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Sport 21: Spring 1998


page 32


Shortly before I left for Australia, the brother of a friend of my sister's flew me from Auckland to Rotorua in a small aircraft. The machine, parked at Ardmore aerodrome, looked like one of those motorised pretend-aeroplanes outside supermarkets, although with flimsy wing extensions and a FOR SALE sign leaning against the fuselage. The asking price was $22,000 ono. Clambering into the cockpit, I was shocked that the only instrumentation was a speedometer and a dashboard-mounted compass which looked like something from a cornflakes packet.

Soon, miraculously, we were airborne and cruising down-country at just under 100 miles per hour, which, despite the fact it was the top speed of our machine, seemed too slow for an aeroplane. Looking down on the farmland, I thought of Baxter's ‘Cattle like maggots / Green porcelain paddocks’. Some motorists on State Highway One appeared to be overtaking us.