what we really would love to know is can any of you out there identify the tall guy holding the wheel chocks? we think it maybe club instructor MR M. Vanderpump. but we just are not sure so any help would be great. cheers Gazza
Mort Vanderpump later went topdressing and was killed. His company, Vanair, survived for many years under several different owners.
If it is really important to identify this chap, I have a suggestion - I can remember reading a Leo White interview with Mort in a really early Whites Aviation magazine, probably one from the late 1940s. If you could track that down (I know that MoTAT have a set) there may be a photo included that could help.
"The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains that I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time."
Post by baronbeeza on Jun 20, 2012 15:05:17 GMT 12
The other topdresser that lost a prop blade was a C180, BGN, at Putorino, Apr 55. The pilot was Mort Vanderpump, he was killed. Goose Erceg was certainly a lucky fellow to walk away from the incident when he lost a prop blade, and the engine.
Post by The Red Baron on Jun 20, 2012 20:14:40 GMT 12
ZK-BST was the other Cessna 180 the blade came off,crashed 22 Nov 1961 near Te Kuiti,killing the pilot,Northern Air Services were the operator. Does anyone know the US website someone put up a while ago that has most of the NZ accident reports in full on it?.
Post by baronbeeza on Jun 20, 2012 21:05:53 GMT 12
In the vicinity of New Plymouth, New Zealand, in March 1958 a Cessna C-180, ZK-BQJ engaged in aerial topdressing suffered a propeller failure which threw one blade
It seems they had a few of them in a short timeframe then.
I have actually heard Goose relate his story, in an aeroclub bar, but I did not realise it was 20 years after the event.
Given it was a Sunday nighter, 20 years afterwards, and now over 30 years since the drinks I could not hope to give an accurate account. My version of events has Goose hearing a bang and instinctively going for the throttle. He got his hand to it just as the knob departed through the panel, the broken finger being the only injury he sustained when he stepped out of the wreckage a few minutes later.
The Engine is Missing!
In the vicinity of New Plymouth, New Zealand, in March 1958 a Cessna C-180, ZK-BQJ engaged in aerial topdressing suffered a propeller failure which threw one blade. The resultant imbalance then threw the engine completely out of the airframe almost instantly. As it departed the engine forced the top cowling over the windscreen, and also impacted the starboard main-wheel, cutting the tyre.
The moment the engine came off the Cessna was thrown into a vertical snap roll, so rapidly that the pilot’s crash helmet was cracked when hitting the windscreen pillar! Then followed a flat spin, from which normal spin recovery was successful.
To counter the pitch-up resulting from the rearward c of g change, the pilot applied full forward elevator, and lowered the flaps. The ensuing flight path was controllable sufficiently to affect a successful force landing, with no further damage to the aircraft.
The free flying engine impacted in the farmer’s wood pile with no other damage to any person or property, but gave the farmer’s wife a severe fright as she hung out washing.
After a calming cup of tea, the pilot checked in with his operating company and reported that he needed a replacement aircraft, and when asked why, responded that the engine was missing. “Have you checked the plugs?” “No point, I can’t even find the engine!” They took him at his word and duly arrived in a replacement aircraft, complete with engineer ready to replace plugs etc!
The pilot became a legend in New Zealand agricultural aviation circles and managed to successfully complete in excess of 25,000 hours topdressing time.
Sadly he passed away a few years ago in retirement. Vale, Don “Goose” Ercerg.