Friday 12 April 2019

New Zealand Breweries Colt Airship ZK-ALE

There has been some discussions over recent years regarding the Colt AS-105 HA Airship ZK-ALE/2 c/n 886 that was imported by New Zealand  Breweries Ltd., Auckland, in 1987.

This was a new aircraft, having been registered in the UK as G-BNCP to the manufacturers, Thunder & Colt Ltd., Oswestry, on 9/1/1987. It first flew on 14/4/1987 and after test flying had been completed the UK registration was cancelled on 15/5/1987, with the NZ registration then being issued on the 19th of the same month.

The Colt was intended to be used as a promotional item for the Breweries products with Lance Hislop being hired to fly it, hence the ZK-ALE registration. New Zealand test flights were carried out in November 1987 and possibly earlier.

I understand that the airship's planned promotional activities were often curtailed by weather-related issues, and the aircraft had only clocked up 64 hours by January 1996.

The airship was eventually sold to M H Painter of Auckland, with the change of ownership being recorded on 10/1/1997. It would appear that it did little if any flying under his ownership, and the registration was cancelled as with drawn on 24/12/1997.

Can anyone add to or elaborate on this airship's activities?

ZK-ALE/1 was a Miles M.11A Whitney Straight c/n 503 ex ZK-AGB and NZ577 that passed through the hands of John Gould on to the Auckland Aero Club in 1946/47. It was destroyed in a crash near Fitzgerald Glade, Mamaku Range, 7Sep53.
There is also a static display R22 at Te Kowhai airfield marked up as 'ZK-ALE' used as a promotional item for the micro-brewery based there.

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