Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Dominie ZK-BCP

This is a follow on from an earlier post by Sir Minty Here which contained a subtle hint that I should do a little history on ZK-BCP.

De Havilland DH89B Dominie c/n 6648.
This airframe was constructed by Brush Coachworks Ltd at their Loughborough, Leicestershire plant under contract No.65/Acft2580/C20a and was taken on charge by the Royal Air Force with the serial of HG649 and listed with 76 Maintenance Unit on 19-05-1943 for crating to ship to NZ.
It was shipped to New Zealand (along with NZ523/ZK-AKS) aboard the SS Sussex on 04-08-1943 reaching Auckland on 05-09-1943.
I would imagine it was barged over to Hobsonville for re-assembly and where it was taken on charge by the Royal New Zealand Air Force as NZ524 on 08-09-1943 by Unit 36. 
It was issued to the Central Communication Flight at Rongotai from December 1943 until going up to Fiji from 18-10-1945.
Shipped back to NZ aboard the Sheafe Holme (built 1929 - Broken up May 1965) reaching Auckland 22-08-1947 and barged to Hobsonville again. Late that month it was issued to the General Purpose Flight at Rongotai and shortly there after to 41 Squadron  at Ohakea.
It was sold by GTSB tender to Airwork (NZ) Ltd of Christchurch who registered it as ZK-BCP on 17-12-1953. A NZ C of A was issued on 01-02-1954 and it served Airwork through until February 1956 under their South Island Airways name to operate alongside their other DH89 ZK-BBP.
Below -  we see ZK-BCP in South island Airways titles at Christchurch, from the Ed Coates Collection.
From 25-05-1956 it was listed to Trans Island Airways Ltd of Oamaru until being delivered up to Auckland on 11-08-1958 to Coastal Airways Ltd of Auckland with whom it was registered on 08-09-1958.
By February 1959 it was down in Christchurch and listed to Brian Chadwick (who traded as Air Charter Ltd) on 16-09-1959.
It struck a fence on landing at Queenstown on either 31-01-1962.
On 12-02-1962 Brian Chadwick and four passenger went missing in the Companies other aircraft De Havilland DH90 Dragonfly ZK-AFB -
- with the Dominie ZK-BCP passing to the Estate of Brian Chadwick and I believe it was hired to the Canterbury Aero Club briefly before being sold to Southern Scenic Air Services Ltd of Queenstown from 07-07-1964.
On 01-05-1965 SSAS became part of New Zealand Tourist Air Travel Co Ltd.
It swung into a stop bank at Milford Sound during a downwind landing on 25-03-1965.
Below we see it in TAT colours. Photo via Bob McKerrow.
Then followed a change to Mount Cook Airlines Ltd from 01-01-1968. 
Below at Milford in 1969.
                                    It ground looped into a fence at Te Anau on 16-11-1969.
I believe it was retired from Airline Service in late 1972 and stored at Te Anau.
Then on 18-07-1973 it became Mount Cook and Southern Lakes Tourist Co Ltd.
It was sold to Bill Waterton of C Tracy and Co Ltd of Melbourne on 31-01-1975.
It was overhauled and noted at Taieri and had long range fueltanks fitted in December of 1974.

Here we see it at Taieri on 06-12-1974 marked up in its full Australian registration of VH-BGP - upper and lower wings as well.
I visited Taieri again on the 11th of December 1974 by which time the 'VH' tail marks had been covered by taped 'ZK' markings. The wing retaining the full VH-BGP marks.

 Above we have the hose line running from the cabin tank to the filler cap.
 Above and below - full VH-BGP markings on upper and lower wings.

  It was ferried from Christchurch to Auckland on 14-01-1975, then on to Kaitaia and Norfolk Island on 19-01-1975 and to Brisbane on the 21st the pilot being Ray Cooney and the navigator was Tedd Allen It was flown to Melbourne the next day by owner Bill Waterton.

It was registered as VH-BGP2 on 31-01-1975 to C Tracey and Co Pty Ltd of Melbourne and then on to Joe G Drage of Wodonga, Victoria and placed in his aircraft museum with an ownership change taking place on 20-05-1975 to Joseph G Drage/Drage Historical Aircraft.
On 03-04-1985 it was listed to Drage's Air World/City of Wangaratta, Victoria
Joes aircraft collection was gradually moved to Wangaratta to the Drage Air World hangar with the Dominie flying there on 21-07-1985.
As seen below by David Tanner on 18-04-1987 in the Drage Airworld museum.
Below - seen on one of its outings at Nowra in 1991 by Arthur Scarf.
It attended a few airshows until its last flight on 20-03-1997.
With the closure of Airworld the Dominie was noted for sale in December of 2002 and sold in 2004 to Bruce Ivers of Perth and registered to Dime Nominees Pty Ltd of Subaico, WA on 26-07-2004.
It was containered over to Croydon Aircraft Company of Mandeville for slow rebuild reportedly with a new scratch built fuselage.
The two photos below taken at Mandeville on 18-11-2014

Along with this note !

Photo below by Terry Fletcher at Mandeville on 17-03-2016.
Not a lot of obvious progress here.
It is still at Mandeville today.


  1. Worth a comment- most interesting,many thanks

  2. Many thanks for this wonderful story about this great Dominie (BCP) I flew on the West Coast service for Mt Cook in the '60's & early "70's. Jerry Savage.