By JEFF TOLLAN
Saturday, 20 October 2007
While he would rather be flying across a field in Paris, landing a DC3 at the Rangiora airfield this week brought a smile to the face of All Black captain Richie McCaw.
As part of his training toward a pilot's rating, McCaw, who is the patron of the Southern DC3 Trust, flew in behind the controls of the trust's restored DC3, ZK-AMY.
McCaw has a private pilot's licence and he has about 200 hours of flying under his belt.
The 26-year-old said while he would rather be "over there" playing for the All Blacks in the World Cup rugby final this weekend, piloting the Dakota was fun.
"I'm pretty happy to get a chance to fly one of these. Not many people with a private pilot's licence have this in their logbooks," he said.
"It was good fun to fly, and it's a lovely old machine."
He had flown the plane from take-off at Wigram, where it is based, to the landing strip at the Rangiora airport.
His mentor and Air New Zealand A320 Airbus captain David Horsburgh said McCaw's flying was impressive.
"It's like he's got 1200 hours already. That was a terrific approach and landing. And he had to do the whole thing himself. It's a very good effort."
McCaw was humble when it came to praise, however, and said it was thanks to Horsburgh that he had come so far.
He did have one suggestion for the use of the plane and his honed pilot skills.
"We could make a end-of-season trip with it. We'll load it up (with Canterbury players) and go somewhere."
However, McCaw had found it "a little nerve-racking".
"The first time I was a little nervous – it's a lovely old aeroplane and I wouldn't like to do anything bad to it.
"I have five hours left (to train), which will allow me to be the co-pilot in ferry-flights."
McCaw took up the opportunity to be the patron of the Southern DC3 Trust in October 2006, after being approached by Horsburgh.
"Dave asked me. I did a bit of flying with him and said I was interested. I didn't think too much about it until I went for a ride."
Horsburgh said the Dakota would be flying over Canterbury again soon.
"We're very proud of this aeroplane – to keep it in the skies over Canterbury – and it will be back before Christmas."
additional link :
thank you very much Izzy for the scans and the links (the local spy is back to her official job activities... just kidding sweety : MERCI!)