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Our Excellent Airadventure in New Zealand

By Kathy Reducka and Bruce Wheaton, EAA Chapter 245, Ottawa

It is now a year and a half since our vacation in New Zealand with Airadventures, and we are still raving about the trip. It was by far one of our best holiday experiences. If you are a pilot and would like to experience New Zealand in a unique way, I would highly recommend Airadventures. Graeme Donald, the pilot and proprietor, was extremely knowledgeable about licensing requirements and procedures, and he was able to expedite Bruce's private pilot certificate.

With ready access to instructors at the Manawatu Flight Training School in Feilding, test flights and training were easily arranged.

Bruce and Katie
Bruce with flight instructor Katie and WPO

Although flying was our main goal, Graeme and Marie are wonderful hosts, and their home is a peaceful oasis that we used as a base for our holiday on the North Island. When we were not able to fly due to weather, they had wonderful ideas for day or overnight driving trips. However, with their hospitality, I was happy not to venture far, reading, relaxing, and enjoying Marie's great food and wonderful New Zealand wine.

View from the bedroom
View from the guest room at Graeme and Marie Donald's home.

New Zealand is a beautiful country, and exploring by plane allowed us to see so much very easily and comfortably in a well-maintained aircraft. With landing strips everywhere and the flexibility afforded with the Cessna 172 Graeme arranged for us to fly, we were able to see a lot of the countryside. Picnic lunches prepared by Marie made for a perfect reason to land at a small airstrip en route to a destination and enjoy the serenity of rural New Zealand.

Landing Strip
Our hosts' landing strip.

Graeme's many years of flying, knowledge of small aircraft, and providing us with a local cell phone and Spidertracks personal tracking device made me feel safe at all times when flying.

Graeme and Marie
Graeme and Marie just after landing

As well, Graeme and Marie's suggestions for destinations based on our interests and the weather conditions were incredibly valuable. I can't say enough about our fabulous experience with Airadventures and would recommend them to anyone with a PPL interested in a flying holiday in beautiful New Zealand.

View over far Northeast Coast of North Island
View over far Northeast Coast of North Island.

Bruce heard about Graeme on GlasNet, then met him at Oshkosh!

There were lots of canyon flying; most of the pictures are from the plane while we were flying around, so they give you an idea of what flying is like.

View over Northeast Coast of North Island
View over Northeast Coast of North Island.

The flying regs are very similar to Canada, so it only took a little over a day, after a few test flights, to process the NZ private pilot certificate. We were landing mainly on grass and had to circle to scare sheep off runways.

If you would like more information about the best time to go, places to visit, etc., contact Graeme Donald via e-mail.

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