Thursday 18 January 2018

Unregistered Homegrown Single Seat Homebuilt Aircraft of New Zealand (3) - The Williams Mark 3

Although Geoff Williams signed a document that he would not fly his Williams Mark 2 aircraft again, he figured that that would not stop him from designing , building and flying another aircraft.

So the Williams Mark 3 was conceived. 

This was a low wing aircraft a bit reminiscent of a Corby Starlet and it was also VW powered.  From the photos it looks like it was the same VW engine that had powered the Mark 1 and Mark 2 aircraft.  Construction spanned between 1975 and 1977 and when it was completed it was taken to the Hooper's Inlet airstrip. 

Its first flight was on 22 May 1977.

But on 23 May it failed to become airborne on its second flight which resulted in some damage.

The damage was repaired by the end of July and on 31 July 1977 Geoff flew the aircraft from Hooper’s Inlet to Tarras in Central Otago, a long cross-country of more than 200km in a straight line. However, in the Lindis Pass area he was caught in a rising valley situation and crash-landed on a hillside.

This time the damage was more substantial and Geoff had a rethink.

When it appeared again in January 1979 it was reconfigured as a high-wing parasol aeroplane, but it still suffered from major problems and crashed yet again on its first flight from Tarras, after having flown only a mile or so. At this point Geoff gave up on his Mark 3 aircraft, and the fuselage was stored in the back of a hangar at Taieri for many years.

For his first three aircraft Geoff Williams used non aircraft grade materials such as plywood from tea chests and some people advised him that he would be better to use aircraft grade materials so that his completed aircraft might have some residual value.  I think he took this on board for his next aircraft....

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