Mount Cook Ski Planes

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Mount Cook Ski Plane Flights

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Mount Cook Ski Planes is the only company licensed to land in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park on the Tasman Glacier. The Tasman Glacier is the longest glacier in New Zealand and the closest scenic glacier landing site to Aoraki/Mount Cook.

All our landing flights allow you to experience the thrill of a Ski Plane glacier landing with 10 minutes on the snow to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Southern Alps. After landing on the snow the engine is shut down so you can enjoy the natural quiet of the mountains.

Ski The Tasman
Fully immerse yourself in the New Zealand Southern Alps and explore the incredible ice formations and caverns of the Tasman Glacier as you ski down New Zealand’s longest glacier


The founder of Mount Cook Ski Planes, Harry Wigley, developed an interest in aviation while still at school and started flying in the early 1930's. He gained his A Class pilots licence in 1935, and also flew with the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
In 1953 while flying tourists around Mount Cook and over the glaciers, Harry Wigley saw the need for a retractable ski which would allow aeroplanes to take off from an airfield and land on snow.

Although fixed skis used for snow takeoffs and landings were in existence, international enquiries confirmed that a retractable ski had not yet been developed. Fixed skis were not practicable at Mount Cook Airfield, where snow remains on the runway for only a limited time during the winter.

Hundreds of hours were spent developing a wheel which protruded through the ski during takeoff and landing at the airfield. The ski was then mechanically lowered during flight to allow landings on the snowfields of the Tasman Glacier.

Harry Wigley piloted an Auster aircraft, the first Ski Plane using a retractable ski on 22 September 1955, with Alan McWhirter as passenger. Another passenger on that historic day was Sir Edmund Hillary.
Over the next few years the concept and design were refined, including hydraulically operated skis with plastic soles were developed. The introduction of the more powerful Cessna 180 allowed the Ski Planes to operate all year round. Today, Mount Cook Ski Planes operate a fleet of Cessna 185 and Pilatus Porter PC6 aircraft.

Sir Harry Wigley's pioneering vision for mountain flying in the New Zealand Southern Alps has since enabled hundreds of thousands of visitors to enjoy and appreciate the grandeur of the Aoraki/Mount Cook and Westland Tai Poutini National Parks, part of a World Heritage Area. Mountain recreationists have also benefited through this vision.

Mount Cook Ski Planes to this day remains the only company to land scenic flights on the Tasman Glacier in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park.