Sunday 2 May 2010

Druine Turbulents of New Zealand (4)

Early 1960's Turbulents.

Following hot on the heels of the Aerocraft aircraft and kits, other homebuilders began completing their Turbulents, from 1961 on, as follows.

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.

At Ardmore 21/2/69.

The first of these to be registered was ZK-CAQ (c/n PFA/573) on 10/7/61. It was built by John Inglis of Towai and it is photographed here at Ardmore. It was named "Windsong" at this time. As with nearly all the Turbulents it had its share of incidents and accidents including minor damage at Ardmore on 7/1/68 and crashing at Thames on 6/4/69, but was rebuilt each time. It was sold to B N Inglis of Waimuku (a relative?) on 18/10/88.

This photograph of ZK-CAQ was taken at a Matamata airshow in the early 1990's. It then went to N E Wilson of Reefton on 24/5/93, Dave J Stuart of Lower Hutt on 24/8/97 (who re-engined it with a HAPI 1860cc VW conversion - well up on power from the original 1200cc VW!). It was redesignated as a Class 1 microlight on 12/6/98 and then went to R O Byfield of Christchurch on 4/5/05.

It was then sold to Paddy McDonnell of Ashburton on 27/3/86, who refurbished it and painted it in his trademark colour scheme (similar to Corby Starlet ZK-MGM and Avid Flyer ZK-VID). This photograph was taken by Blue Bus at the 1997 SAANZ flyin at Ashburton. Finally Paddy sold it to R C Brown of Lower Hutt on 20/10/07. ZK-CAQ is still current.

At Ardmore 12/2/67.

The next Turbulent to be registered, on 27/9/61, was ZK-CAX (c/n PFA/658). It was built by Gordon Waldie of Lower Hutt and was one of the original core of Turbulents in Wellington which gave the impetus to the formation of the Amateur Aircraft Constructors Association (AACA). Gordon was AACA member number 12. The early AACA magazines wrote up some of the eventful flights of those early Turbulents, and everyone seemed to fly everyone elses planes. Jack Inder took Robbie gentry's ZK-CAE back to Dargaville and Stan Smith flew Gordon Waldie's ZK-CAX to Ardmore.

One interesting story that caught my eye was when two early flyers (no names) in ZK-BWE and ZK-CAX flew down from Ardmore to an air pageant at Taupo on 8 January 1966. A combination of winds and needing to refuel at Tokoroa saw them arrive at Taupo 20 minutes after the airshow had started. Nearly out of fuel and with a strong crosswind they elected to use the new grass vector that was not yet opened figuring that 2 Turbulents could not do much harm. Their arrival coincided with a DC 3 display and it was reported that their arrival "did not meet with official approval and we had some explaining to do"! Then "followed a joyful re-union with Mother Earth and all the other flyers of the Association who had made it"!

ZK-CAX has not had many owners. Gordon Waldie sold it to John Perry of Opotiki who in turn sold it to John Hansen of Te Awamutu on 18/4/74. The above photograph of ZK-CAX was taken at the 1981 AACA flyin at Mount Hutt. John Hansen still owns the aircraft and it is still current, although I haven't seen it for a very long time.

At Waipukurau, 30/12/64.

The next Turbulent to be registered, on 8/3/62, was ZK-CBN (c/n PFA/462) which was built by Merv Meredith at Waipukurau. It first flew on 7/12/64 and Merv was very active flying it around New Zealand, including flying up to the opening of Mangere Airport in 1966 (when 5 Turbulents attended). Merv sold ZK-CBN to Neil Managh of Feilding on 3/12/70 and then it went to Robert Trewavas of Motueka on 23/8/71.

Merv Meredith went on to serve as president of the AACA and to build 2 other homebuilt aircraft: Minicab ZK-DAG and EAA Acrosport 1 ZK-MWM. Tragically he and a friend were killed in ZK-DAG when they got caught in bad weather in the Ruahine Ranges when returning from a fishing trip in the Bay of Plenty.

At Gisborne, 11/10/69.

ZK-CBN crashed at Motueka on 28/12/71. It must have been rebuilt because it was sold to A D Stott of Christchurch on 13/2/73, and later to I G Williams of Whenuapai on 29/3/74. It was withdrawn and reduced to spares, and cancelled on 29/8/75.

However it was registered again on 29/5/95 to the Williams/Thompson/Knox Syndicate of Drury.  This was a case rather like grandfather's axe, as Ian Williams recalled that the only original part from Merv Meredith's ZK-CBN was the rudder bracket, and the syndicate had to build a new fuselage and new wings!  It then sat around for several years before eventually being test flown by Lee Middleton.  It was redesignated as a Class 1 Microlight on 23/4/01.  However it had some problems so it sat around again for many years before being cancelled again on 15/8/12.

Remarkably, ZK-CBN was re-registered again on 30/7/13 to Bill Izard of Kihikihi (the third time it had been registered!), and he had the aircraft repainted as above.  Thanks to David Wilkinson for the above photo, which was taken in Bill Izard's hangar at Kihikihi on 14/1/14.

Sadly this 50 year long story does not have a happy ending, as ZK-CBN crashed at Kihikihi on 5/2/14, injuring the pilot.  From photos of the wreckage, I do not think it will be flying again.

At Kaitaia, 31/12/63.

And the next Turbulent to be registered, in 11/62, was the Rev Ron Keyte's ZK-CDD (c/n PFA/428) which he built at Kaitia. This first photograph of it is very early on in its life when Ron thought that a very small registration would fit nicely with his colour scheme. The colour scheme was mainly a duck-egg blue with white and black. Ron Keyte went on to be an Air Force chaplain at Ohakea where he completed Jurca Sirocco ZK-DAF. Ron Keyte was also tragically killed with a friend when the Sirocco broke up in mid air at Masterton.

At Tauranga, 22/2 67.

Unfortunately the long arm of officialdom descended and these next photographs shows it with a larger (presumably regulation for the time) registration.

By the 1972 AACA flyin at Masterton where the above black and white photograph was taken, it sported a canopy and another version of a smaller registration. It was sold to Chris Reid of Blenhiem on 22/5/72 and was damaged near Renwick on 8/7/72.

It was rebuilt and then had 2 other owners in the Blenheim area: Tony Chaytor from 1973, and the Trarangi Flying Group from 9/3/77. It is photographed above at the 1974 AACA flyin at Bridge Pa.

It was withdrawn from use after its permit to fly expired, and was cancelled on 21/6/84


  1. ZK-CBN was registered as rebuilt on 29May1995 to Williams, Thompson & Knox Syndicate, Drury with a new c/n 21875.
    Still current with those owners, now with an address at Ranui.

  2. Thanks very much for that flyernzl.

    I will edit the post to reflect the latest.

  3. ZK CBN

    Is now in Te Awamutu with Bill Izard
    It still carries the rego ZK CBN..

  4. As a Turbulent builder from 1959 (G-A SPU) I admire the KIWI line up of D31 s Although now 56 years old, I am now flying it in Australia after emigrating from UK where the Turb was built.changes to the engine which replaced the original type 1 VW 1200cc 1500 cc were not available until late 1960. There has been no major changes to the type 2 motor and it has now in it's 3000 hrs flight time. Regards Allan Usherwood