Friday 22 June 2012


The above photo of ZK-HGO was taken by Lord Nelson at Christchurch sometime during 1974.  This prompted me to look into the CMM files and I found the following three photos of ZK-HGO as seen at Christchurch during August of 1975.

Now ZK-HGO was a Bell 47J-2 with the c/n 1865 and was first noted in about mid 1962 as N73254 with North American Aviation Inc out of Elsegundo in California. In 1968 it became N855NA and then N6237N with Utility Helicopters of Long Beach.
It arrived in NZ in 1973 with some 7414 flying hours and became ZK-HGO with Helicopters (NZ) Ltd of Nelson on 11-10-1973 and was to be used on the Sedco offshorre oil exploration rig. As you can plainly see, it is on pontoons with large Company insignia and has "Offshore Servicing and Support" on the rear fuselage. Small ZK-HGO letters appear below the doors.
At some point it was withdrawn and stored at Nelson until cancelled on 19-04-1985.
Over a year later it was listed as VH-JAV to Nagari Pty Ltd at Bankstown on 12-06-1986.

The following two photographs have been kindly sent in by Dave Ayre show VH-JAV.
Above VH-JAV as seen at Bankstown on 22-03-1987.
Below VH-JAV at Bankstown on 23-02-1992 in Queensland Helicopter markings.
By 23-09-1999 it was with Tim Rayner of Longreach, Queensland.
By 28-07-2001 it was with Welch Aviation at Bellthorpe, Queensland but was cancelled by CASA on 06-07-2006 as being non compliant with sub regulation 202.225 (whatever that means).
It then appears to have been put out to rest at Caboolture as per the two photos below.

Below are two shots of VH-JAV as seen at Caboolture. Upper one taken on 19-03-2007 by Ray Benton and comes via Air Britain Historians.
 Below : VH-JAV as seen at Caboolture on 18-07-2009 by Ian McDonell via Air Britain Historians.
Various aviation historical lists then show that this airframe became VH-RTK3 but I can find no evidence for this (there was a Bell 47G that became VH-RTK).

But wait !
Thats not all !

On 24-01-2008 Kiwi Kopters Tauranga listed this helicopter as ZK-HGI4 and it is painted similar to its 1970/80's  scheme, with some additional details on the door.
For recent shots of ZK-HGI go to :-
Now I have a small problem with dates here. If it was photographed at Caboolture in serious kitset form on 18-07-2009 - how come it was listed as ZK-HGI4 on 24-01-2008 ?

1 comment:

  1. Judging by the lack of red on the tail boom and the different cabin door 'glass' when you compare the two photos, I would suggest they are not the same airframe!