October 1, 2013
By Dave Hirschman
Jack Schulte prefers to fly in summer—and he does so for six months a year. In June, July, and August, he flies a Cessna 182 in the Mountain West from his home at Alpine Airpark in Wyoming. In December, January, and February, he takes an Aviat Husky A-1C throughout New Zealand during the Southern Hemisphere summer.
Schulte’s wife Marion is a Kiwi, and together they follow an endless summer migration between their native countries. At the same time, Schulte tries to transplant the best aviation traditions between the United States and New Zealand.
Many Kiwi pilots have been guests at Alpine Airpark, and Schulte takes them flying throughout North America where general aviation pilots fly IFR and use airports without the stiff ATC charges, landing fees, and bureaucratic hurdles they face in their home country. He has led them on mountain trips with the “Husky Brigade,” a boisterous group of backcountry fliers, and guided them as far as Alaska. He also brings them on annual treks to EAA’s AirVenture in Oshkosh to show them the world’s largest aviation gathering.
In New Zealand, Schulte has helped introduce an American charity, Angel Flight, to his home region on the North Island, and he recruits fellow pilots to take part in medical missions. The former trader on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange also runs East Bay Aviation in the town of Whakatane, which offers scenic flights over White Island—an active volcano—and helps pilots from the U.S. and other countries update their licenses so that they can fly GA throughout New Zealand.
“The United States offers the most freedom to fly of any country in the world, and sharing those freedoms with pilots from other countries shows them possibilities that they can take home,” he said. “And I’m absolutely delighted when I can show Americans the stunning natural beauty of New Zealand and introduce them to Kiwis. The combination of the place and the smart, vibrant, welcoming people make New Zealand unlike any other place on Earth.” (See “Epic Flight,” May 2012.)
Schulte learned to fly in New Zealand in a Piper Tomahawk, and he has earned U.S. commercial and instrument certificates.
Schulte got a tailwheel endorsement in 2008 and bought an Aviat Husky, then had it crated and sent to New Zealand. It was the first Husky on the New Zealand aircraft registry, but Schulte is sure it won’t be the last.
“The Husky is a rugged, versatile airplane that seems as though it was designed with New Zealand in mind,” he said. “Rough airstrips and high elevations don’t bother it at all. I’ve taken many Kiwis flying it in, and they all sing its praises.”
Who | Jack Schulte
Hours | 3,400 equally split between New Zealand and the United States.
Ratings | Instrument and commercial
Favorite aircraft | Aviat Husky A-1C
Project | Introducing U.S. charities such as Angel Flight to New Zealand, and showing New Zealanders the flying freedoms that exist in the United States.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman joined AOPA in 2008. He has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates. Dave flies vintage, historical, and Experimental airplanes and specializes in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction.
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