Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Auster Agricolas - Part 2

. . . or should it be Agricolae?

Interesting and historic photographs by or via Murray Kirkus, who lived in the Wellington area at the time of Agricola activity.

c/n B.102
Was sent to the NZ Auster agents, Bristol Aeroplane Co. NZ Ltd., Wellington, for a demonstration tour as ZK-BMJ. Sold to Airlift (NZ) Ltd., Kilbirnie and registered to them in October 1956.
At Rongotai, probably with Airlift:

Parked on an airstrip, unknown location:

When this company folded in 1960, Claude Stephenson (their chief pilot) formed a new company, Associated Farmers Aerial Work Ltd. based at Martinborough and BMJ was registered to this new company in August 1960.
ZK-BMJ was hired to Air Contracts Ltd., Masterton later in 1960 until damaged in a crash 8th May 1961 - anyone know the location of this incident?.

Associated Farmers rebuilt the aircraft:

c/n B.103
Followed a similar path, being sold through the Agents to Airlift (NZ) Ltd. as ZK-BMK from May 1957. Under their ownership, crashed into Waingawa River, after failed t/off at Hood, Masterton, 11May57.
ZK-BMK at Rongotai May 1957:

c/n B.104
Imported through the Agents as ZK-BML, went to Rangitikei Air Services Ltd. of Taihape in April 1957. Fitted out as a sprayer. Crashed & DBF near Taihape 22Jan59.
Note the built-in spray rig:

c/n B.106
Imported through the agents as ZK-BMN. Remained unsold, and stored at Blenheim (Woodbourne?) until sold to Air Contracts Ltd. in 1961 (replacement for ZK-BMJ?). Passed on to Associated Farmers and registered to them in October 1963. Crashed 5mls SE of Paraparaumu 11Mar65, out of fuel. Pilot M H Lacey.
Under Air Contracts ownership, location looks to be Masterton airfield:

c/n B.107 (later c/n B.118)
Allotted ZK-BMO, but the slow sales of BMM and BMN meant that this aircraft was retained in the UK and became G-APFZ with Aerial Agriculture Ltd. of Lasham with whom it flew about 300hrs. (ZK-BMO was reallocated to a Beaver). WFU Rearsby after CofA expiry 22Apr60. Rebuilt at Rearsby with a new c/n B118 and sold to Air Contracts Ltd., Masterton. First NZ flight at Masterton 8 October 1962 as ZK-CCV. Operated from Masterton until crashed Pongaroa, Masterton, and partially DBF 19Feb63. Pilot Barry Cook.
Operational on a farm strip, date and place unknown:

As Sir Minty has already said, we are still looking for a photograph of ZK-BMM G-APFZ and also (a long shot) a photograph of Agricola c/n B.108 which was allotted ZK-BMP but also remained unsold in the UK. Completed with c/n B.117 and went to British Guiana as VP-GAZ where it crashed 27 June 1959. The remains of this aircraft were then returned to the Auster factory. (ZK-BMP was reallocated to a Cessna 180).

We can but hope!


  1. ZK-BMJ c/n B.102 was damaged at Tiraumea on 08-05-1961. It was rebuilt with a 260hp motor. Was damaged again at Tora 09-04-1968 and final crash at Wairongomai on 10-12-1976. Was cancelled on 11-08-1977.

    ZK-BML c/n B.104 Fatal crash was at Black Hills Station on 22-01-1959.

    ZK-BMN c/n B.106 was delivered to Air Contract on 17-02-1961, ie before the crash of ZK-BMI on 08-05-1961.

    The registrations ZK-BMO to ZK-BMX (except ZK-BMR)I believe were allocated to c/n's B.107 to B.118 but not taken up.

  2. Hi! Not sure if this blog is still checked on, but my fathers uncle crashed ZK-BMJ into the tree.
    His name is Keith Christie. Brother of Vic Christie (my grandad) I have a great photo of the plane in the tree , I'll try and post it!
    My name is Adam Christie.

  3. Hi Adam welcome . Please post your photographs .