Taupo’s McDonald’s must be one of the most unique of their 34,000 locations around the world. This Douglas DC3 aircraft sits in the car park. Personally I am not a fan of McDonald’s and so didn’t explore inside the plane itself but I have been reliably informed that the cockpit is still intact, although the aircraft is decommissioned. Not only does the line for the drive through go around the back of the plane. But there are seats inside the plane for customers. Only in New Zealand!
Sea planes are fairly rare where I am from in England. I only remember ever seeing one in the UK and that was in Glasgow. Here in New Zealand it seems like almost all of the larger lakes and ports have a sea plane. They are mainly used by tourists for “Air Safaris”. This was taken early evening as I sat on the harbour front to watch the ferries coming in and out of the port heading across the Cook Straight to Wellington.
Perched on the edge of the helicopter above is Swiss born Yves Rossy and his million dollar jet-powered wing. Known as the jet man, at 10,000 feet he let go of the chopper and flew around for about ten minutes at speeds of over 200 mph.
It has been a few years since my last airshow. The New Zealand International Air Show promised to be something new, both for me and for the country. They used helicopters with cameras to film the aircraft and sky divers and huge screens next to the runway to give us a birds eye view. The mix here was about 50% skydiving and 50% aircraft. Not surprising given the countries near obsession with extreme sports.
Just three miles south from the summit of The Nuns Veil mountain we touched down on the snow. Stepping out of the chopper into a foot of fresh show was increabile. From this viewpoint we had great views looking across at Tasman Lake and Mount Cook on the other side of the valley. Until recently I had never been in a helicopter and it was a fantastic experience. It was like being in a small plane that moved more like a roller coaster.