While I'm on a roll here are some photos of a never-repeated aviation first - a 9 ship Andover formation. Yes, just imagine the noise of 18 Darts at once! I think it was '91 and I can't remember why we left poor old NZ7623 behind (you can see her alone on the 42SQN tarmac). The good photos are RNZAF official, the crappy ones are mine. The Squadron photo may jog a few memories.
Last Edit: Aug 22, 2010 13:14:10 GMT 12 by classicman
Post by Dave Homewood on Aug 22, 2010 13:31:57 GMT 12
Wow, those are fantastic photos classicman, all of them. Was this for any particular special occasion (was it the squadron's 50th?) or was it just because nine were serviceable, the crws were all there and you could?
Is that a Friendship behind the furthest Hercules too? I don't recognise a single face in that squadron aircrew picture. Usually I can pick someone out form photos of that era. I guess the chap in the lighter uniform must have been an exchange pilot from the RAAF or RAF?
The black and white shot would make a great forum header.
Post by Dave Homewood on Aug 22, 2010 14:11:42 GMT 12
I just looked up my RNZAF News collection and sure enough it featured on the cover, as I thought. It must have just been 'for the hell of it'. I was based at Hobsonville then but never saw this formation sadly.
Post by Dave Homewood on Aug 22, 2010 14:28:27 GMT 12
So I guess if NZ7623 was damaged in Operation Pluto, then before that damage the squadron may have had all 10 Andovers operational? If so, that's a pretty incredible period for the unit, as I'm sure I've read that usually one or more Andovers were left all mothballed up as attrition airframes. Unless the mothballed example was brought on charge to replace NZ7623 after its damage. Still, just to get nine airworthy is brilliant work from the squadron.
When it came to Operation Pluto, was there any criteria that car drivers had to meet to get transported by No.'s 40 or 42 Squadrons? eg did they have to have a good excuse to go by air such as going to a funeral or hospital appointment etc? Or was it just a "first in, first served" basis and people, no matter what they were doing, simply lined up and waited for an aircraft to take them? Also, did they have to pay to use the service?
It's a good thing the Ferry service has competition these days. There'd be no way the RNZAF could help these days. It's interesting how the Air Force has been made to be strike breakers in this situation with the ferries on several occasions, and also in the prisons too. I wonder if it has happened in other situations too?
Post by classicman on Aug 22, 2010 17:05:55 GMT 12
Hi Dave, I honestly can't remember the reason for the flypast. Probably just because we could! And yes I think that is an F27 in the background. A regular sight at WP on Friday afternoons as there always seemed to be a requirement for a NATTS trainer to AKL over the weekend!
Yes the guy in the funny suit was the RAAF exchange officer. We had a long-running exchange between 42SQN and 38SSQN Caribous. Once the Andover was retired this morphed into a 40SQN /C130J exchange which I think is still running.
As for how the OP PLUTO system ran again I have no idea. There was just a never-ending stream of cars snaking around Woodbourne waiting for a ride. We just loaded them and blasted off.
As for NZ77623 (known as "the Brown Bomber" since it was the only one left in RAF desert camo) well I was there when the incident happened. We had just come back from lunch at Woodbourne and there was '23 kneeling with her nose on the tarmac. The landing gear lever had not quite latched into the down detent on the previous landing, so hydraulic pressure had leaked away from the nose gear system and the nose gear had slowly retracted (checking the lever into the detent was not a checklist requirement prior to this but it was soon after!) Both prop blades had sunk deep into the tarmac like a hot knife into butter, but there was very little other damage. Quite a fright to see the aircraft kneeling the wrong way round!
The Squadron had just returned from a 3-year UN deployment to UNIIMOG in Iran (hence the white UN paint job on 3 of them), and within a year they would be off again to war in Somalia. I think NZ got their money's worth out of the old girls.
Here is a full squadron photo - see if you know anyone here: (stop me if I'm boring the arse off everyone).
Last Edit: Aug 22, 2010 17:15:20 GMT 12 by classicman
Post by Dave Homewood on Aug 22, 2010 21:41:11 GMT 12
Thanks for the memories classicman. great stuff. Yes i was based at Whenuapai for a while and remember the Andovers being away in Iran. That was the first I'd heard of the iran Iraq war. From memory No. 42 Squadron came out of there not too long before the Gulf War, and there was talk they may actually stay on but move to Saudi Arabia, but instead No. 40 Squadron took over. I also recall doing some work on 42 Squadron for a day or two when they drafted people in from all over base to help them strip out one of the VIP aircraft which was to get a major overhaul. I got the job of peeling lining off of interior panels. It was a crappy job for all involved but it was fun to hang out with the 42 Sqn boys as I didn't really get up that end of base much, I was down in the Liferaft bay at that time. they made me very welcome and it was neat to hear about the squadron's tour of duty in Iran, and how they were sending a full engine over there which was packed in all nooks and crannies with booze and stick mags. Apparently the muslim hosts never checked inside the engine parts for the much needed souviniers from home.
It was a pretty small squadron when you look at that full photo considering they maintained and flew 10 large aircraft. It must have been gutting to be on the unit when the decision was made to can the Andovers. I personally think the Andovers were as important as the Dakota and Bristol Freighter to the RNZAF in their own era, and it would be nice if a flying example could return to NZ, but I doubt it will ever happen. They looked so cool in all their different colour schemes but especially the green warry scheme of 20 and 21.
Post by classicman on Aug 22, 2010 23:26:46 GMT 12
Don't forget NZ7626 Dave- we had 3 green utility birds: 20,21,26; 2 white utes 27 and 29; one RAF camo ute 23; and 3 VIP girls 28,25, 22. 24 was the mothballed Cmk1 that is now outside WP fire section.
The smuggling-stuff-into-Iran scheme was great until one of the groundies was busted by Iranian customs with a rubber Ayatollah Khomenei mask in his suitcase. No sense of humour those blokes...
Last Edit: Aug 22, 2010 23:30:45 GMT 12 by classicman
Dave Reynish went to the Sultanate of Oman and was the Commanding Officer at 16 Squadron (SOAF as it was known then). 16 Squadron flew 5 C130's and a number Skyvans. He's retired now and I understand living in the UK. He never flew with a civilian airline as far as I know.
Thought I could stop lurking as I am finally getting to scan some of my slides and negs. I have been surprised at the small number of photos in this thread so here is one of the VIP beasts. Taken on a beutiful Wellington day March 1978.
Post by Dave Homewood on Sept 7, 2010 22:27:33 GMT 12
Great photos Keith, and it's good to see you've begun the scanning process.
The reason they are small like that is because you're using the built-in attachment feature that does that, unfortunately. Most of us prefer to host the photos on Photobucket, and then bring the link from there into the post. That way the end up large in the thread.