Post by Dave Homewood on Sept 8, 2006 15:35:04 GMT 12
Here is some news from the May 1976 issue of NZ Wings, with some interesting news snippets:
- "In Auckland a Corsair rebuild is underway, hopefully to flying condition, with a fuselage from the United States and parts from Hamilton. Arrival of the fuselage in the country has not yet been confirmed, and the project is known to be without an R2800 engine at this time. Ardmore is the intended base for the completed aircraft which will be the property of the owner-pilot-restorer who hopes to appear at various fly-ins, etc."
I assume this must have been Ross Jowett's project. Did a US fuselage ever arrive?
- "Meanwhile in Christchurch, the RNZAF has collected the Swannanoa Ansons and moved them to Wigram to await the go ahead on the RNZAF Museum project. An RNZAF party has also been to Mount Cook Airlines depot at Queenstown to collect Cheetah engines for the project. While there they were presented with a number of Anson components by various locals including one complete radio installation."
Did Mount Cook fly Ansons? Or what did they fly that had Cheetahs? Also, is there any truth in the rumour that once NZ405 - now in the museum and beautifully restored - was complete, all the rest of the structures and components they had in their Anson stock was simply scrapped? I cringe to think any dedicated museum like Wigram would do that, especially when you consider the restorations now going on at Wakefield and how they could have used that stuff.
Post by Dave Homewood on Sept 8, 2006 15:53:31 GMT 12
More from the same report:
- "A study is also underway on the spares backing and manpower requirements to keep Harvard NZ1015 flying at Wigram after the retirement of the fleet later this year. Initial studies are believed to be around 100 hours per year for an initial period of five years. However, sources suggest to WINGS this to be very tentative."
Thank goodness this occurred and '15 is still going strong in the CFS Historic Flight. I guess the requirement must ahve been simply taildragger training rather than any historic interest at this early stage? Or was there a preservation element to it all?
- "Also on the Harvard front, NZ1058 is being prepared for donation to the Ferrymead Aeronautical Society in Christchurch. After its belly-landing last year after engine problems, NZ1058 was found to have its centre-section damaged to such an extent that repair was uneconomic in view of the short service life left for the Harvards. Now the aircraft is having serviceable components swapped for repairable or u/s items prior to presentation to the Ferrymead society to mark the type's long association with Christchurch."
Post by Dave Homewood on Sept 8, 2006 16:07:57 GMT 12
Finally from that report:
- "On the rebuild scene, it is understood that CAD approval has been given for a rebuild of Whitney Straight AUK. Also a group is looking into the idea of getting Porterfield 35W APJ into the air again. This is in the custody of Sid Lister of Temuka, who now has Spartan ABZ back from the Golden Age Flying Society in Blenheim (see Februaray WINGS)."
So, did the Whitney Straight fly again? Where is it now? Did the Porterfield fly? I know it's in the Ashburton museum. And where is the Spartan now? Was it flying then?
- "Finally, at Rutherford, near Oamaru, Hudson NZ2013 presents a forlorn sight lying on its side at the new home of owner Jas. Clark. After selling his old farm, on which the aircraft was a well-known landmark and chicken-coop, Mr Clark has taken the aircraft to his retirement place, and expresses hope that he will restore it."
Well, as we know, NZ2013 was bought by the RNZAF Musuem with help from local ATC and others, and restored at Wigram to as new condition, so a happy ending there. I wonder, did Jim Clark ever get to see it finished and on display? I take it if he was retiring in1976, he is no longer with us?
Mount Cook Airlines didnt use Ansons but they did acquire the assets of Southern Scenic Air Services, who had two and a bit Ansons, one Mark 12 and some Mark I s one of those mark I airframes was destroyed in a grass fire at queenstowns old Frankton airport. I would guess the parts recovered were from those aircraft. Yes a large number of Anson Parts did end up in a Christchurch scrapyard after the Anson restoration. A good percentage of items were aparently saved by local enthusiasts, but there was quite a controversy at the time.
If it was supposed to be easy. everyone would be doing it...
Post by Dave Homewood on Sept 9, 2006 14:28:31 GMT 12
Looking at the history of Harvard NZ1015, it has had (and is still having) an interesting military career.
NZ1015 arrived in New Zealand aboard the ship "Waiotapu" in September 1942 and was assembled at Hobsonville.
It was Brought On Charge on the 22nd of September 1942.
By late 1944 it was serving with No.2 Fighter Operational Training Unit at Ohakea so probably flown by serval of our top fighter pilots, both as instructors and students.
After the war it served with No.3 (Territorial Air Force) Squadron at Wigram from the 21st of December 1950 till the 3rd of September 1954.
It then went into an upgrade programme to become the sixth Mk IIA to be converted to Mk 2A* between August 1954 and May 1957.
It went into storage in 1973 at Wigram, probably due to the oil crisis I'd guess.
Then it was reactivated with Flying Training Wing, Wigram in 1974.
By 1976 it was selected to continue flying after the fleet of Harvards retired, and it was flown from Woodbourne to Wigram on the 31st of July 1979 for use by the RNZAF Historic Flight.
In 1993 it moved with the Historic Flight Tiger Moth to Ohakea where it remains active today.
There are a lot of gaps in this history, which comes from the excellent adf-serials site, but I assume most of the gaps were flying with CFS or PTS at Wigram. I never realised it had such an operational career, not just a trainer.
"Whitney Straight M.11A 507 G-AFJX BD183 Rebuild? Christchurch New Zealand 1998 ZK-AUK Known History: CoA issued on the 14th September 1938 to Brig. Gen. A.C. Lewin, Njoro, Kenya; Flown to Kenya and back in July 1939; To J. Tweedale, Woodford in August 1939; Impressed in August 1940 as BD183; Restored in March 1947 to Warden Aviation & Eng. Ltd.; To Mount Cook & Southern Lakes Tourist Co., New Zealand in March 1950 as ZK-AUK for Harry (later Sir Henry) Wigley of Mt Cook Airlines; Passed through a number of owners before being damaged in a ground loop in June 1966; Stored in damaged condition at Forest Field, Christchurch. Reported to have parts stolen, incl. Constructors plate circa 1998"
And as for Porterfield ZK-APJ, the registration was cancelled in September 1974 and it has not flown again since, so no joy there. That rego went to a Tiger Moth it seems.
I was at Wigram the day they flew the Hravards to Woodbourne to await sale, and it was quite funny really seeing all the jockying for a flight by every pilot there was. One of them was even flow by the Air Commodore, showing in the end that rank doth indeed have privilege. As I recall, 1015 was sent through Woodbourne and given everything that was new and on the shelf in order to give it as long a life as possible. It came out virtually new!
Post by Peter Lewis on Sept 9, 2006 17:13:16 GMT 12
There is some quite classic stuff you have mentioned there Dave.
Southern Scenic had three Ansons, two ex-RNZAF Mk1 models (ZK-AYJ ex NZ418 and ZK-BCL ex NZ410) and an ex-RAF Mk12 (ZK-AXY ex PH599). They were an attempt by SSAS to move up in size from the Auster/Proctor scale of things, but were never satisfactory. Apparently CAA declared the Frankton airfield too short for commercial operations by the Anson, so SSAS had to lease a bit more land at the end of the strip from the local farmer before they were even allowed to operate them. As soon as NAC sold off their Rapides, SSAS bought some and ditched the Ansons. They all lapsed into dereliction at Queenstown, and one at least was burnt (as posted above).
The Whitney Straight AUK was registered for Mt Cook on 20th April 1950. It was DBR in ground-loop at Christchurch 26Jun66. To John MacDonald & David Duxbury, Christchurch. To Greg MacDonald of Christchurch, at Ferrymead Museum of Christchurch. Is it still there, or at Forrest Field as you mention? Any projected rebuild in the 70s certainly never progressed very far. To rebuild this sort of classic wooden aircraft is an extremely expensive exercise - in todays terms, a six figure sum. I knew some of the guys mentioned above, and at that time they showed no signs of any affluence.
(James Dyson photograph)
Ah, the Syd Lister situation. He was a great guy, and I had a very interesting day with him in 1977. The Porterfield was stored in his shed at the time, and I post this quite dreadful pic of it taken then just to give some idea of its condition:
The Porterfield was one of only two to come to NZ - the other one was destroyed by fire at Milson pre-war. APJ is, I think, unique in being the only aircraft to be impressed into RNZAF service twice, during the war. After it came out Charlie Liddell bought it and then on-sold to Wattie Wilmott (who was know as 'Ace' Wilmott, as, like Mannock and von Richtofen, he had bought down five aircraft. However, unlike those other guys, Wattie was actually flying each one of them at the time). When Wattie moved to Australia, he sent APJ to Syd to store it for him. Later the Portfield went to the Ashburton museum, where it still is.
ZK-APJ was never re-issued to a Tiger Moth (or any other aircraft).
The Spartan last flew (one circuit) in 1946. Syd later had a Tiger and then, when I knew him, the Cessna 180 BUS. A great guy with an enormous fund of amazing stories, he learnt to fly at the original grass field at Timaru in the 1930s. His Spartan is still at Geraldine.
Last Edit: Sept 10, 2006 22:44:06 GMT 12 by Peter Lewis
I have found some of the best reasons I ever had for remaining at the bottom simply by looking at the men at the top.
Ah, Red spinners - I have an Anson 12 in my pile of models to do, I guess the red spinners would be part of the military scheme as well - doesnt look like much has been changed other than removing the roundels and adding a rego. Nice picture.
If it was supposed to be easy. everyone would be doing it...
Post by Radialicious on Dec 20, 2006 21:43:09 GMT 12
Yep, quite a bit of 'excess junk' ended up at the scrappers including a fuselage frame turrets and a number of flight controls. The tip off was a number of photos of aircraft parts lying in a heap. Wigram had recently closed and there was pressure on the storage depot at Weedons. The scrapper was able to be traced from the phone number on the door of his truck and some of the parts were saved. I have seen some of the flight controls now safely in storage, still in red oxide doped linen, STILL with their original serviceable parts labels attached. You can only wonder what got scrapped without anyone knowing.
The RNZAF museum led the way and still does in many ways but it was a crime that they thought the scrap man cared more about this old stuff than the rest of us did.
Post by Dave Homewood on Dec 20, 2006 23:00:49 GMT 12
OK, here is an interesting snippet from August 1973, NZ Wings...
"The recent sale of seven ex-RNZAF Vampires, one to Sweden and six to an American buyer (although one of the latter will possibly remain here) must rankle, particularly to an organisation like the Ferrymead Aviation Society, who must divert their slender resources towards trying to obtain a Vampire privately to display publicly. Out of a total of 58 purchased, there are about 10 Vampires left in this country, six of which have reasonable chance of survival."
So, first of all, does anyone know who the buyers were in Sweden and the USA for these aircraft? And what the fate of all seven was? I know one ex-RNZAF Vampire was converted into a Mystery Ship airliner in the USA, maybe one of the seven?
Also, of the 'around 10' in NZ, I wonder how well they have all faired after a further 33 years. I can think of ex-RNZAf Vampires on display at:
- Ashburton - Motat, Auckland - Wigram (two complete, one cockpit) - NZFPM Wanaka - The Southward car museum above Wellington
And in private collections with: - Ross Jowitt - John Smith (2 of?)
Post by Peter Lewis on Jan 28, 2007 18:47:17 GMT 12
While on Whitney Straights , what became of the one that sat up on the roof of that shed south of Auckland years ago ?
I guess that would have been ZK-AXD, ex Auckland Flying School. WFU Ardmore - last flight 1964. The photos below were taken at Ardmore in June 1965, and it was silver with blue trim at that time. Went to a petrol station at Drury, where it was placed on the roof of the forecourt for some time. (I saw it there, but unfortunatly never took a pic of it in that situation). As it fell apart, it was taken to the Mangatawhiri Machinery Centre, corner of SH2 and Lyons Road at Mangatawhiri, where it lay before being burnt as so much junk in about 1969. (And no, those are not spots on the pic but are actual bird droppings on the aircraft!).
To open up another line of query, I have recently read the Wikipedia article on the Tui Sports at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tui_Sports where it states "As of 2006 it is undergoing a slow rebuild at the Museum of Transport and Technology" Anyone any knowledge of this alleged rebuild?
The Tui being built at MOTAT is in fact a replica built from the original plans. Merv North, patron of Auckland Aero Club, whose father was an engineer at the club in the 30's and later, provided copies of the plans and kindly invited me to have a look at the project's progress about two years ago. Fabulous little aeroplane, I have a picture or two somewhere. Many of the volunteers on the MOTAT project are ex-de Havilland workers. If you come out to Auckland Aero Club on a Sunday afternoon you will find Merv, just ask away, he is always eager to discuss the Tui. As another snippet, Merv was the first person to gain a NZ PPL after the Second World War, and he has flown a hell of a lot of the Tigers and other Moths that still exist today. It was only yesterday he was telling me he'd flown ZK-AEJ and he was surprised how much it was worth. Apparently you could buy a Tiger post war for just over a hundred pounds.
I know there's a lot of money in aviation because I put it there.