Monday 31 May 2021

Ardmore on 27-5-2021 - Rescue Helicopters

In addition to all the other activity at Ardmore last Thursday, there was quite a lot of rescue helicopter activity, all BK 117 B-2s, with the first three all being owned by Search and Rescue Services Ltd of Taupo:

The Waikato rescue helicopter ZK-IIX undergoing maintenance at Airwork.

Another Waikato rescue helicopter ZK-HHJ3 also undergoing maintenance at Airwork.

And the Taupo based Greenlea rescue helicopter ZK-HCX4 flew in for a hot refuel and left for points South,

Then later on in the late afternoon,  sun the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust's ZK-HKZ3 fired up and departed.  The ARHT base three helicopters at Ardmore, the other two being their Leonardo AW169s.

Sunday 30 May 2021

Ardmore on 27-5-2021 - A Few Other Aircraft

 Being such a lovely afternoon at Ardmore last Thursday there were lots of aircraft out and about:

It was the first time I had seen Pete Hunt's RV 6A ZK-PCH.  It has acquired a basic trim since it first flew here, and it was nice to have an uncluttered background at Ardmore to show the aircraft off.

Another RV outside was RV 4 ZK-RVB which has been at Ardmore for some time since Covid hit.

Not a very clear shot, but it is always spectacular to have a Spitfire flying overhead.

As the sun got lower there was nice light to illuminate this throw back scene (pity about the cars)
And also as the sun went down, the Warbirds Chipmunk took off.  Lovely lines!

Ardmore on 27-5-2021 - Pitts S1 ZK-RMR

While I was enjoying the afternoon at Ardmore a Pitts Special arrived overhead in the circuit.  I did not at first recognise it but as it landed I saw it was Robert McNair's lovely looking ZK-RMR:

Robert made a greaser of a landing.

I had not seen Robert's Pitts before and it is magnificent in the reverse gold and black colours from his Tiger Moth ZK-AUD.  In this photo you can see that it has now been named "Miss Stress".

And the colours really stood out when he turned side on to the late afternoon sun. 

Saturday 29 May 2021

Ardmore on 27-5-2021 - Avspecs

 I was interested to see what was going on at Avspecs now that the Spitfire has gone.

The main project is now the restoration of Grumman G 44 Widgeon for an Auckland owner.  In the background you can see another Widgeon which I understand is Warren Denholm's own example.  There is going to be a bit of a resurgence of Widgeons in New Zealand as I understand that another one is being restored at Paihia.

The Widgeon bears the registration N144SL.  I think this is c/n 1215 which was manufactured in 1941 and first saw service with Pan American Airways, so it has an interesting history.  It most recently flew in the US with Continental engines.


Ardmore on 27-5-2021 - Pioneer Aero

I had not managed to make it down to Ardmore for quite some time so I was looking forward to spending an afternoon there on a lovely day last Thursday.  I was not disappointed.

Pride of place at Pioneer Aero was P 40E Kittyhawk 41-13570 (with a c/n also of 41-13570), which was registered as ZK-MOM on 14/5/21.  

Paul McSweeny of Pioneer Aero told me that it has had the motor running but that has not flown yet.  It is for an Italian owner but may be staying in New Zealand for some time due to shipping problems.

Friday 28 May 2021

Auckland International on 27-5-2021

Carrying on to Auckland Airport (less of the International) to do a drop off, I had a quick squizz around but nothing new.  I did however manage these couple of photos:

A rather sad sight outside the Air New Zealand Maintenance Base was B 777-300 ZK-OKQ.  I wonder why it has not gone into desert storage as the salt air of NZAA must be much worse for storage?

Then Life Flight's Jetstream 32 ZK-LFW arrived in its relatively new colours.

First Flight of Vans RV 12 ZK-SCM at North Shore 27-5-2021

With a bit of pre-planning I was on the spot for the first flight of Dave Campbell-Morrison's new RV 12 ZK-SCM (c/n 120905) at North Shore airfield yesterday:

Ready to go.

Taxying out.

And away into the blue!

Congratulations DCM.

Thursday 27 May 2021


 From the Waimea Weekly :-  Forwarded by CMM.

The owner of a light aircraft was left utterly heartbroken last week (Tuesday the 18th) after his 60-year-old plane was completely destroyed by a fire at Malibu Park airfield in Teapot Valley, Wakefield.

Jason Deer, who had owned the Cessna 185 since 2015, says, “It’s devastating. I’ve had condolence messages from all over the country this week.”

The plane was in the hanger for routine maintenance when it caught fire and was quickly engulfed by flames. Jason was nearby and his first reaction was to push the plane outside to save the hanger and another plane. After calling 111, he joined others trying to put the inferno out, but by the time the fire brigade arrived, all that was left burning was the tyre.

“You can tell it was an airplane once, but it was destroyed beyond rebuilding,” says Jason.

Sixty years of aviation history was also lost in the fire as the Cessna, ZK-CAK, was the first of its kind brought into New Zealand back in 1961, and the 17th built worldwide.

“She just had her 60th birthday last week,” says Jason.

“She was my pride and joy. One brief moment in time and she’s all gone.”

Her initial use was carrying newspapers and passengers from Nelson to the West Coast. In the early 80s, CAK was registered as an air ambulance and later was used for parachute operations. After use for aerial spraying, she passed back into private ownership.

Jason has enjoyed many hours flying over mountains and into the back country. He says 185s are a handful, but very satisfying to fly.

“She was a grand ol’ lady, the other woman in my life,” he says. “At the beginning of the day last week, there was no way I could ever have imagined what has now happened to her.”

Over the years his plane has been the one constant thing in his life that he wouldn’t sell. Jason says he didn’t look at himself as the owner of CAK, more of a guardian of history.

Along the way, CAK has experienced other incidents where repair was needed, usually caused by a ‘ground loop’, where there is loss of directional control and the plane spins around. Damage to the undercarriage or wing tips can result, but CAK was always rebuildable after these.

“I always thought if I were to write the plane off, it would be at the end of a back country airstrip,” says Jason.

He knows he wants another plane, but there aren’t many for sale that are suited to land on the remote airstrips he enjoys.

Jason says that although no-one was hurt in the fire, they did follow advice from fire crew to go to the Emergency Department to be checked for smoke inhalation.

ZK-CAK has been mentioned previously at :-

Whitianga comes for morning tea

A return to more settled weather on the Coromandel today brought an interesting collection of aircraft down to Pauanui for coffee including the Stinson 108-3 ZK-STN,  Ultravia Pelican Club ZK-MAL2,  Waco YMF ZK-CFL2 and the Titan T-51 Mustang ZK-WSV.

A group departure back home followed with the Waco and Stinson featured below.


Wednesday 26 May 2021

Up into the hills with ZK-HDL

 A routine pilgrimage up into the hills in the Aerospatiale AS 350 B2 ZK-HDL3 (c/n2981) as based just out of Tekapo.

As you can see it carries MACKENZIE Helicopters markings with small script below the door telling us that it is "operated by Heli Support International Ltd".

Tuesday 25 May 2021

Cessna T206H ZK-MMG/2 at Tauranga Today 25-5-2021

Newly registered Cessna T206H ZK-MMG2 (c/n T20608291) was out in the sun at Tauranga today and the Hairy Mole Rat was there to get a nice photo:

ZK-MMG2 was registered in New Zealand on 14/5/21, to the Brenick Eynon Trust Partnership of Te Puke.  It was previously registered N3532U.

Thanks for the photo HMR.

Monday 24 May 2021

Loburn Abbey

In addition to the Chipmunks below some 30 aircraft attended the fly in at Loburn Abbey on Sunday taking advantage of a stunning Canterbury day.

Amongst them was the 1963 veteran Piper PA28 Cherokee ZK-BZH.   Despite being registered as a 160hp it is now marked as a Cherokee 180 Cruiser so has been upgraded.  It has been with its current Christchurch since 2018.

Down from its Kaikoura base was Just Aircraft Highlander ZK-JKO2 which was first registered in 2015 and has been with its current owner since 2018.

Now in a stunning new paint scheme is Zenair Zenith CH200 ZK-NEN which was originally registered back in 1980 and has been with its Christchurch owner since 2019.

And for something different the Air Creation ARV trike ZK-TNG2 which was registered back in 2010 and has been with its Rangiora owner since 2017.


Sunday 23 May 2021

And a couple of Chippies at Loburn Abbey today

A beautiful day for a fly in at Loburn Abbey today.
Two of the many visitors were the De Havilland DHC-1 Chipmunks ZK-ARL and ZK-XUK

And the 75th  birthday balloon.

DH Chipmunk 75th Anniversary Celebrations at Masterton

Yesterday the 22nd of May 2021 marked the 75th Anniversary of the first flight of the De Havilland DHC-1 Chipmunk from Downsview in Toronto, Canada, and the occasion was marked with a small gathering of Chipmunks at Hood Aerodrome at Masterton.  The Chipmunk is reckoned to be the poor mans Spitfire and it has lovely DH lines that still look great today.

Photo'd here by Jordan Elvy are Bevan Dewes locally based N861WP (which is a very historic aircraft that was flown by the Duke of Edinburgh as WP861), ZK-ARM2 of F T Koenders from Palmerston North and ZK-PTN2 marked up as WB568 of the Wairarapa Flying Tigers, also from Masterton.

Saturday 22 May 2021


Another visit to the HeleTranz base in Albany revealed more of the 2021 changes to their fleet, being AS350B2 ZK-HYO5,  which was acquired in April.  This was originally imported from Malaysia in 2017, and flew with Mountain Helicopters in a dark blue scheme.

EC120B ZK-HHT6 is now on its fourth ZK registration being originally imported new back in 2008 as ZK-IFE.  It moved onto HJW4 in 2015, HBC5 in 2017 and then HHT6 in March this year.

AS350BA ZK-HFZ2 has been with the company since the beginning of 2019 and has now acquired large company titling on the boom.


Thursday 20 May 2021

North Shore back on 16-5-2021

Granddaughter shuttling duties last Sunday put me at Silverdale and close to North Shore airfield for some more Avgas.  It was quite busy on a nice Sunday afternoon:

Agusta-Bell AB206B ZK-IBB popped in for a visit.  This ex Saudi Air Force Jetranger has been in New Zealand since January 2005 and has had a new Manakau owner since 17/4/19.

Cessna 310Q ZK-DEM arrived and did a couple of circuits before parking up.  It has been owned by Photo Survey Ltd of Kaukapakapa since 11/2/20.

Lloyd Morris arrived in his RV7 ZK-LDM, back from Penny Burgers at Whangarei.

Then the Fly My Sky BN2A-26 Islander ZK-PIZ arrived on a scheduled service.

And the locally based Beech A 36 Bonanza  ZK-NAZ also arrived back from Whangarei, I think with a load of North Shore Young Eagles who had been trying out the Northland Emergency Services Trust Sikorsky S 76 simulator.

Finally before I left, Stu Wards arrived and fired up Thorp T 18 ZK-EDF for a local flight.  This aircraft has been owned by the EDF Partnership of Auckland since 10/6/20.

Tuesday 18 May 2021


Another of the ex RNZAF CT4E Airtrainers has been sold to Australia, following ZK-PTB which became VH-CNZ, ZK-PTG which became VH-ETV and ZK-PTI which became VH-PTX:

The latest example to transfer to the Australian civil register is ZK-PTD (c/n 203) which has become VH-PVD, as seen at Tauranga yesterday.  It departed Kerikeri for Lord Howe Is on 19 May arriving after a flight time of 5 hours and 49 minutes.   After refuel it carried onto Coolangatta.  The operator is quoted as CHC Helicopters Australia.

Thanks for the photo HMR.

Monday 17 May 2021

More helicopters

A visit to Ardmore today offered the latest brand new EC130T2 import at Airbus Helicopters, ZK-IEC4, which was registered in April 2021.  This is for Force Aviation of Coromandel and replaces their earlier T2 ZK-IEC3 which has become ZK-ISP3.  

While registered to a Christchurch owner since arrival in late 2020 the new Guimbal Cabri G2 ZK-HNN4 seems to have spent most of its time based in Auckland, mostly at the Heletranz Albany facility.


Falconar F 11 ZK-KEA at Feilding on 16/5/2021

Tim Gorman was at Feilding aerodrome yesterday and was on the spot to catch the unique to New Zealand Falconar F 11 ZK-KEA out aviating:

In this view you can see the modified Jodel wing with the dihedral starting further in.  The F 11 is Canadian modified Jodel D 11 - see:

This aircraft had been languishing in storage at Feilding for many years until it was rescued and sold to the Manawatu Aviation Club on 23/12/20.  They got it flying again and now it is for sale, contact Dave Cameron on 027 4422545 if you are interested.

Thanks very much for the photos Tim.