Sunday, 8 June 2014


In the previous posting at:-
I mentioned that I would do a blog on 'ZK-IDL'.
This was one of several Westland Wessex Mk60 Series 1's built for Bristow Helicopters of Redhill in Surrey UK from 1970 and was registered as G-AZBY (c/n WA740) on 21-07-1971.
 [The WA740 is not a military serial number, but a Westland construction number - This helicopter has no military history  - apart from in the movies - see below].
It is seen above on 21-07-1971 (the day it was registered) at Gatwick with long range tanks and wheel hub floatation devices. Photo from Avia-dejavu.
 Its UK registration was cancelled on 18-11-1980 for a move down to Nigeria where it became 5N-ALR to Bristow Helicopters (Nigeria) Ltd at Lagos. After about a year it returned to Bristow in the UK and took up its olde G-AZBY marks on 01-12-1981.
 It was withdrawn and cancelled on 23-11-1982.
I then lost track of it for a couple of years until it turned up in Stanley Kubrick's Vietnam War movie "Full Metal Jacket" in 1987 - after which it settled in the Imperial Helicopter Museum, at Weston-Super -Mare, still in its movie paint scheme.
Above - as seen at the Helicopter Museum on 30-04-1989. This gives a better idea of the size of these Wessexi against the smaller helicopter and the caravans beyond.
Photo by Ken Slade from the Air Britain Collection.
Below - still at Weston-Super Mare  in July 1993. With odd shaped air intake !.
Photo by David Unsworth.
It was one of the batch that arrived at Bruce O'Malley's yard in Harewood Road, Christchurch.
Here we see it in front Bruce's hangar with components of 9G-DAN in the foreground and the compete ZK-HVK ZK-HBE behind.
It made a good source for spare parts.
After most of the goodies were removed we see it parked around the side on 24-12-2000.
After a period sitting around at Bruce O'Malley's yard it was acquired by Brian Hall of the Imperial Discount Liquor store in Barbadoes Street, Christchurch.
It was painted an overall pinkish colour and with suitable advertising was parked in the IDL car park. It was painted in fake ZK-IDL marks.- the IDL being the Company initials.
Exposed to the sun and the night time vagrants it slowly deteriorated (and the paint faded) until eventually it was damaged when a truck backed into one of its drooping rotor blades.
Above and below: Bent rotor and some graffiti on 11-01-2007.
Two days before it was taken away.
It had been acquired by the Ferrymead Aeronautical Society and it was trucked to their property on 13-01-2007 where it remains today.
Pic  below from Denys Jones.
Above and below. As seen at Ferrymead on 14-05-2011.
Below we have its tail end and sundry bits of plumbing inside the hangar housing the Douglas LC47.


  1. Just to be pedantic, the Wessex in the background of your first Chch pic can't be ZK-HVK. That was in the red, blue and white 'Raspberry Ripple' colours until repainted overall blue - this one is in RAF camo. Looks like a K or an X on the engine cowling under the cockpit, but that could be part of its old RAF code?

    I'd also describe ZK-IDL's colours as (originally) a very bright red, rather than pinkish. Certainly became more pinkish over time, though!

    Exactly which Wessexes came to NZ, BTW? I'd also love to know what became of them all.

  2. Ah ha.
    Not pedantic at all.
    You are correct there kawkseye66. I looked at that "K" on the nose and without checking assumed it to be "VK" for ZK-HVK - WRONG - It is in fact XS677 "WK" which makes it ZK-HBE.

    Would you care to flick a short email to as I would like to check a couple of other points with you.

  3. I heard rumours that this, or one of the Wessex aircraft flew in NZ on the West Coast for a wee while?