Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Unregistered Homegrown Single Seat Homebuilt Aircraft of New Zealand (2) - The Williams Mark 2

Geoff Williams' second aircraft was built between October 1971 and January 1973.  It was then taken to the Hooper's Inlet airstrip where it first flew on 11 April 1973.  It was a high wing strut braced design that may have been based on the Tomboy model aircraft, and it probably used the VW engine from his earlier Mark 1 aircraft.

The Williams Mark 2 undergoing engine runs in early April 1973 outside the hangar that Geoff Williams built - you can see the old Fire Station doors forming the rear wall.
The first flight on 11 April 1973.  

 The aircraft flew well and quite a few flights were made around the Otago Peninsula.

Some of the flights resulted in forced landings with minor damage.  The above photo taken on Allans Beach on 7 June 1973 shows some temporary repairs after a forced landing including the windscreen being held in place by rope!

After further repairs Geoff Williams flew his Mark 2 aircraft further afield in 1974 and it is photo'd above tied down at Jardine's strip under the shadow of the Remakables on 4 January 1974.

And this colour photo of the aircraft was taken at Ruddenclau's airstrip at Five Rivers on 22 March 1974.  It can be seen that it is silver with a red fin and green rudder.  That is Geoff Williams in the brown jersey.

Following these flights the CAD made efforts to track down Geoff Williams and threatened him with prosecution, with the result that he signed a document to the effect that he would no longer fly this aircraft — and he never did. It was in a dismantled state in the hangar at Hooper’s Inlet in 1977, along with his first aircraft, and later both were burnt. In later years the hangar became dilapidated and, stripped of its roof and walls, it eventually collapsed.

So ended the Williams Mark 2, but Geoff Williams was not finished with building aircraft yet!

Monday, 15 January 2018

Unregistered Homegrown Single Seat Homebuilt Aircraft of New Zealand (1) - The Williams Mark 1

Back in July 2012 I was posting on the histories of Homegrown Single Seat Homebuilt Aircraft of New Zealand when I got to the Williams Mark 4.  The link to this post is:

In the post I asked if anyone had photos of the earlier Williams aircraft.  Some time later I was contacted by Geoff's brother Richard who said that there were photo albums that Geoff had kept that he would look for, and then some time later again Richard produced scans of the albums which told a fascinating story!

Geoff Williams of Dunedin designed and built three homebuilt aircraft in Dunedin in the 1970s plus a fourth aircraft between 1988 and 1991.  None of these aircraft were registered as it seems that Geoff did not like officialdom much.  However he must have had a very clever aeronautical brain because he designed and built all of his aircraft himself, including the propellers, and flew them all with very little flying experience (at least in the early days).  His father was Rodney Williams who was a WW 2 Lancaster pilot with 90 Squadron RAF and who was awarded the DFC in 1945.  After the war he was very involved with the ATC in Oamaru and was awarded an MBE for this work in 1964.  His son Geoff was an ATC cadet and it may be that he experienced some flying in Harvards with the ATC, but apart from that he had no official flying training.

He started building his first aircraft, the Williams Mark 1 in August 1969 and remarkably had it finished by the following May when he took it to Papanui Inlet on the Otago Peninsula and tried to fly it from the beach.

The Williams Mark 1 was a small biplane with a VW engine.  When a local farmer saw what Geoff was attempting he suggested that he would do better trying to fly his aircraft off a farm airstrip at Hooper's Inlet.

So in June 1970 the aircraft was towed by road to the Hooper's Inlet strip where Geoff built an open hangar from salvaged materials from the old Dunedin Teacher's College which had been burnt down and the doors from the old Dunedin Fire Station that made up the rear wall.
I do not think that the Williams Mark 1 flew successfully, although you can see from the above photo that it was not for the lack of trying!  It is probable that the aircraft was quite heavy (based on construction photos).  There are photos of it in 1971 but then Geoff Williams moved on to his next aircraft.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Sunday at Pauanui

Sunday brought a variety of visitors to the Pauanui airfield including the first visit of the recently imported Aeroprakt A22LS Foxbat ZK-CEC from Huntly

Several EC130 called in to drop off and pick up passengers including ZK-IFC from North Shore and ZK-IPV from Hamilton.

Further from home was the Whanganui based SH2 Glasair ZK-JDL which stayed for an hour before departing northwards.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

At Christchurch

Tony McFarlin caught the Cessna 402B Utililiner ZK-SVQ (c/n 402B0601) of Kiwi Air Ltd on the Western grass at Christchurch International Airport today (13-01-2018). 
Yesterday I noted the Aerial Surveys Ltd C402B ZK-PVC also there. It had been working the area northeast of the airport mid the week but the weather put a stop to that.
Previously mentioned several times HERE.
 Yesterday I shot the Cessna U206F Stationair ZK-RPM2 (c/n U20602042) of TAM Flight Ltd from Tauranga on the tie downs. It was also still there today.
Previously mentioned here.

Fletcher ZK-EMW

The N.Z.A.I Fletcher FU24-954 is c/n 277 and was registered to New Zealand Aerospace Industries Ltd of Hamilton on 17-04-1980 and delivered to Rangitikei Air Services Ltd of Taihape on 29-05-1980.
It is seen above in its 400hp mode at Wanganui on 22-07-1986 with the pilots name 'Geoff Rowe' forward of cockpit and 'Whakapuni' on the engine cowling.
It returned to Hamilton to Pacific Aerospace Corporation Ltd from 30-11-1987 and was moved on to Aerial Work (Mid-Northern) Ltd of Maungaturoto from 03-10-1988.
It survived an engine failure on 23-11-1994 but struck a fence on take off at Mangapai on 26-06-2001.
Next we see it is registered to Super Air Ltd at Hamilton from 26-10-2001.
They stripped it, extended the fuselage, installed a 60 cubic foot hopper and tacked a P and W PT6A-11AG turbine in the nose.
I believe it first flew in this form on 21-01-2003.
As you can see it is still with Super Air and is seen here operating recently out of Omana, a few clicks northeast of Dargaville.
Thanks to Peter Garlick for the photographs.