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DC-6 Operations from Whenuapai

I recall the (now) quaint departure announcement we used in the 1950’s at Whenuapai.

“This is TEAL calling passengers on flight 463 to Sydney, your airliner is ZK-BGA Aotearoa under the command of Captain McGrane, the flight time to Sydney is five and a half hours.Would you please proceed to the Airliner for embarkation. Please have your seat card ready and refrain from smoking after leaving the terminal building, TEAL wishes you a pleasant flight.”

Note – they were ‘ seat cards ‘then and now they are’ boarding passes’. We used to complete the Load Sheet manually containing the weight, trim and balance calculations worked out on a slide rule.There were no computers or calculators then.

TEAL had three DC6’s: ZK-BGA Aotearoa, ZK-BGB Arawhata and ZK-BGC Arahia. The daily Auckland – Sydney return flight departed at 0900 and returned at 2200 with a crew change at Sydney for the return, whereas now they do the return trip with the same crew and this is affectionately called a “ Double Banger”

Traffic Staff relax at Whenuapai in Nov 1957 after despatching TE463 to Sydney.

L-R Bill Christiansen, Ian Coburn, Tim Millard and Bryan Jones

Bryan and Ian salute the Aircraft as it rolls off blocks. And then back to complete the departure documents and wait for 1 hour before leaving the Airport in case the flight had to return.


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