It is increasingly difficult to catch a ride on anything vaguely classic nowadays in real airline service, let alone an airframe from the immediate postwar decades of air travel. However in New Zealand there is still the possibility to fly real classics - aircraft that shared the ramp with Boeing Stratocruisers and Lockheed Constellations. So it was that a few days ago I had the opportunity to sample the Convair 580 'muscle machine' in scheduled service with Air Chathams.
A quick e-mail to Air Chathams to confirm the equipment on the day and a note why I was flying was enough for their friendly staff to suggest the opportunity to fly in the cockpit using the jump seat, if that was ok with the captain. It's worth noting that New Zealand hasn't gone security crazy like everywhere else and in fact if you are flying a domestic prop service then there are no security or identification checks before or after you board your flight. No bag x-rays nothing - how very civilised. Likewise for the timebeing it is up to the operational procedures of the airline and ultimately the crew on the day if you can get the opportunity to visit the cockpit.
Below is CIF on Sunday 25th June on the tarmac at Whanganui after the first leg of the flight. She hardly looks 61 years old!