Friday 30 April 2010

Druine Turbulents of New Zealand (3)

The remainder of the first batch of Aerocraft kits.

The reason that the early homebuilders built Turbulents was that at that time the Department of Civil Aviation had to approve aircraft plans before an aircraft was built, and I think that the Turbulent plans were the first to be approved. This was in part because the Turbulent wing had 2 spars and the DCA was not comfortable with a single wing spar such as in the Jodel aircraft. Later this changed but the first Jodel D9 (which was an earlier design) was not registered until March 1967.

Again the photos are nearly all from the Keith Morris collection and I have taken most of them. However some of the photos were taken by others and I do not have a record of who took them. The early photos of Turbulents at Wanganui were taken by Ray Deerness in the early 1960's. The last of these is ZK-CAG below.

ZK-CAG (c/n 1005) was first registered to L H Mungavin of Palmerston North on 4/5/61 and I guess it may have been built by Aerocraft.

Ownership transferred to R A Hicks of Auckland and it is photo'd above at Ardmore on 5/12/65.  It crashed on 22/7/66 at Horsham Downs, and was cancelled on 28/3/68 making it our shortest lived Turbulent.

ZK-CAH (c/n 1004) was first registered to A Myers of Palmerston North on 4/5/61 and then transferred to Aviation Sales and Service Ltd and then Aerocraft (NZ) Ltd, all of Palmerston North, so I guess it may also have been built by Aerocraft. It was then hired to the South Canterbury Aero Club and was owned by a P Slater.  It is photographed above at the same Blenheim airshow that ZK-CAC was travelling to (see last post).

ZK-CAH is photo'd above by Don Noble at Palmerston North on 24/10/65.  I think this photo would have been taken at Kairanga, where Aerocraft built their Turbulents.

It crashed at Arohena on 8/10/67 (or 69?) and was cancelled on 22/1/71.

However ZK-CAH was re-registered on 25/2/72 after having been rebuilt by Robbie Gentry (who also built ZK-CAE), with a new c/n of AACA /10-R. It is again photographed at Blenhiem, this time at the AACA flyin of 1973 when I remember that the colour scheme was iridescent green, as in the colour photo below, which was taken at Masterton on 4/1/75.

Robbie sold it to Bernie Webb of Wellington on 1/12/72 who in turn sold it to Cliff Adams of Masterton.

It is photographed here at Masterton during the time that Cliff Adams owned it. It overturned during a forced landing at Putara Valley (in the Wairarapa I think), on 17/4/82, and it was never rebuilt. It was cancelled on 2/2/94.

ZK-CAI (c/n 1006) was first registered to Neil Cribb of Palmerston North on 4/5/71 so I guess it also may have been built by Aerocraft (all of what I assume are the Aerocraft built Turbulents have the same color scheme pattern but with different colours). It was on line with the Palmerston North Flying School before being sold to F P Bracefield of Christchurch, G A Vodane of Hamilton on 26/9/69 and then to the Egmont Chapter of the AACA on 18/2/70.   It is photo'd below by Don Noble at Omaka in 5/1/69, (obviously at the same time and place as the above black and white photo).

It then had a series of owners in the Taranaki area: Cliff Cory, the CAI Group from 10/12/70, and finally Doug Farquahar & Arnie Broadmore from 12/4/76. It hit a fence on takeoff at Rotowaro on 28/10/78 and was not rebuilt. Ownership transferred solely to Doug Farquahar of Waitara on 23/6/89 and it was finally cancelled on 28/8/97.

And the final Turbulent in the series of 8 registrations, ZK-CAJ (c/n 1007) was registered to H W Jensen of Palmerston North but was not completed. It was cancelled on 11/8/77.

Thursday 29 April 2010

Druine Turbulents of New Zealand (2)

The first Aerocraft kits.

On 4/5/61 a block of 8 registrations ZK-CAC to ZK-CAJ was reserved for Turbulents, I guess by Aerocraft. Some of these were bult by Aerocraft and some were built from kits by early post-war homebuilders, and these formed the nucleus of the Amatuer Aircraft Constructors Association of New Zealand (AACA) which was formed in March 1964 based around the Wellington area with homebuilders such as Rob Gentry, Stan Smith and Robin Hickman.

The photos in these posts are nearly all from the Keith Morris collection and I have taken most of them. However, some of the photos were taken by others and I do not have a record of who took them. The early photos of Turbulents at Wanganui were taken by Ray Deerness in the early 1960's.

ZK-CAC (c/n PFA/505) was registered to Aviation Sales and Service Ltd of Palmerston North and its first flight was on 6/10/62. It was delivered to Len Hunter of Christchurch on 11/11/62 and it was hired to the Canterbury Aero Club from July 1963. This photo was taken at Kaikoura in the mid 1960's when ZK-CAC was on its way to an airshow at Omaka.

It was then owned by John Caston of Auckland from 26/6/68, J A Smith of Hamilton from 23/5/73, Chris O'Brien and William Power of Frankton from 25/11/75, and then it went to Peggy Perry of Hamilton on 1/9/76.  The above photo was taken at Ardmore on 20/3/68.

It was repainted in this yellow colour scheme at the time that Peggy Perry owned it and earlier on it had Kowhai flowers painted on the fuselage and rudder - maybe a reference to Te Kowhai?. This photo was taken at the 1990 AACA flyin at Waipukurau. Ownership then transferred to Adam Barrett of Lower Hutt on 25/2/87, Brian Shears of Upper Hutt on 15/6/88 and finally Peter Small of Cust on 24/6/91.

And this most recent photo was taken at the 2009 SAANZ flyin at Ashburton. ZK-CAC was redesignated as a Class 1 microlight on 18/3/96.

ZK-CAD (c/n 1001K) was registered to L W Hunter of Christchurch but was not completed. It was cancelled on 25/5/90.

ZK-CAE (c/n 1002K) was built in Wellington by Robbie Gentry and first flew on 20/1/63. The above photo was taken at an airshow at Hamilton on 27 March 1966, and the photo below was taken at Ardmore showing ZK-CAE's colours.

Robbie Gentry was a driving force behind the formation of the AACA and was its first secretary. The AACA allocated a membership number to all its members starting from Number 10 to recognise earlier homebuilders. Robbie Gentry was AACA member number 10.
ZK-CAE was flown by Jack Inder of Dargaville early on and was then owned by B Harvey of Napier from 9/11/67, N C Wood of Frankton from 20/1/69, the Piako Aero Club from 7/9/71, Hugh McDonald of Waharoa from 23/6/77and then back to Robbie Gentry on 20/2/87.

This photo was taken at the 1982 AACA flyin at Taupo when it was owned by the Piako Aero Club. It is looking a bit worse for wear.

So when Robbie Gentry bought it back he refurbished it to this very smart colour scheme. Robbie has gone on to be one of our most prolific homebuilders and he has built Turbulent ZK-CGU, Taylor Monoplane ZK-CPC, Jodel D-11 ZK-DGA, Jodel D-9 ZK-FLI and Jodel D-18 ZK-JPK (and probably others). Robbie was living at Masterton by this time and this photo was taken at an airstrip alongside the Masterton racecourse, just North of Masterton. Robbie then sold ZK-CAE to A Surtees of Auckland and its registration was revoked on 18/6/98.
When I met up with Robbie Gentry at the 2010 SAANZ flyin at Tauranga he told me that he is now building another Turbulent!

ZK-CAF (c/n 1003K) was built by Peter Dyer at Christchurch and first flew on 16/12/62. Peter was a leading light in the AACA in the South Island. He is AACA member number 15 and has also gone on to built multple homebuilt aircraft. This photo was taken in the Christchurch Aero Club hangar in the mid 1960's. After Peter Dyer sold it, it was owned by Mick Holland of Christchurch from 5/4/68, R M T Bruce of Christchurch from 7/2/78, F Renwick of Christchurch from 24/6/80, Brent David and J B King of Mosgiel from 28/10/83 and finally H C Ross of Dunedin on 22/4/87.

The above photo of ZK-CAF was taken at the Mt Hutt AACA flyin in 1981.

And this photo was taken at Wanaka on 14/3/89.

It was damaged at Gore Bay on 19/2/92 and its registration was cancelled on 27/7/92.

Wednesday 28 April 2010

Turbulent ZK-BWE

Following Sir Minty's article on the first two Turbulents, I have dug out some ancient photographs of ZK-BWE taken at Ardmore on 1st November 1965. These show the Turbulent getting ready for an airing, and one of it on climbout. I noted the colours at that time as 'white with blue trim'.
Pilot was John Caston.

The AFS Cessna was ZK-CFD, and the Auckland Gliding Club's Commer van mobile control tower can be seen prowling in the background.

A not-so-good pre-telephoto lens photo of the initial climb off Ardmore's 21 runway shows the scattering of ex-air force prefabs still extant in the distance.

John and ZK-BWE were involved in a crash at Ardmore on the 30th March 1968. Presumably the Turbulent was repaired after that accident prior to its move north.

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Druine Turbulents of New Zealand (1)

The Druine D 31 Turbulent was designed by Frenchman Roger Druine in 1950. Roger was an aeromodeller who was building bigger and bigger models until friends convinced him to build a full size aeroplane. The Turbulent was a success and was taken up by the Popular Flying Association in the UK, and was also built commercially by Rollason Aircraft Ltd in England, and by Stark Flugzeugbau in Germany.

The Turbulent has a wingspan of 6.53 metres (21 foot 5 inches) and a length of 5.30 metres (17 foot 4 and a half inches!), with an empty weight of 158 Kg (349 lbs) and a maximum takeoff weight of 281 Kg (620 lbs). It was originally powered by a converted 1200 cc Volkswagen engine producing around 30 HP giving a maximum speed of 150 km/hr (93 mph), although many later Turbulents sported a larger VW engine.

There have been 23 Turbulents registered in New Zealand and 12 are still on the register. There is also another highly modified Turbulent that I will also list. In this series I will detail all the Turbulents and some of their history. I hope that others can add to the history with their own stories.

The photos are nearly all from the Keith Morris collection and I took most of them. However, some of the photos were taken by others and I do not have a record of who took them. The early photos of the Turbulents at Wanganui were taken by Ray Deerness in the early 1960's.

ZK-BVT (c/n PFA/437) was the first Turbulent registered in New Zealand, on 12/5/58. It was commenced by Harry Bielby and others in Auckland, but it was completed by B G Climo and John Parkin. It was then sold to G A Weir of Wanganui on 27/2/61 and maybe this was the catalyst for the gathering of Turbulents at Wanganui that Ray Deerness photographed as above. As with nearly all the Turbulents it had an interesting history with several incidents that resulted in various damage and rebuilds. It was also owned by E J Weir of Oamaru from 21/4/66, J M Dillon of Blenheim from 9/9/68, E G Brister of Wellington from 12/11/70, Brian Barrett of Lower Hutt from 1/11/71, K Cropp of Masterton from 16/12/74, L Robinson of Masterton from 12/9/77 and finally Brian Pilcher of Lower Hutt from 14/6/79 (but it was still based at Masterton).

ZK-BVT is shown here at the 1972 AACA flyin at Masterton.  Masterton was where it spent most of its later life. This is the colour scheme that it wore when Brian Barrett and his wife June flew it.

 Here it is at the 1973 AACA flyin at Omaka.

And again at Masterton on 15/3/86.  I remember one incident when it taxied off without a pilot on start up and across the airfield where it crashed into a hangar door. I knew its last owner Brian Pilcher who was piloting it when it lost power and he had to put down on the Waingawa River bed on 10/1/88. It was damaged beyond repair and was cancelled 30/9/88.

ZK-BWE (c/n PFA/505) was the first Turbulent to fly in New Zealand although it was registered later than ZK-BVT, on 9/11/59. Its first flight was on 8/12/59 at Palmerston North flown by Syd Jensen, and it is photographed here at Wanganui in the early 1960's. It was built by Syd Jensen's company Aerocraft (NZ) Ltd and was first registered to Aviation Sales and Services Ltd of Palmerston North. As I have posted previously, Syd Jensen's story is really interesting one and he was a motorcycle racer, a racing car driver, racing circuit promoter and an aircraft businessman involved with Turbulents, Agricolae, Bolkow Juniors and latterly was the builder of New Zealand's first Falco ZK-TBD. A link to the story of Syd Jensen can be found at

It is photographed here at Ardmore, early on in its life, on 12/8/63.

ZK-BWE was sold to the Wairarapa Finance Corporation in 9/61 and it was operated by the Wararapa and Ruahine Aero Club. It was also hired out to various aero clubs including the Auckland Aero Club, the Hawkes Bay and East Coast Aero Club and the Waikato Aero Club.  Ownership changed to the Wairarapa and Ruahine Aero Club on 19/2/62.

It was sold to John Caston of Auckland on 25/2/65.  It was damaged when it  force landed near Ardmore on 30/3/68 but it was rebuilt.  John Caston sold it to Bruce Shepherd of Whangarei on 17/6/71. Bruce refurbished ZK-BWE and painted in the above colour scheme, as seen at the AACA flyin at Taupo in 1982.

Remarkably, Bruce Shepherd still owns ZK-BWE and it is still registered today - more than 50 years after it first flew! It is pictured here at an AACA flyin at Matamata in 1998. It now sports a canopy as do most of the surviving Turbulents, and has been re-designated as a Class 1 microlight.
This is not the end of the story of Bruce Shepherd and Turbulents as I will detail in a future post.

Arrival and Departure.............

Oceania registered Bell 206L Long Ranger ZK-ILR/2 back on 16Feb this year and it was noted outside their Ardmore facility 27Apr undergoing engine runs.

Pacific Aerospace 750XL ZK-KAW (c/n 165) was cancelled from the register as exported 27Apr and was photographed at Hamilton the previous day by Wayne Grant.

Monday 26 April 2010

Question time # 94

Something different for this QT.
This time we have a picture of the complete aircraft but with its registration and most of the background blobbed out. All you have to do is to tell me the registration of this 172.
Shouldn't be too hard with only about 260 to choose from !

Saturday 24 April 2010

Talking about the PIG

Talking about "PIG" reminds me of another aircraft which was referred to as "The Pig". This was not in a derogatory way but came from a shortened version of its manufactures name.

ZK-DAI , c/n 410 , was the prototype Piaggio P166B which was delivered to Australia as VH-PQA in January of 1964. It did a stint in PNG before returning to Australia and then to NZ; arriving here on 27-02-1970 to be registered as ZK-DAI on 05-03-1970 to the Wellington Aero Club. It was then re-listed to the Clubs commercial arm Capital Air Services on 08-06-70. It was slightly different than the norm for this period in having two pusher, geared, fuel injected, super charged Lycoming engines (IGSO-540 if memory serves me). An interesting piece of kit, with a very distinctive sound.

It went back offshore on 16-01-1973 to take up its old Australian registration and was finally withdrawn in 1976.
Photo taken at Wellington on 30-10-1970
("turbo" changed to "super" charged after the error of my way was pointed out by Anonymous).

I remember when

I remember when Grumman G44 Widgeons operated out of Invercargill. I also recall the first occasion that I heard the radio call of "Alpha Victor Mike, wheels up and landing". It took a few minutes for the penny to drop that it was the amphibian landing on Halfmoon Bay at Stewart Island. From memory I think AVM had at least four landing incidents with the wheels either down when they should not have been, and up when they should not have been, with very spectacular results.
Here I have two shots of ZK-AVM , c/n 1466 , taken at Invercargill, with two different operators. Top view taken on 26-07-1969 with NZ Tourist Air Travel and bottom view with Mount Cook Airlines on 25-04-1974.
This aircraft has had a very interesting life and I believe it is still stored in the Auckland area with Owen Harnish.
This Invercargill third level airline (and numerous others) is being covered on a blog dedicated to third level operators. Well worth a look. Go to

Friday 23 April 2010

Question time # 93 Resolved

We had just the one response to this Question time.

It was a few days ago and the answer was spot on as being Lake LA-4-200 ZK-DQN. Now resident on Vanuatu, it was cancelled from the NZ register on 23-02-2010.
Well done.

The original clue shows the fuel drains under the port wing

Don't mess with the Pig.

I noted Murphy Renegade Spirit 11 ZK-PIG2 at Ashburton on 23-04-2010. This aircraft which was listed to William Scarlett of Christchurch on 16-02-2006 is currently undergoing its test flight period.
Check out for more history of this type.

This delightful pink and balck aircraft features Miss Piggy on its fin plus the script "Don't mess with the pig"" .

It carries the name "Lilly" forward of the cockpit. (Reminds me of the 1969 song by The Scaffold - "Lilly the Pink")

The instrument panel is also pink.

Alpine Aviation T500 ZK-HOB

The Revolution Mini 500 design was developed by Revolution Helicopters of Excelsior Springs, Missouri as a Rotax 582 powered helicopter kit which appeared in about 1994. As can be seen, it is based on the shape of the Hughes 500D. At least seven Mini 500's have been on the NZ civil aircraft register.
ZK-HOB3 c/n 0060 was registered to Bruce Dawson of Whakatane on 22-03-1996. An ownership change to Grumbles Development Ltd at Reefton occurred on 04-07-2005 followed by another change on 26-01-2007 to Paul Clark and Howard Jamison of Ashburton.
Up to this point HOB had flown 69 hours as a single seater on its Rotax engine.

HOB was then re-engined with a Solar T62-2A turbine engine. This engine is well known in the US military as an auxiliary power unit in the Boeing CH-46 Sea Knight and the CH-47 Chinook helicopters, as well as the Sikorsky CH-54 Tarhe. It is also used in the Eagle Helicycle, the Mosquito XET, the Rotorway 162F upgrade and has even powered the Bede BD5. These units, in a different format, have been used widely as the EMU-30 electric power generators

Second pic shows this installation in HOB.

After flying an additional 120 hours with this turbine engine - the airframe was modified to make it into a two seater. This produced a much nicer looking helicopter with a wider more stable skid arrangement.
The top photo shows it in its original single seat (narrow body) mode, whilst the bottom pic is of it as seen yesterday at Ashburton in its two seat (wide body) mode. Note the extra widening strip on the middle of the canopy. This is only temporary as a new canopy is under construction. A five bladed main rotor and a four bladed tail rotor are available from Revolution but at some considerable extra cost.
This is a very exciting project which has developed a strong following from many individual people and groups. We may well see much more of this project.

All these modification have lead to a re-designation to that of Alpine Aviation Ltd T500 and a new c/n of 001, effective from 15-03-2010. The helicopters has also been relisted to Alpine aviation Ltd as from 23-03-2010