Tuesday 30 January 2018

Question time # 200 resolved. ZK-AFD.

Lockheed 10A ZK-AFD with the construction number 1095, with a date of manufacture of 19-04-1937, was purchased through Brown and Dureau, as the New Zealand agents, for Union Airways of New Zealand Ltd. 
It was shipped to NZ along with ZK-AFC on the Union Steamship Company's MV Limerick *** reaching Auckland on 28-05-1937.
I have three dates for its ZK-AFD listing - 1st, 3rd or 14-06-1937.
Its first flight in NZ was 03-06-1937 bearing the name Kuaka.
It was not impressed into the RNZAF for service during World War II.
On 05-02-1943 after departing Taieri it entered cloud and shortly thereafter its port wing struck Flagstaff Hill with the aircraft coming to rest among gorse bushes.
The extensively damaged aircraft twas recovered the following day and trucked down to the Union Airways hangar at Taieri.
The aircraft was rebuilt in this hangar and re-flew again from Taieri on 11-08-1943. 

Follows is a selection of photographs from the Roy McDonald collection of this project.
 These first three shots show it as it it came to rest.
 Above. Dunedin City to the left of the wing tip.

The two photos below show that it was quickly dismantled the following day.
 The fuselage was towed back to Taieri Airfield

Three shots below show progress as at 19-07-1943.

Below two photos of progress as of 25-07-1943

Below. Nearly there.
Wings and engines installed 9-08-1943.

It was test flown on 11-08-1943.
Below is a list of persons in the above photo, as best as I can make out, from details on the rear of the photo.
Left to right.
R Hart, A C Denholm, A Fleming and R Tawharu- all engineers.
I Hastings Panel beater and welder.
M Kelly, and L Whinray engineers; R McDonald Engineer in charge and inspector; 
M McCronie, N McClean, P McLaughlin, R Cornwall, R Treadgold engineers, and R Hunter instruments and radio.
Below we see ZK-AFD and ZK-AGJ at Rongotai in May 1945.
Unknown photographer. (May 1945). [Union Airways NAC Electra 10A]. Ref: 15-0792. Whites Aviation Collection. Walsh Memorial Library, The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)
It continued in service - transferring to New Zealand National Airways Corporation (NZNAC) from 01-04-1947.
With a total airframe time of 14,894 hours it was withdrawn from service on 14-09-1951 having been listed with Rural Aviation Ltd at New Plymouth from 23-04-1951.
I believe they purchased it to acquire the Pratt and Whitney Wasp radial engines.
Pic below taken at Bell Block Airfield New Plymouth - I will blame Nev Worsley for it - via Allan Wooller.
In the 1960's the stripped airframe was with Mangorei Motors Ltd, Taranaki.
Pic above at the 'wreckers yard' at Waitara.
Again a Nev Worsley pic via Allan Wooller.
 It was acquired for the Museum of Transport and Technology of Auckland in 1966 and delivered up to them in March of 1967.
The aircraft currently on display at this Museum as ZK-AFD is in fact ZK-BUT.
The real ZK-AFD is displayed as a cutaway fuselage.

From  www.airmailsnz.com/page5.htm we note :-
1943, 5 February
(Commander A.T. Orchard with Second Officer A.I. Hadfield) while on a scheduled flight from Dunedin to Christchurch and Wellington. "Kuaka" crash-landed on Flagstaff Hill in very poor visibility just after leaving Taieri aerodrome, Dunedin. There were no injuries to passengers and crew and they were able to walk Out. Mails were placed on the next day's flight. No cachets were applied.
Another bit of information - useless maybe - but ZK-AFD featured on an NZ stamp about 1974.

The MV Limerick was an 8,724 ton refrigerated cargo ship built by William Hamilton and Co, Glasgow in 1925 for the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand.
While sailing in convoy GP48 along the east coast of Australia Limerick was torpedoed and sunk on 26 April 1943, by Japanese submarine 'I-177' off Cape Byron. 
All but two of the crew were rescued.

If 'Anonymous' from the original Question Time # 200 post would care to send me his/her postal address then I will send your chockie fish portion to you.


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  2. Great story Dave and fantastic photos!
    Paul Sheehan