Stewart Island flight and landing commemorated

Southland pilots Sam Paton (left) and Ben Morrison marked 100 years since the first plane flew over Stewart Island and 90 years since the first plane landed on the island, when they landed a 1942 Tiger Moth at Mason Bay, on the island’s west coast, at the weekend.

Captain Maurice Buckley flew two passengers over the island on January 13, 1921, in a De Havilland DH9.

The first flight to land on the island was in 1931, when Oscar Garden flew across Foveaux Strait from Invercargill Airport, landing at Horseshoe Bay.

On Saturday, The Croydon Aircraft Company Tiger Moth flew steadily across Foveaux Strait and across the bush-clad island, to make a perfect landing on the firm sand at the end of Mason Bay.

After posing for photos and pausing to take in the magnificent scenery, the Tiger and an accompanying escort of Cessna 182 pilots, flew back to Invercargill.

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