Thursday 25 October 2012

Gardan GY 20/201 Minicabs of New Zealand (1)

The Gardan GY 20 Minicab was designed by Yves Gardan in France in 1949.  He formed Constructions Aeronautique de Bearn (CAB) at Pau in France to build the Minicab, but only 22 CAB Minicabs were produced during the period 1952 to 1958.  The design then lapsed until it was revived by Arthur Ord-Hume who translated the plans into English and gave a new lease of life to the Minicab.  The GY 201 is an updated and strengthened version of the Minicab, and we have had both models built in New Zealand.

The Minicab is a wood and fabric two seater with a "cozy cockpit with little headroom".  Its wingspan is 24 feet 11 inches (7.60 metres) and it is 17 feet 11 inches (5.45 metres) in length.  Its empty weight is 584 pounds (265 Kg) and MAUW is 1320 pounds (559 Kg).  It was designed for engines from 65 HP to 100 HP.

We have had 15 Minicabs registered in New Zealand to date, and 12 of them are still on the register.  Dave Locke's ZK-CLS was our first 2 seater homebuilt aircraft, so I begin the blog series of 2 seater homebuilt aircraft with the Minicab.

ZK-CLS (GY 201 c/n NZDBL 1509) was first registered to Dave Locke of Auckland on 15/7/66 following a short 18 month construction period, and Dave advises that it first flew at Ardmore  in October 1966.

I do not have a record of who took the above photo, or where it was taken, but obviously it was repainted at some stage.  I know it did suffer a landing accident at an early AACA flyin at Thames.  It has gone through a succession of owners including J Beveridge of Kawarau (from 18/8/80), LB Thompson of Pukekohe (from 11/1/83). LB Thompson and CR Crump of Pukekohe (from 14/2/83), and PA Andrews of Patumahoe (from 17/6/87).

It then went to CJ Smith of Thames (from 6/3/92) under whos eownership the above photo was taken at the 1994 AACA flyin at Paraparaumu.  It then went to
the leading Edge Trust of Thames (from 14/1/99) and finally to CE Cooke of Hasting (from 23/9/99, with whom it is still current.  Has anyone seen it recently?

Our second Minicab was ZK-BUB (GY 201 c/n AACA/89/1) which was registered to Noel Hilliam of Dargaville on 30/5/72.  It is photo'd here at the 1973 AACA flyin at Omaka.  Forty years on it is still owned by Noel!

Our Third Minicab was ZK-BUC (GY 201 c/n AACA/90/1) which was built by Ron Stockley of Te Aroha, and was registered to him on 9/9/75.  It was sold to the G Browning and M Taylor syndicate of Matamata on 7/10/95 and to the Ross Ag Air/Taylor syndicate of Matamata on 20/7/10, and recently it was purchased by Cliff Bellingham of Pukekohe, on 4/10/12.  It is photo'd above at the 1982 AACA flyin at Taupo.

Our fourth Minicab was ZK-CXB (GY 201 c/n AACA/63/1) which was registered to D Wood of Orewa on 24/6/68 (I am not sure if it was the fourth one to fly - I never saw it at AACA flyins).  I do not have a record of where the above photo was taken or who took it.  It has also gone through a succession of owners as follows - WR Cross of Dairy Flat (from 19/5/78), RF Neave of Auckland (from 21/2/85), BA Arkell of Whangaparaoa (from 24/10/86, PF Dyer of Taupo (from 21/10/95) and R Tait of Kawakawa (from 31/5/96).

Finally it was purchased by Ian Dittmer of Masterton on 14/5/07.  It is photo'd here at the 2009 Wings Over Wairarapa Airshow at Masterton.  As can be seen it has a new colour scheme but with the same colours as the original scheme.


  1. Re ZK-CLS

    Last I saw it was in April 2009 sitting at the back of Charles's hangar at NZHS where he keeps his GY 80 Horizon; he told me then it hadn't flown lately. As I recall it was all-white.


  2. Hi, I want to build the GY20, and I would like to contact people who already have built because I have some doubts. if you could recommend me some blog or someone you know and I can help. From already thank you very much!

  3. I purchased a Minicab gy-20 in the usa.. seems pretty uncommon of an aircraft. currently rebuilding the engine

  4. Hello I have BUC now in Te Awamutu

    1. Hi Bill, great to hear it's still going strong. I'm Ron's nephew, pretty sure I have some photos of it in my family albums.