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READING PASSAGE 1

Flying the Coast

The development of an air service on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island

Cut off from the rest of the country by a range of mountains, the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island – or the “Coast” as it is commonly known – was the country’s “wild west frontier”. But unlike Fiordland to the south, which was and still is an uninhabitable wilderness, the Coast in the 1930s was not only habitable, it was also potentially rich.

Settlers hunted and fished, logged, milled and mined. They farmed where they managed to clear the forest and drain the swamps. It was pure survival at times. The isolation was inescapable, not so much because of the great distances that travellers had to cover, but rather due to the topography of the place – the mountains, gorges, glaciers, rivers and headlands – which necessitated long detours and careful timing with regard to weather and tides. Bridges were few and far between in the early years, and even ferry crossings were often impossible after heavy rains. Each river had its attendant ferryman or woman whose attention a traveller would attract with a rifle shot. It was the kind of country where one would greatly benefit from a pair of wings.

Maurice Buckley, a World War I pilot, was the first to give Coasters, as the residents of the region were called, such wings, by establishing the Arrow Aviation Company in 1923. That year he bought an Avro biplane on the east coast, which he transported across the country by rail, wings off, before reassembling it in a local garage. When he opened for business the following year, the colourful Avro was an instant crowd-pleaser and Coasters queued up for joyrides. For the first major flight, Buckley invited Dr Teichelmann, a local mountaineer, to join him. They flew over the Franz Josef Glacier and landed at Okarito. Afterwards, Teichelmann wrote about how extraordinary it was to look at the world from the air, ” like taking the roof off the house and watching the performances from above.

Next came an aviator named Bert Mercer, who made a reconnaissance flight to the Coast in August 1933 and started Air Travel (NZ) the following year, Mercers aircraft of choice was a DH83 Fox Moth. By comparison with the regular open-air aircraft of the day, the Fox Moth was a plane that offered considerable luxury, housing four passengers in an enclosed forward area fully protected from the weather. Mercer opened for business in December 1934, picking up the airlines first passengers and, on the last day of that year, commenced a regular delivery of mail, carrying 73kg of letters to Haast and Okuru. From that day on, the Fox Moth became a much-anticipated sight on the coast.

Mercer got on with everyone and won their respect by anticipating, then meeting their needs. One of those was setting up the first aerial shipping route to help transport a kind of small fish known as whitebait. Starting in 1935 Mercer would put the plane down where there was no airstrip, instead using remote beaches such as the one at the mouth of the Paring River, collect the whitebait and whisk them off to the night train and waiting city markets in perfectly fresh condition, Mercer relied on his senses -what he could see and hear – to navigate, flying around the weather and contours of the land. Although often warned to do so by aviation authorities, he refused to develop the skills necessary to navigate the plane “blind, using just its instruments on the console in front of him. The old habits were too hard to change.

With the outbreak of World war II, mercer’s aircraft were considered so essential to the remote Coast that they were not militarised. In fact, the business continued to grow in the early years, thanks in large part to a government issued subsidy, which allowed him to expand into neighbouring areas. Despite the war in far-off lands, life on the Coast was business as usual. The settlers were always in need of mail and transportation. In time, though, this presented Mercer with a pressing issue: with so many now joining the Air Force, he no longer had enough pilots. In 1942 he wrote in his diary, I am back to where I started eight years ago- on my own.

The only solution to keep the airline going was to pack as much into every plane as possible and make every flight count. But some of mercer’s newly formed team objected to the amount of cargo they had to carry, which for a small rural airline was a fact of life. One man, Norm Suttle, left the airline after a few months in protest about carrying more than was appropriate for the aircraft. This marked another decline in the airline’s fortunes, When Bert Mercer died in 1944, the airline was taken over by Fred Lucas, a man who shared mercer’s pioneering spirit. Under Lucas s leadership the newly formed West Coast Airways saw Another decade of profitable returns. But in the following decade, times changed fast. Helicopters were soon found to be ideal machines for the Coast terrain, and quickly took over the vast majority of the local air transport business.

Câu hỏi (Questions)

Questions 1-6

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?

In boxes 1-6 on your answer sheet write

TRUE if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

  1. In the 1930s, the Coast and Fiordland had populations of a similar size.
  2. Most settlers on the Coast were migrants from overseas
  3. The coast’s geographical features made moving around the region difficult
  4. The first bridges to be built on the Coast were swept away by floods
  5. Maurice Buckley flew his Avro biplane to the Coast in 1923
  6. Coasters were unwilling to fly at first

Questions 7-13

Complete the notes below.

Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 7-13 on your answer sheet.

Bert Mercer and aviation on the Coast

Early Years

• Mercer set up Air Travel (NZ) in 1934

• The Fox Moth was noted for its 7……. compared to other planes

• in 1934 mercer’s company started to transport 8………….. and passengers

• from 1935 planes landed on 9……………to pick up fresh produce

World War lI

• the airline expanded at first because it got a 10…………

• there was a shortage of 11.……….from the state by 1942.

Final Years

• there were disputes at the airline about the quantity of 12……….in each plane

• 1950s: 13………became popular and the airline suffered

Answer Key (Đáp án và Giải thích)

  1. In the 1930s, the Coast and Fiordland had populations of a similar size.
    FALSE
    Vị trí đáp án:
    But unlike Fiordland to the south, which was and still is an uninhabitable wilderness, the Coast in the 1930s was not only habitable, it was also potentially rich.
    (Không giống như Fiordland ở phía Nam nơi mà còn vùng hoang dã không thể sống được , the Coast vào thập kỷ 1930, không chỉ có thể sống được mà còn tiềm năng giàu có.
  2. NOT GIVEN
    Đoạn văn không mention thông tin nào liên quan đến the nationality of most settlers on the Coast.
  3. The coast’s geographical features made moving around the region difficult
    TRUE
    Vị trí đáp án:
    The isolation was inescapable, not so much because of the great distances that travelers had to cover, but rather due to the topography of the placethe mountains, gorges, glaciers, rivers and headlands – which necessitated long detours and careful timing with regard to weather and tides.
    (Sự cô lập không thể tránh được, không phải vì khoảng cách lớn mà người đi du lịch phải đi qua, mà là do địa hình của nơi này – các dãy núi, hẻm núi, sông băng, sông và đầu đất – yêu cầu phải đi vòng vo và lựa chọn thời điểm cẩn thận liên quan đến thời tiết và thủy triều.)
  4. NOT GIVEN
    Đoạn văn không mention thông tin nào liên quan đến the first bridges on the Coast being swept away by floods.
  5. Maurice Buckley flew his Avro biplane to the Coast in 1923
    TRUE
    Vị trí đáp án:
    Maurice Buckley, a World War I pilot, was the first to give Coasters, as the residents of the region were called, such wings, by establishing the Arrow Aviation Company in 1923. That year he bought an Avro biplane on the east coast, which he transported across the country by rail, wings off, before reassembling it in a local garage.
    (Maurice Buckley, một phi công trong Thế chiến I, là người đầu tiên mang cánh đến cho những người sống ở vùng này, được gọi là Coasters, bằng việc thành lập Công ty Hàng không Arrow vào năm 1923. Năm đó, ông mua một máy bay Avro tại bờ biển phía đông, sau đó di chuyển nó khắp đất nước bằng đường sắt, cánh máy bay tháo rời, trước khi lắp ráp lại nó trong một nhà ga địa phương.)
  6. Coasters were unwilling to fly at first
    FALSE
    Vị trí đáp án:
    For the first major flight, Buckley invited Dr Teichelmann, a local mountaineer, to join him ( Ông ấy không muốn bay một mình trước mà mời một người khác bay cùng). They flew over the Franz Josef Glacier and landed at Okarito. Afterwards, Teichelmann wrote about how extraordinary it was to look at the world from the air, ‘like taking the roof off the house and watching the performances from above.
    (Cho chuyến bay lớn đầu tiên, Buckley mời ông Teichelmann, một người leo núi địa phương, tham gia cùng. Họ bay qua Sông băng Franz Josef và hạ cánh tại Okarito. Sau đó, Teichelmann viết về sự phi thường khi nhìn thế giới từ trên cao, “giống như cởi bỏ mái nhà và ngắm nhìn các biểu diễn từ trên cao.)
  7. luxury
    Vị trí đáp án:
    Mercer’s aircraft of choice was a DH83 Fox Moth. By comparison with the regular open-air aircraft of the day, the Fox Moth was a plane that offered considerable luxury, housing four passengers in an enclosed forward area fully protected from the weather.” (luxury)
  8. mail
    Vị trí đáp án:
    On the last day of that year, [Mercer] commenced a regular delivery of mail, carrying 73kg of letters to Haast and Okuru.
  9. beaches
    Vị trí đáp án:
    Starting in 1935 Mercer would put the plane down where there was no airstrip, instead using remote beaches such as the one at the mouth of the Paring River, collect the whitebait and whisk them off to the night train and waiting city markets in perfectly fresh condition.
  10. subsidy
    Vị trí đáp án:
    With the outbreak of World War II, Mercer’s aircraft were considered so essential to the remote Coast that they were not militarized. In fact, the business continued to grow in the early years, thanks in large part to a government-issued subsidy, which allowed him to expand into neighboring areas.
  11. pilots
    Vị trí đáp án:
    In time, though, this presented Mercer with a pressing issue: with so many now joining the Air Force, he no longer had enough pilots. In 1942 he wrote in his diary, ‘I am back to where I started eight years ago – on my own.'” This suggests that there was a shortage of pilots from the state.
  12. cargo
    Vị trí đáp án:
    But some of mercer’s newly formed team objected to the amount of cargo they had to carry, which for a small rural airline was a fact of life. One man, Norm Suttle, left the airline after a few months in protest about carrying more than was appropriate for the aircraft.
  13. helicopters
    Vị trí đáp án:
    But in the following decade, times changed fast. Helicopters were soon found to be ideal machines for the Coast terrain, and quickly took over the vast majority of the local air transport business.”

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