Monday, 23 May 2022

A Trio of Venoms

As we have a great photo of John Luff's Venom ZK-VNM3 as our header photo at present, I thought I would delve into why this is the third use of the registration ZK-VNM.

In fact all of the ZK-VNMs have been DH 112 Venoms that were built for the Swiss Air Force, as follows:

The first ZK-VNM (c/n 844) was a FB 60 model built for the Swiss Air Force in 1956 and with whom it wore the serial J-1634.  It arrived in Auckland in October 1985 but it was damaged in transit.  It was repaired and registered as ZK-VNM to Trevor T Bland on 9/1/87 with a first flight in New Zealand on 29/8/87.  It is photo'd above at Warbirds Over Wanaka in 1990, thanks for the use of the photo Gerard.  It was painted as WE434 which was a Venom that was leased from the RAF Far East Air Force and operated by 14 Squadron RNZAF in Malaysia in the 1950s.  On 16/10/90 ownership changed to Flightwatch Services of Howick (Grant Biel), but on 17/11/91 it lost power on takeoff from Ardmore and was damaged beyond repair.  It was cancelled from the register on 16/11/92.  I reckon it must have been our first warbird jet aircraft on the New Zealand civil register - can someone correct me if I am wrong?

ZK-VNM2 (c/n 448) was a Mk 4 model that was built in 1957 and served with the Swiss Air Force as J-1799.  After being withdrawn it was registered as G-BLIC to Aces High Ltd of Duxford, UK on 13/7/84.  After a year its UK registration was cancelled 7/6/85 after which it went to the US as N502DM for Consolidated Aviation Enterprises of East Middleburg, Vermont on 13/6/85.  It was operated by Warplanes Inc and after several more US owners its US registration was cancelled on 8/11/92 for export to New Zealand.  It was registered here as ZK-VNM2 to Rural Aviation (1963) Ltd of Auckland (Qwilton Biel) on 17/12/92.  Its first flight in New Zealand was on 23/1/93 at Ardmore after which it spent many years parked in the back of the Rural Aviation hangar at Ardmore until it was restored to flight in 2010 .  On 18/1/10 ownership transferred to Wanganui Sea and Air Charters (2006) Ltd (John Luff) and it underwent refurbishment at Ardmore for most of 2010, culminating in another test flight on 23/10/10.  It is photo'd above while test flying out of Ardmore in October 2010 courtesy of MRC Aviation, thanks Mike.   Sadly it did not last long after this as it was damaged on landing for the 2011 Wings Over Wairarapa airshow at Masterton on 21/1/11.   It was cancelled on 31/8/11 and it went to Brett Emeny, but is now on display at the Classic Fighters Museum at Tauranga Airport.
Which brings us to our third DH 112 Venom to be registered as ZK-VNM.  ZK-VNM3 (c/n 840) is a FB 50 model that was manufactured by the Federal Aircraft Factory at Emmen in Switzerland in 1956 (one of 250 Venoms they built under license) and it was taken on strength by the Swiss Air Force as J-1630.  After being retired in the mid 1980s it underwent a 4 year restoration by Halos AG at lausanne before entering the Swiss civil register as HB-RVA and test flying at Altenrhein on 22/6/88.  On 6/8/02 ownership changed to Pegus AG and it was operated by the Swiss Flying Museum until its cancellation from the Swiss civil register on 24/11/11.  It was noted at Ardmore in March 2012 and on 10/10/12 it was registered to Wanganui Sea and Air Charters (2006) Ltd, still John Luff.  Its first flight in New Zealand was on 11/11/12 at Ardmore and since then it has been based at Wanganui and been displayed widely at airshows around New Zealand.  It is photo'd above at Ardmore on 23/8/12 and as can be seen it is painted in the same colours as the first ZK-VNM, that of WE 434, a Venom that was leased from the RAF Far East Air Force and operated by 14 Squadron RNZAF in Malaysia in the 1950s.  Thanks again for the photo Mike.

And thanks also to Blue Bus for the above histories of these interesting aircraft.

1 comment:

  1. "on 17/11/91 it lost power on takeoff" - not quite true, the report states "The engine did not develop normal power during the take-off run" and "The reason for the power deficiency was not established". Also I believe all three Venoms are owned by John Luff.