Kia ora everybody! This is my second trip report and I'm here to share a very unique experience on a domestic flight from Palmerston North to Wellington, on a Beech 1900D.I booked this flight as part of my 2 week long holiday in New Zealand, with 3 other friends. I decided to take this flight while they drive down to Wellington to met me, because I wanted to try the experience of flying in a tiny plane with only
Air New Zealand
Palmerston North Airport, a small terminal building with no airside/landside segregation.
My boarding pass. This is the first airport in New Zealand where the airport levy is paid upfront on site. Not sure if the other smaller NZ airports are like that? Also the check in agent saw my camera and advised me to sit at the last row behind the wing for better views!
The only check in counter there, by Air New Zealand, the only airline with scheduled flights in PMR.
Palmerston North bids travellers goodbye!
The waiting lounge before boarding. One boarding pass scanning gate only! Smallest airport I've been to!
There's still one baggage claim belt, although it's really just ground crew transferring bags from the plane and laying them on the belt straightaway, just behind the wall...
An Air New Zealand DHC-8 arriving from AKL! Head on angle as it taxis into the parking apron
Ground crew putting the parking brakes on the front gear of the DHC-8
Random small helicopter doing flights!
My plane, ZK-EAC finally arrives from WLG! Sorry about the reflection on the glass (yellow splotch)
Head on taxiing shot, at this point i got very excited. First times are always exciting!
Over here, the gates are literally gates. What an experience! I've had many tarmac boarding/alighting experiences but this one just feels so intimate and casual.
Another head-on shot, this time from a close proximity. The first officer waits at the stairway to usher passengers in.
Just before boarding. Note that the stairs also happened to be the doors, folding inwards as it closes. There are no meal/drink services, no flight attendants either, just 18 passengers and 2 pilots, 20 human beings in a metal tube with wings! Not a usual experience for most people in this world!
Legroom shot, not exactly very comfortable, but given the size of the plane and the short journey, it's not going to matter! Besides I'd be extremely preoccupied with other things to be annoyed by such things...
The small cabin, easily snapped from my seat 10A, I was quite lucky, there was going to be nobody seated at 10B so I have basically 2 windows to myself, since 10B's window was easily withing reach of my camera! Also the aisle was impossibly narrow, but for a short flight sector with no meal services, this wasn't going to be a problem, unlike an airline which I flown not too long ago that enjoyed cramping 10 seats across in a 777....
The fueling truck, no, trolley. It's just so cute and amusing to see everything being scaled down to these proportions! Also one more thing i noticed about the Beech 1900D is the tinted windows. Wonder why they were designed like that...
Lavatory at the rear end (hurhurhur) of the plane. I forgot to explore it while the plane was on the ground at both PMR and WLG, and for the duration of the flight the seatbelt sign was on, so no photos of it. I still wonder how it looks like!
Air conditioning located below the window. This is the first time I see such a setup in a plane, it's usually on top!
A rainbow appeared as ZK-EAC taxiied for takeoff. Recently I've had quite abit of luck with seeing rainbows at airports lately. I saw one at LHR 2 weeks ago, one really fat one at OOL 4 days ago and now this!
taxiing, eventually we held at the entrance into the runway for another Air New Zealand DHC-8 to land, which I attempted photographing but the tinted windows of the Beech wasn't very helpful, neither was the slow focussing of my lens. I won't post my photos, but there were strong crosswinds and the DHC-8 was clearly struggling against it while landing, eventually it touched down on it's right main gear, rolled down the runway for 3 seconds before the left main gear and the nose gear touched down on the runway. It looked quite scary actually! Kudos to the flight crew for bringing her down safely!
turning around the end of the runway. I can't remember which direction though!
Rotated at 12:58, goodbye Palmerston North! This is shot from seat 10B, it was really good to have two windows! Although eventually I came to realise that most of the good stuff were shot from seat 10A!
Rainbow in mid-flight! It's nice and big. The other illusion I saw was a glory! That was unfortunately extremely hard to capture on camera successfully so I did not manage to do it. However I'm quite sure there are many pictures of glories on a.net and google anyway. It was my first time seeing one, was quite a thrill to see the planes shadow surrounded by a spectrum of colours!
The Beech 1900D has a low cruise ceiling so views were naturally going to be spectecular, especially mountains that go near the plane's cruising altitude! These are some of the mountains formed by faulting rather than volcanic action, which is a more major geological force in the North Island.
The Manawatu river meandering through the plains of the North Island
Amazing scenery from the air! This flight is beginning to feel like a sightseeing flight!
Trees of the Tararua Forest Park high up in these mountains all covered in snow!
Descending into WLG, we were fighting strong winds! The plane was yawing repeatedly left and right, felt like a struggle, but I kinda expected it. After all Wellington is known for being an extremely windy city!
Wellington is also a hilly city, but having hills surrounding the runway does make it feel slightly unnerving!
Touchdown at WLG at 12:21, for a total flight time of 23 minutes. This goes into my record books as the shortest flight I've ever flown, beating KUL-SIN on a speeding Jetstar A320!
Once again, the feeling of intimacy operating around us. Baggage handling being done just right outside!
I then went into the flight deck for a photo. On this aircraft, there's no separation between flight deck and passenger cabin. If you sit at the frontmost passenger seat, you will be able to get the front view that the flight crew see!
I hope everyone has enjoyed my short and small trip report, just like how the Beech 1900D is!