Saturday 29 April 2023

A Few More Classic Fighters from Classic Fighters

 I am still enjoying memories from Classic Fighters 2023, and I now offer these three:

Graham Bethell in his P 51D Mustang ZK-TAF,

Graham Frew in his Yak 3M ZK-VVS,

and Mark O'Sullivan in his Yak 3U ZK-YOV.

That's a lot of horsepower!

Friday 28 April 2023

Robertson B1-RD ZK-JBS at Feilding

The first generation microlight Robertson B1-RD ZK-JBS has been re-registered and is flying again.  Tim Gorman was at Feilding last weekend and captured it on the ground and flying:

ZK-JBS (c/n 353) was re-registered to the Early Bird Flying Syndicate of Feilding on 23/12/22.

It was flown by John Bolton-Riley.  

Thanks for the photos Tim.

Thursday 27 April 2023

Magni M24 Orion ZK-JKM

Visiting Pauanui airfield briefly today was the Tauranga based Magni M24 ZK-JKM2.   Originally imported in 2010 as ZK-MWR it became JKM in 2021.


Wednesday 26 April 2023

Bede BD 5 ZK-XBD is Now a BD 5J!

On Anzac Day Andrew Vincent posted a comment on a post that I did on BD 5s in New Zealand way back in July 2009.  The link to that post is HERE

Here is Andrew's comment:
I purchased ZK XBD from Grant Nichols of Tauranga, flew it for a couple of years, and have since re-engined it with a PBS TJ100B jet engine. I carried out the other required configuration changes/reinforcements to redesignate it as a BD5-J. First flight was April 2023. Regards, Andrew Vincent

Thanks very much for the comment and update Andrew, and for the photo which I got from the internet (so I cannot credit the photographer - if it is you please let me know and I can redress that). 

A later comment on this post has advised that the photo was taken by Jason Wakelin from his Vans RV 7 ZK-WRV, who was acting as chase plane for the test flight. 

Tuesday 25 April 2023

ANZAC Poppies on Cessna T206H ZK-NVC

Air Ruatoria is helping with the celebration of ANZAC Day 2023 by adorning their Cessna T206H ZK-NVC with poppies, as photo'd here at Paraparaumu by Jordan Elvy:

Air Ruatoria took ownership of ZK-NVC from 23/11/22 and it now wears their titles.

Thanks for the photos Jordan.

Monday 24 April 2023

Grumman Widgeon ZK-CFA Departing Classic Fighters 2023

The newly restored Grumman Widgeon ZK-CFA was present during Classic Fighters 2023 at Omaka.  Brian Greenwood photo'd it departing on the Sunday:

Thanks for the photos Brian.

I understand that the Widgeon flew South to Te Anau where there was a flyin of amphibious aircraft the next weekend.  But DOC would not let them land on the lake!

Sunday 23 April 2023

Pilatus PC12 N81DW passes through Christchurch.

 The Pilatus PC12 N81DW c/n 2090 stopped over briefly at Christchurch International today for custom clearance and a refuel before moving on to Nelson.

It is seen below in its factory temporary registration of HB-FSM at Bouchs in Switzerland on 27-04-2021 having been listed to the Pilatus Flugzeugwerke AG on 16-04-2021.
It then popped up on the US register as N81DW to Pilatus Business Aircraft from 09-06-2021 and by 22-06-2021 it was listed with Dion Weisler of Burlingame, California, before being transferred into the Bank of Utah books the following day where it still remains.  

It was noted in East Australia on 29-06-2021.

Above is the Pilatus January 2023 calendar cover pic showing N81DW 'in the dirt'.

It departed Melbourne direct into Christchurch today and is seen below (in a couple of ho hum photos) on final for runway 02 - and then parked up on the 'Antarctic Apron' for fuel before departing for Nelson.
                Dion Weisler is still the pilot. They previously visited Christchurch in April last year.                       

Saturday 22 April 2023

A Possible Resistance to the Fokker Scourge? - DH 2s in New Zealand

In WW 1 the British developed the DH 2 to help resist the Fokker Scourge.  The Eindeckers had been fitted with interrupter gear that allowed their machine guns to fire through their propeller arc without hitting the prop.  The British didn't yet have a successful interrupter gear so their solution was to have a pusher aircraft with a machine gun that could fire forwards without impediment.

And as the DH 2 followed the Eindecker, so in New Zealand we have various DH 2s coming along:

We have had a DH 2 fly in New Zealand, being The Vintage Aviator's ZK-JOJ which was first registered on 1/7/07 and is now on static display at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre although it is still registered.  It is powered by a Kinner radial engine.  Unfortunately I do not have a record of who took this photo but the pilot is the late Stuart Tantrum.

But more DH 2s are on the way.  This is a photo from Restoration Row at Classic Fighters 2023 showing a DH 2 project.  It is one of three DH 2s that came to Omaka in a partly built state from EAA Chapter 292 in Oregon.  I think progress on these projects could accelerate now as the Omaka Bristol Fighter projects are complete or sold. 

But wait!  There is more!

The Vintage Aviator also has two DH 2 projects in an advanced state.  I saw them when I visited their Wellington factory some years ago (but sadly that factory has now closed down).  Both of these DH 2s are powered by Gnome rotary engines.  I really hope we might see these aircraft appear sometime in the future and help in the resistance to the Fokker Scourge.

Friday 21 April 2023

The Beginning of a Fokker Scourge?

When I was at Classic Fighters I did a quick walk through the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre WW 1 display.  There were seven of Sir Peter Jackson's flyable aircraft parked in the area by the hangar doors - 4 Fokker Triplane replicas, a Pfalz D III replica, a Nieuport N 24 replica and the Halberstadt D IV replica.  These had not changed since my visit in 2014 and I was told that they have not flown for quite a few years.

However I did take a quick photo of the Fokker E III replica (105/15) that is on display:

This was of interest to me because it has now been joined in New Zealand by several other Eindecker replicas.

The first of these is The Vintage Aviator's recently registered E III ZK-EIN2 which is also painted as 105/15, which was the aircraft flown by Ernst Udet.  However ZK-EIN2 wears a different colour scheme to the above example.  And TVAL also have another Eindecker well advanced.  These two Eindeckers were originally started by Achim Engels in Germany.

And as if that was not enough, another Eindecker has just been unpacked from a container at Omaka!  This is another Achim Engels airframe that was completed by The Australian Vintage Aircraft Society (TAVAS) with a 9 cylinder CAMS Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine that was manufactured at Omaka.  However the TAVAS collection has closed and three of their aircraft - the E III Eindecker which is painted as 345/15, a flyable Fokker D VIII and a Fokker D VII project.  These aircraft are on long term loan from Achim Engels.

How amazing is that!

(And of course there is the Brodie's Airdrome Aeroplanes 75% scale Eindecker E II replica ZK-EII2 painted as 37/15 at Rangitata Island).

Thursday 20 April 2023

Road Runner. Mil 34 NAF 553 / ZK-HCV.

 Noted today on a flat deck trailer at the ex Heli Maintenance Ltd's hangar at Christchurch International Airport was the Mil 34C Hermit ZK-HCV5 c/n 9783034002001. 

This was registered to Paul Jury of Bell Block, New Plymouth on 14-03-2023 and as can be seen is the ex Nigerian Air Force serial NAF 553.This is one of six imported in about mid 2013 and stored just out of Christchurch.

This is the second of the batch to certified by Heli Maintenance Ltd to come onto the ZK register following ZK-HUN5 which was registered on 01-12-2014 and was first flown here on 15-03-2016 for Lindsay Williamson of Christchurch.
ZK-HCV/NAF 553 has yet to fly in NZ.

Paul also runs the Cessna 172M ZK-EKP and has a share in the Yak 52 ZK-YRA.

Wednesday 19 April 2023


Noted at Ardmore today was the Cessna 152 ZK-SON which is one of four 152s that have been stored by Heliflite after the Helipro receivership back in 2014  (the others being ZK-JCC, PQP & SIS).   Now refurbished this was originally imported from Australia as ZK-FJW back in 1991, becoming SON in 2003.


Alpi Pioneer 300 ZK-MEK at Ashburton

Seen at Ashburton but not part of the SAANZ flyin, Alpi Pioneer 300 ZK-MEK arrived on Saturday morning and was put away in its hangar:

ZK-MEK (c/n 209) was registered to a Rakaia owner on 6/1/21.  It was imported from Australia where it was 19-5302 on their microlight register.

Monday 17 April 2023

Another View of SAANZ at Ashburton (2)

A feature of holding the SAANZ flyin at Ashburton is the Ashburton Aviation Museum whose facilities the Sport Aircraft Association uses, and whose volunteers help run the flyin.  The Ashburton Aviation Museum volunteers have also constructed a replica of the control tower that was used on the airfield in WW 2, which is pretty neat.

The control tower looks very impressive
and it offered a great view over the SAANZ aircraft that were parked.  This was later in the afternoon when some aircraft had left and some other had gone on fly outs.

And for something completely different - this Polish marked MIG 17 was parked by the tower (along with the Harrier).  

Another view of SAANZ at Ashburton

 Also making a show was the locally based North American T28B Trojan ZK-TGN c/n 200-289 of Brian Hall.
It was delivered to Ashburton in January 2021and is housed in the Aviation Museum's hangar.
Previously mentioned HERE
Descending overhead with air brake out. Pilot being Kevin Langford.

Down from the far North was the Corby CJ1 Starlet U/L ZK-LDI c/n 303 with Brian Taylor about to be photographed by "Sir Minty". 

An unexpected bonus was the rollout and engine run for Jared Mulholland's Aero L-29 ZK-JRF.
Several previous posts can be found Here

A very recent arrival in the area for Thomas Baxter of Valetta is the Cessna 185D ZK-CKT c/n 1850929, ex Shannon Harnett of Opotiki. It replaces Thomas's Cessna 180 ZK-BMW.

Another Ashburton local, but currently based near Leeston, is the Allan Bowman Rans S6ES Coyote II ZK-ALB2 c/n 08081901. This first flew at Rangiora on 28-09-2012.

Down from Auckland thescratch built Gary Briggs Sonex ZK-SXR c/n 1531 is on the move. 

Sunday 16 April 2023

SAANZ 2023 Flyin at Ashburton

The Sport Aircraft Association of New Zealand finally held their 2023 flyin at Ashburton over the weekend.  It has been a long time between flyins after the 2022 flyin at Masterton was cancelled due to Covid and the 2023 flyin was postponed from Waitangi weekend due to weather.  Numbers were down a bit I think however I counted 44 sport aircraft at the flyin with quite a few doing fly outs and some only attending for the Saturday.

By my reckoning their were 11 aircraft attending their first SAANZ flyin and here are a selection of them:

Rex Newman flew his recently completed Waco UOC ZK-AEL down from Blenheim.  It is hard to do justice to the deep blue paint scheme in photos.

Michael Evans flew his Vans RV 6 ZK-XTC2 (c/n 23173) from Cromwell.  It is a 27 year project and has a registered colour scheme that features nice touches all over the aircraft.

Alan Caudwell flew his Titan Mustang ZK-TCV from Nelson for the day.

Mark Miller flew his Miller M1 Superchamp ZK-MMJ down from Feilding.

Ashburton based R & B Bearhawk ZK-NJB2 also has a registered colour scheme.

And Tony Den Haan of Cust flew in in his ICP Savannah S ZK-BIC3.  I understand that BIC stands for Born in Cust.  Tony also built Savannah S ZK-BIC2 which has now been re-registered as ZK-LAZ.

Friday 14 April 2023

Turbo Dusty at Wanaka.

 Roving reporter CMM recently came across Turbo Dusty mounted outside the National Transport and Toy Museum alongside Wanaka Airport.
It is a replica of the star in the 2013 movie called Planes.
 A trailer for this movie can be seen Here
On the mounting pole you will find a switch which brings life to the engine.

If you study the lower photograph you can clearly make out the shape of a Victa Airtourer.
It is in fact created from Airtourer 115 ZK-COW c/n 166.

ZK-COW has been mentioned several times previously on these pages.

This airframe had reached an advanced stage of construction in Australia before being shipped to NZ and completed by Victa (NZ) Ltd for delivery to the Waikato Aero Club in May of 1967
Below as seen at Hamilton March 1969 with the Waikato Aero Club.
Five more owner/operators had it until by February of 1993 it was with Topflite Aviation Ltd of Rangiora.

During maintenance at West Melton it was found to have a dose of corrosion.
 After removing the fuselage and the top wing skin it showed that it was beyond economical repair.
Photo above at West Melton on 22-09-1995.

Gerald Rhodes acquired it and moved it to his Wanaka Transport Museum where it was noted on display below as 'The Holy Cow' in March of 2002.

I noted it again at Wanaka in April 2012 in much the same condition.
And again (below) at Wanaka in June 2020 by CMM.


Matthew Beaven has sent in the following photo of the 'real Turbo Dusty' as seen in the Smithsonian's Steven F Udvar-Hazy Centre on 31-12-2022.

Classic Fighters 2023 - Comper Swift Replica

A feature of Classic Fighters is the Restoration Row that is in the Marlborough Aero Club hangar.  This year there there were projects including Yak 7 and 9B fighters, the fifth rediscovered Bristol Fighter, a Fokker D VIII and a DH 2 replica which is one of several at Omaka.  However there was one other aircraft that I had not known of and was a surprise:

That was a replica Comper Swift project that is marked as ZK-ACG2 although it has not yet been registered.  As can be seen in the details sheet below (click to enlarge) it is powered by a Revmaster VW conversion and it is expected to fly this year.
The original ZK-ACG was also a Comper Swift that was registered back in 1931, and that we have covered the history of HERE

Classic Fighters 2023 - the Trojan Team

At Classic Fighters 2023 Brett Emeny and Peter Vause flew a display in their Trojans, their first time at Omaka:

Brett Emeny in his T 28C ZK-JGS leads Peter Vause in his T 28B ZK-TPV as they clatter into the air.

Thursday 13 April 2023

Classic Fighters 2023 - Tom's Pup ZK-OFG

 Following on from the Chariots of Fire Sopwith Pup, there was another replica Pup at Omaka:

That was the full sized Airdrome Aeroplanes replica ZK-OFG (c/n 20190821) that has recently been completed by a group at Mapua.  I was shown around it by one of the group and it was quite whimsical.  One really neat touch is that where many of the original Sopwith Aircraft had "Kingston on Thames" on their fins OFG has "Mapua on Estuary".  It is powered by  Lycoming O-320 engine which is neatly cowled and disguised.

As appropriate it was displayed alongside the Chariots of Fire Pup which is more accurate with its CAMS Gnome rotary engine.  You can compare the two Pups in the above photo.

And the Tom in the name is for Sir Thomas Sopwith.