Private jet on show at Pukaki

FLYING VISIT: A Cessna Citation MK III taxis in at Pukaki Airfield yesterday.
FLYING VISIT: A Cessna Citation MK III taxis in at Pukaki Airfield yesterday.

Twizel got a flying visitor to the Maadi Cup yesterday.

A private, 10-seater Cessna Citation jet landed at the Pukaki Airfield about 10.30am.

Pukaki Airport Board member Rick Ramsay said the plane's owner came from Wellington.

"We suspect he's flown down to visit a child or relative competing in the Maadi Cup. It's great news for the airfield, as it shows we're able to accommodate commercial planes of a decent size," he said.

Red Cat Biplane owner Chris Rudge spotted the Cessna Citation while he was taking a touring party for a chartered flight.

"They move a lot quicker than you would expect, it's fun watching them land," he said.

The first Cessna Citation Mk III was commissioned in 1983. Yesterday's online flight-path suggested the flight from Wellington to Pukaki took about 50 minutes, while the plane's cruise speed was 440 knots (818kmh).

Mr Ramsay said it was the first private jet to use the airfield since the site was established more than a decade ago.

"It's a good sign, and it sends the right message. I understand the plane will be parked at the airfield at least until the end of the Maadi Cup, so people will be able to take a good look at it," he said.

In 2008 the airport board paid back the council the original land-purchase price of $530,000, after it subdivided the surrounding land into 55 lots.

Mr Ramsay said about 33 lots had been sold. Red Cat Biplane and Helicopter Line New Zealand have businesses at the airport, while Tekapo's Air Safaris has an office and connection point there.

Mr Ramsay said there had also been an expression of interest from Mt Cook Skiplanes to establish an office on the site.

"It's been slow progress, but there's been a bit more interest in the site. People are able to establish a house and hangar on the complex, which is something unique," he said.

Mr Ramsay said the Cessna Citation would be parked at the airfield until Sunday.

The Timaru Herald