Wednesday 9 September 2009

Cessna 180 ZK-BDB

Despite this grand old aircraft being imported into NZ in 1953, today was the first time I have seen ZK-BDB in the flesh. At Ardmore 9/9/09, but a little bit later in the day than 9.09am! She's looking good after all those years.

ZK-BDB was first registered to Manawatu ATD Co.Ltd., Feilding, 9th October 1953 and went straight on to agricultural operations. Seen here at that time in a photo from the Ed Coates collection:

This 180 was passed on to Rangitikei Air Services Ltd. of Taihape in March 1962 and a short while later worked for Northern Air Services Ltd., Te Kuiti. On 27th October 1966 ZK-BDB crashed at Te Anga. The airframe was recovered and later rebuilt by Rural Aviation and registered to them with the new registration of ZK-CWL as from 5th March 1968. The newly rebuilt aircaft is seen here outside the Rex Aviation hanger at Ardmore 14th September 1968:

ZK-CWL was then sold to the Hawera AC in December 1968, and over the years moved around various private and corporate owners in the North Island apart from a brief sojurn at Omarama in the mid-1980s. Craig Stobbs of Arisaig Ltd., Wellington bought ZK-CWL in January 2000 and restored the aircraft back to being ZK-BDB in February 2003.
Patchett Ag-Air Ltd. of Blenheim took over ownership in May 2004, and it still carries their logo under the current ownership of Clevedon Aviation Ltd. which I understand is operated by David & Jill Phillips.
Although ZK-BDB can boast of being the longest lived NZ 180, she's not exactly the oldest current 180 resident. That distincition goes to ZK-WGT, the Cessna 180 owned by G W & M W Thompson of Otorohanga, though that aircraft has only been in the country since 2007. Next up in the long-liverty stakes is ZK-BKG an ex-Wellington AC machine. Although arriving here as a new aircraft, ZK-BKG seems to have been bought into service rather later than ZK-BDB.

1 comment:

  1. My first flight in ZK-BDB was on 16/12/1963 topdressing for Rangitikei Air Services for Rex Garnham. We topdressed Blackhill, Mangaohane, Revells,Mataroa, Papakai, Erewhon Potiki Stations, plus many other farms. Also Air Searches as required. A great aircraft to would fill it up with super, stand on the brakes, apply full power, release the brakes with one hand on the flap handle and just near the far fence jack on some flap, pop up enough to clear the fence, then dive down into the gully beyond to build up speed, it worked well, although there were some pretty hairy times with turbulence or a wind shift! It was a great workhorse. My last flight in BDB was on the 8/2/64, then RAS switched to Piper PA 25's...