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DC-3 aircraft makes its final flight

Saturday 25 Jan 2014 6:04 p.m.

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One of the country's last operational DC-3 aircraft has made its final flight across the Canterbury Plains.

The Southern DC-3 Trust can no longer afford to maintain ZK-Amy, so the 70-year-old plane is retiring.

For the past nine years Amy's been taking passengers on scenic flights, but the trust that runs it says it's no longer financially viable.

It would cost $50,000 to just get it through its next service.

"The time has come when we have to call time," says trustee Keith Pickford. "We've got more maintenance due and we decided now was the time to put her in the hangar."

But before they do, the trust decided to run one more day of flights for keen fans of the only flying DC-3 in the South.

Pilot Keith Mitchell was at the controls. He has spent his life flying them and says it's sad to see another friend retiring.

"No matter where you go the DC-3 will attract a lot of people and it's the sound of the engines," says Mr Mitchell. "A 737 could go over and people could look at it and not really worry too much, but a DC-3 and those engines, it does attract a lot of attention."

Don Ivey was a fighter pilot during World War II and came home from Europe on a DC-3. Today he took one last ride, although he'd rather have been pilot than passenger.

"This nothing in that you can't even see properly," says Mr Ivey. "I flew a variety of aircraft in the war."

The trust will soon gift ZK-Amy to the Ashburton Aviation Museum, of which Mr Ivey is the patron.

The DC-3 will join many other planes at the museum, but will remain in working order in case the funds are found to one day have it flying again.

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