Friday, 5 August 2022

Beechcraft D17S ZK-AMU

 The first aircraft produced by Beech Aircraft Company was the Model 17.

This first aircraft had a fixed undercarriage and a 38% negative stagger on its upper wing  which ultimately lead to the name 'Staggerwing' with its first flight out of Wichita, Kansas on 04-11-1932.

We now jump ahead to 1938 by which time the Beech D17S with its Pratt & Whitney 450 hp R-985 radial engine was in production.

Follows is a brief history of one Staggerwing with NZ connections.

Construction number 203 was built to an order from the Canadian Department Controller of Civil Aviation of Ottawa - with a date of manufacture of 09-04-1938 it became CF-CCA from 14-04-1938.
This airframe had fittings for skis and floats an extra starboard access door fitted..

On 22 February 1955  it was transferred to Bradley Air Services of Ottawa and then on to Spartan Air Service Ltd a year later - then to I Saunders from 12-12-1957.

It was withdrawn from use and its CofA expired 07-12-1958 and it became derelict at Ottawa.

Bill Boyd of Timmins, Ontario began a rebuild project in 1972 which was passed on to Morley Servos of Burlington, Ontario in 1979. Its registration was cancelled on 27-05-1982.

The aircraft returned to the air on 22-04-1985 in its familiar Huntsman red colour scheme with Insignia blue trim.

It was relisted to Morley E Servos of Bracebridge, Ontario on 25-10-1991 under the restyled Canadian registration system as C-FCCA.

I believe it was kept in an air conditioned hangar at Leeward Ranch in Florida prior to being sold to NZ.

It was purchased by Robin and Elaine Campbell and flown to California in 1995 for onward shipping to NZ.
Its Canadian registration was cancelled on 20-11-1995 for it to become ZK-AMU on 29-11-1995 with Robin and Elaine Campbell of Howick.
With a NZ CofA dated 08-12-1995 it was based at North Shore in a pristine hangar.

It appeared at many air shows and fly ins around New Zealand.
These shots were taken at Wanaka on March 29 and 30 2002.

The aircraft was sold to Douglas Drummond of Wentworth Falls, New South Wales from 01-11-2007.
It ferried out of Kerikeri for Norfolk Island on 26-05-2008 but returned to Kerikeri.
It made it to Norfolk Island and  Lord Howe Island on 01-07-2008 and the following day to Coolangatta. 
Its NZ registration was cancelled on 16-01-2009 for it to become VH-WEE3 on 02-02-2009.
I do not recall seeing a photograph of it wearing these Australian markings.

As part of the recent sale/swap to Australia of the Wanaka based North American P51D-20 NT Mustang ZK-SAS "Dove of Peace" The Lockheed 12A Electra Junior VH-HID was flown into Wanaka on 10-05-2022

Also as part of the arrangement was the shipping of this Beechcraft D17S VH-MEE to Wanaka where it was re-registered back to ZK-AMU on 18-07-2022 to 'Private Owners'.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for a great post Dave! I'd not seen any photos of her pre-NZ, what treasures they are!