Sunday 31 October 2021

A Spectacular "New" Stearman at Ardmore

The New Zealand Warbirds has recently posted photos of Russell Jenkins' spectacularly rebuilt and re-finished Stearman A75N1 ZK-RJS2 (c/n 75-647) at Ardmore after it was test flown last Wednesday (27/10/21 I think) by Frank Parker.

Russell's Stearman looks really smart in its period civilian colour scheme, and here Russell poses by his "new" aircraft.

Just lovely in the sun.

And the Continental W 670 radial engine is equally immaculate.

It wears a period style Flying A Aero-Type Gasoline logo.

But this aircraft has actually been in New Zealand since around the year 2000 as N9163R when I understand it was imported by Len Cowper (who also imported our first Stearman back in 1982).

Here is N9163R at Masterton on 28/1/01, where you can see it had a huge front windscreen which formed part of a sliding canopy, as evidenced by the canopy rails along the fuselage.

And here it is photo'd at Ardmore in 2003 by Flyernzl.

On 9/8/04 it was registered as ZK-RRR to the well known radio and TV broadcaster, the late Paul Holmes, however I think he owned it prior to this as he had a well publicised forced landing in the aircraft in January 2004 at Ngamatea Station about 60 km from Hastings, and the aircraft was damaged.

The above photo was taken by John Cowpland at Bridge Pa aerodrome at Hastings on 26/12/04, and is from the Setford News Photo Agency files.  Thanks very much to Ross Setford for the use of these 2 photos.

John Cowpland was also around Bridge Pa aerodrome on 31/12/04 when Paul Holmes again crashed his Stearman, this time on take off and with considerable damage resulting.  

It was in this state that Russell Jenkins acquired the wreck and began his epic 11 year and 3 month restoration which culminated in the successful first flight of his ZK-RJS2 (no doubt for Russell Jenkins' Stearman).  Congratulations Russell!

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