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In, Out and Around

Milford
Milford Sound is world-famous for its
scenery, and this is reflected in the many
tourists who visit each year by foot, by
road or by air. The airfield and surrounding
topography pose a special challenge for
pilots. This booklet covers points a pilot
should consider before planning a flight to
Milford, and should be read in conjunction
with In, Out and Around Queenstown.
A current Visual Navigation Chart (VNC)
C10 or C14 is an essential reference while
reading the booklet.
Note: Some infrastructure changes and earthworks in the vicinity
of the aerodrome have been completed since the photos on the
cover, and pages 12 and 16, were taken.

CAA Web Site


See the CAA web site for Civil Aviation Rules,
Advisory Circulars, Airworthiness Directives,
forms, and more safety publications.

Every effort is made to ensure that the information in this booklet is accurate and up to date at the time of
publishing, but numerous changes can occur with time, especially in regard to airspace and legislation.
Readers are reminded to obtain appropriate up-to-date information.
W ith the sheer lower face of Mt
Christina off our right wingtip,
we peered ahead for any sign of clearing
be able to get all the way there, but we
wanted to be able to show you how
menacing and changeable mountain
weather. The pass ahead was invisible in the weather can be. (Needless to say, our crew
cloud, and snow was beginning to fall on included a pilot experienced in Milford
the windscreen. It was time to turn around. operations.)
As we turned back we could see that the On other days the decision is not so clear-
layers of cloud around The Divide and in cut. The Milford weather may appear
the Hollyford and Eglinton Valleys were suitable, but getting there can be a problem,
constantly changing. and always there is the possibility
of rapid weather change.
The location, on the southwest
coast of the South Island,
combined with the
surrounding mountainous
terrain and sea, can create
unusual climatic conditions,
and on occasions it can
deteriorate markedly in less
than 30 minutes.
Even an invitingly clear day
can harbour trouble, in the
form of violent turbulence
below the tops.
Upper Hollyford looking towards Homer - not looking good.

The head of the Caples Valley,


where we had crossed only
ten minutes earlier, was now
clouded over. We followed
the Greenstone Valley to Elfin
Bay and back to the sun at
Queenstown.
On this day the decision was
easy our research team knew
before leaving Queenstown that
the weather at Milford Sound
was bad and that we would not Turnback time.

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Magnificent Milford
Milford Sound aerodrome is surrounded by
some of the most majestic and beautiful
scenery in the world.
The nature of this rugged mountain terrain
can create conditions which, for the aviator,
can range from challenging to downright
frightening. The names of features in the
surrounding area reflect the difficulties of
exploring this part of New Zealand Danger
Mountain, Terror Peak, Mt Isolation, Lake
Never Never.
The unspoiled beauty makes Milford a
drawcard for tourists.
Milford Sound is only 40 NM from
Looking up the Caples Valley.
Queenstown, but the well-known and very
marked differences between east coast and Milford Sound aerodrome is situated at sea
west coast weather are certainly evident in level at the head of the Sound but is
this area. One cannot forget that the main surrounded by mountains, again with
divide has a dominating effect on the South descriptive names, Barren Peak rising to over
Island weather, a fact which often poses 5000 feet to the east and Sheerdown Peak
problems for pilots. to more than 6000 feet less than a mile to
the south. There are at least ten
more peaks exceeding 6000 feet
within a five-mile radius.

Tourist Flights
On a typical summers day, there
can be up to 140 movements at
Milford aerodrome, with up to 15
aeroplanes and 5 helicopters in the
area around the peak times of 1000
and 1500. Most tourist arrivals and
The Caples River mouth, just north of Elfin Bay, with the departures are geared to Milford
entrance to the Greenstone Valley around to the left, obscured
by cloud. Sound cruise schedules, so there is

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usually a mass arrival and departure inexperienced in the area, as it is easy
respectively, at these times. navigation and clear of the typical flight
Operators from Queenstown normally paths of the tourist traffic.
depart Queenstown via Arthurs Point and Always have due respect for the weather
Lake Luna and then route via the Caples, have more than one escape route. If the
The Divide area, along the Milford Road Greenstone Valley is the only possible route
(upper Hollyford Valley) past Mt Christina in, then it is also the only one out. This
(Monkey Flat), and over the Gertrude or produces problems of opposing traffic
Homer Saddles, into Milford. and the possibility of the escape route
closing. On those days the safe option is
to stay home.
The preferred route out is via Lake
Ada, the Arthur River (around Green
Valley and Sutherland Falls), Balloon
Pass, Clinton River, and across to
Elfin Bay.
If weather conditions prevent
routing via the eastern passes or
Balloon Pass, the low-level route
out is up the coast to Martins Bay,
then via Lake McKerrow, Hollyford
Lake Fergus (foreground) and Lake Gunn in the Eglinton
Valley, from The Divide area. Valley to The Divide area, then the
Caples or Greenstone Valleys to Elfin
Another commonly used route is from Bay or down the Eglinton Valley to Te Anau.
Lake Luna to Harris Saddle (requires 5500 (An altitude of 3500 feet is required to get
feet amsl), and then the Adelaide or
Donne Saddles.
When the cloudbase is low the
Greenstone Valley, having the lowest
saddle, is possibly the best option.
Caution, however, must be exercised for
the inexperienced, as there are fewer
escape options associated with low cloud.
Generally this requires continuing down
the Hollyford Valley to enter Milford via
the mouth of the sound. This could be a Looking down the Hollyford Valley with Lake McKerrow
useful route on a good day for those in the distance.

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weather patterns in the area and gain
knowledge of the best routes for the
prevailing conditions.

Private Flights
Pilots unfamiliar with the area should
consider flying to Milford only in favourable
conditions. Knowledge of the routes used
by the regular operators is important,
however, for reasons of collision avoidance,
and for suitable escape routes should the
weather change unexpectedly and block
your planned route.
The Milford Sound aerodrome information
Homer Saddle and the Milford entrance to the road (in AIP New Zealand Vol 4) states that pilots
tunnel below.
who have no previous or recent (within the
last six months) operating experience at
from the Hollyford into the Eglinton or Milford Sound should receive a briefing
Greenstone Valleys.) Another possible route from a pilot currently experienced with
is via Park Pass, leading to Rock Burn and operations to and from the aerodrome.
into the Dart Valley. (Park Pass requires 4500 Recognising when to go or not to go, and
feet and is often the last pass to close.) what training, experience and knowledge
If this low-level choice is necessary, pilots are necessary beforehand, is not easy.
must be aware that the weather conditions Before considering flying anywhere in this
around all these passes will also be area, a pilot should have undergone
worsening, and the situation ahead and mountain-flying training and have had a
behind needs to be monitored closely. reasonable amount of experience in
It may become necessary to return to mountainous terrain. (For background
Milford which also could have deteriorated information on mountain flying, refer to
further. Remaining at Milford in the first the GAP booklet and associated DVD
place may be more prudent. Mountain Flying. See also the GAP
Accurate judgement of all these factors booklet Survival.
can only come with experience. You should be skilled in map reading, this
Pilots working for the regular operators being essential in mountainous terrain, as
undergo substantial training before taking a single heading is not possible unless you
passengers into Milford. They build up are flying at high altitude. (And there are
experience in judging the vagaries of too many corners necessary for you to

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abandon eyeball navigation and rely conditions an overflight may be the only
only on that GPS you might have.) option anyway, because of severe
With the onset of deteriorating weather turbulence below the tops.)
and an accompanying lowering cloud base, If a landing is planned, however, preparation
the return journey may be markedly must be more thorough.
different from a high-altitude inbound flight.
You must be thoroughly prepared for this Pre-flight Planning
eventuality.
Obtain a good briefing from a local operator.
It is always a good idea to tap local
knowledge regarding conditions, local
procedures, etc, wherever you
go, but this is especially so in
mountainous areas.
A check flight into Milford
with an experienced Milford pilot
is the best option if this is
practicable. The cost of an
instructor can be well worth it.
It may mean being able to
continue when you would not
have done so alone, and the
Gertrude Saddle, heading into Milford.

A Flight to Milford
It is of course possible to view the
spectacular scenery of Fiordland without
making a landing at Milford. All the general
mountain-flying points in the GAP booklet
Mountain Flying are relevant, as are the
relevant reporting procedures and collision
avoidance measures, but an overflight, with
a less demanding workload for the pilot,
is a simpler option. At the higher altitude
navigation is easier, and the air is smoother
After crossing Gertrude Saddle, Milford Sound beyond
above the mountain tops. (Indeed, in some (Note seasonal difference from previous photo.)

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knowledge and experience of your guide associated with avalanche bombing to
will enable you to safely extend your own protect the tunnel and is activated by
experience and capabilities. NOTAM when necessary (more likely in
winter months).
Milford Sound aerodrome has an
Aerodrome Flight Information
Service (AFIS). Make sure you
understand how AFIS differs from
an ATC service. (Refer to AIP New
Zealand and the GAP booklet Plane
Talking). AFIS is not the same as
UNICOM AFIS is able to provide
traffic information. Pilots have the
responsibility of assessing a
situation based on information
passed to them, then advising their
intentions.
Plan your route carefully
(including alternatives). The
extra time spent on the ground
doing this has its pay-off when
the pressure comes on in the air.
Plan fuel requirements carefully.
Adelaide Saddle in foreground, with Milford Sound beyond. An unexpected diversion
because of weather can easily
A current VNC C10 or C14 is essential it has
add an extra 30 to 40 minutes
the reporting points marked and ensures you
to your flight.
have up-to-date detail of the airspace. Note
particularly that all Queenstown controlled Study the reporting points carefully
airspace is transponder mandatory. before you go.
National Park maps can be a useful Study all of the Milford Sound aerodrome
additional reference to make the flight more pages carefully. They cover all arrival
educational and interesting but beware of and departure procedures in detail and
the METRIC HEIGHTS used on these. radio procedures for collision avoidance.
There is a restricted area, NZR701 Homer Note the times of intense traffic activity
Tunnel, from surface to 8000 feet amsl, and plan to avoid them.
centred on the Homer tunnel. This is

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Weather feet at Milford, it may be possible to get
Flying conditions in the mountains are there, but it can often mean that conditions
generally better in the morning, with the will go downhill fast at Milford.
likelihood of less cloud, turbulence, and The passage of a southerly front generally
wind. brings clearing weather on the West Coast.
Study the weather pattern carefully. Look At Milford, although the sky may have
at the general weather situation and the cleared, conditions may still not be suitable
appropriate aerodrome forecasts and for landing until the southerly dies down.
reports. Look at the Invercargill weather, If the surface wind is southeasterly, 120 to
for instance, as a deterioration from the 150 degrees magnetic at 10 knots, check
south will show up there first. if any of the regular operators are going.
If you can, plan to start your Milford flight The wind strength may sound okay, but
from Queenstown (or nearby airfields). local knowledge would tell you that at
This enables you to check the latest reports Milford this wind direction creates hazards.
for Milford and to seek local knowledge to In these conditions, there may be a clear
augment the reports. blue sky, but turbulence at lower levels
makes the flight unpleasant and a landing
If there is overcast coastal cloud at 3000 at Milford difficult. See details below under
Circuit, but generally southeasterly
conditions are not suitable for inexperienced
pilots. An overflight, remaining above the
mountain tops, can be okay.

Greenstone Valley is it clear around the corner? Greenstone Valley around the corner, it opens
Be prepared to turn back. up with Lake McKellar ahead.

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Aircraft Performance collision avoidance frequency 119.2 MHz
and maintain a listening watch. This
Check the aircraft performance graphs
frequency is for air-to-air communications
for the expected conditions and for the
to enable pilots in the area to be aware of
possible worst scenario. In some conditions
the presence and position of other aircraft.
at Milford, it may be preferable to take
Accurate position reports are vital.
off downwind check your aircrafts
Reports should include position, level and
performance for this situation before
direction of flight (and further intentions
going in.
if necessary).
Understand how to get the best performance
Queenstown Information is available on
out of your aircraft. Remember you must
128.9 MHz within the Queenstown Flight
be able to cope with the problems associated
Information area. If you do not have two
with mountains, such as terrain clearance,
radios, try to make your position reports
updraughts, downdraughts, windshear and
to Queenstown Information at a position
the lack of a well-defined horizon.
where there is less likelihood of missing
Understand how density altitude affects
your aircraft performance.
For further information see the GAP booklet
Takeoff and Landing Performance.

Enroute Reporting Points


Pilots should route to and from the Milford
Sound aerodrome via one or more of the
reporting points that are shown on the
current chart. Study these carefully before
setting off.

Communications Position
Reporting
The Fiordland Common Frequency Zone (CFZ)
extends from Queenstown to Milford Sound
over the area of intensive tourist aircraft
activity. A collision avoidance frequency of
119.2 MHz is used in this area. In the Milford
Sound CFZ communications are with Milford
Flight Service on 118.2 MHz.
Within the Fiordland CFZ, aircraft should
make frequent position reports on the Looking down the Cleddau Valley towards Milford
having just crossed Homer Saddle.

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Looking back towards
the aerodrome from the
Arthur Valley.
crucial collision-avoidance calls on 119.2
Photo: Julianne Kramer
MHz.
Aircraft should call Milford Flight Service
on 118.2 MHz before entering the Milford
Sound CFZ. To the east, the boundary is a 5
NM radius from Milford Sound aerodrome
(this is in effect along the eastern passes).
To the northwest it extends out to 25 NM
from the aerodrome in a 10-mile-wide band
centred along the Sound. This area
encompasses the main arrival and departure
routes, including the mouth of the Sound,
where traffic arriving from different
aerodromes may be merging.
If operating outside the hours of Milford
Flight Service attendance, pilots are to carry
out standard unattended aerodrome Milford Sound aerodrome.
procedures on that frequency.
Airmanship
Other Collision-Avoidance Good airmanship involves careful
Measures compliance with all the relevant procedures
Landing lights should be used at all times in and the good sense to have studied them
the Milford Sound area and in the Arthur all carefully before takeoff.
Valley especially if any inbound traffic is
Once in the vicinity of Milford it all happens
conflicting with the main traffic outflow.
very quickly. The need to aviate, navigate
It is a good idea to have your landing
and communicate, keep a good lookout, plan
light on throughout the Fiordland CFZ as
your descent, complete necessary checks,
well, particularly in the busy tourist season.
etc, adds up to a considerable workload.
If everyone makes their aircraft as visible
as possible, the observation workload is There is not time to study the chart and
eased for all concerned. procedures in detail at this point this must
be done before the flight, with a further
Above all, maintain a good lookout at all
self-briefing refresher, if possible, while still
times. This is not easy in unfamiliar terrain,
en route.
with the need to constantly refer to the
map keep your eyes out of the cockpit as There may also be the peculiar added
much as possible. problems on one of our research flights,
we had left Queenstown in the rain, and on
arrival at Milford in clear cold air, the trim

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control froze. Being well prepared for the traffic circuit formed by other aircraft
expected can make it easier to cope with (rule 91.223).
the unexpected! An aircraft may join directly into the circuit,
As with any new area (Queenstown itself is only if:
a case in point), a lack of local geographic joining intentions are advised to Milford
knowledge can make the task of sorting out Flight Service (or to other traffic when
other traffic more difficult through not unattended);
recognising place names given in position
reports. Firstly, it is hard to pick up the runway-in-use and aerodrome traffic
unfamiliar place names on the radio, and are properly ascertained;
secondly, you dont know where the places when joining straight in, or directly onto
are anyway. Study the map for the main downwind or base leg, the aircraft is
features before your flight. sequenced to give priority to other
Make frequent position reports, and make aircraft already in the circuit or joining
your aircraft conspicuous using strobe lights in accordance with the standard circuit
and landing lights if fitted. Note also the joining procedure; and
requirement to use landing lights, if possible, when entering or flying within the
within 10 NM of Queenstown. circuit, all turns are made in the
appropriate circuit direction.

Procedures at Milford If you are unfamiliar with an aerodrome,


it is good airmanship to join overhead and
assess the situation. This is most definitely
The Milford Procedures and Location chart
a good idea for those new to Milford.
in the aerodrome pages clearly illustrates
how the aerodrome is restricted physically
by surrounding terrain. The notes on the
aerodrome chart include the requirement
to have serviceable radio equipment and
this, of course, means you should use it!
The cautionary notes point out some of the
hazards associated with operating at
Milford.

Arrival Procedures
As with any uncontrolled aerodrome, joining
traffic must observe other aerodrome
traffic for the purpose of avoiding collision
and conform with or avoid the aerodrome Looking toward the head of the Sound, with the
airfield in sight.

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Photo: Julianne Kramer On final for Runway 29
It is important to see the constraints on of 1500 feet. There may be departing traffic
circuit traffic. A strictly standard rectangular present up to 3000 feet, and there is the
circuit pattern is not possible the possibility of arriving traffic above 3000
surrounding terrain necessitates some feet.
bending of flight paths.
Any straight-in approach is always difficult
to judge accurately, and if a straight-in
approach to Milfords Runway 11 is
misjudged, an early decision to go around
is necessary because of the restricted flight
path, rising terrain, and possible
downdraughts in the go-around area.
When joining overhead, it is extremely
important to adhere strictly to an altitude

On approach to Runway 11.

From the Eastern Passes


Aircraft will normally approach Milford
from the passes to the east, which are only
about five miles from the aerodrome.
Consequently, there is a good deal of height
to lose to land at the sea-level aerodrome.
Arrival procedures require these aircraft to
maintain 3000 feet or above until northwest
of a line joining Williamson and Pater Points
and then to continue descent on the
northern side of the Sound towards Dale
Point. This procedure allows a gradual
descent, which is of benefit to passengers.
From Dale Point, you should fly on the
southern side of the Sound when inbound
towards the aerodrome, and report passing
About to turn left base for Runway 11. Williamson Stirling Falls. Cross the line joining
Point and underwater observatory just out of Williamson and Pater Points at or below
picture to the right. Cruise boat at Dale Point
mid-right. St Anne Point obscured beyond. 1500 feet.

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If Runway 11 is the preferred runway,
aircraft may join for a straight-in approach
provided there is no conflict with existing
traffic and provided Milford Flight Service
is on watch; otherwise position overhead
to join left-hand downwind at 1000 feet.
If Runway 29 is the preferred runway, join
left-hand downwind at 1000 feet.

From the Tutoko or Cleddau Valley


Areas
The procedures allow that, if Runway 29 is
the preferred runway, aircraft may join for
a straight-in approach provided that there
is no conflict with existing circuit traffic;
otherwise position overhead to join left-
hand downwind at 1000 feet.
This straight-in approach is not
recommended for the novice Milford pilot.

Milford Sound aerodrome, with the approach to


Photo: Julianne Kramer Runway 29 depicted.

Radio communication with Milford Flight


Service is lost when in the Tutoko or Cleddau
Valleys, and you then arrive at the junction
of the valleys, which is the late downwind
position for Runway 29, without other
aircraft knowing that you are there until
you are upon them.
Aircraft joining in this manner must keep a
careful watch for other aircraft and establish
radio contact as soon as possible.
If Runway 11 is the preferred runway, aircraft
may join left-hand downwind at 1000 feet
provided that there is no conflict with existing
traffic, especially Runway 29 departures.
The alternative is to maintain 3000 feet and
Late downwind for Runway 29 carry out an Eastern Passes arrival.

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From the West Coast Area
Enter the Sound on the southern side at St
Anne Point, and proceed to join the circuit
for the preferred runway as for the arrivals
from the eastern passes.

From the Arthur Valley


Conduct arrival procedures as for the
eastern passes, or be at or below 1500 feet
on crossing Ada reporting point.
Join overhead at 1500 feet for left-hand
Looking out into the mouth of the Sound. Stirling
downwind Runway 29 or at 1000 feet for Falls are on the right.
left-hand downwind Runway 11.
There could be a number of aircraft from Circuit
Te Anau coming in from this direction. An absolutely standard circuit pattern is
not possible the circuit is adjusted as
dictated by the surrounding terrain. Landing
and takeoff directions depend on the wind
conditions. Make normal position reports
in the circuit.

Wind Calm
If conditions are calm, landings are made
on Runway 11, regular operators making a
straight-in approach. If an overhead join is
made, the left-hand downwind and base
legs are shaped to suit the terrain.
Takeoffs are normally made on Runway 29.

Sea Breeze
In the afternoons, particularly in summer,
there is usually a sea breeze from the
northwest, with associated turbulence,
shear, lift and sink. Landings are then made
on Runway 29.
The approach for Runway 29 involves a
teardrop or reversal turn up the Cleddau
Entrance to Milford Sound. (it can be easily missed
if flying at low level down the coast.) Valley. The downwind leg is extended into

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leg (ultimately requiring a right
turn onto the centreline) being
careful to watch for, and keep
clear of, aircraft on the extended
downwind leg.
Watch out for aircraft joining
directly from the Tutoko and
Cleddau Valleys.
There can be marked windshear
on the final approach, which
Looking down Runway 11. passes over high trees, the Arthur
River, and a stopbank at the aerodrome
the Cleddau Valley (keeping close to the
boundary. Forewarned is forearmed.
base of Sheerdown Peak) up to the junction
with the Tutoko Valley. A left turn is then There is generally a crosswind from the right
made in the vicinity of the bridge over the in these conditions.
Tutoko River to come back on a curved final Takeoffs are normally made on Runway 29,
unless the downwind component is
excessive. Takeoff on Runway 11 has a
restricted flight path into rising terrain and
downdraughts are a hazard. Takeoff in this
direction is not recommended.

Southeasterly
A southeasterly is the worst situation at
Milford. The term is used loosely to describe
any wind from a southerly quarter, the
direction of the upper wind and the
surrounding terrain having an effect on
which valley it will flow down.
The wind flow can split out of the Arthur
Valley; there can be very white water on
the threshold of 11, with marked windshear.
There may also be disturbed water off
Deepwater Basin at the mouth of the Arthur
River. It can be better to land on Runway
29 in this situation with its better go-around
The closeness and scale of Sheerdown Peak is
evident in this photo. option. The wind can be calm at the

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A critical factor to consider is that, although
it may be possible to land successfully,
conditions may not allow a safe takeoff.
The regular operators generally do not take
off on Runway 11 and will accept the
downwind component on Runway 29
(if performance requirements can be met)
otherwise they stay on the ground. The
downwind effect, plus marked windshear
after takeoff, results in very poor climb
performance.
If a takeoff is made on Runway 11, the
normal flight path would be into the
Cleddau-Tutoko basin to climb. Because of
downdraughts and the deceptive rising
terrain, however, a takeoff on Runway 11
is not recommended.

Takeoff, Runway 29.

threshold of Runway 29 allowing a settled


approach, but the windsock halfway up can
be straight out because of wind whistling
through the gap in the trees on the south
side of the runway. These conditions are
not for the novice Milford pilot.
If the wind is flowing more down the Tutoko
Valley, conditions are different, with more
tailwind and turbulence on the approach
to Runway 29. In these conditions, Runway
11 may be a better option for landing,
although there may be considerable sink
off the Footstool (the ridge off Mitre Peak).
Accuracy of approach is most important.
Again, not for the novice Milford pilot.
(By this stage you will have had such a rough Looking up the Arthur Valley. Although the route
appeared clear, Balloon Pass and Mackinnon Pass
ride you may wish you had stayed at home!) were in fact closed this day.

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Departure Procedures
Via the Eastern Sectors
After takeoff on Runway 29, turn
right to climb northwest along the
northern side of the Sound. There
can be strong ridge lift in sea breezes.
At or before Williamson Point, turn
left to overhead the aerodrome then
proceed en route. There will be some
Looking up Arthur Valley. Mt Pillans is the long flat ridge
circling required to reach the 5500 (middle). If you can see this ridge, then Mackinnon Pass is
normally open.
feet necessary to get over the
eastern passes only a few miles from the overhead the aerodrome and departing as
aerodrome. Watch for incoming traffic. above. In practice, takeoffs from Runway
11 are virtually non-existent, and are not
recommended because of the associated
hazards.
Photograph courtesy of Airways.

Congestion
There is intensive air transport activity
generated by the scenic tour operators at
the aerodrome between 10 am and 3 pm
local time. In summer, the activity is more
intense and lasts until late afternoon. There
Milford Flight Service.
can be typically up to 20 aircraft operating
into Milford on a regular basis. Aircraft
Via the West Coast
Photograph courtesy of Airways NZ.

After takeoff on Runway 29, veer right to


climb northwest along the northern side of
the Sound, not above 1500 feet until west
of Stirling Falls, then proceed en route.
Report passing Stirling Falls.

Takeoff Runway 11
The procedures give a departure route after
takeoff on Runway 11 of departing direct Parking at Milford Sound aerodrome can be limited.
Pilots of visiting aircraft should avoid peak
via the eastern passes, or of returning movement periods.

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Balloon Pass (closed). Mackinnon Pass on left, Lake Quill and Sutherland
Falls on right looking from the Aurthur Valley.

parking space at Milford is limited. It would passengers are normally booked on launch
be prudent to check with Queenstown or cruises in the Sound. In the summer, extra
Milford (FIS or local operators) on the cruises are scheduled. On some tours,
current days activity before getting passengers bus in and fly out.
airborne. Once on the ground at Milford, be careful
To avoid congestion both on the ground to brief your passengers before allowing
and in the air, it is recommended that private them to alight, due to the limited apron
flights operate outside these hours. For space and proximity of the runway. Allowing
those inexperienced in the area this is good unsupervised passengers near operating
advice the workload is a lot easier if there aircraft is an unacceptable risk.
are not 20 or so other aircraft in the vicinity
to keep an eye out for and avoid.
The mass arrivals and departures of the Noise Abatement
tourist aircraft at Milford arise because the
Be a good neighbour and apply noise
abatement procedures. Remember that noise
can be accentuated in an area of mountains
and valleys, and there are other National
Park users on the ground trying to enjoy
the beauty and serenity of the area.
Please maximise your height over the
popular walking tracks (Milford, Hollyford,
Caples, Greenstone and Routeburn).
Weather permitting, allow at least 1000 feet
After crossing Mackinnon Pass heading down the clearance over the popular climbing saddles.
west branch of the Clinton River looking towards
Clinton Forks. In particular, remain well clear of

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Summary
Think carefully about whether you are
suitably equipped, experienced and
capable of tackling a flight into Milford.
A full briefing is essential but a check
flight with an experienced Milford pilot
is preferable if at all practicable.
An overflight is a safer option
for the inexperienced.
Plan, plan, plan. Do your homework.
Consider all the necessary factors.
Mornings are generally better weather-
wise. Also, plan to arrive either before
or after the main influx of tourist aircraft.
From Clinton Forks looking back up the north Don't be overwhelmed by the
branch of the Clifton River leading towards Balloon
Pass (around the corner to the left). Marshall Pass magnificent scenery keep a good
around to the right.
lookout at all times, and pay attention
Mackinnon Pass (ie, above 5000 feet amsl) to navigation and communications.
local users use Balloon Pass in preference, Maintain weather awareness.
when possible, to avoid overflying Milford Don't stay too long weather awareness
Track walkers. again. If the sky is clear blue as far as
can see before landing, it may just stay
that way during your stopover.
Remember, however, you cant see bad
weather approaching, and weather
conditions can deteriorate very quickly.
If there is perfect weather and low traffic
density, applying normal mountain-flying
considerations, adhering to the special
procedures and being alert for other traffic
should suffice for a safe flight
if sea breeze or southeasterly conditions
are present, then added hazards will be
Looking towards Billy Burn (to the right of the
island) and further on towards Te Anau. present for takeoff and landing.

22
Looking towards the mouth of the Sound.
P O Box 3555
Wellington 6140
Tel: +64 4 560 9400
Fax: +64 4 569 2024
Email: info@caa.govt.nz

In, Out and Around Milford was revised in September 2012.


See our web site, www.caa.govt.nz, for details of more CAA safety publications.