Saturday 22 May 2010

De Havilland DH84 Dragon 2 ZK-AXI

Ah ! De Havilland.
De Havilland DH84 Dragon 2 ZK-AXI , c/n 2057 , (sometime seen written as DHA2057) was one of 87 built in Australia for the Royal Australian Air Force during World War Two.
I believe they chose the Dragon instead of the Dominie/Rapide because Holden were already building Gipsy Major engines for the Tiger Moth production line already well under way.
This airframe went on strength with the RAAF on 24-03-1943 with the serial A34-68. Post military service it became VH-AEF on 29-04-1945 for Butler Air Transport Ltd followed by Qantas Empire Airways Ltd in June of 1948. Fawcett Aviation Pty Ltd feature from 14-05-1953. It was cancelled from the Australian civil register on 11-07-1953.
Cliff Rolve had purchased it and it was listed in NZ as ZK-AXI on 14-07-1953 to Rolvin Airways of Palmerston North.
It was delivered to Nelson on 17-05-1954 for the Nelson Aero Club until being sold to Arthur J Bradshaw of Nelson on 01-06-1964 (I believe he actually took delivery of it in July of 1963.
I have a note saying that it had a broken crankshaft at Manakau on 23-05-54 and forced landed.
Somewhere about this time it became our first twin engine air ambulance. It also picked up the name "Puff" (Puff the magic Dragon I imagine).
It was refurbished and re-flew on 01-06-1965 and was used by Aerial Surveys Ltd of Nelson & piloted by Arthur Bradshaw.
It was flown from Nelson to Ardmore on 05-04-1967 for Jim Bergman and Earl Cox who traded as the Auckland Flying School, being registered to the School on 10-04-67. It did not last long as it was damaged on take off at Ardmore on 23-04-1967 (port engine failure due to collapsed fuel line) and was cancelled on 04-05-1967.
I believe it was presented to MoTaT and stored at Ardmore. It was trucked out of Ardmore in May of 1983 -I believe to Stan Smith at Dairy Flat. It became a restoration project and used a wing from Australia and was re-engined with DH Gipsy Major 10-2 engines of 145hp.
It was re-registered to GS & G A Smith, Smiths Tech-Air NZ Ltd of North Shore on 03-03-1997.
It now carries the name "Taniwha".
The pic above shows it at Haast on 18-12-2009.
Can somebody please fill in the gaps ?

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