 and an ATR 72 by the undercarrige alone, but if someone can tell me about the Q300 and the Dash 80 and enlighten me I would be appreciative.
Anyway, I took my seat in the back row - 12D. The legroom was really good for such a small aircraft - I was really impressed! Heaps of room!
And it was even better when I took the ridiculously thick Kia Ora Inflight Magazine out of the seat pocket!
By then it was time to start the engines and trundle out to the runway. Our one flight attendant, the ever-smiling bright and bubbly Hayley, did a safety demo which was basically "read the safety card and if you have any questions, ask me!" I like it!
We turned straight on to the runway and commenced our very short take-off roll and then rotated.
The was a great view of CHC City out on the starboard side, and then we flew over a pretty attractive golf course.
We then followed the coast for about 10 minutes before turning inland and flying over some wonderfully rugged country. Flying domestically in NZ must be one of the most enjoyable places for a pilot to work... such amazing landscapes and changing every day!
During this time, the ever-smiling, bright and bubbly Hayley came around and dispensed the in-flight catering for this sector...
Before I knew it, we were over Nelson and well into our decent. Its a really pretty place to fly into - and we did a fantastic, huge, sweeping left-hand turn over the coast and the ocean in order to line up with the runway for landing.
Nelson Airport is really cute - it looks like one of those model airports you buy to make your own airport model layout at home - a very cool look in my opinion! Old fashioned, but still functional and works very well.
As I was in the back row I was last off. The First Office was wandering out of the office as I got to the front. I asked him if I could take a couple of snaps, and he said "no problem whatsoever" which was really nice of him - thanks guys! Realise you don't have to do this, but I appreciate it! What a cool and uncluttered "office" to work in every day!
I thanked the ever-smiling, bright and bubbly Hayley as I disembarked. Even though it was a short flight, she left an impression with the pax and was natural and caring in her manner. A credit to Air NZ, Hayley! Some of us out there appreciate what you do each day! Kudos.
As I got to the bottom of the stairs, I grabbed one last shot of the aircraft front-on. Great looking plane from the front I think!
So there you have it. A very short flight, and hard to form any sort of opinion on it, but at the end of the day, Air Nelson (Air NZ Regional) got me where I wanted to go in safety, comfort, on time and with smiling and customer-service orientated staff. You can't ask for more than that!
Thanks for reading again.