However you can still fly in the historic ZK-AMY DC3 as I did, just without the benefit of a rugby hero companion as a fellow passenger.
Southern DC3 is committed to preserving this last plane in flying condition and as the trusts chair David Horsburgh (and AIR NZ airbus captain) said, “it’s thanks to passengers who help this happen” he continues, “its also the only plane where passengers can still go onto the flight-deck.”
This ‘old girl’ is only one of two still flying in New Zealand and interestingly, ZK-AMY was built by women and I’m told it has the same wing-size as a 737. The captain says it’s a “very soft ride’ almost like a “magic carpet”.
In this age of electronics they can fly this plane ‘with no instruments” , pretty good for a plane who is celebrating its 76th anniversary this month (December 2011) thirty years after the Wright brothers (and NZs Richard Pearse) first flew.
Richie (who is the patron of the Southern DC3) tells me the day before he had been gliding “one of the only places I can be alone”. Despite that he was very gracious with people who wanted his autograph or (like me) his photo.
But, back to the plane trip which left from Christchurch International Aiport: It was like a magic carpet, real curtains, great seats and walking up the aisle it felt like I was walking uphill and the views were fabulous as it flies so low. Only 3 weeks after the September 4th (7.1) earthquake it was good to fly over my city. The view will be very different now after the smaller, but more damaging February one.