Friday 27 July 2012

Aero Commander 680FL ZK-DBQ.

Following on from the blog on Aero Commander ZK-CDK I have been asked about the Grand Commander that came from Kenya.
The Aero Commander 680FL c/n 1330-15 was initially a demonstrator with Aerosales Pty Ltd of Johannesburg South Africa, with whom it was registered as ZS-CBB in February 1963. A potential sale as VQ-ZII to Swaziland fell through before it was acquired by Safari Air Services of Nairobi becoming VP-KTX on 12-12-1963. Ownership changed to the Kenya Police Air Wing and with the independence of Kenya a new registration prefix came into force in January 1965. So the Commander became 5Y-KTX. It was purchased by Geyserland Airways of Rotorua and was ferried back to NZ by their managing director Ian Palmer. It was damaged in a forced landing at Assab, Eritrea in mid July 1970. Some repairs were done and the aircraft arrived at Auckland on 26-08-1970 via Aden, Bombay, Calcutta, Singapore, Darwin, Brisbane and Norfolk Island. It was first moved over to Air New Zealand for repairs but was then ferried over to Rex Aviation at Ardmore on September 1st for repairs.
It was registered as ZK-DBQ on 23-10-1970 to Geyserland Airways Ltd of Rotorua.
The lower fuselage had been extensively damage during the earlier forced landing and with spare parts having to come for the USA it took some time before the job was completed. I believe it first flew again on April 7th 1971. It then went down to Aviation Radio at Wellington for a few days from the 13th.
It had only been in service for a few weeks when it it suffered undercarriage damage and prop strike at Kaitaia on the metalled part of the vector on 28-08-1971. Temporary repairs were carried out on site and it was ferried back to Ardmore for permanent repairs.
ZK-DBQ at Wellington 21-09-1971 in Geyserland Scheme.

More damaged was sustained at Wellington on 16-01-1972 when it struck a heap of rubble with its port undercarriage following engine power surges on approach. Following temporary repairs it was flown to Christchurch for permanent repairs.
Its ownership changed to Air North on 28-06-1976 (an associated Company) and then to Akarana Air Ltd on 23-05-1977.
Sadly on the night of 31-10-1977 it was lost in the sea of Wanganui following double engine failure.
These two photos of ZK-DBQ in its Akarana Air, freight mode, were captured by CMM in October 1977, just a few days before it was lost.

For further details on the Geyserland operations, check out :-
And for some Akarana Air details, check out:

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