Local pilots have relished the freedom level 2 has brought, enabling them to get back in the sky, says Stratford Aero Club Sport Flyers media rep Nick Furmage.

"During levels 3 and 4, all airspace in New Zealand was closed to commercial and
recreational aviation as well as radio control aircraft and drones. Our club, like all others in the country shut down for the duration."

Once level 2 came into place however, Nick says pilots were quick to get back up in the air.

"Since level 2 started probably well over 100 movements have taken place out of Stratford Aerodrome already."

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Nick himself was one of the pilots to get back in the air, saying he enjoyed taking the club's trainer plane for a fly around the area and over the mountain on the first Sunday of level 2.

"We arrived over the summit around 8.30am. It was a stunning day but cold, probably north of -10C at 9000 feet."

Contact tracing details are being collected for everyone flying during level 2, says Nick, and pilots are using their own headsets rather than using the club owned ones. The club trainer is also being sanitised after every flight.

While level 2 meant a return to the skies, the aerodrome had seen some action during level 3, he says.

"Level 3 allowed for the council to send the mowers back out and attend to runways and like everyone's hair issues during lock down they were looking a bit daggy. Glad to report they are now back to their closely trimmed best. This was for Civil Defence requirements as the Stratford aerodrome can be used as an emergency aerodrome."

Members were also back at the airfield to do any needed maintenance work on their aircraft in level 3 he says, while some planes were already taking off.

"You will have seen our locally based top dresser Aerowork (Ravensdown) about the skies as they were an essential service and continued spreading goodness about the land and district in line for food production throughout the levels."

Nick says people are welcome to visit the aerodrome at any time.

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"The carpark is an actual park, with picnic tables available for people to use."

Sunday is the best day for people to come if they want to find out more about the club itself, says Nick, as that is the usual club day.

"If you are wanting to check out the aerodrome, pop over to the club house and someone will be able to advise what's required for venturing through the gates as that is where the operational part of the aerodrome begins. Both Mt Taranaki and the Central Plateau are easily visible from the aerodrome carpark."