Saturday, 30 August 2014

Squirrel spraying trials at Christchurch 1980.

I have been extremely fortunate to have received these three photographs from Rob Pierre . Taken by his father John whilst he was working with Airwork (NZ) Ltd at Christchurch in the 1980's.
  Sometime after October of 1980 Bill Black was the pilot of this spray equipped Squirrel helicopter which was carrying out trials at Christchurch Airport. I believe these were the first occasion that a Squirrel had been put to this use.
 The helicopter involved was the Aerospatiale AS 350B Ecuriel ZK-HQA (c/n 1139).
This was registered to Airwork (NZ) Ltd at Christchurch on 15-01-1980 and first flew in NZ from Timaru on 25-02-1980.
After these initial trials by Airwork and Whirlwide Helicopters it was also evaluated by Wanganui Aero Work.
It also had a short time with Helicopters (NZ) Ltd on lease.
Whilst carrying an under slung burner near Whakatu on 21-02-1981- the helicopter caught fire in the air and was subsequently burnt out on the ground.
The first helicopter sprayer in NZ was the Hiller UH12 ZK-HAB back in March 1955.

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