Fjellfly

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Fjellfly
Founded 1954
Ceased operations 1972
Operating bases Skien Airport, Geiteryggen
Fleet size 14 (1965)
Destinations 4
Headquarters Skien, Norway
Key people Snorre and Reidun Kjetilsson (owners)

Fjellfly (literally "Mountain Fly") was a Norwegian airline which operated between 1954 and 1972. The airline was based at Skien Airport, Geiteryggen and diverse range of general aviation activities and a limited scheduled services. Major undertakings included deliveries of the newspaper Dagbladet, flying tourists into mountainous areas such as Hardangervidda and crop dusted forest areas. A scheduled service was introduced from Skien to Oslo Airport, Fornebu in 1963, and extended to Sandefjord Airport, Torp and Hamar Airport, Stafsberg four years later. At its peak in 1965, the airline had a fleet of fourteen aircraft.

Owned by Snorre and Reidun Kjetilson, the airline was established in 1954 in Drammen. Operation started out of Skien the following year. In addition to a range of Cessna, Piper, Fairchild and other smaller aircraft, Fjellfly operated the 10-passenger Noorduyn Norseman for most of its existence. From the mid-1960s it introduced the 16-passenger Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer on the scheduled flights, at the time the only aircraft of such a size that could land at Geiteryggen. From 1967, the airline started flying out of Vest-Telemark Airport, Fyresdal and established a pilot school at Kristiansand Airport, Kjevik. With the runway at Geiteryggen extended in 1970, the airline went over the de Havilland Heron on the scheduled services. Fjellfly filed for bankruptcy in 1972.

History[edit]

The airline was established by Snorre Sturla Kjetilson and his wife Reidun. Originally from Rjukan, the Snorre in Drammen when he decided to take his pilots' license.[1] Along with an investor, Kjetilson bought a Cessna 180 from Thor Solberg in 1954 and established Drammen Flyselskap. The investor quickly lost faith in the airline and sold his share to Kjetilson.[2] To secure sufficient business, he contacted several newspapers, and agreed to fly Dagbladet from Oslo to Grenland daily. From 1955 the airline flew from the water aerodrome at Oslo Airport, Fornebu to Herøya in Porsgrunn and onwards to Hjellevatnet in Skien. Later in the year, wheels were placed on the aircraft and it started flying to Geiteryggen.[3] Geiteryggen became the airline's base, and the couple moved to Skien in 1957.[4]

A Twin Pioneer at Groningen Airport

The airline took delivery of a used Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer on 3 September 1963.[5] The remainder of the year the aircraft remained at Geiteryggen for an overhaul. Among the uses of the aircraft had originally been thought crop dusting, but this was never carried out. The aircraft's test flight took place on 24 April 1964[6] and the aircraft entered service on 2 May, flying Odd to Bergen to play a football match. In addition to charter, the 16-passenger aircraft was sometimes used on the round trips to Oslo.[7] Fjellfly was the only Norwegian operator of the Twin Pioneer.[8]

Fjellfly received permission to operated a scheduled "line taxi" service from Skien to Fornebu. This implied that the route was flown with less administrative work, but limited the size of the aircraft. The services started on 1 March 1963 using the Twin Pioneer. At the time, only a single pilot in the country had the necessary type rating for the aircraft. The Twin Pioneer was expensive, having high fuel consumption, high maintenance costs and a lower speed. In addition, it had too high capacity for the Fornebu route. Kjetilson considered purchasing the de Havilland Dove, but no deal was struck.[9] A scheduled services from Skien via Sandefjord Airport, Torp and Oslo Airport, Fornebu to Hamar Airport, Stafsberg was established from 2 May 1967.[10]

Kjetilson was one of the driving forces behind Vest-Telemark Airport, Fyresdal. He had faith in that the area was superb for tourism and stated to Telemark Arbeiderblad on 16 September 1967 that he would give the airline to the municipality it Fyresdal did not have continental traffic within two years.[11] The airport opened on 23 September.[12] Fjellfly established a pilot school at Kristiansand Airport, Kjevik the same year.[13] With the upgrading of Geiteryggen to a longer, asphalt runway, the airline started looking for a more economical aircraft. In 1969, Fjellfly bought a de Havilland Heron from Tokyo and flew it back, arriving in February 1970. After a simple renovation, which included a renewal of the interior, the aircraft was put into service in the scheduled traffic.[14]

A second Heron was bought in 1971 and registered it on 10 February 1972. However, it would never enter service.[15] By March Fjellfly was bankrupt. As Geiteryggen was operated by the airline, it also closed, but was soon reopened.[16] After the bankruptcy, the aviation authorities were criticized for giving the schedule concession in 1967 to Fjellfly as the privilege was granted based on rural politics concessions while the company did not have sufficient financial security to operate the route.[17]

Operations[edit]

Newspaper flying was one of the airline's main contracts. Dagbladet and Verdens Gang, the two main non-subscription newspapers, had a fierce competition to bring their newspapers first to the market. Fjellfly had a contract to fly Dagbladet out from Oslo to Hamar, Tønsberg, Sandefjord, Skien, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Bergen and Trondheim. If weather conditions did not allow visual flight rules, the latter four would be transported by scheduled services instead. In extreme cases where the weather did not allow flights to the airports in Eastern Norway, Fjellfly was responsible for distributing the newspaper by truck.[18]

To supplement the newspaper flights, Kjetilson started a systematic campaign to fly tourist into the mountain areas of Hardangervidda and Setesdalsheiene. The airline established a summer base at Møsvatn. The Cessna 180 was equipped with hydraulic skis, allowing the aircraft to land both on runways and on lakes. The peak period was during the hunting season in September.[19] The airline also flew a route with Dagbladet which it dropped at about 65 hotels and resorts in a six- to seven-hour trip.[20] By the 1960s, the airline flew a regular service Skien–Oslo–Sandefjord–Larvik–Skien.[7]

From 1963 Fjellfly started crop dusting forests with fertilizer on a contract with Felleskjøpet. A Cessna 185 seaplane was bought for the job, which allowed it to be used for crop dusting in May and June, and be used for passenger flights the rest of the year. The first such mission took place on 3 May 1963.[21] Although some of the operations took place from airstrips, most of the work was carried out using seaplanes.[22] At the peak, four aircraft were used for crop dusting: two 185s, a Piper Super Cub and a Pilatus Porter.[23] During the 1960s, Fjellfly had two domesticated bears which were held a the airport.[24]

Fleet[edit]

List of aircraft operated by Fjellfly
Aircraft No. Seats Period Ref
Cessna 150 2 5 1967–72 [25][26]
Cessna 172A 2 4 1965–72 [27][28]
Cessna 180 2 4 1955–65 [29][30]
Cessna 185 Skywagon 3 6 1963–72 [31][32][33]
Cessna 195 1 5 1957–68 [34]
de Havilland Heron 2 17 1969–72 [35]
Fairchild PT-19-FA Cornell 3 2 1957–66 [36]
Fairchild PT-26B-FE Cornell 5 2 1956–66 [36]
Noorduyn Norseman IV 4 11 1957–72 [32][37]
North American Harvard IIB 2 2 1961–72 [38]
Fieseler Fi 156 Storch 1 2 1959–62 [31]
Piper J-3 Cub 1 2 1961–72 [39]
Piper PA-18 Super Cub 1 2 1965–66 [40]
Piper PA-22 Tri-Pacer 2 4 1959–68 [41][42]
Piper PA-23 Apache 3 6 1962–71 [43][44][45]
Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee Cruiser 3 2 1967–71 [39][46]
Piper PA-31 Navajo 1 8 1972 [47]
Piper PA-32 Cherokee Six 1 6 1968–72 [33]
Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer 2 16 1964–72 [8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Olsen: 162
  2. ^ Olsen: 163
  3. ^ Olsen: 166
  4. ^ Olsen: 167
  5. ^ Olsen: 197
  6. ^ Olsen: 199
  7. ^ a b Olsen: 201
  8. ^ a b Hagby: 75
  9. ^ Olsen: 202
  10. ^ Olsen: 226
  11. ^ Olsen: 204
  12. ^ Olsen: 205
  13. ^ Olsen: 208
  14. ^ Olsen: 279
  15. ^ Olsen: 280
  16. ^ Helskog, Svenn (23 March 1972). "Mey Air oppgir Geitryggen". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). p. 8. 
  17. ^ Helskog, Svenn (7 April 1972). "Fjellfly-konsesjon får konsekvenser". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). p. 11. 
  18. ^ Olsen: 224
  19. ^ Olsen: 169
  20. ^ Olsen: 171
  21. ^ Olsen: 173
  22. ^ Olsen: 175
  23. ^ Olsen: 176
  24. ^ Olsen: 186
  25. ^ Hagby: 116
  26. ^ Hagby: 314
  27. ^ Hagby: 123
  28. ^ Hagby: 304
  29. ^ Hagby: 201
  30. ^ Hagby: 305
  31. ^ a b Hagby: 113
  32. ^ a b Hagby: 116
  33. ^ a b Hagby: 194
  34. ^ Hagby: 117
  35. ^ Hagby: 36
  36. ^ a b Hagby: 122–124
  37. ^ Hagby: 301
  38. ^ Hagby: 134
  39. ^ a b Hagby: 191
  40. ^ Hagby: 303
  41. ^ Hagby: 96
  42. ^ Hagby: 136
  43. ^ Hagby: 150
  44. ^ Hagby: 201
  45. ^ Hagby: 204
  46. ^ Hagby: 308
  47. ^ Hagby: 286
Bibliography
  • Hagby, Kay (1998). Fra Nielsen & Winther til Boeing 747 (in Norwegian). Drammen: Hagby. 
  • Olsen, Bjørn (1999). Telemark i norsk luftfarts historie (in Norwegian). Skau. ISBN 82-7976-002-4.