Batten flight on course for Manapouri touchdown

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 17/11/2012

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A flight retracing Kiwi aviator Jean Batten's record-breaking England to New Zealand journey is on course to touch down in Manapouri on Monday despite a brief scare above the Pacific Ocean.

There was a flutter of nerves when the Airscapade DC3, owned and restored by Te Anau businessman Mark Oremland, was forced to land on tiny Norfolk Island in the middle of the night on Thursday.

On his blog, Mr Oremland praised the efforts of the pilots.

"No panic - we made it to Norfolk Island. Bravo pilots, in the dark - it's [the island] only about 8km by 5km - it seems the tracker stopped for whatever reason a certain distance before Norfolk, in the middle of the ocean. All safe and sound."

Mr Oremland landed in Auckland yesterday afternoon, 23 days after taking off in Lydd near Lympne in Kent.

Te Anau Airport Manapouri manager Evan Pearce said he had spoken to Mr Oremland and the DC3 was scheduled to land in Manapouri about midday on Monday.

"From Auckland the plane will head to Rotorua, the birth place of Ms Batten, before also spending a night in Ashburton. The DC3 will leave the east coast on Monday morning and arrive in Manapouri to a warm southern welcome," he said.

Mr Pearce said Mr Oremland was in good spirits despite the mechanical failure that delayed the journey in Australia and a night landing on Norfolk Island.

Mr Pearce said the public was invited to welcome the arrival of the DC3 at Te Anau Airport Manapouri with a festive reception planned from about 11.30am. neil.ratley@stl.co.nz

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