Saturday 5 May 2012

Quickie 1's of New Zealand

The next type of single seat homebuilt to appear in New Zealand was the Quickie 1 of which five were registered in 1982!

 The Quickie 1 was the brainchild of Gene Sheehan and Tom Jewett who were the founders of the Quickie Aircraft Corporation of Mojave in California. They began thinking about a homebuilt aircraft based around a low powered engine, and they eventually settled on the Onan 18 HP 2 cylinder horizontally opposed 4 stroke that was used in ride-on lawnmowers. Having developed this engine for aircraft use they approached Burt Rutan of Vari Eze fame to design an airframe. Burt Rutan had earlier designed the revolutionary composite Vari Eze (and he went on to greater things - but that is another story!)  He came up with a very different design which was very simple but efficient, being in effect an extreme negative stagger biplane with the control surfaces only on the front wing and the undercarriage on the end of the front wing, again for simplicity.  Like the Vari Eze, construction was of foam cores with resin impregnated fibreglass skins, and the fuselage was pre-molded and glued together.  Also like the Vari Eze the front wing incidence was such that the aircraft could not stall or spin, as when the lift gave up on the front wing, the rear wing kept flying, the aircraft pitched down and the front wing began flying again.

The prototype Quickie was built at Mojave and first flew in late 1977.  It had its public debut in April 1978 and flew to the EAA Convention at Oshkosh in July that year to huge interest, and was awarded the Outstanding New Design award.  It has remarkable performance on 18 HP with a 120 mph cruise speed.  It is also a very small aircraft with a wingspan of 17 feet 9 inches (5.3 metres) and a length of 17 feet 5 inches (5.1 metres).  Its empty weigh is 243 pounds (110 Kg) and MAUW is 485 pounds (220 Kg).  Later a trailerable modification was introduced whereby the rear fuselage could be cut off and reattached with brackets.  This allowed the aircraft to be trailered with the wings along the length of the trailer, and added 15 pounds to the empty weight.

The photos are from the Keith Morris collection.

Our first Quickie 1 was ZK-NSR (c/n 0358) which was built by Neil Silyn-Roberts of Auckland and was registered on 16/2/82.  It had an engine failure during test flying at Whenuapai on 6/3/82, but obviously survived as it is photo'd here at the 1983 AACA flyin at Paraparaumu.  It was sold to John Ten Have of Ohakea on 1/2/91, and was cancelled on 14/3/00 when he moved to Australia taking the aircraft with him.  It was registered as VH-HKS on 10/7/03 and is still current.

Next to be registered was ZK-JGZ  (c/n AACA/706) which was built by Jack Zuill of Rotorua and was registered on 6/11/82.  It was sold to the Thompson/Thompson and Gaston syndicate of Auckland on 14/11/84.  The above photo was taken at Ardmore in 1985.  It was sold to Warren Denholm, by then living in Auckland, on 6/12/95, and the registration was revoked on 31/7/98.

And next was ZK-WJD (c/n AACA/705) which was built by Warren Denholm of Rotorua and was first registered on 25/11/82. I think that ZK-JGZ and ZK-WJD were built together.  It was sold to J Fletcher of Auckland on 4/7/86 and was damaged shortly after, on 14/8/86, at Ararimu.  Its registration was revoked on 28/5/98.  The above photo was taken at an airshow at Palmerston North in 1985.

Then the South Island chipped in and our fourth Quickie to be registered was ZK-PFD (c/n AACA/15/4) which was the fourth aircraft built by Peter Dyer of Christchurch, and was registered on 2/12/82.  Peter sold it to Peter Turvey of Christchurch on 9/7/91, and it was then sold to M I P Kennedy and M W Smith of Oamaru  on 14/7/97.  It is photo'd here at the 2000 AACA flyin at Matamata.  Later in 2000, on 27/12/00 it experienced engine problems after take off from Kaikoura, and on turning back to the airfield the aircraft settled into the sea.  It was cancelled on 23/8/10.

The final Quickie in the 1982 burst of Quickie action was ZK-MAC (c/n AACA/636) was built by A J L MacDonald of Dunedin and was registered on 14/12/82.  The above photo was taken at the 1989 AACA flyin at Taieri.  It was withdrawn from use and stored, and was cancelled on 11/9/96.  It was re-registered to the same owner on 28/11/01 and was designated as a Class 1 microlight on 14/2/02.  It was sold to T L Shadbolt of Christchurch on 19/11/03 and was damaged in a forced landing at Ladbrook (just South of Wigram) on 7/11/04.  It was cancelled on 2/2//05.

It might have been assumed that with 5 aircraft registered in one year, that more would have followed, but 5 Quickie 1's was New Zealand's lot.  Probably homebuilders turned to the 2 seat Quickie 2, which I will post about when I get to our 2 seater homebuilt aircraft.


  1. Great summary! Regarding ZK-PFD..I helped the fella fish it out of the surf. I was building a Quickie Q200 in KK at the time so was very interested in the incident. I remember the pilot lamenting not wiping the canard clean before TO. I can't remember loss of pwr but this may have contributed. He got airborne but couldn't leave ground effect. Good thing they float so well!

  2. Hi,having recently become interested in the q1 and read the plans which are freely available on line. I would like to amend your blog.The fuselage of the q1 was made of straight blocks of foam, shaped,thinned and glassed on the inside sections then joined with bulkheads and the exterior corners rounded to form the final shape.The q2 2 seat model had a preformed fuselage built in two parts which was joined.
    Very nice to see some information on the quickie and I had no idea so many were built here.Thanks for the blog.

  3. I owned JGZ for a few months in about 2004. It had been damaged by the downwash from a helicopter and had delamination issues in the canard. Planned to ship it here to Australia but the costs were prohibitive so I resold to another kiwi (name now forgotten).

  4. Neil Silyn Roberts should read Nicholas Silyn Roberts for the first Q1.