Sea planes

Land on the water, step onto the beach

“In a shower of spray, we’re away!” This was Captain Fredd Ladd’s characteristic expression as he would take off in his Grumman Widgeon seaplane, which serviced Waiheke in the years 1951 – 1964. He usually operated from Surfdale.

Captain Ladd would deliver the morning newspaper to the Alison farm on the Matiatia flats, by dropping it from the plane onto their front lawn.

On his last flight in the seaplane, Ladd broke the law by deliberately flying under the Auckland harbour bridge, but was later discharged without conviction.

Seaplanes continue to fly to Waiheke – a popular option is charters to visit Man O’ War vineyard at the eastern end of the island.

Because of its confined approaches, Matiatia itself has not been a common seaplane destination.

  • <p>The Grumman Widgeon seaplane of Tourist Air Travel, piloted by the irrespressible Captain Fred Ladd.</p>