Thursday 21 December 2023

Random Rotorcraft - Bensen B8M ZK-RAL

The Bensen B8M gyrocopoter ZK-RAL (c/n PRA 5253) must be one of the longest life gyros in New Zealand, having been first registered way back in July 1975.  And I think it has been registered to Russell Kappely of Waipukurau for all that time.  It actually goes back further to when it was first registered ZK-HBU to Syd Lane of Taupo back in March 1963 (but in that guise it was damaged at Taupo in March 1968 and then rebuilt and reregistered as above.

I first photo'd it at Feilding in 1986.  We lived quite a distance from the airfield but I heard it arriving (it was loud! - possibly with a McCullough engine?) and went out to see it.  It was named Buzzo.  It was withdrawn from the register in November 1998 but restored in December 1999.

I next photo'd it in its hangar at Waipukurau on 31/12/08 where you can see it is quite different with a different engine, new tail and new front undercarriage.  But still named Buzzo.  A case of grandfathers axe?

It is still registered to Russell Kappely but I do not know if it is still active.

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