Saturday 18 November 2017

Navajo Chieftain ZK-NSP

The Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain was basically a Piper PA-31 Navajo with a two foot fuselage extension, an extra window on each side and was powered by two counter rotating 350hp Lycoming TIO-540 engines. 
The Navajo name was dropped with the 1980 model and they became just Chieftains.
ZK-NSP is c/n 31-7552069. The 31 is the Piper model, the 75 tells us that it was built during the 1975 US fiscal year and 52 says it is the 350hp Navajo Chieftain built at Lakeland in Florida.
The 069 says it was the 69th built for that fiscal year (out of a total of 132).
It was allocated the US registration of N59980 with Piper Aircraft and was sold to West Freedom Mining Corporation of Kittanning, Pennsylvania from 22-09-1976.
In April of 1983 it was in the hands of Custom Sales Analysis Inc of Chicopee, Massachusetts but sold on quicklyy to Barr Aviation Inc of Hollis, New Hampshire that July.
Final US owner was Maui Airlines of Newport Beach, California from October 1984.
It ferried into Auckland from Tonga on 03-09-1987 to be registered as ZK-NSP on 24-09-1987 to Motueka Air Ltd, which soon became Air Nelson Ltd.
The history of this Company can be read HERE.
As Chieftains go it has had a very stable career in NZ.
 Above it was photographed at Nelson on 05-02-1989 by Westland 831.
Helicopter Leasing NZ Ltd of Taupo took it over from 22-12-1992 until it was moved over to Helicopter Services (BOP) Ltd, also of Taupo on 27-02-2001.
It is seen below on 02-01-2005 thanks to Noel Jones.
 And below it was captured by Peter Lewis at Taupo on 09-01-2009.
Note the under fuselage radar pod.
 On 15-10-2009 it was transferred over to Search and Rescue Services Ltd of Taupo.
 Above Bill Mallinson caught it at Christchurch on 28-02-2011.
 Steve Lowe caught it in its all white scheme at Gisborne on 23-01-2013
and Grayson Ottaway noted it at Tauranga on 20-04-2016.
It is known to have taken part in numerous off shore search and rescue missions.
 An ownership change to AAA Flightshare Ltd of Auckland took effect on 19-09-2017 with Keith Morris noting it, now minus under fuselage radar, at North Shore on 07-10-2017.

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