Thursday 8 December 2022

Before the War

 From the depths of my shoe box came these two very interesting photos taken outside the Otago Aero Club building at Taieri.
We have ZK-ABO on the left with the number14 on the rudder,  
ZK-AAW to the right number 15
In the center, more distant is ZK-ACD.
And the NZPAF DH60 873 (I think) beyond.

Below same scene, same day, engines running and ground helpers holding the wing struts with others taxying out.
Left to right we have ZK-ABQ, ZK-AAW, ZK-ACD and NZPAF873.
I think that is ZK-ACI in front of ZK-AAW.

Photos possibly by A E Philips.

Below is an extract nicked from 

South Island Air Pageant
And Inaugural Meeting of The Otago Aero Club
Otago Air Port, North Taieri, 21st of February 1931
DH60 Moth of the NZPAF, Wigram
DH50A of the NZPAF, Wigram
Gloster Grebe of the NZPAF, Wigram
Bristol F2B Fighter of the NZPAF
DH60 Moth
S/Ldr Jim Findlay
Avro Avian
Simmons Spartan
F/Lt Tiny White


The Programme
8.45amFormation Flight Over City

Heats: All Transport Race

First Heat Winner - F/Lt Tiny White
Second Heat Winner - S/Ldr Jim Findlay
Third Heat Winner - F/O Ted Olsen


Heats: Otago Aerial Derby (Five miles)

First Heat Winner - S/Ldr Malcolm McGregor
Second Heat Winner - F/O J.H.M. Smith
Third Heat Winner - S/Ldr Jim Findlay

12.00 noonFormation Flight Over City

Grand Parade and Landing Competition

Landing Winner - S/Ldr Malcolm McGregor

1.50pmFormation Flying and Aerial Drill
2.15pmLanding Competition for Club Trained Pilots
2.45pmAerobatics and Inverted Flying

Final of the All Transport Race

Winner - F/O Ted Olsen
Second Place - S/Ldr Jim Findlay
Third Place - F/Lt Tiny White

Parachute Descent


Aerobatic Competition

Joint Equal Winners - S/Ldr Malcolm McGregor and F/O Ted Olsen

3.45pmHeight Estimating Competition

Final of the Otago Aerial Derby

Winner - S/Ldr Jim Findlay
Second Place - S/Ldr Malcolm McGregor
Third Place - F/O J.H.M. Smith


Aerial Dog Fight

S/Ldr Malcolm McGregor vs Captain Maurice Buckley


Bombing the Baby

Winner - S/Ldr Jim Findlay
Second Place - F/Lt Tiny White
Third Place - Ronald Sinclair

4.50pmBalloon Chasing (weather permitting)


This pageant marked the opening of Taieri Aerodrome, aka Otago Air Port. This was the Otago Aero Club's new home base after moving from their old field at Green Island, and this was also the club's first official meeting at Taieri.

This event is reported to have had perfect weather.

Nine aircraft from the Canterbury region took part, six of them from the Air Force aerodrome at Sockburn, and three from the Canterbury Aero Club. Aircraft also attended from the Otago, Southland, Wairarapa, Wellington and Marlborough Aero Clubs

The formation flight of eleven aeroplanes over the city of Dunedin was led by Wing Commander Grant Dalton, the Air Director.

One of the participants and competitors was Oscar Garden.

The crowd was around 10,000 people.

Music for the event was provided by the Band if the 1st Battalion, Otago Regiment

On Monday 23rd of February 1931, while en route back to Wigram Aerodrome, Sockburn, two of the NZPAF aeroplanes crashed near Silverton, the homestead of Mr. J.M.H. Tripp, 14 miles from Geraldine. The DH60 wooden Moth that had won the Aerial Derby when flown by S/Ldr Jim Findlay at the pageant was being flown back to Christchurch by Flight Sergeant S. Simpson (the Chief Mechanic at Wigram aerodrome), He and his passenger, Flight Sergeant L.A.C. Dini were shaken but unhurt.
__ The other aircraft was a DH60M Metal Moth flown by Wing Commander Grant Dalton. He and his unnamed passenger were also shaken but unhurt. It was reported that the cause of both accidents remained unknown but the atmospheric conditions were particularly bad with thunder, lightning and low clouds, and severe air pockets. The Metal Moth was the first to strike the ground, breaking the undercarriage and causing other damage. The wooden Moth crashed only seconds later, wrecking the undercarriage which was pushed up through the flooring of the pilot's seat and breaking the propeller. They came down in a "tussocky, wind swept waste" of a field a quarter of a mile from the homestead. The wooden Moth was eventually trucked back to Wigram, and the Metal Moth repaired in the fieild to allow it to be flown back to base.

Other aircraft also suffered on the homeward trip from the pageant. Captain Jerry Steadman and his passenger Mr. C.C. Waite in the Wellington Aero Club's Spartan (ZK-ABL) were forced to land in a paddock due to the weather conditions, and the aircraft overturned and smashed its propeller. they were unhurt. Mr Jamieson, who'd been flying with the in a Moth, turned back and landed safely next to the overturned Spartan. Two other aircraft travelling with them, one flown by Ron Sinclair of Masterton and the other by F. McDonald of Wellington carried on to Blenheim, and only just made it to the airfield with very low fuel left.

Source: Details gleaned from the official souvenir programme of the event and several newspaper articles via Papers Past


Below are two interesting links to the ODT pages of the day.

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