Monday, 12 January 2015

Maranda Super 14(s) of New Zealand

Coincidentally, the next type of homebuilt to come along in 1996 was Gavin Grimmer's Maranda AMF-14 DIXW ZK-JGR.

The Maranda was designed by Chris Falconar of Falconar Aircraft in Canada and was developed from an earlier aircraft called the Adam RA 14 Loisirs.  It first flew in 1961.  Length is 23 feet (6.70 metres) (although ZK-JGR is longer), wingspan is 31 feet 9 inches (9.67 metres) and the wing area is 158 square feet.  It is a big plane for a 2 seater.  Empty weight is around 1,100 pounds (500Kg) and MAUW is 2,065 pounds (937 Kg).  Engines can be in the 85HP to 150HP range and cruise speed is around 120 mph with 150HP.
ZK-JGR was first registered to Gavin Grimmer on 27/3/96 and first flew at Bridge Pa in that year.  It first flew with a Nissan RD 28 diesel engine (which would have made it the first diesel engined homebuilt aircraft in New Zealand, and as far as Gevin is aware it was the first automotive diesel powered aircraft in the Southern hemisphere).  The engine proved to be problematic and after around 60 hours on 8/10/97 an problem with the turbocharger resulted in a forced landing just off Bridge Pa airfield with an attempted ground loop which broke the rear fuselage when contact was made with a fence.  You can see in the above early photo of ZK-JGR that the rear fuselage is quite short.

So Gavin rebuilt the aircraft with a longer rear fuselage (stretched 27 inches) as can be seen in the above photo taken at Bridge Pa in 1999, and he also re-engined the aircraft with a Continental O-300 engine.

Finally, in 2002 Gavin re-engined ZK-JGR with a 4 litre Lexus FE V8 engine with a reduction drive and this is the current configuration of the aircraft as photo'd above at the 2014 SAANZ flyin at Bridge Pa on 8/3/14.  ZK-JGR was again damaged when a broken axle resulted in a ground loop at Loburn on 7/2/05.  As a result of this incident Gavin designed a new undercarriage with stronger axles and he has had no problems with the undercarriage since.  Gavin told me that he has quite a few forced landings due to various engine problems.  However, it must be one of the most extensively developed homebuilt aircraft in the country

There are at least two other Super Marandas being built in New Zealand - one at Christchurch and one at Invercargill which is being built with floats.


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