Aviator Peter Meadows who has launched a high-end scenic
and aerobatic flight business from the Wakatipu Aero Club
at Frankton. Mr Meadows' fleet includes a 1973 Delfin
fighter jet, built in the Czech Republic. Photo by Mountain
Queenstown has a new rush - fighter jet rides at 500kmh.
Experienced aviator Peter Meadows is running his high-end
scenic and aerobatic flights from Queenstown Airport, after
relocating from Tauranga and, latterly, Wanaka.
Mr Meadows said his fleet comprised some nostalgic, classic
aircraft known worldwide - a 1941 American-built Harvard
trainer, a Russian 1996 Yak 52, and a 1973 Delfin fighter
jet, which cruises at 500kmh and was built in the Czech
Prices for 20 to 30-minute scenic cruises range from $495 for
the Yak to $595 for the Harvard and up to $2200 for the jet.
All three planes could perform aerobatics but Mr Meadows said
most clients only wanted to do a couple of loops and rolls.
Two companies offered thrill-flights in a Pitts Specials
several years ago but Mr Meadows said he now had the only
aerobatic aircraft operating in Queenstown.
He said his company, Double X Aviation, was able to fly
passengers in military aircraft after getting adventure
aviation clearance from the New Zealand Civil Aviation
''New Zealand was 30 years behind the world but now we're
world leaders,'' he said.
Mr Meadows started set up Double X Aviation in Tauranga two
years ago but said the city lacked infrastructure like
tourist hotels. This year he relocated to Wanaka but said his
work was mainly came from Queenstown.
His business now shares space at the airport with the
Wakatipu Aero Club.
Mr Meadows said the planes had collectively cost about
$500,000 and were very expensive to run.
''If we don't get the support of Queenstown, then we don't
Mr Meadows (60) said he had been flying for 30 years but also
had wide experience in hospitality and adventure tourism.
- Philip Chandler.