Sunday 20 October 2013

Cessna 180 ZK-BGI

ZK-BGI raised its head in a recent "From the shoebox" posting.
Here is a bit of a run down on her.
Cessna 180 ZK-BGI (c/n 31018) was built by Cessna Aircraft Co at Wichita, Kansas and registered to them as N3870C about mid 1954.
It was shipped to NZ, assembled and registered to Rural Aviation Ltd of New Plymouth on 11-08-1954.
 Above a 1954 Ed Coates collection photograph.
It gained its NZ CofA on 24-09-1954 and was listed to Airwork (NZ) Ltd of Christchurch 0n 08-11-1954.
 Pic above at Napier 1955 from the Ed Coates collection.
Ron Graham of Airspread Ltd of Tauranga took it over from 16-11-1956.
It had two incidents with Airspread (that I know about). It lost an undercarriage leg at Waihi on 04-12-1959, and struck a sand bank and overturned on Ohiwa Beach on 27-03-1960.
It was back with Airwork (NZ) Ltd on 10-07-1963
Pic at Hawera on 01-06-1964
And as seen at Airwork Christchurch on 02-09-1964
It then went down to Invercargill for Southland Development Corporation from 15-10-1964.
Other operators include Hewett Aviation Ltd, with whom it was damaged on 19-04-1965 at Mossburn and again in December of 1965.
Rural Aviation (1963) Ltd of New Plymouth had it again from 16-02-1967 before moving it to W B Easton (Eastern ? Engineering) of Dannevirke from 02-03-1967.
ZK-BGI as seen at Masterton in December of 1968 by Allan Wooller.
It went to Rex Aviation sometime about 1970, was damaged by high winds at Dunedin in November 1971 and ground looped at Whitford on 19-02-1972.
Looking good at Ardmore on 19-03-1972.

Next in line was the Mangapapa Land Company of Auckland from 02-03-1972 with W Walker of Clinton from 22-05-1973.
It was captured at Palmerston North on 08-12-1973
 And then at Dunedin on 11-12-1974.
Colour one side and monochrome on the other.
Over at Te Anau it joined the Manaroa Contracting Co Ltd from 24-04-1975.
ZK-BGI at Te Anau 02-10-1980.
At Oamaru 20-02-1981.
Below. At Invercargill 03-10-1983.

Then it went to C R (Dick) Deaker and R J (Hannibal) Hayes of Te Anau oon 11-11-1983.
By 15-07-1986 it was with C E Berg of Taupo.
 Two views at Christchurch 26-09-1986 in a new colour scheme..
Before moving to Hastings with A (Tony) D Neville.
 Then we have two views of it at Masterton 28-04-1990 with step for parachutists; the door removed and the deflector plate on the forward door frame.

 Above as seen at Nelson 17-09-1991.
Then two shots at Timaru on 30-12-1993.
With a stylised "Skywagon 180".
Below. On 18-01-1995 I captured her at Omarama on towing OY-XMX.
 At Omarama on 20-01-1995. Now with a top hinged door.
It had a brief period off the register between 23-06-2000 and 12-07-2000

It appeared in the visitors park at Wanaka on 30-03-2002.
 Below at Feilding on 11-02-2007.
Until being taken over by Stephen Gorrie of Nelson on 30-01-2008.
Latest move sees it beck with Tony Neville, now of Foxton, from 04-06-2009.
Below at Feilding 16-03-2010.
  Last three at Motueka 01-04-2013.



  1. Amazing history of a great aircraft type. Would this have the record for the most repairs and rebuilds in one aircraft's history?

  2. Just from memory I would imagine that maybe ZK-BFT/ZK-CZW/ZK-FDP (all one aircraft of sorts) or maybe ZK-BUW/ZK-CGJ would have had more incidents.
    I am away from my office for a few days so cannot confirm or deny.

  3. You just cannot have enough 180 photos here! Keep them coming!
    They are over 60 years old now and they still look modern!

  4. I was having a lessons in SuperCub BPA in 1968 at Dannevirke,with K. Newton of RNZAF as my instructor. Bill Easton of W.B.Easton Engineering,bridge builders had just finished re furbishing BGI and had it hangared in Dannevirke.He arrived and asked me to help him move it out.[He had a gammy leg] He parked it in front of the hangar,chocked it and started it up ,then went in to use the phone,Presumably to get weather,file a plan or ring his client who was about to have the ride of his life inspecting potential bridge sites of his impending arrival. One of the two young Air Force types who had come over from Ohakea with FtLt Newton called out "Careful that beautiful horse doesnt gallop off without you old cowboy!" Bill respond,but his neck reddened. He climbed in and did an engine run up and checks right where he was , one more call out"No need to do a run up before you taxi!" Surely not heard by Bill, who swung the tail round with a blast of power and dust blowing back over the trio of young airforce types,then picking the tail up on the brakes,took off ACROSS the Dannevirke East/West strip,clearing the fence with flaps ,climbed to a couple of hundred feet before doing a wingover and coming straight back at the hangar ,wheels hardly off the grass, as the trio panicked and scattered,he pulled up over the hangar and departed towards the Akitio Coast,waggling his tail derisively."Who does that crazy old bastard think he is?" A local,Ian Bright I think,who had just arrived replied "He probably thinks he's Easton, W B , Royal Flying Corps ace. I know Bill Easton had lied about his age to enlist in the Army in WW1 and managed to get into the RFC.