Tuesday 13 June 2017

First flight 63 years ago

I have been reminded that the first Flight of the Prototype Fletcher FU-24 N6505C took place on 14-06-1954 at Pasadena, California.

Its first flight in New Zealand as ZK-BDS was on 24-09-1954.

Check out the Pacific Aerospace Corporation website

And also  Here  to see an Fletcher FU-24 model.

Below is an extract from the Ed Coates collection

The Fletcher FU-24 was originally a John Thorp creation, designed for the Fletcher Aircraft Corp specifically as an agricultural aircraft.  The above machine is the prototype and first flew out of the old Rosemead Airport in the San Gabriel Valley district of Los Angeles (just off the San Bernardino Freeway, where the local US Government offices now are) in June of 1954. 
It carried the US registration N6505C and became ZK-BDS upon arrival in New Zealand.
It is the only one which had an open cockpit.   Eleven complete aircraft were subsequently shipped to New Zealand and this was followed by some 100 kits delivered to the Cable-Price Corporation for assembly in Hamilton. This concern eventually purchased the manufacturing rights for the design and became, after several name changes, Pacific Aerospace Corporation. 
ZK-BDS was still flying in the new millenium although successive rebuilds had ensured that very little of the original airframe remained.  Sadly, and just short of its fiftieth birthday, (surely a record for agricultural aircraft?) the machine struck a hillside on 20 Sept 2003 whilst attempting to turn back to Whakatane after encountering low ceiling on a positioning flight  for Super Air Ltd.   The two occupants, although badly injured, survived.  This aircraft is historic that I understand attempts may be made to salvage the remains and restore it.


  1. "attempts may be made to salvage the remains and restore it" - I really like this idea. I hope it comes to fruition - I know a guy with some donor bits they could use! ;-)

  2. that would be great if she is restored .....long live bds