Tuesday 2 June 2020

Comper Swifts of New Zealand - ZK-ACG

I noted in my recent post about the recently registered Comper Swift ZK-UVC that here had been another Comper Swift registered in New Zealand, ZK-ACG which was around in the 1930s.  I asked if anyone could send any photos of it and Flyernzl and Ron Ark have responded - thanks guys.

ZK-ACG  was our original Comper CLA.7 Swift  (c/n S.30/08), which was registered on 08-04-1931 to H L D West of Whakatane. It was named named "Kitten" and was powered by a ABC Scorpion engine which was I think a 2 cylinder engine.  In July 1933  ownership changed to R Fairey of Whakatane and F J McDonald & J S Aitken of Auckland.

On 19-04-1937 it crashed at Wigram when it was stalled in a downwind turn (prior to landing?), when it was being flown by J S Aitken.  The wreck was sold to Stanley A Tucker, J D Hurley and J MacIntosh. and was rebuilt.  After rebuild it was re-engined with a Salmson AD9 nine cylinder radial engine from a  B A Swallow and a dorsal fin was fitted.  I think that the above photo may be of it after this rebuild as the aircraft has the 9 cylinder radial engine, narrow tyres and the front of the fuselage is unpainted.  And it has a quite different dorsal fin and rudder to the factory built one ((refer back to my post on ZK-UVC).

These two photos of it show the aircraft with the unpainted forward fuselage and the narrow wheels.

Unfortunately it crashed again on its first test flight at Wigram (?), this time being flown by by F J McDonald.  The date of this second crash is not recorded.

I think this must be the crash after the test flight as it has the modified dorsal fin and rudder.

It was then rebuilt again by Messrs Stan Tucker and Holmes with new cowls and low pressure tires and it was test flown on 23-07-1938.

These two photos show it presumably after the second rebuild as it has the low pressure tyres and the slightly different cowling has the cheat line painted on.

These photos must have been taken in 1938 or early 1939.  

There is a video of the Swift flying in the same colours in 1938 at the old Rongotai airport from the Nga Taonga film archives (the footage of the Swift is about 10 minutes in) at: https://ngataonga.org.nz/collections/catalogue/catalogue-item?record_id=63526

It finally crashed on 10-04-1939 at Te Wera, Taranaki after the pilot became lost in fog and crash landed in a swamp near Hiuakaka School at Te Wera, and it was cancelled from the register the same month, in April 1939.

So now we need to find a photo of ZK-ACG with its original engine and factory built fin and rudder - anyone out there got one?

Interestingly the registration VH-ACG was also allocated to a Comper Swift in Australia so both ZK/VH-UVC and ZK/VH-ACG were all Comper Swifts

1 comment:

  1. I have some poor-quality images of ZKACG taken in about 1935 when it was owned by my father Ray Ferry