From piloting plane to dairy farming

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He’s taken off his pilot hat and put on a pair of gumboots.

He may have only worked with Mainland Air for a short period of time, but Sven Thelning says he loved every minute of it.

Mainland Air and Mr Thelning have parted ways since the air service decided to can its flight service from Oamaru to Christchurch on Sunday.

Mr Thelning piloted the service, which began at the end of June. Nine days ago, he started work on a dairy farm.

He said he was pleased to have given the Mainland Air job a crack.

“I’m pleased I gave it a go. They were fantastic people to work for, but unfortunately there wasn’t enough support for the service,” he said.

Mainland Air ran its first flight from Oamaru to Christchurch on June 4.

“We are really thankful for the group of people who did try their best to support the flight and flew with us when they could, but unfortunately, we just lacked the numbers to carry the service on,” he said.

“I wanted to come back to North Otago and this was a good chance. I was surprised it didn’t work out. We all thought it would, but I still gave it a crack and am thankful for that chance,” Mr Thelning said.

Mr Thelning enjoys his flying, but has no immediate plans to head off somewhere else and become a pilot.

“I’m staying put. I am incredibly thankful for this chance I have received dairy farming and want to make the most of it. Obviously I’m disappointed the flying didn’t work out, but that happens.”

He is hoping to do some flying when he can through the North Otago Aero Club, and if another air service felt there was a need for flights in and out of Oamaru, then he’d seriously consider applying for another pilot’s position.

“If they felt they could get it to work, then I’d look really strongly at giving it another go, but for now I’m focusing on my farm job,” he said.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PHOTO: LINDA MCCARTHY

NEW DIRECTION: Sven Thelning has taken up a job in dairy farming, following Mainland Air’s decision to close its service from Oamaru.