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New Zealand Aircraft Returns from East Timor

Release: New Zealand Aerial Mapping Ltd

New Zealand Aircraft Returns from a Peaceful Mission to East Timor

For the last five weeks New Zealand Aerial Mapping Ltd. has had an aircraft and pilot operating in East Timor. The high-resolution aerial photographs taken during this time will be vital to delineate borders and assist in the rebuilding of the infrastructure of this new country. The existing maps in the area are not of a high standard and the new maps that will be created from these photographs will be invaluable to the United Nations (including New Zealand and Australian Forces) in carrying out their functions in the troubled territory.

The project was instigated by the United Nations and was sponsored by the Japanese Government. Another companies that are involved include Asian Air Surveys (Japan) who will process the photographs and make the maps. Due to the sensitive nature of the project it has not been public knowledge until it was successfully completed.

The fact that in recent months New Zealand Aerial Mapping Ltd purchased 'state of the art' aerial photography equipment including a $1.25 million dollar camera contributed to the selection of a New Zealand firm to assist in this project. The quality of the images that is collected by this system is equal to the highest quality of any civilian aerial system available in the world.

The aircraft that was used in this survey is also highly specialised. The aircraft is a twin engined 'Rockwell Commander 690' which has the necessary flying range to travel to East Timor (refueling in Norfolk Island, Brisbane and Darwin). The aircraft has several unique features that were important in this project such as the fact that the cabin is pressurised and the engines work on a combination of jet and propeller engine principles (the engines have propellers but are assisted by 'jet thrust', and run on jet fuel). The aircraft is the fastest and highest flying aerial survey plane operating in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Pilot, Adam Currey, and Australian Navigator, Ian Dougal were stationed in Dili for five weeks under United Nations jurisdiction. Due to the widespread destruction of buildings they were housed in a converted freight container.

More information including photographs from East Timor can be found on the NZAM website at

Additional information about NZAM may be of interest such as: NZAM holds aerial photography of all of New Zealand including recent hi-tech resurveys of all of the major centers. NZAM has conducted several aerial surveys in the Pacific such as Fiji, Solomon Islands, etc. NZAM was the first (and only?) aerial survey firm to have operated in Antarctica (nice photos available) NZAM is one of the oldest aerial photography firms in the world (established in 1936).


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