Post by aerofoto - HJG Admin on Jul 3, 2020 22:12:04 GMT
Can't count the number of times I flew pm POLYNESIAN's 5W-FAX (both before and after is SCD conversion) and 5W-ILF (usually in the FD jump seat from TO to TD .... I knew all of their senior crews well) throughout the 1990's .... between AKL, TBU, APW, IUE, and RAR. They had quite an extensive route structure extending from Western Samoa, through the islands of the SW Pacific. to both New Zealand and Australia. During the 1980's and into the early 1990's it received management and technical support from ANSETT AUSTRALIA (as did AIR PACIFIC from QANTAS and as did AIR VANUATU from TAA/AUSYTALIAN AIRLINES also. During 2005 the airlines international routes were taken over by POLYNESIAN BLUE .... a division of VIRGIN BLUE .... and which was later rebranded VIRGIN SAMOA .... until 2017 when the airline evolved into SAMOA AIRWAYS and under which banner it continues to operate today and in conjunction with FIJI AIRWAYS.
Post by Tony Madge - HJG on Jul 4, 2020 4:54:19 GMT
thanks for the information Mark, always good to have the history laid out about airlines and their aircraft, I feel envious I managed only once to bag a seat on a civil airliner back in the day when you could go to the flightdeck, it was a BMA F-100 from Jersey to Birmingham.
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Post by aerofoto - HJG Admin on Jul 4, 2020 6:44:33 GMT
I was doing it so often, before 9/11 (I can't do it now though .... even with my airside clearances/credentials) that the novelty of it all actually started to wear off a bit.
My opportunities/experience were all on B737's, B747's, B767's, DC-8's , and DC-10's .... across the Pacific and the Tasman.
I knew a lot of the girls at POLYNESIAN too .... especially those on the AKL/IUE/AKL route when POLYNESIAN was flying the weekly charter for NIUE AIRLINES (the same girls flew that route each week). After the POLYNESIAN/NIUE AIRLINES charter contract concluded one of those girls wanted to continue flying, but, had to return to AKL for her interview, and re-training. AIR NAURU was by this time servicing the AKL/IUE/AKL route. I was scheduled to return to AKL, from IUE, but, it was a full flight and this particular girl couldn't get on .... so .... I volunteered to get off, so she could get on, and I stayed an extra week on Niue Island. Several years later I bumped into "the same girl" again .... whom also remembered me .... and whom was, by this time, a cabin attendant with ANSETT NEW ZEALAND.
I remember another occasion, with AIR NAURU, on the IUE/AKL route (via TBU). I was originally in the main cabin (B737-200), but, I knew the Yugoslav captain (a contract pilot) whom called me up front, to the FD, where I then remained in the jump seat .... for the IUE/TBU sector. I got a good lesson that day in regard to the usefulness of what pilots like to call "an extra pair of eyes". We were entering the pattern at TBU .... and ATC advised a TWIN OTTER would be crossing our track from right to left. The FO had is eyes peeled out to the right .... whilst the captain did likewise to the left. I was staring ahead when I spotted a dark and pea sized speck ahead and against a backdrop of clouds and below us around a mile or so away .... crossing from right to left (as ATC had advised) .... and at which point I immediately called out "TRAFFIC 12-OCLOCK LOW" .... to the captains appreciative "THANK YOU MARK" response ... .and his call to ATC "NAURU XYZ we have the traffic in sight". After arrival at TBU it was the ground engineers turn in the jump seat (a ground engineer was always carried on these flights). Another PAX came aboard at TBU, and I returned to the cabin not expecting it to be a full flight .... only to find "NO SEAT FOR ME". Suddenly I thought I was about to be offloaded at TBU (since I was on an FOC ticket). I went down to the galley and spoke with one of the girls (actually it was the very same girl I mentioned above .... these stories are out of sequence). I said .... "Hey Andrea, I hope you've got a seat for me". She suddenly looked like she'd just been shot as she replied .... "OOPS I forgot about you Mark". To cut a long story short. After several worrying minutes .... she found a toddler traveling with a mother, and then, the mother nursing the toddler with an extension seat belt around both, there was suddenly a seat there for me .... and I made it to AKL that day,
Some of my happiest times were spent in the Polynesian Islands of the SW Pacific.