Sunday 30 June 2019

Kiwis Abroad

A visit to the excellent Queensland Air Museum at Caloundra this week revealed a couple of former NZ aircraft on display.

The first is the Transavia PL12 Airtruk ZK-CWX which was originally imported new to NZ back in September 1968, and then exported back to Australia as VH-HSB in December 1988.  Withdrawn from service in July 2006 the airframe was donated to the Museum who created a hybrid display aircraft using the fuselage and wings of VH-HSB,  and tail booms from another PL12, VH-TTV.

Interestingly they chose to complete it as ZK-CWX  with Barr Bros Ltd titling.

Also with Kiwi connections is the GAF N22B Nomad VH-BFH which spent 2 years with Stewart Island Air Services as ZK-SAL between 1981 and 1983,  before returning to Australia as VH-BFH again.   It was donated to the Museum in September 1990

The Museum has an extensive civil and military collection, and is well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Saturday 29 June 2019

Homegrown Two Seat Homebuilt Aircraft of New Zealand (10) - Bennett Condor

The last new aircraft to appear on the New Zealand register in 2009 was the Bennett Condor ZK-CON2.

The Bennett Condor was built by Bill Bennett at Wanganui.  It started out as a Minicab then Bill added a 500 mm fuselage extension and made the cabin a bit bigger and fitted a cut down Alpi 200 canopy.  Then he constructed a Vans style undercarriage that is connected to the engine mount of the 100 HP UL Power 260i engine.  As an idea of size, the Minicab's wingspan is 24 feet 11 inches (7.60 metres) and its fuselage length is 17 feet 11 inches (5.45 metres), so this would make the Condor 6.05 metres in length.  The aircraft was registered as a Class 2 microlight with a MAUW of 544 Kg.

ZK-CON2 (c/n 001) was registered to the Keruru Trust of Wanganui on 15/12/09.  Bill Bennett supplied these 2 photos of it dated in 2010.

Bill said that his Condor flies very well.

The address of the Keruru Trust shifted to Carterton and the aircraft was based at Masterton, usually flown by Bill's son Mike Bennett.  It the above photo, taken in its hangar at Masterton on 12/3/11, you can see the mounting of the engine and undercarriage.

And here is a better photo of the aircraft, taken at Masterton on 19/1/13.

Friday 28 June 2019

Airtractor ZK-RUR at Feilding

Jordan Elvy recently captured the Rural Aerial Cooperative's Airtractor AT402B ZK-RUR2 arriving at Feilding in the late afternoon sun on 26 June:

ZK-RUR2 (c/n 402B-1022) was first registered to the Rural Aerial Cooperative on 29/11/17 and is ex N5127T.  The Rural Aerial Cooperative also operate Air Tractor AT402B ZK-JHG.

Thursday 27 June 2019


ZK-IRS4 is actually a Helibras (a subsidiary of Airbus Helicopters) AS 350 B2 Esquilo assembled in Brazil in 2005 as PR-CAA.
It was with a private owner in 2008 and then with Brisair Servicos Aeronautics from November of 2011. 
It was ferried back to the States, via Surinam and St Maarten in February of 2016, where it became N349BB with Bell Helicopter Textron Inc at Fort Worth Texas on 29-03-2016.
 On arrival in NZ it was registered as ZK-IRS4 on 20-09-2018 to Stark Airlines Ltd of Hamilton. 
It is seen here at Queens Wharf Wellington yesterday by Allister Jenks.

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Australian Aircraft Hornet STOLs of New Zealand

The next type of sport aircraft to be registered in New Zealand was the Hornet STOL.

Australian Aircraft Kits of Taree, NSW introduced the Hornet STOL in 2004, for use in the Australian outback including cattle mustering but it gives good STOL performance that is useful in New Zealand in a quite crowded STOL market.  The aircraft was designed by Ole Hartmann and the company has gone on to develop the aircraft with a tandem version (the Hornet Cub), a heavier and higher powered version (the Bushman) and a stripped down version (the Flamingo).

The Hornet STOL is a conventional all aluminium side by side taildragger with a steel cockpit/ engine mount frame.  It has a strut braced high wing and can be supplied as a kit or a complete ready to fly aircraft.

The specs for the aircraft are:  length 6.8 metres (22 feet 7 inches), wingspan 8.9 metres (29 feet 2 inches) and wing area 128 square feet.  Empty weight is around 330 Kg (728 pounds) and MAUW in New Zealand is 544 Kg (1,200 pounds) from a Class 2 microlight although it can be registered as a LSA with a MAUW of 600 Kg (1,323 pounds).  With a 100 HP Rotax 912 ULS engine cruise speed is around 87 mph while the stall speed is around 33 mph.

We have had two Australian Aircraft Kits Hornets in New Zealand to date, as follows: 

Our first Hornet STOL was ZK-JCM2 (c/n 023) which was registered to J C (Jock) Montgomery of Christchurch on 24/6/09.  As can be seen in the above photo it has trailing link mainwheels (like a Wilga) that is the standard set up from the factory.  The aircraft was test flown in Australia and is powered by a Rotax 914 engine.  It was sold to Ian D Galloway of Wanaka on 5/4/12 and is photo'd above at Pukaki on 22/9/12.

Our next Hornet STOL was ZK-CCM2 (c/n H025) which was registered to James R Loughnan of Wanaka on 28/1/15.  The fuselage and tailplane were started in Australia and the wings were built by Ivan Campbell at Loburn Abbey.  It has a Rotax 912iS with a constant speed propeller.  It has a different sprung leg undercarriage.  It is photo'd above at the 2018 Wings Over Wanaka airshow, on 30/3/18.

Tuesday 25 June 2019

Another Newbie at Stratford - Pioneer 300 ZK-SCN

Nick Furmage also recently photo'd this new Hawera based Alpi Pioneer 300 at Stratford.

ZK-SCN (c/n 332) was built from a kit by Sefton Crandall, now of New Plymouth, and was first registered on 16/8/17.  It is Sefton's second Alpi Pioneer 300 as he owned ZK-PLH from late 2004 to early 2006.  It is nice to see a different colour scheme on an Alpi. 

Thanks for the photo Nick (taken on 15/6/19).

Sunday 23 June 2019

Supermarine Spitfire Mk 25 ZK-RGV Has Flown

The last couple of times I have been down at Stratford there has been a special aircraft in one of the hangars awaiting the processing of paperwork.  Then on 14/6/19 it was registered to Gary Marsh of Inglewood as ZK-RGV, a Supermarine Spitfire Mk 25.  Originally built by Peter Yates of Perth, WA it was first registered VH-XST in February 2007.  Its first flight in New Zealand was flown by Wayne Richmond in the late afternoon of Wednesday 19/6/19.

The Mk 25 Spitfire is a 75% replica which will make a great pair with Gary's 75% replica Titan Mustang ZK-TVG.

Nick Furmage of the Stratford Aerodrome blog was on hand to take the following photos.  You can see more photos from the day at

 Showing the classic Spitfire lines.

The Spitfire is painted in the colours of A58-497 of 457 Squadron RAAF.

Looking great in the late afternoon sun.

Friday 21 June 2019

It Was More Pas de Deux than Sumo Between 2 Heavies at Wellington International!

As I have posted previously, I was fortunate to be at Wellington International with Planefil and Lanzi, just 3 weeks ago, when the Air New Zealand Dreamliner ZK-NZN3 was there providing extra seats to Auckland following the cancellation of many flights the previous day due to awful weather, and we waited in anticipation for its departure.  What a change in the Wellington weather a day makes!

The day was made more interesting by the concurrent arrival of the Boeing 777-200 9V-SRM of Singapore Airlines.  In a comment on my previous post Thomarse queried why Air New Zealand was taxying for Runway 16 while Singapore Airlines was landing on Runway 34.  It was a good question and one that I now explain as follows.

Wellington Airport was opened in 1959 (and I was watching the opening pageant through binoculars from our house in Melrose, also very interesting!).  So it is a 1950s design that now has limitations on the heavy aircraft which use the airport.  These limitations resulted in the pas-de-deux that we were privileged to witness!  In particular the taxyways off the single runway are not big enough for the heavies to use, so they must turn off the runway at each end and they can also use the second taxyway from the Northern end which is wider and stronger.  This limitation provided us with magnificent views of a Dreamliner from many different angles that we would not have otherwise had, so a big thanks to all involved!

ZK-NZN3 is pushed back...

And 9V-SRM lands...

 The Dreamliner taxies North while SIA waits...

and makes a 180 degree turn around the North end of the runway...

to taxy back South...

Followed by SIA exiting stage right!

The Dreamliner then lined up for Runway 34...

and it was away!

Climbing out with the new leaning control tower in the background...

and off to Auckland.  Very nice indeed!

Thursday 20 June 2019

Two more from NZRT today (20-06-2019).

A couple more photographs from Rangiora today
 The Cornwall Farms Ltd's Bell 206 JetRanger III ZK-HQH3 (c/n 3206) nearing the end of an auto rotation.
I posted ZK-SUA a couple of days back - but I post it again today on request to better show its new markings.
Click on the pic for a closer look.

There will be no pie run tomorrow.

Rod Lewis's Mosquito has Flown in the US

A recent Facebook post from Lewis Air Legends shows the first flight of their "new" DH 98 Mosquito (c/n PZ474 ex ZK-BCV) from San Antonio, Texas.  The link is

Contrary to earlier expectations, the Mosquito has been registered as N474PZ, and if you go quickly to the FAA register you can see it has been registered as a twin turboprop!

Rod Lewis was aboard for the first flight, with pilot Steve Hinton who is probably the most experienced US Mosquito pilot as he also flies the late Paul Allen's Flying and Combat Armor Museum example at Everett, Washington State.

A change of ID's

The two Tecnam P2008's from the New Zealand Airline Academy at Oamaru were back at Rangiora  for a change of registration letters. 
 ZK-TLT (c/n 123) was re-registered yesterday as ZK-DDY2 .
These ZK-DDY marks were previously work on an Airparts (NZ) Ltd Fletcher FU24-950 from late 1970 for delivery to the Thai Ministry of Agriculture under the Colombo Plan. It ended up  in Australia from May of 1985 and is still current today.
Above we have ZK-DDY2 departing for home today.
Below is a close up of the tail markings.

ZK-MBN (c/n 069) was re-registered yesterday as ZK-LBI.

The New Zealand Airline Academy have two new Tecnam's on delivery and these will have the old ZK-TLT and ZK-MBN marks allocated to them.

Both ZK-TLT and ZK-MBN were mentioned about three weeks back. Check HERE.

Tuesday 18 June 2019

Edwardian Era Real Deal and Replica Flying Machines of New Zealand - Bleriots

There is quite a bit of history around Bleriot Monoplanes in New Zealand, from three original machines to several more modern replicas.  A good potted history of the original machines by Philip Treweek can be found at:

From Philip Treweek's excellent notes the first Bleriot XI to be imported into New Zealand arrived in Wellington in April 1912 for Mr James D Walsh but was never flown successfully at that time. It ended up with the Canterbury Aviation Company at Sockburn in 1917 where is was flown by by the likes of Bert Mercer.  It was scrapped in 1920.

The second Bleriot XI to be imported was in 1913 with American pilot Arthur "Wizard" Stone who flew at the Auckland Showgrounds on 19/4/13 but the flight only lasted around 400 yards and the aircraft and pilot were "roughed up" by the disgruntled crowd.  However, a few days later, on 24/4/13, two successful flights were flown from Alexandra Park , the first sustained flight in New Zealand. It flew again at Hamilton but was badly damaged at Napier on 3/6/13 and did not fly here again.

The third Bleriot XI to appear in New Zealand was a 2 seat Bleriot XI-2 model that was presented to the New Zealand Government by the Imperial Air Fleet Committee.  This aircraft had flown successfully in Europe and the aircraft was christened "Brittania" at Hendon in London on 22/5/13 after which the former New Zealand Prime Minister Sir Joseph Ward was taken for a short flight.  The aircraft was then shipped to New Zealand arriving at Wellington on 29/9/13 and was our first military aircraft.  It was shipped to Auckland and made its first flight here on 17/1/14 from the Epsom Showgrounds, flown by New Zealand's first military pilot, Joe Hammond.  On 24/1/14 another flight was made by Joe Hammond and a passenger.  However rather than taking one of the local dignitaries for a flight, Joe Hammon'd passenger was Miss Esmee McLennan who was an Australian and a member of the touring Royal Pantomime Company.  This dis not go down well with said dignitaries and Joe Hammond was fired!  The aircraft then sat idle as there was no pilot for it, and it was shipped back to England in October 1914 following the outbreak of war.

The original Britannia in Auckland in January 1914.  Joe Hammond is at the right in the rear, with goggles.  The Name Britannia is on the front of the engine cowling.

A nice replica of the Brittania is on display in the foyer of the RNZAF Museum at Wigram.  It was constructed in 1985 by dave Comrie of Dunedin (who also built the EAA Acro Sport II ZK-VWT and the Sindlinger Hurricane ZK-VYX).

In this photo you can just see a small part of a figure of Miss Esmee McLennan behind the trailing edge of the wing, seated behind the figure of Joe Hammond.

The next Bleroit to appear here was actually a Thulin A which is a Bleriot XI that was license built by the Swedish company AB Enoch Thulins Aeroplanfabrik in 1918.  This example was discovered by Mikael Carlson in a barn in Sweden in the late 1989 and restored by him for a first flight after many years in 1991.  Mikael Carlson bought his Thulin A to Warbirds Over Wanaka at Easter 2000 where it flew successfully.  The aircraft was powered by a 50 HP Gnome-Omega rotary engine.

The Thulin A over Wanaka.  Mikael Carlson flew this aircraft across the English Channel in 1999 on the 90th anniversary of Louis Bleriot's original channel crossing.

Mikael Carlson now has 2 original Thulin As in his collection.  There is a neat video of one of them flying HERE but I am not sure if it is the one that came to Wanaka.

Up at Omaka the folks at Classic Fighters have built some really neat replicas including this taxiable replica of a 2 seat Bleriot, that breaks in the middle for effect!  It is photo'd here at the 2017 Classic Fighters airshow at Omaka, on 15/4/17.

And this brings us to our latest Bleriot XI which is Gert Van Kruiningen's Airdrome Aeroplanes full size replica ZK-BXI2 (c/n BLE-003).  It is powered by a vintage 5 cylinder Velie M5 radial engine which looks the part.  It is also photo'd at the 2017 Classic Fighters airshow, piloted by Evan Belworthy.  It did manage lift off but only just.

Here it is at the 2019 Classic Fighters airshow, flying more successfully.  A very nice replica.

Monday 17 June 2019

Pitts S-1C Special ZK-RMR

There has been a bit of activity in the Pitts Special fraternity around the country recently.

Robert McNair has constructed this magnificent Pitts S-1C model with its conventional aerofoil section with the flat bottom and a single set of ailerons in the lower wing.
It has a lockable Haigh tail-wheel - using brakes for steering.
 The engine is a Lycoming O-320 of 160hp.
Note the  black and white pattern under both wings.
As ZK-RMR it awaits completion of bureaucratic administration.
Robert is well known for his Tiger Moth ZK-AUD, for his time with the Lincoln Sports ZK-BMV and off course the McNair Mynah's.
Photographs taken at Ardmore during high power engine runs on 25-05-2019 by Andrew Phillpotts.

Saturday 15 June 2019

Rangiora Friday 14th

I had a very pleasant waddle around at Rangiora yesterday afternoon (Friday 14th).
A bit of a stray was the Cessna 172M ZK-DRM (c/n 17263534) which has been with the Waitomo Aero Club at Te Kuiti since Mid-2007.
 I was great to catch up with the Quickie Q2 ZK-ZOO (c/n AACA/269) again.
Recently re-engined - it had its second flight today after over 20 years parked up.
Previous mention of ZK-ZOO HERE

 Planted nicely on terra firma was the Skystar Kitfox IV ZK-JFA (c/n C94080051/MAANZ/527) by maestro Paul Godfrey.
ICP Savanah S ZK-SUA (c/n 16-06-54-0476) now sports some vinyl markings.
It is on short finals for the seldom used vector 10.