One thing that I have noticed at Ardmore the last several times that I have visited is that helicopter activity well outweighed fixed wing activity. A few days ago these helicopters from the same family were out and about. I am interested in helicopters but not very knowledgable on the various models.
I was surprised therefore that these helicopters were all variants of the twin turbine BK 117, so I did a bit of investigation. The original BK 117 was developed as a joint venture between Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm of Germany and Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Japan with the main rotor system and tailboom developed from the MBB Bo 105 helicopter and Kawasaki contributing the airframe and main trasmission. This first model was the BK 117 A-1 and it first flew in June 1979 and entered service in December 1992. It was developed over the years up to the C-1 model, and it was built by both MBB (330 examples) and Kawasaki (111 examples), up to 2004..
ZK-HGU5 (c/n 7229) is a MBB built MBB BK 117 B-2 that was registered to Airwork NZ Ltd on 11/12/14. It is ex N164AM and has a long previous history with several other registrations in the US.
ZK-IEH (c/n 9110) is a Eurocopter MBB BK 117 C-2 that is ex ZK-ITF and ex ZK-IGT, registered as ZK-IEH on 23/9/14 after having first been registered in New Zealand on 16/7/07. You can see it has the BK 117 three element tail. It is owned by Advanced Flight Ltd of Auckland.
The BK 117 design became part of the Eurocopter line-up when MBB merged with Aerospatiale-Matra in 1992 to form the Eurocopter Group, and the C-2 model was developed by another joint venture between Kawasaki and Eurocopter with the rear section of the BK-117 being mated to the forward section of the Eurocopter EC 135. It first flew in June 1999 and was introduced into service in 2002. This helicopter is also known for marketing purposes as the Eurocopter EC 145.
ZK-ITF3 (c/n 20020) is an Airbus Helicopters MBB BK 117 D-2 that was first registered on 23/10/14. It is also owned by Advanced Flight Ltd of Auckland.
In 2011 the C-2 model was developed into the BK 117 D-2 model which has improved performance and the Eurocopter fenestron shrouded tail rotor system. This helicopter is also known for marketing pourposes as the EC 145 T2. ZK-ITF is an Airbus Helicopter, with Airbus Helicopters having been rebranded from the Eurocopter Group on 2 January 2014.
An unusual sight running up outside Oceania Aviation on 23 February was this Hughes 369D on floats.
ZK-HMG is owned by Amalgamated Helicopters NZ Ltd of Masterton. It has been around since November 1985 with multiple owners and has had several stints overseas in New Guinea as P2-HBC. So maybe it is heading overseas again? Can anyone confirm why it is on floats?
While waiting for Pasiing showers to pass at Ardmore yesterday, a different shape appeared downwind in the circuit.
It was Tecnham P2006T ZK-OBZ which is owned by Ardmore Aviation Services with a Hong Kong address. It was the first time I had seen the aircraft which was registered VH-OBZ in Australia before flying the Tasman to appear on the New Zealand register on 9/12/14.
ZK-OBZ is configured as a Multi Mission Aircraft with electronic surveillance equipment from Airborne Technologies installed in a sensor bay in the floor and it has various bulges as could be seen as it taxied in. I am not sure how much of the special equipment is installed in ZK-OBZ and if so what it is used for. Can anyone advise?
Outside the Tecnam hangar. The P2006T is powered by two Rotax 912 engines of 100 HP each so it is a very light twin aircraft.
But ZK-OBZ was not the only P2006T on the field as the Middle Earth Flying School's ZK-MTW was parked along the line. This example was first registered in New Zealand on 7/11/11.
New Zealand has one other P2006T on the register, ZK-TWN, which is also owned by Ardmore Aviation Services.
Another drop-off to Auckland International today so another trip to Ardmore. There is always something to see and such a wide variety of aircraft. Here are a few from today:
Zenair CH 801 ZK-PIP4 was uncovered outside Pioneer Aero's hangar - the first time I have seen it uncovered. However it is parked in a difficult position for a decent photo. This is the best I could do.
From the other side you can see the high lift devices hung on the front of the wings.
A newbie to me was Diamond DA 40 ZK-MTZ is owned by the Geddes Brown Syndicate of Drury. It is for sale at Dennis Thompson International and could be yours for $249,900. This aircraft is ex N196DC and I believe was imported in a damaged state and rebuilt in New Zealand. It was first registered on 20/9/11.
Harvard ZK-WAR flew in, I suspect from a rain delay in returning from the Art Deco weekend at Napier.
Lear Jet 35A ZK-XVL of Auckland Air Charter Ltd was undergoing engine runs. This is ex N35QB and has been around since 25/2/03.
And also of interest were the new North American T-28B Trojan ZK-TGN was still in the Airspray Ardmore hangar being painted but progress is being made, and the Spitfire Mk XIV ZK-XIV2 being worked on at Avspecs. This cannot be far away from flying as the goal is to have it at the Classic Fighters 2015 airshow at Omaka in early April.
Ben from Wilderness Wings captured this Cessna 207 ZK-MDZ (c/n 20700171) at Hokitika yesterday (21-02-2015).
This Cessna 207 Skywagon comes with a lengthy history that runs something like this.
It was built as N1571U
and sent to Australia and allocate VH-UBR. This was not taken up and it
became VH-GKU for a period before heading up to Papua New Guinea as P2-GKU. It was re-registered as P2-SEB in 1976 with Talair (Pty) Ltd at Goroka.
it returned to Australia to become VH-GKZ with R Lucas of Mount Gravatt
in Queensland. It soon moved over to Kununarra in West Australia with Kimberley
Air Charter. It then had a period off the register before re-appearing with
James Chenault at Lightning Ridge, NSW in 1990, and finally with Kakadu Air Service Pty
Ltd at Jabiru, Northern Territory from 13-05-1991.
It had an event at Jabiru in Northern Territory in October of 1999 and it was stored at Batchelor for some time before it was rebuilt.
I am not sure how it arrived inbeing shipped to NZ in its damaged condition to undergo a rebuilt at Whangarei by Northland Aviation for Salt Air Ltd. This rebuild used parts from the Cessna 207 ZK-DAX which had been involved in a mid air collision with Cessna 207 ZK-DQF back on 30-12-1989.
It was registered as ZK-SAL4 on 23-11-2004 to Salt Air Ltd at Paihia, with an ownership change to MDR Aviation Ltd at North Shore City on 11-09-2009.
It was re-registered as ZK-MDZ on 28-10-2009 and went to Flight Hauraki Ltd on 15-03-2010.
As N9043L it was built at the Cessna plant at Independence Kansas and registered on 17-09-2010 then delivered out to Australia where it became VH-SQJ on 02-12-2010 with the Singapore Flying College Pty Ltd at Marcoola, Queensland.
It was sold to Aeromil Pacific on 05-11-2014 for ops by Flight Options (Australia) Pty Ltd of Mudjimba, Queensland.
It arrived at Auckland on 29-01-2015 and moved on to Hastings the following day and was registered as ZK-JAK on 03-02-2015 to Air Hawkes Bay. I believe it is Rotorua based.
Blog reader Wayne Butt of New Plymouth has sent in a couple of photos of his two interesting aircraft.
Colomban Cri Cri ZK-CRI2 was built by Wayne and first flew on 26/12/08. Wayne has a very interesting blog on building and flying his aircraft at www.cricri.zoomshare.com/0.html However, he advises that the Cri Cri has only flown 12 hours to date and none in the last 2 years as he has had a problem with the right engine failing twice due to siezing of the rear big end bearing. The engines are 240 cc 3W Modelmotoren horizonatally opposed 2 strokes producing 22 HP each.Wayne says he feels like he is progressing backwards with flying the Cri Cri, but he also says he is like a "dog with a bone" to identify and solve the problem. The above photo was taken in July 2010.
Wayne's second aircraft is the Zenith Zodiac CH 600 ZK-ZKZ. Wayne told me that the aircraft was commissioned by Paul Muller and built by John Raven at New Plymouth as a possible commercial venture, and it was first registered in February 1987. Paul Muller requested some mods from the designer Chris Hientz and as a result the cockpit was widened and wing lockers were constructed - features that were later incorporated by Chris Hientz into the CH 601. Wayne purchased the aircraft in June 1992 and re-engined it with a Subaru EA 81 engine around 1997. The above photo was taken on the beach at Raglan November 2007.
Thanks very much to Wayne Butt for the photos and information.
New Zealand's first registered Canadian Home Rotors Safari helicopter crashed near Te Awamutu on 10/2/15, apparently after reportedly suffering an engine problem. Fortunately there were no serious injuries but photos showed the helicopter to be badly damaged.
ZK-HXJ2 (c/n XJ 0301N) was built by Bruce Belfield, then of Tokoroa and was first registered to him on 19/10/01. It has been owned by him for its entire life and was a regular attendee at sport aircraft flyins in the Waikato area. I photo'd it most recently as above at the 2014 Black Sands flyin at Raglan on 8/11/14.
Bruce is the New Zealand agent for Safari helicopters of which we have had 12 examples to date.