Monday, 22 September 2014

Homegrown Two Seat Homebuilt Aircraft of New Zealand (2) - Barber HA 2 and HA 3 Snarks

Bill Barber farmed at Dacre in Southland and he built several of his Snark aircraft there.  The above photo shows three of the Snarks gathered together at Dacre (a School of Snarks?), in 1998.

His first aircraft was the single seat Snark HA 1 ZK-FOU which I have posted about at:

The Snark HA 3 has a length of 6.24 metres (20 feet 4 inches)and a wingspan of 9.3 metres (30 feet 6 inches).  It is a very tall aircraft with a height of 2.43 metres (7 feet 9 inches).  Empty weight is around 263 Kg (580 pounds) and MAUW is 450 Kg (992 pounds).  With a Rotax 912 engine, cruise is around 104 knots and the stall is at 32 knots.

Snark HA 2 ZK-FYE (c/n MAANZ 450) was Bill Barber's first attempt at a two seat aircraft and it was first registered to him on 30/5/91.  It was literally designed on the back of an envelope but in fact it is a very elegant and efficient carbon fibre and Kevlar design with the cockpit/main undercarriage/engine mount structural area being very compact with only a single bulkhead.  Also, the cockpit layout is unique among microlights, with both the pilot and passenger having almost helicopter-like visiblity.  The HA 2 model was powered by a Rotax 503 engine.  It also had a retractable front wheel which Bill found to make no appreciable difference to the performance so his later Snarks have fixed front wheels.  It was sold to JM Young of Wanaka on 24/4/98.  It crashed on take off from a strip near Wanaka on 3/2/01.

The damaged aircraft was sold to GD McMillan of Invercargill on 26/3/01.  He employed Bill Barber to rebuild the aircraft and he re-registered it as ZK-DQL on 16/11/01.  It is photo'd here at Queenstown on 10/9/05 where it can be seen that an addition had been made to the upper fin.  It is still current.

ZK-JEK (c/n 001) originally had the c/n of MAANZ/528, and was first registered to Bill Barber on 20/3/95.  This aircraft was the first HA 3 model and was powered by a Suzuki G 13 engine.  It had less wing area than ZK-FYE and it had full span flaperons.  It was sold to MC Hopper of Otautau on 1/1/03, and he later moved to Whitianga and based the aircraft there.  Later he replaced the 1300cc G 13 Suzuki engine with a twin carburettor 1500cc Suzuki engine, and the performance was spectacular.  J & C Dale of Papakura purchased the aircraft on 31/10/12, and it was based at Ardmore.

It is photo'd above at Ardmore on 20/7/13.  However it was unfortunately destroyed at Ardmore on 4/1/14 when it suffered an engine fire. Fortunately it made it back to the runway for the occupants to get out before the fire completely destroyed the aircraft.  A link to this sad occurrence is at  It was cancelled on 28/4/14.

The second HA 3, ZK-PIE (c/n 002) was built by David Laing of Dunedin from moulds supplied by Bill Barber.  It was registered to the Duncan Laing Trust of Dunedin on 28/2/96.  It also was powered by a Suzuki G 13 engine, but it had slotted flaps and ailerons instead of flaperons - as all subsequent Snarks have had.  ZK-PIE suffered an engine failure on take off on a test flight from Taieri on 25/1/98 and went through a fence.  However it was repaired as shown by this photo taken in a hangar at Timaru on 6/10/99.  It was sold to JR Lissington of Otorohanga on 1/11/99.

It is photo'd above at the 2009 Black Sands flyin at Raglan on 7/11/09.  Finally it was sold to J & C Dale of Papakura on 23/3/14 to replace their sadly departed ZK-JEK.

ZK-JIU (c/n 003) is a HA 3B model and was first registered to Bill Blair on 12/11/97.  It had a Suzuki G 13-GTI engine.  It was sold to P Dunn of Mildura in Australia and its registration was cancelled on 19/2/99 and transferred to the Australian microlight register as 19-3116.  It was sold to B Cooper of Melbourne in 2005, and it is still registered in Australia.

And the latest Snark (to date) is HA 3C model ZK-JPS (c/n 004) which was registered to Bill Barber on 10/7/03.  It is powered by a Rotax 912 engine which is 30 kg lighter than the Suzuki.  Bill has based his aircraft at Cromwell and flown it locally.  It is photo'd above at the 2014 Wings Over Wanaka airshow, on 18/4/14.

ZK-JPS is now FOR SALE - contact the email address in the blog header if you are interested in owning this neat aircraft.

The first and latest HA 3 Snarks together at the Cromwell racecourse.

The Snark was flown and reviewed by experienced UK general aviation and microlight pilot Tim Cripps for Today's Pilot Magazine where he stated "This is the most enjoyable of the many aircraft I have flown - and that includes the Hunter".  High praise indeed!  There were plans for UK production but those have not come to fruition.

And that is not the end of our Barber Snarks! as Bill Barber has another one almost complete, which we might see in the near future.

Thanks very much to Bill Barber for many of the photos, and for information used in this post.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the update! The Snark is a beautiful looking aircraft. I used to see one buzzing around central otago back in the day. Hopefully Mr Barber will keep rolling a few more out