Post by Dave Homewood on Mar 29, 2009 14:59:19 GMT 12
I read once that there used to be a lot of DHC Beavers in New Zealand, with Fieldair alone operating about 17 from memory. I'm wondering how many remain in NZ today.
I know of the flying example ZK-CKH at Ardmore in RNZAF colours with a NZ Warbirds syndicate; another flying example in blue and white livery that sometimes shows up at airshows but never in the display line up (I think that is ZK-BBX); and the static example at Wigram. Also another on the CAA register is ZK-FPZ which I don't think I've seen.
So that makes four. Are there any others in NZ in a non-flying state, tucked away in hangars or collections?
What happened to all the others? Were they exported, or were they scrapped?
Post by kiwithrottlejockey on Mar 29, 2009 15:49:35 GMT 12
I lived in Gisborne for 20½ years from March 1978 until October 1998. When I moved to Gisborne (job transfer), Fieldair were operating a huge fleet of DHC-2 Beavers out of Gisborne Airport, as well as three Douglas DC-3s. Plus, the gate guardian at Gisborne Airport was a Lockheed L.18 Lodestar in Fieldair colours.
Every morning (when the weather was fine) my alarm clock used to be the sound of mass radial engines as the Beaver fleet took off and headed out for the day, topdressing all over the East Coast. At the same time, the DC-3s would start work, using Gisborne Airport as their base, coming and going right throughout the day. Then, late afternoon, all the Beavers would return and there would be another huge symphony of radial engines.
Then, the Beavers disappeared one-by-one, followed by one DC-3, then another DC-3, then finally the last DC-3 was retired. A few weeks before the last DC-3 disappeared, I scrounged a ride with Bruce Thompson (in ZK-BBJ) while he did a few trips up the Waimata Valley spreading superphosphate on the hills.
Most of the retired Beavers were hung up from the rafters in Fieldair's huge hangar at Gisborne Airport. Then, over several years, they were sold off with most of them going overseas. Several of them were overhauled at Gisborne and test flown from there before going to their new homes.
If you aren't living life on the edge, you're taking up too much space!
Post by Peter Lewis on Mar 29, 2009 17:00:36 GMT 12
By my count, three active: ZK-BBX - J N W Frogley, Havelock North ZK-CKH - Beaver Preservation Trust, Auckland ZK-FPZ - Venture Aviation Ltd., Taupo Two static ZK-CMW - Wigram museum VH-AQA - Tauranga rebuild
Fieldair over the years operated 19 different Beavers out of the 33 different civil Beaver airframes that operated in NZ - ZK-AZB BBX BFN BMF BXN CCY CFU CGW CGX CKC CKD CLP CMU CMW CPS CPZ CRE CZL CZO
The old man briefly flew CRE for a while, after the Fletcher threw a cylinder and no others were available. Based out of Te Awamutu in 1986/7, this photo was taken by Dad as he was getting his type rating on the Beaver, the individual refueling the beaver I only remember by his nickname as 'the pieman', but the loader driver was our long term friend Craig Iddles who now works in engineering based out of Rotorua and Tauranga.
From what I can remember, the old man enjoyed flying CRE, however one day he was operating off a strip between Kawhia and Raglan and had a loss of power on take off. With a full load and loader driver and 1 pax on board, he quickly dumped the load, however he flew into pine trees. Fortunately the Beaver took a battering but came through the other side with beaten wing leading edges, missing pitots, and branches in the undercarriage. I remember he was on the CB radio and I was with my mother at the time and he stated that he needed to take the Beaver to Hamilton for maintenance and would need a lift home.
We were nearby so arrived outside of what is now Super Air's base and were there to see him come in, albeit missing a tail wheel! He circled the airport for a bit to burn fuel off, but without too much on board at any time (typical ag operation, light fuel , heavy loads) this did not take long. I remember he came in on the grass runway and kept the tail off the ground nearly all the way, only placing it on the ground when the beaver was near to a stop.
Apparently it was balancing the brakes and keeping the front nose heavy without digging the nose in.
I have one very special memory in CRE with dad, I got a day off school to fly out to a job on the west coast whcih we left for at first light. The coast had a bit of fog on it (including the strip) so we flew out to the sea and buzzed around the cliffs south of Raglan for a while.
The beaver certainly kept the pilot busy, I remember everything seemed to need pumping, be it in the start up or getting the flaps up and down!
Talking of pumping the Beaver flaps up and down, their was a fatal accident in Beaver ZK CGS in 1965 at Tinui in the Wairarapa in which it was suspected the pilot had not used the lock valve and when he pumped them down to take-off position they came up again. The resulting longer take-off run caused the aircraft to hit the fence at the end of the take-off run thus killing the pilot. A similar system is used in the Mooney M20c.
Back in the early 1990s (92?) I was working at Ardmore when the crash alarm sounded (generally the best way to count how many people were on the airfield at the time as everyone goes outside to watch) as a Beaver came in for an emergency landing. The 30 or so metres of farm fence (complete with battens) hanging from the tailwheel came off on the landing run, and our manager went out and did a bit of Ambulance chasing to get us some more work. He succeeded and the Beaver came over to our hangar for inspection. I'm not sure which one it was, but it was red and blue and aparently based at Taupo at the time. it had been operating off a very short strip on the South Manukau heads, moving a shearing gang on to their next job. Downwind, downhill takeoff on a hot day obviously didnt provide the necessary results and it struck the fence on the way out. It was also more than slightly overloaded - with liquid refreshments. The gang unloaded what appeared to be nearly a pallet load of (full) beer cases from the aircraft and quietly draped a handy tarpaulin over them when the CAA airport manager came around for a chat. We had a good look at the tailplane and found that it had some pretty big dings in the leading edge - smaller ones from the battens, but a couple of whoppers from the fence posts. there were a few cracks in the tailplane around the attachment bolts, but the beaver's pilot (who was also the certifying engineer for the operator) just put some big penny washers under the bolt heads to hold everything together, and flew it (and the passngers, and the beer) back to base for repair. We werent particularly happy with that situation, but we didnt have much say in the matter. Definitely appeared to be a bit of a "bush" operation.
Photo on Kiwibeavers website of AZL loading at Rukuhia is actually at Ardmore when we were operating out of one of the old RNZAF hangars. The loader is the one built on an Autocar chassis, left hand drive.