Farewell to Strikemasters NZ6362 and NZ6370

Photo credit: Strikemaster Club Facebook page.

Brett Nicholls, Chief Executive and owner of Strikemaster Ltd, has announced that NZ6362 and NZ6370 will shortly depart New Zealand's shores. Brett says:

It is with some sadness that I would like to inform you that both my Strikemasters and all spares have been sold to Blue Air Training based in Las Vegas, USA. I understand Blue Air Training has eight Strikemasters and a significant inventory of spare – with my two, they will have four ex RNZAF Strikemasters.

The decision to sell was not taken lightly, however it has to be acknowledged that the landscape for Strikemaster operations has changed significantly over the last few months which had the potential to drastically increase the maintenance costs on the aircraft and the length of time each aircraft would be out of the air.

It came to light in the fourth quarter of last year that this company purchased all Strikemaster and Jet Provost spares from Australia (our main source of spare parts) and they have an extremely close relationship with a company in the UK who has the other significant inventory of Strikemaster spare parts.  Obviously, with the reduction in spare part availability it meant that running a Pt 115 operation was going to be increasingly difficult and significantly more costly.

I would like to thank the Strikemaster team for all their support over the years – Dave, Mark, Dean, Heather, Shooter, Paul and the Pioneer team. It has been fun. The Tauranga airshow on Saturday will be the last time these two aircraft will be displayed in front of a New Zealand – a bittersweet moment for all involved.

Time seems to have flown by since July 2012 when Strikemaster Ltd first gained Part 115 certification and ordinary New Zealanders were able to experience a flight in these iconic aircraft. Thanks Brett for bringing these two Strikemasters back to New Zealand and giving everyone this opportunity.

Blue Air Training provides contract Close Air Support (CAS) training to conventional and special operations personnel from all branches of military service. In 2015, their Facebook page included a post noting that they had been awarded a contract to provide 1,000 flight hours per year of CAS training for Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs).