The phone rang loudly as I sipped a strong coffee over the Nelson Mail on a cold, crisp morning at my Kaiteriteri home. My usual Sunday morning ritual was going to take a turn for the better, one that would change my life, as the morning sun shimmered across Tasman Bay, reflecting off something bright above Nelson.
After a few minutes on the phone to the bank I was soon informed that my loan and approval to open a air freight company had been approved - a dream come true. This was years in the making; I had worked long and hard to get here, to one day run my own aviation business. The time had come: Freight South had been officially opened.
I have big plans for my company: being based out of Nelson will mean that we are very central to the entire New Zealand freight market. However initially being a small company only starting out we will only be able to run one, maybe two, smaller aircraft. Along with that I can only afford to hire one other pilot to operate alongside myself. There are a few candidates out there, namely a couple of family friends who are young, relatively inexperienced pilots with only their CPL/MEIR's. Although this may not sound like much, it will be enough to begin with as I will assign my fellow pilot, whoever it may be, to straightforward daytime runs into the easier airports.
The first thing is to purchase an aircraft, and maybe two if we can afford it and are willing to take the risk. I have my eye set on a Cessna 206 Stationair that has been sitting in a hangar in Te Anau for the past four years. Owned privately and always maintained, it seems that it may be a viable option to begin with. A bit on the 206:
The Cessna 206 Stationair is a single engine, general aviation aircraft with fixed landing gear used in commercial air service and also for personal use. The 206 as originally developed from the popular retractable-gear Cessna 210.
The line's combination of a powerful engine, rugged construction and a large cabin has made these aircraft popular bush and cargo planes. Cessna describes the 206 as "the sport-utility vehicle of the air." These airplanes are also used for aerial photography, skydiving and other utility purposes. They can also be equipped with floats, amphibious floats and skis. Alternatively, they can be fitted with luxury appointments for use as a personal air transport.
Between the start of production in 1962 and 2006 the total Cessna 205, 206 and 207 production has been 8509 aircraft so far - Source Wiki
In terms of a second aircraft, I am looking at a second hand Cessna 172 that has been used for A.T.O's in Wanaka for the past decade - again, this one has been well maintauined but is a wee bit rugged in terms of cosmetics. This should be fine with a bit of a touch up, for my colleague to operate (when I find one).
So once we purchase our aircraft and get the fine print such as insurance organised, we will be set to go! Our hangar space in Nelson is going to be perfect to operate from: convenient, well serviced airport, and close to the pub on Friday nights!