Saturday, 28 December 2013

A Tomahawk of Many Identities

We present three dissimilar aircraft:

Firstly, Cessna 172 ZK-CAB.
Imported directly from the Cessna factory (where it received the temporary registration of N7918X) by the agents, Rural Aviation, in 1961, it went online with the Gisborne Aero Club.
The aircraft lasted less than five years, being destroyed when it crashed into a hillside at Pehiri, Gisborne, 3pm 2Feb66.

ZK-CAB seen at the opening of the Rotokawa  airport, Rotorua, 3Oct1964 - in the days when the public were actually allowed near aeroplanes!

Secondly, Cessna A188A Agwagon ZK-COP.
Imported new by Rex Aviation and first flown here on 8Oct1966, ZK-COP served with Rural Aviation (1963) Ltd. based out of  New Plymouth.
Again, it was a short-lived aircraft, crashing at Upper Tutaenui near Marton, on 25Feb1970 killing veteran ag-pilot Barry Sait.

ZK-COP at Ardmore 8Jun1968

Thirdly Boeing 737-33A ZK-JNE.
After some ten years service in foreign parts, this 737 briefly became VH-JNE with Ansett in Australia and New Zealand before becoming ZK-JNE with Jetconnect Ltd. in October 2002. Jetconnect operated as Ansett New Zealand, and ZK-JNE carried the Qantas coloiurs in NZ before eventually departing for the UK as G-STRJ in April 2005.

ZK-JNE at Auckland International in 2004

So what do these three aircraft have in common?

The answer is a Tomahawk.

One particular Tomahawk, which has inherited all three of these registrations.

PA38-112 Tomahawk c/n N2463D was built by Piper at Lock Haven in 1979 and, after service in the USA as N2463D, arrived in NZ in 1997 to become ZK-CAB/2 under the ownership of A A Qazi of Auckland on 20Aug1997.
After a brief tussle with CAA, which saw the aircraft deregistered and then restored to the register in mid-2000, it spent some time on-line with the RNZAF Auckland Aviation Sports Club Inc. based at Whenuapai (where I flew it).
Listed through aircraft broker Dennis Thompson at Ardmore, it was sold to the Bellview Flight Centre Ltd. of Christchurch in April 2002 and finally moved to the Nelson Aero Club in January 2004.

ZK-CAB/2 at Ardmore early 2002

The registration ZK-CAB/2 was cancelled on 10Jul2006 and the Tomahawk became ZK-JNE/2 on the same day under the ownership of the Wellington Aero Club.
C Mirchell-Anyon, Wanganui became the owner in October 2010, and the aircraft returned to Wellington with Roc On Aviation Ltd. in June 2012.
The final owner of ZK-JNE/2 was Undercover Brother Air Ltd., Auckland, in June 2013.

ZK-JNE/2 at Whenuapai 30Aug2013

The Tomahawk then almost immediatly entered the workshops for a full strip, rebuild and repaint.
On the 12th December, ZK-JNE/2 became ZK-COP/2 with the same owners.

ZK-COP/2 nearing completion in the Whenuapai hangar as seen today.


  1. Hi FlywerNZ
    Can I suggest a simple correction. The pilot killed in AgWagon COP was in fact Barry Sait, not Salt. He was a well known Manawatu based Rural pilot, and personal friend of my late father.

  2. That's what I was going to say, too. Barry was one of the good guys, a part time jazz musician and father of young children. I flew with him several times when he was driving a 185.

  3. Thanks for the update.
    Name corrected.
    Indeed a sad end to a great career.