Wednesday 14 October 2015

Cessna 185A c/n 185-0504

The first Cessna 185 prototype, N34272 (c/n 632), was a strengthened version of the Cessna 180C with a beefed up fuselage, six seats, an extra side fuselage window and an enlarged dorsal fin. The engine was a Continental IO-470-F of 260hp.
The first Cessna 185 in NZ was ZK-CAK (c/n 185-0017) registered here on 08-05-1961. 
This was followed by four more in 1961 and a late arrival of ZK-CCX a year later.
The first 185A was ZK-CBK from 15-01-1962 followed by ten more 185A's that year.
C/n 185-0504 was allocated the US registration of N2504Z.
Just as a useless bit of trivia - in the 60's Cessna allocated registration to blocks of aircraft on the production line - and usually the last two numbers of the construction number (c/n) were the same as the last two numbers of the registration. Also often (especially for export aircraft) these new aircraft never wore their allocated US registration but were test flown under the Cessna test registration of N11B.
On arrival in NZ for the then Cessna agents - Rural Aviation Ltd of New Plymouth - it was allocated the ZK-CCL registration on 12-09-1962.
It went onto agricultural duties with ownership transferring to Rural Aviation (1963) Ltd on 10-07-1963.
First photo is from Ray Deerness and shown ZK-CCL at Bell Block in February of 1963.
Below another early view. Source unknown.

Now two shot of CCL at Feilding from the Allan Wooller collection.
It suffered some damage at New Plymouth (Bell Block) on 21-04-1965 (I also have the date as the 19th ?) but its big day came on 19-04-1966 when its undercarriage was torn out at Feilding.
Its registration was cancelled on 12-08-1966.
In these time when an aircraft was rebuilt they tended to be given new registrations - in this case it re-emerged from the Rex Aviation (NZ) Ltd's hangar with the new registration of ZK-CTN from 13-12-1966 and with the c/n amended to 185-0504R (the 'R' for rebuild).
Also of note is that Rural Aviation (1963) Ltd was the agricultural operator, whilst the offshoot Rex Aviation (NZ) had become the Cessna agent.
Not long out of the paint shop. Three views of ZK-CTN wearing "Business Charter Service Throughout NZ by Rural Aviation (1963) Ltd" script.
 Above at Bell Block from the Allan Wooller collection.
Above on 05-03-1967 at Bell Block from the Peter Lewis collection.
Below another from Peter Lewis's collection.
 As ZK-CTN it only lasted four months before it was damaged at Tarata (out to the east of Inglewood) on 12-03-1967, with its registration being cancelled on 26-05-1967.

It re-emerged from another rebuild - this time to become ZK-CVF from 01-08-1967 and listed to Rural Aviation (1963) Ltd before going to Okair Aviation Ltd at Christchurch from 11-12-1967.
Below it is seen at Christchurch in late 1967 thanks to the Allan Wooller collection.
 It was quickly sold on to Mount Cook Air Services Ltd from 19-01-1968 and followed the Company through its name changes to Mount Cook and Southern Lakes Tourist Co Ltd from 18-07-1973 and Mount Cook Group from 07-02-1978 and being allocated fleet number '21' along the way.
As you can see it become a well recognised ski plane.
 Above an undated shot taken at Timaru (I suspect early 1968) - thanks again to the Allan Wooller collection.
 Now two shot from the Dave Paull collection
Above at Mt Cook in July of 1971; Below on 08-04-1972.
and below at Mt Cook on 31-12-1977 - now wearing its fleet number.
 And below we see it at Dunedin's Momona airport - an undated pic from the CMM Collection.
Below it is at Twizel (now known as Pukaki) on 13-04-1983. 
The staff that resided in Twizel used one of the Company aircraft as a taxi back and forth to Mt Cook each day.
 During its time with Mt Cook it had several incidents.
In August 1974 it was burried in overnight snow whilst on the Tasman Glacier.
On 18-11-1981 it was damaged on the Tasman Glacier.
On 25-10-1986 it was damaged on the Murchison Glacier.
And then on 20-08-1989 it was written off on the Tasman Glacier with the registration being cancelled on 11-09-1989.

Another rebuild followed thanks to Heliplane Services Ltd at Hamilton and it was restored to ZK-CVF on 14-12-1990 for onward sale to Contract Linemarkers (SI) Ltd of Timaru on '06-08-1991.
Below as seen at Timaru on 12-08-1991
On 28-04-1992 it was registered to W N Arnold of Nelson.
After a leg collapse at Nelson on 08-07-1993 it was listed to Nelson Air Charter Ltd from 15-09-1993. 
Below a Nelson shot on 23-05-1995.
At some point prior to this it had been fitted with a Hortol STOL kit.
note the drooping wing tips and also the wing leading edge.
 We had a ground loop at Nelson on 04-08-1994.
Then three more ownership changes.
To Tandem Aircharters Ltd at Nelson from 04-03-2000.
Lajette Corporation Pty Ltd of Applecross, Western Australia from 30-08-2002,
And then to Art Deco Airlines at Hastings from 01-04-2003.

Under the ownership of Art Deco Airlines it was re-registered as ZK-SOW on 16-12-2003.
Now knowing the owner I am sure this registration has some profound statement !
Two views of ZK-SOW at Hastings on 09-02-2007.
Then along comes Mit and Rex Brereton who purchased it on 30-11-2012 under the name of Adventure Flight Golden Bay of Takaka.
To be re-registered as ZK-MIT from 05-12-2012 - and on 11-12-2012 it was listed to Remote Adventures Ltd.
Pic above taken at Masterton on 19-01-2013.
Below as seen on 02-04-2013 at Nelson in meat bomb dropping mode.
On 24-05-2013 it had an engine fail after take off from Takaka.

Above is a view of the cockpit on 18-02-2015 at Takaka.
And below at Omaka on 04-04-2015.


  1. The SOW registration comes from the owner also being involved in another 185 WOS, I believe WOS came first and was known as "waste of space", and when SOW came along it was so they could be used in a mirror formation and look sort of mirror! Don't think it was ever done in anger...

  2. Thanks Anonymous. I knew it was something along those lines. Tks for refreshing my memory cells.
    WOS went on to become ZK-WSB which is family initials.

  3. What a history !

    1. What a history is right.....
      Early on I was thinking they're a bit careless in the Naki, but I see the aircraft certainly had an eventful life.

    2. What a history is right.....
      Early on I was thinking they're a bit careless in the Naki, but I see the aircraft certainly had an eventful life.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Thanks for the very interesting history. I didn't know half of it! Am reading the blog in Ying Jiang in China, near the Myamar border and where the Burmese Road came through in WW 2

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