Thursday 3 September 2020

Mooney M 20C ZK-DBN History

I photo'd the venerable Mooney M 20C Mk 21 ZK-DBN (c/n 20C-3041) at Ardmore recently, having some maintenance done at Aero Technology.  A rather unprepossessing looking aircraft but it has a long and interesting history:

It has been owned since 13/3/91 by Michael J Hayton of New Plymouth and then Auckland.

Prior to 1991 it was owned by Peter Dyer of Christchurch and then Taupo, as photo'd above, from 2/4/76 to 1991.  And prior to that it was owned by Rod McKelvie of Napier from 27/3/75 where it was leased to Napier Air Service.

However it goes back further to when it was registered as ZK-DBN on 22/6/70 to C L North and D K Lilico of Auckland.  They bought the Mooney as a wreck and rebuilt it over the next 4 years using the damaged remains of ZK-CLY and parts from the Tauranga Aero Club's Mooney M20C Mk 21 ZK-CHY that had crashed into the sea on take off on 8/1/67.

ZK-CLY (also c/n 20C-3041) arrived in Hamilton in 1965 as N5685Q and was assembled by Aero Engine Services Ltd.  It was registered to the Rotorua Aero Club on 26/5/65 and it is photo'd above and below at Wellington on 6/8/66

In this shot you can see our old house on the hillside in the background.

It suffered an undercarriage collapse at Franz Joseph shortly after, on 25/9/66, but was repaired and it gained fame as the first aircraft to circumnavigate New Zealand in one day, flown by Tony Isreal on 12/1/69 taking 16 hours and 46 minutes flying time.  It is photo'd above outside the Rotorua Aero Club on 13/12/68 and it looks like it may have been in new colours.  Finally it was again damaged, this time at Rotorua, on 22/3/70 and was cancelled only to rise from the ashes to still be around today.

Thanks to Blue Bus for the info and photos.


  1. Amazing to see it is still around - would be hard to see in the air all in white thought.
    Here's some photos of it while my Dad owned it: