Saturday 28 February 2009

A couple of Kiwi bush planes

Lurking in the undergrowth at Awhitu is this Bristol 170 31 NZM. Registered to the Bristol Aeroplane Co as G-AINS with c/n 12833 on 27-01-1947 it did its share of demonstrating before being re-regestered with the Bristol test allocation of G-18-199 on 19-11-1951. It arrived at Whenuapai on 06-12-1951 to become NZ5902 with 41 Squaadron RNZAF on 13-12-1951. It was withdrawn from use on 23-03-1977 and sold to Dwen Airmotive to become ZK-EPA on 17-08-1978. It was cancelled from the NZ civil register on 01-12-1988 as scrapped. The "02" is still faintly visible on the nose.

Down the track at Mercer is the Piper PA-23-250 Aztec C ZK-JEI c/n 27-2638

This aircraft has more history than I have space for. But briefly:-
Built as N5539Y in 1964 it had at least five US owners before arriving in NZ on 15-11-1972 to become ZK-DJG with Bishop Aviation at Gisborne on 27-11-1972. Five operators later it was with Seabee Air Ltd of Auckland in 1986. Cancelled on 30-05-1986 it became DQ-FEG first with Stardust Cruises and then Island Air in Fiji. It returned to NZ via Norfolk Island on 20-06-1987 and was stored at Flight Engineers until restored to Seabee Air as ZK-DJG on 14-03-1989. Great Barier Airlines appear on 18-10-1989. On 02-06-1990 it departed for Norfolk Island on delivery to become YJ-RV3 at Port Villa. Ownership change in 1991 saw Vanair listed. It returned to NZ again on 28-08-1991 to return to its ZK-DJG markings with Great Barrier on 06-09-1991 and departed NZ again on 12-09-91 for Cook Island Fisheries. Back yet again to NZ on 03-08-1993 for cancellation on 15-11-93 to become DQ-FIB for Vanua Air Charters. I then have it as returning to NZ on 24-10-1994, still with Great Barrier but now re-registered as ZK-JEI from 04-09-1995. Some six local operators later it was with JW & E I Lyver from 06-09-1999.
How it got in its present state I know not; but it appears to be badly damaged underneath, as if it had a wheels up or similar.


  1. Registration: ZK-JEI Nature of Flight: training dual
    Aircraft Model: Piper PA-23-250 Pilot Licence: CPL (Aeroplane)
    Date and Time: 25 Jan 00 at 20:55 Pilot Age: 39 yrs
    Location: Mercer Flying Hours (Total): 877
    POB: 2 Flying Hours (on Type): 128
    Injuries (Fatal): nil Last 90 Days: 53
    Injuries (Serious): nil TAIC Ref.:
    Injuries (Minor): nil Publishing Ref.: V, Jan/Feb 2001
    Damage: substantial Date Published: 20 Jan 01


    The student was landing the aircraft. Following touchdown, poor braking action was experienced due to the wet grass surface and the aircraft over ran the runway into a ditch. A slight tailwind was noted after the landing.

  2. These photos and little tit-bits of aviation history are awesome, keep up the good work mate.

  3. Thank you flyernzl for the accident details. Another problem resolved.

    And thank you deeknow for you encouraging comment.

  4. can you tell me where these are i would love to see them

  5. Well, guys:
    your directions were perfect - I found the aerodrome easily today.
    it's no longer "disused". In fact, it's going thru a major tart-up as a new skydiving operation. All the rubbish, overgrowth etc has been cleared away...and the Piper's disappeared too.
    So your photo is probably the only one in existence!
    Thanx for your help nonetheless.