Papanui Rotary Club Chat Snippets
26 Apr 2022
Keith at the Controls of a DC3
We were delighted to hear from our own Keith Mitchell who spoke about his life in the Aviation industry. Parts of his presentation are summarised below and a more detailed account of his talk will be placed on our website in due course.
Keith began his talk by stating that after a brief period of Farming the rest of his working life has been in aviation.  His wife Heather has been a real trooper over the years.  She initially thought she had married a farmer and has stuck with him all the way.
Would he do it all again?  Yes, he certainly would!
Keith learnt to fly at the North Otago Aero Club in 1962 but it was in 1966 that he really got involved.  He spoke about a wide range of his experiences including not only flying helicopters and fixed wing aircraft but also other activities throughout the wide field of aviation including:
  1. Aviation is all about having Licences and Qualifications and Keith first qualified as a licenced aircraft engineer. 
  1. In 1970 he moved across the airfield at Timaru to work on helicopters and stayed there for the next 30 years leaving the helicopter industry at the end of 2000.
  1. He is qualified as a fixed wing pilot and holds an ATPL Licence with flight examiner approvals both in NZ and Australia. He also holds a commercial licence for helicopters.
  1. Along the way Keith has been very involved in the industry via the AIA and the new Board of the Civil Aviation Authority under the chairmanship of Sir Ron Cater of Becca Carter. He was appointed VP for a five-year appointment.
  1. Keith was involved in aircraft accident enquiries including an aircraft accident of the coast of Kaikoura and a DC3 incident in the Kaimai Ranges in 1963.
  1. He was also involved in two coroners hearing as an expert witness.  The big one of these was the Bannerman accident that crashed at the end of Runway 20 in Christchurch.
  1. At the end of the Century he started work with Pionair Aviation based at Wigram and his first commercial flight was a tour of NZ with three DC3 to celebrate SPANZ. This commenced his DC3 flying which ended in 2021 when he felt he needed to be home more.
  1. His talk covered DC3s flying in NZ, Australia, and two seasons in Tonga plus spending time there getting AWP flying again and being responsible for training pilots and air crew.
  1. Keith then shared other areas where the DC3 was involved including Germany, Korea, and Vietnam where it was referred to as Puff the magic dragon.
On reflection Keith felt that the DC3 played an important part in the development of aviation in NZ and for the development of our high country. 
It was a remarkable aircraft that 1st flew in December 1035 and in 13 years’ time it will have flown for 100 years. Keith noted that there is no ship or rail machine that is still in commercial service for this time period.
Verdi thanked Keith for his presentation on his long, varied involvement in the aviation industry and for sharing his passion for the DC3.
Vintage Fashion Parade
The Vintage Fashion Parade is happening in 2022!! 
We have booked the same Sunday just one year later, for this great event. The new date is Sunday 11 September 2022 at 4pm at Chapel Street Centre. 
If you are holding tickets then of course these will be honoured for this year’s event. More details to follow. 
It is exciting that we will host the parade and are grateful to Deborah Gill-Smith for agreeing to go ahead. 
Please advise friends and family who have tickets of the new date. All the models- we will be in touch in July to ensure you still fit your clothes! 
Any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact Lois at
AVIVA Street Appeal
Good afternoon.
AVIVA have scheduled the Papanui Rotary Club in to assist with our Collection for Friday the 20th of May at New World Northwood. Collection times would be from 9am to 6pm.
We’ll be sending out further information in the coming weeks.
This Thursday the 28th of April welcomes Peter Moore, the Chief Fire Officer & Manager Airfield Operations of Christchurch International Airport who will share his interesting role with us.
The following Thursday (May 3rd) we will hear from our own Club member Jenny Haworth who will share her experiences on a trip to the Ukraine and what she came away with in terms of its culture and history.
Please remember make sure you email Deryn via if you are not coming to this week’s meeting. 
Aratupu Garden Revamped
Two youngsters taking a peek at our Club Members’ efforts recently in tidying up the Aratupu garden area.